Circular No. 567/4/2001- Central Excise

22nd January, 2001

F. No. 390/109/2000-JC
Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Excise & Customs

Subject : Pendency of court cases – Observations of the Commission on Review of Administrative Laws – Regarding – Reference from Ministry of Law, Justice & Company Affairs.

As you may be aware, a Commission on Review of Administrative Laws was set up by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances under the Chairmanship of Shri P.C. Jain. The Commission submitted its report in September, 1998. The Department of AR & PG has already circulated the copies of the Commission’s report to all the Central Ministries/Departments for taking appropriate necessary action.

The Commission had, inter alia, made the following observations regarding the pendency of the cases in the courts –

“The Commission noted that there exists an unfortunate tendency in the Government Department to resort to filing of appeals practically in all cases where the verdict goes against the Government. There is disinclination on the part of every official to assume responsibility for not filing an appeal, particularly in cases relating to revenue matters, ostensibly on the ground that such an action might be considered motivated or subsequently objected to Audit and/or Vigilance. Definite directions needs to be issued in all Government Departments that appeals against adverse decisions should be filed only after very careful consideration. There is also a tendency to take the safer course of approaching the Court for adjudication of any issue rather than to take decision which normally would be within the scope of the powers of the executive.” [Para 16.3.19(3)]

“In relation to criminal cases pending in Courts, which are estimated to be of the order of about 10 million, a very important judgment has been secured through a public interest litigation submitted by Common Cause, which has laid down procedures to be followed for closing down cases which have been pending for more than prescribed periods, in relation to offences under various sections of the penal code. Arising from this one judgment, hundreds of thousands of cases which had for long languished, have been closed down. Similar action needs to be initiated in relation to the multiplicity of cases which are presently pending before various Tribunals and adjudicating bodies and in cases relating to revenue, etc.” [Para 16.3.19(4)]

The above observations of the Commission are brought to your notice for giving wide publicity for necessary follow up action to reduce the number of pending court cases in which the Government is a party. You are requested to intimate the Board of the action taken in this regard.

Kindly acknowledge the receipt of the circular.

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