GOVERNMENT OF KARNATAKA LAW DEPARTMENT ANNUAL REPORT 1999-2000.

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LAW FOR THE YEAR 1999-2000

The Department of Law, in the Karnataka Government Secretariat, consists of the following Divisions:

 
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[1] Administration, [2] Litigation, [3] Opinion, [4] Cauvery Water Dispute Cell, [5] Receipt and Issue, [6] Library, The cadre strength of the Officers functioning in the Department of Law is as follows:

[1] Secretary to Government ------ One

[2] Special Secretary [Opinion] ----- One

[3] Additional Secretaries [Litigation Wing ] ------Three

[4] Additional Secretary [Cauvery Water Dispute Cell] ---- One

[5] Deputy Secretary [Administration] ----- One

[6] Solicitor and Ex-Officio Deputy Secretary -----One

[7] Deputy Secretary, Cauvery Water Dispute Cell. ------One

[8] Additional Solicitors & Ex-Officio Dy. Secretaries ----Two

[9] Deputy Secretaries (Opinion) -----Two

[10] Assistant Solicitors and Ex-Officio-Under Secretary ---Four

[11] Under Secretaries (Administration) ----Two

[12] Section Officers -----Seven

The posts of Special Law Secretary (Opinion) One Additional Solicitor and Ex-Officio Deputy Secretary, Deputy Secretary [Administration], Under Secretary [Administration-I], Under Secretary [Administration -II], And all the Seven Section Officers in the Department of Law belong to the Karnataka Government Secretariat Service and other officers belong to the Karnataka Judicial Service.

ADMINISTRATION DIVISION: The main functions of the Administration Division of the Department are; [1] Appointment of Law Officers, Special Counsels for conduct of State litigation within the state, outside state and Supreme Court, [2] appointment of Notaries, [3] Appointment of Official Receivers, [4] appointment of Administrator General and Official Trustee, [5] Matters relating to the following Departments:- [i] Office of the Advocate General, [ii] Subordinate Judiciary, [iii] department of Prosecutions and government Litigations, [iv] Karnataka State Legal Services Authority. [6] Internal matters relating to the Law Department and co-ordination matters, [7] grants to Bar Associations in the State, [8] As a Nobel Department in matters of Human rights Commission.

LITIGATION DIVISION; The main functions of the Litigation Division are as follows: [a] conduct of litigation in which Government is a Party in courts within and outside the State, including the Supreme Court, except Karnataka Administrative Tribunal, Central Administrative Tribunal and High Court of Karnataka in the Writ-side where in powers have been delegated to Secretaries of Administrative Departments to take a decision to the Appeals Revision or Review on the orders passed by the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal, Central Administrative Tribunal, High Court of Karnataka, [b] Furnishing Opinion in cases relating to withdrawal of Prosecutions in cases pending before courts; [c] Scrutiny of Notices of suits and Statements of Objections, Counter Affidavits to be filed on behalf of the Government.

Government is the biggest litigant in the state. It has to arrange for the conduct of prosecution in Criminal cases before the Magistrate's courts and Sessions Courts. There is considerable Civil Litigation not only in the Supreme Court, High Courts and Lower Courts in the State but also in Courts outside the State. The conduct of litigation is governed by the Karnataka conduct of Government Litigation Rules, 1985. This Department supervises litigation concerning the State Government in all these Courts on Behalf of the Departments of the Secretariat. There are five Sections dealing with litigation work. Three Additional Secretaries are in charge of the litigation matters & they are assisted by one Solicitor + 2 additional Solicitors & Four Assistant Solicitors.

All Notices, either of the suit or a Writ petition issued to the Chief Secretary to Government, are taken services by the Solicitor in the Law Department, There after, the Law Officers are authorized to appear before the courts concerned. On receipt of the remarks of the concerned Administrative Department on the allegations made in the plaint or in the Writ Petition concerned, the Law Officers prepare a draft Written Statement or Counter Affidavit, as the case may be, which will be examined from legal aspect and whenever necessary, they are revised or re-drafted by the Law Officers and thereafter they will be approved by the officers of Law Department or by Heads of Legal Cells. A close watch is kept on the progress of litigation at every stage. Appropriate instructions, as deemed necessary are given from time to time to the Law officers appearing in courts on behalf of the Government. In important cases officers in Law Department and Heads of Legal Cells attend the courts to watch the proceedings.

After final disposal of the case, the Law officers concerned have to furnish to Law Department or Legal Cells, the Certified Copies of the Judgments/Decrees/Orders along with their opinion in the matter of filing or otherwise of appeals. A decision is taken by Law Department or Legal Cells in regard to the filing/non-filing of an Appeal or application for review of the Judgments or orders thereafter.

