Centre taking steps to become a responsible litigant, says Law Minister

A number of measures are being taken to reduce litigation from the government's side, he said.

New Delhi: The government is taking various measures to transform itself from being "the biggest litigant" into "a responsible litigant", Minister for Law and Justice D V Sadananda Gowda on Sunday said.

"Courts have observed time and again that the government is the biggest litigant and is hampering speedy justice in genuine cases. Our government has an objective of converting the government into a responsible litigant," he said in his keynote at Platinum Jubilee function of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) held at Delhi.

A number of measures are being taken to reduce the litigation from the government's side, he said.

Citing examples of initiatives in this direction, Gowda said CBDT recently issued a circular directing their officers to withdraw all appeals from ITAT where the tax effect is less than Rs 10 lakh.

"I am sure CBDT would come up with many more measures where the litigation can be reduced, including by not filing appeals in small and routine matters," he added.

Highlighting that the income tax law is a complex piece of legislation where there have been frequent amendments, he said, "Even for an expert body like ITAT, there is a strong need for the members and practitioners to constantly update their knowledge to perform the functions assigned to them in an effective manner."

The government would be glad to offer any assistance if the tribunal as an institution feels any necessity to upgrade skills of its members and comes up with a firm proposal in this regard.

On the shortage of staff and members in ITAT, the Union law minister said it functioned with 20 per cent shortage compared with its sanctioned strength of members.

"Despite that, the tribunal has tried to maintain a healthy ratio between institution and disposal of appeals. I am also given to understand that more than 80 per cent of the judgments rendered by the tribunal are accepted by the litigants and even with regard to matters which are carried in appeal to higher forums, orders of the tribunal are confirmed, barring a few instances," he said.

( Source : PTI )
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