Govt may not move SC in cases with implication of less than ₹50 Lakh
To bring down litigation in courts, the government may soon enhance the financial threshold of cases in which it would approach the Supreme Court against an adverse high court order to Rs 50 lakh. The threshold is Rs 10 lakh now.
However, this threshold will not apply to cases where government policy is challenged and may have wider implications. This is another measure to limit government departments going for appeals after a web portal was set up in 2016 where all litigation across 55 ministries and departments are monitored online, their progress at each stage of trial tracked and final pendency status prepared ministry-wise.
An analysis carried out by the law ministry last year had found that 46% of all litigation across courts were cases or appeals filed by state or central governments. These litigation included service matters, disputes with private entities as well as disputes between two government departments and disputes between two PSUs.
The docket of 3.15 crore pending cases would come down if government litigation is brought down. The ministries of railways, finance, communications, home and defence have emerged as the top five central ministries which have the highest number of cases.
A similar case study by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for the Central Board of Excise and Customs for financial years 2014, 2015 and 2016 showed that it had been filing an average 1,700 appeals annually before the SC despite the fact that its success rate came down during the period from 19% to 11%, or for every 100 cases filed, the department lost 89.
According to the income tax study, its field authorities together had a pendency of over 38,000 cases in various HCs with tax effect of Rs 2.87 lakh crore. All its pendency put together had revenue implication of over Rs 9.60 lakh crore.