Central Information Commission (CIC) on 17 February 2015 ruled that the Governments, at both the Centre and State level, are expected to be a responsible litigant and not treat a citizen as opposite party or its rival.
The ruling was given by the Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu while hearing an appeal on disclosure of information on implementation of the National Litigation Policy 2010.
The Main Highlights of the Decision
- CIC questioned the Union Government whether it has any mechanism to examine each case before appealing against judgements given in favour of a citizen.
- Noting that State has become the biggest litigant over a period of time, CIC directed the Union Law Ministry to prepare a comprehensive note on status of implementation of National Litigation Policy 2010 and make it public.
- CIC also directed the ministry to provide the RTI applicant the certified copies of the relevant papers regarding progress of implementation of the policy and also periodical updating of this note after collecting necessary inputs from the states.
Commission’s view on responsible litigant
According to CIC, a responsible litigant means that
- litigation will not be resorted to for the sake of litigating;
- false pleas and technical points will not be taken and shall be discouraged;
- ensuring that the correct facts and all relevant documents will be placed before the court; and
- nothing will be suppressed from the court and there will be no attempt to mislead any court or tribunal.
Why the State has become the biggest litigant?
CIC opined that over a period of time State has become the biggest litigant because of State either fighting a citizen or its own department or taking every case into appeal instead of performing the duty of addressing development and welfare of the people, who challenged its actions.