In order to spruce up its legal strategy and arguments before the court, the Centre has decided to designate one counsel dedicated for each ministry so that the legal cases are defended well. It has also asked all the ministries to be on the same page and put up all arguments in a coherent manner to defend court cases.
The move comes after the government noticed in a few cases, the advice of the Department of Legal Affairs is contrary to the advice of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), government’s nodal authority for personnel matters.
In a directive issued to all ministries, the DoPT said in all the cases filed in tribunals or courts, the administrative ministry shall defend the government policy.
“While defending court cases, as far as possible the DoPT, Ministry of Law and line ministry or department should be on the same page and put up arguments on behalf of Union of India in a coherent manner and uphold the policy of the government applicable in the relevant case,” the directive read.
The order also directed that the ministry or department concerned must ensure that an officer of the level of Under Secretary or above is present in the court when important issues having policy issues or contempt petitions come up.
The directive further stressed on the better cohesion between its legal department and the Personnel department.
“In a few of these cases, the advice of the Department of Legal Affairs (DoLA) is contrary to the advice of the DoPT. Under such circumstances, the administrative ministries or departments make a second reference to DoPT and DoLA for resolving the matter,” the directive said.
The matter was examined by the government and DoPT discussed it with DoLA, representatives of Department of Revenue, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, who have in the recent past made a few references of this type.
(With inputs from the PTI)