Govt spending on court cases goes up

Precious Kashmir News

New Delhi, May 6: The expenditure incurred by the Government in contesting cases in the Supreme Court has gone up from nearly Rs 11 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 42.40 crore in 2017-18, Law Ministry data shows.
According to the data, submitted to a Parliamentary committee, in the financial year 2011-12, the ministry had paid Rs 10.99 crore as ‘professional fee’ to law officers and lawyers which are on its panel to represent the Government in the Supreme Court.
In 2012-13, the ‘expended budget’ on professional fee went up to Rs 11.73 crore and Rs 14.47 crore in 2013-14.
In 2016-17, the figure stood at 32.06 crore, much higher than previous fiscals.
In 2017-18 (upto February 22), the Government had spent Rs 42.40 crore as professional fee.
Officials pointed out that since there are not many law officers, sensitive cases are also being handled by senior advocates who are on the law ministry panel. These lawyers are paid fees per appearance.
Another reason attributed to higher exenditure is that the ministry is clearing dues of lawyers within 60 days. Earlier, dues used to take months to get cleared.
The number of cases in the Supreme Court where the government is a party has also seen a spike in the last one year, with law ministry officials attributing the spurt to note ban, implementation of the GST and taxation issues. According to latest law ministry data, between January 1 and December 31 last year, 4,229 cases were filed in the top court in which the Centre was a party.
In 2016, the number of such cases was 3,497, while between January 1 and December 31 of 2015, 3,909 such cases were filed. This year, between January 1 and February 22, 859 cases have been filed in the apex court where the Union of India is a party.
The data states that in 2012, there were 4,149 cases involving the government in the top court and the figure went up to 4,772 in 2013. In 2014, when the NDA government came to power, the number of cases was 4,748 but went down to 3,909 in 2015.
While the number of cases in the Supreme Court have increased, the number of law officers representing the Union of India has dwindled. So far there is no word on who would become the next solicitor general.
After Ranjit Kumar resigned as the solicitor general in October last year, the key post has been lying vacant and so far there is no word from the Law Ministry on who would be appointed to that post. P S Patwali and N K Kaul had decided against a second term as additional solicitors general when their terms had ended in July last.