Note Ban, GST Behind 2017 Spike in SC Cases Where NDA is Party
The BJP government was named a party in 4,229 SC cases in 2017 – litigations on note ban, GST blamed for spurt.
The number of cases in the Supreme Court where the government is a party has seen a spike since 2017, with law ministry officials attributing the spurt to note ban, implementation of the GST and taxation issues.
According to latest law ministry data, between 1 January and 31 December 2017, 4,229 cases were filed in the top court in which the Centre was a party.
In 2016, the number of such cases was 3,497, while between January 1 and December 31 of 2015, 3,909 such cases were filed.
In 2018, between 1 January and 22 February, 859 cases have been filed in the apex court where the Union of India is a party.
The data states that in 2012, there were 4,149 cases involving the government in the top court and the figure went up to 4,772 in 2013.
In 2014, when the NDA government came to power, the number of cases was 4,748 but went down to 3,909 in 2015.
Officials in the law ministry said the spurt in cases could be attributed to litigations on note ban, implementation of the GST regime and taxation issues.
While the number of cases in the Supreme Court have increased, the number of law officers representing the Union of India has dwindled.
Though the number of law officers representing the government in the Supreme Court is set to go up to 10 next week, so far there is no word on who would become the next solicitor general.
The law ministry file recommending the names of Aman Lekhi, Madhvi Diwan, Sandeep Sethi and Bikramjeet Banerjee as additional solicitors general has reached the Prime Minister’s Office for final approval.
Sources in the government said a final nod of the Appointments Committee of Cabinet on the four names is likely next week.
After Ranjit Kumar resigned as the solicitor general in October last year, the key post has been lying vacant and so far there is no word from the law ministry on who would be appointed to that post.
PS Patwali and NK Kaul had decided against a second term as additional solicitors general when their terms had ended in July last.
Maninder Singh, Tushar Mehta, PS Narasimha, Pinky Anand and Atmaram Nadkarni are the other ASGs.
Besides Attorney General KK Venugopal, five ASGs represent the Centre in the apex court. There are nine other ASGs who appear in various high courts.
Officials pointed out that since there are not many law officers, sensitive cases are also being handled by senior advocates who are on the law ministry panel. These lawyers are paid fees per appearance.
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