Heads of Departments, Deputy Commissioners, and other Officers who receive Notices of suits under section 80 of Civil Procedure Code obtain Para-wise remarks of the concerned officers and forward them to the concerned Administrative Departments of the Secretariat. The Administrative Departments examine and forward the same to this Department which furnishes opinion whether or not to contest the claim.

All the Judgments in Criminal Cases resulting in discharge or acquittal are reviewed by the Director of Prosecutions and Government Litigation and recommendations are made to Law Department in regard to filing or non-filing of Appeals. Necessary proposals and the connected records are forwarded to this Department. The recommendations of the Director will be considered by this Department and decisions in regard to filing or non-filing of Appeals are taken after review of the Judgments. Karnataka Government (Allocation of Business) (Amendment) Rules, 1997 have been published in Notification No. DCA 21 ARB 96, dated 25th February 1997.

As per this, Government have directed that the matter of preferring an Appeal or Review against the order of the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal or Central Administrative Tribunal or against any decision of the High Court in Writ or Writ Appeal and connected matters, issue of authorization to Law officers are to be dealt by concerned Administrative Departments.

In the contest of Amendment to the said Allocation of Business Rules, the Karnataka Conduct of Government Litigation (Amendment) Rules, 1997, has been amended and published where in certain Amendments have been made by which Heads of the Legal Cells of the Administrative Departments of Secretariat are entrusted with the work of conduct of litigation with respect to Writ Petition, Writ Appeal in High Court of Karnataka, Karnataka Administrative Tribunal & Central Administrative Tribunal.

Powers have been given from 18th February 1997 to the Legal cells and Secretaries of Administrative Departments concerned to take decisions to the Appeals, Revision or Review on the orders passed by the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal, Central Administrative Tribunal and High Court and if the Administrative Department feels that the matter need not be challenged in Appeal/ Revision or Review, then the matter need to be referred to Department of Law to take a final decision in the matter.

In pursuance to the current policy of the Government to simplify the Acts and Rules that are being administered by the Government Departments, action is being taken to constitute a committee comprising of senior officers of Law Department to examine and suggest suitable amendments to the Acts and Rules administered by Law Department.

OPINION DIVISION: The functions of the opinion Division of the Department are:- [1] Advising different Departments of the Karnataka Government Secretariat on legal matters including interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, various statutes Rules, orders, [2] Scrutiny of orders, Notices, Rules (Other than Subordinate Legislation) to be issued in accordance with the legal opinion furnished by the Department: [3] Scrutiny of instruments relating to immovable properties, bonds and other agreements, contracts or instruments to be executed either by or in favour of Government.

SUBORDINATE JUDICIARY: The Subordinate Judiciary consists of the following classes or courts: [1] City Civil Courts for the Metropolitan City of Bangalore; [2] District Courts: [3] Sessions Courts; [4] Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Courts and Metropolitan Magistrate's courts for Metropolitan city of Bangalore; [5] Civil Judges' and Chief Judicial Magistrates Courts: [6] Small Cause Courts; [7] Civil Judge {Jy.Dn) Courts and Courts of Judicial Magistrate First Class; [8] Civil Judge (Jr.Dn) courts [9] Civil Judge courts (Sr.Dn) [10] Special Executive Magistrate Courts [11] Family Courts; [12] Special Court-under NDPS Act at Bangalore; [13] Traffic courts [14] Labour Courts and Industrial Tribunals.

CIVIL CASES: The pendency of civil cases in the entire subordinate courts in the State as on 31st December, 1999, was 6,58,131 as against 6,59,210 cases pending as on 1st January 1999. During the period from 1st January 1999 to 31st December 1999, 2,81,665 cases were filed and 2,82,744 cases have been disposed of.

CRIMINAL CASES: The pendency of Criminal cases in the entire subordinate courts as on 31st December 1999 was 4,48,373 as against 5,68,697 cases pending as on 1st January 1999 to 31st December 1999, 4,88,915 cases have been filed and 6,09,239 cases have been disposed of. [2] The total pendency of both civil and criminal cases as on 31st December 1999 was 11,06,504 as against 12,27,907 cases pending as on 1st January 1999. During the period under report, 7,70,580 (both civil and criminal cases) have been filed and 8, 91,983 cases have been disposed of. [3] The sanctioned strength of Judicial officers (including OOD and Leave Reserve Posts) as on 31st December, 1999 was as follows:-

[1] District Judges ------ 137

[2] Civil Judges (Sr.Dn) ------ 170

[3] Civil Judges (Jr.Dn) and JMFCS. ------ 332

TOTAL 639

Out of which, 32 posts of District Judges, 33 posts of Civil Judges (Sr.Dn) and 12 posts of Civil Judges (Jr.Dn) are OOD posts, 2 posts each of District Judges and 2 posts of Civil Judges (Sr.Dn) and 14 posts of Civil Judges (Jr.Dn) are Leave Reserve Posts. As on 31st December 1999, 21 posts of District Judges, 10 posts of Civil Judges (Sr.Dn) and 18 posts of Civil Judges (Jr.Dn) were vacant.

