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Whenever any discussion on the huge pendency of cases in Indian courts crops up, the fact emerges that the government is the biggest litigant or one of the parties in a lawsuit. With more than 3 lakh cases yet to be disposed of in India, the number of pending cases, involving various central ministries and state governments would be close to half. No wonder, the government is often referred to as the “compulsive litigant”.

Now a report brought out by the Union law ministry says that some of the central ministries have earned the dubious distinction of having filed the maximum number of litigations. They are—railways, finance, communications, home affairs and defence.

The figures mentioned in the report gives a lowdown on the total number of cases of Union ministries still pending adjudication in different courts of India. The railways top the list with 67,332 cases followed by finance (15,646), communications (12,621), home affairs (11,600), defence (3,433), health and family welfare (3,275), urban development (2306), labour and employment (1,774), environment and forest (1,714), commerce and industry (1,430).

The figures mentioned above do not include the number of contempt cases related to various ministries which are still pending in various courts. Here again the railways is far ahead with 2,412 cases as compared to the others. The ministry after the railways in the list is communications with 214 contempt cases, followed by home affairs with 68, and finance with 53.

The report also mentions the nature of legal disputes that the central government is embroiled in. It varies from legal confrontation with private entities, disputes between government departments and cases involving two PSUs.

—India Legal Bureau

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