During the period from 1-1-1999 to 31-12-1999, 68 Advocates were appointed as Civil Judges (Jr.Dn) and they have also undergone training. The Training Institute of Judicial Department under the administrative Control of the High Court is functioning to gear up the efficiency of the Staff/Officers of the Subordinate Courts and to improve their knowledge in their day-to-day business. The following courts were established during the period from 1st January 1999 to 31st December 1999. [1] II Addl. Dist. And sessions Judge Court at Tumkur. [2] Court of Civil Judge (Sr.Dn) at Maddur. [3] Court of Civil Judge (Sr.Dn) at kundapura. [4] J.M.F.C. IV Court at Mangalore. [5] Dist. And Sessions Courts at Gadag, Haveri, Davangere and Bagalkote.

Proposals of High Court for establishment of 14 Courts of different types have been considered by the State Govt. and the High Court has been requested to identify and recommend the names of specific courts to be established on priority having regard to the availability of funds in the current year's budget. The reply in this regard is still awaited from High Court.

The matter of establishment of court of Dist. And Sessions Judges as the newly created Districts of Udupi and Chamarajnagar will be considered by Govt. on receipt of recommendation from High Court. Orders of Govt. have been issued handing over possession of 21344 Sq.ft (o.49 Acres) of Vacant land attached to the Karnataka Judicial Academy for construction of Library and Hostel building at an estimated cost of Rs.110/- lakhs. Administrative approval has also been accorded by Govt. in this regard. The subordinate courts in the State have been equipped with necessary infrastructures facilities required for expeditious disposal of cases pending in various courts. Additional Funds over and above the funds earmarked in the budget for certain items have also been provided to subordinate courts as per the recommendations of the High Court for effective functioning of courts. The matter of providing adequate additional funds for equipping the subordinate courts with computer net work was also under active consideration of Govt. orders have been issued releasing as 5 crores during this year and Rs.11.50 crores during next year. Despite financial crunch of the State Govt. Permission has been accorded to fill up a large number of vacant posts of different cadres in subordinate courts in relaxation of economy orders.

The establishment of a court of District and Sessions Judge at the newly created District of Koppal is also under active consideration of State Govt. The tenure of 13 courts and posts of staff under pilot project scheme which were established earlier have been extended upto 31st December 2000 as per the recommendation of the High Court.

During the current year, administrative approval have been accorded by Government for construction of residential quarters to Judges and construction of court Buildings.

As has been done in the previous years, the Government of India have released a total sum of Rs.2,63,92,000 for utilization for purposes of acquisition of land, payment of land compensation, construction of court buildings and residential quarters to Judicial officers under the centrally sponsored scheme for infrastructural facilities for Judiciary during this year. The finance Dept., has already been requested to release matching grants of State Govt. in this regard.

The High Court, the Chief engineers (North and South) have also been requested to take all steps to utilize all the funds available under this scheme before the completion of this financial year.

Fees are being charged for rendering certain service to the public. There is need to increase the fees charged so that better and efficient services could be provided to the public. In this direction, in pursuance of the instructions of the Finance Department, the High Court had already been requested to forward proposals for enhancing fee for various items after taking into consideration the year in which such rates of fees were prescribed earlier. Proposals are still awaited from High Court. Further, taking into consideration the services, rendered in the case of Motor Accident claims, Matrimonial matters, cases under House Rent Control Act, affidavits and other matters, Government feels it necessary to enhance the Court fees having due regard to the cost of its service and the convenience/capacity of the litigants.

Proposals in this regard are still in the initial stages, which will require the concurrences of the concerned Administrative Departments of secretariat as well as High Court. Proposals of High Court for purchase of carpets to 19 Courts at a total cost of Rs.22,35,765/- is under consideration of Government. The proposals of High Court for purchase of 206 Heavy Density Copiers for the use of subordinate Courts at a total cost of Rs.2,76,11,964 is under consideration of Government. The expenditure incurred for the period from 1st January 1999 to the end of October 1999 is Rs. 69,36,56,132/-.

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