DEPARTMENT OF LEGAL AFFAIRS
(VIDHI KARYA VIBHAG)

INTRODUCTION

1. FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Department has been allocated the following items as per the Government of India {Allocation of Business} Rules, 1961.

a.) Advice to Ministries on legal matters including interpretation of the Constitution and the laws, conveyancing and engagement of counsel to appear on behalf of the Union of India in the High Courts and subordinate courts where the Union of India is a party.
b) Attorney General of India, Solicitor General of India, and other Central Government law officers of the States whose services are shared by the Ministries of the Government of India.
c) Conduct of cases in the Supreme Court and the High Courts on behalf of the Central Government and on behalf of the Governments of States participating in the Central Agency Scheme.
d) Reciprocal arrangements with foreign countries for the service of summons in civil suits for the execution of decrees of Civil Courts, for the enforcement of maintenance orders, and for the administration of the estates of foreigners dying in India.
e) Authorization of officers to execute contracts and assurances of property on behalf of the President under Article 299(1) of the Constitution, and authorization of officers to sign and verify plaints or written statements in suits by or against the Central Government.
f) Indian Legal Service.
g) Treaties and agreements with foreign countries in matters of civil law.
h) Law Commission.
i) Legal Profession including the Advocates Act, 1961 (25 of 1961) and persons entitled to practice before High Courts.
j) Enlargement of the jurisdiction of Supreme Court and the conferring thereon of further powers; persons entitled to practice before the supreme Court, references to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution of India.
k) Administration of the Notaries Act, 1952 (53 of 1952)
l) Income-tax Appellate Tribunal.
m) Appellate Tribunal for Foreign Exchange
n) Legal aid to the Poor.

1.2 The Department administers the following Acts:-
(i) The Advocates Act, 1961;
(ii) The Notaries Act, 1952;
(iii) The Legal Services Authority Act, 1987;
(iv) The Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act, 2001

1.3` The Department is also administratively in-charge of the Appellate Tribunal for Foreign Exchange, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, the newly set up National Tax Tribunal and the Law Commission of India. The Department is also administratively concerned with all the matters relating to the Indian Legal Service. It is further connected with the appointment of Law Officers namely the Attorney General of India, the Solicitor General of India and the Additional Solicitor Generals of India.

1.4 Organisational Set-up

The Department of Legal Affairs has a two tier set up, namely, the Main Secretariat at New Delhi and the Branch Secretariats at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore. The nature of duties discharged can be broadly classified into two areas – Advice work and Litigation work.

(1) Main Secretariat –

(i) The set up at the Main Secretariat includes Law Secretary, Additional Secretaries and Legal Adviser (Conveyancing), Joint Secretaries and Government Counsels and other Government Counsels at various levels. The work relating to tendering of legal advice and Conveyancing has been distributed amongst groups of officers. Each group is normally headed by a Joint Secretary and Government Counsels, who, in turn, is assisted by a number of Government Counsels at different levels.
(ii) The litigation work in the Supreme Court on behalf of all the Ministries/Departments of the Government of India and some administrations of the Union Territories is handled by the Central Agency Section presently headed by a Joint Secretary and Government Counsel.
(iii) The litigation work in the High Court of Delhi on behalf of all the Ministries/Departments of the Government of India is processed by the Litigation (High Court) Section presently headed by an Additional Government Counsel.
(iv) The litigation work in the Subordinate Courts in Delhi is headed by the Litigation (Lower Court) Section presently headed by an Assistant Government Counsel.
(v) The Department has a special cell, namely, Implementation Cell for dealing with the implementation of the recommendations of the Law Commission and the administration of the Advocates Act, 1961. It also deals with the legal profession.
(vi) One Joint Secretary & Government Counsel each, exclusively, functions as Legal Adviser for Railway Board, Department of Telecommunications and Central Bureau of Investigation respectively and functions from the above offices. One Joint Secretary and Government Counsel functions exclusively as an Arbitrator under the scheme of Permanent Machinery of Arbitration in the Department of Public Enterprises. He functions from the office of the Department of Public Enterprises. One Additional Government Counsel acts as Arbitrator in the cases of Arbitration in the DGS&D as well as Army Purchase Organisation. In addition, some officers of different levels such as Additional Government Counsel, Deputy Government Counsel and Assistant Government Counsel are also posted in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Urban Development and DGS&D.

1.5 BRANCH SECRETARIATS

1.5.1 Branch Secretariat, Mumbai:-

The Branch Secretariat at Mumbai is headed by a Joint Secretary and Government Counsel. He is assisted by Additional Government Counsels, Deputy Government Counsels, Assistant Government Counsels and other supporting staff.

1.5.2 Branch Secretariat, Kolkata:-

The Branch Secretariat at Kolkata is headed by a Joint Secretary and Government Counsel. He is assisted by Additional Government Counsels, Deputy Government Counsel, Assistant Government Counsel and other supporting staff.

1.5.3 Branch Secretariat, Chennai:-

The Branch Secretariat at Chennal is headed by a Additional Government Counsel. He is assisted by Assistant Government Counsels and other supporting staff.

1.5.4 Branch Secretariat, Bangalore:-

The Branch Secretariat at Bangalore is headed by a Deputy Government Counsel. He is assisted by an Assistant Government Counsel and other supporting staff.

2. ADVICE WORK

a) During the period,  from 1st January, 2011 to 31st December, 2011,  a total number of 5692 references for legal opinion were received from various Ministries/Departments of the Government of India and duly attended and opinion tendered by officers of this Department through this Section.

 

b) This Section has dealt with 72 Notes for the Cabinet and 64 references relating to State Bills and Ordinances sent by various Ministries for examination from legal and Constitutional angle.

 

c) This Section has assisted the Officers of this Department in attending 221 Meetings including International Conferences, Meetings of the Group of Ministers, Cabinet Committee, Committee of Secretaries and Committee on Disputes.

 

d) 373 references relating to conveyancing,  including a number of International agreements were also dealt with.

e) The Section has given general and secretarial assistance to the Officers in the Department of Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Law and Justice including providing precedents on various subjects.

3. LITIGATION

3.1 The Department is responsible for conducting litigation before Hon’ble Supreme Court on behalf of all Ministries/Departments of the Central Government and also on behalf of NCT of Delhi, Union Territories including the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and all field offices under CAG i.e. Accountants General offices. All Special Leave Petitions of the Central Government are filed in the Supreme Court through Central Agency Section of this Department.

3.2 Government Counsel in the Central Agency Section are Advocates-on-Record of the Supreme Court. They appear before the Supreme Court in all matters pertaining to the Union of India, Delhi State and Union Territories as per the Supreme Court Rules and, wherever necessary, Law Officers and Senior Counsel are engaged by Central Agency to lead them in the Court. They assist the Law Officers and other Advocates in the panel of Central Government Counsel.

3.3 During the year 2006, the Central Agency Section received 2823 new cases from various Departments of Government of India and 253 cases from the N. C. T. of Delhi, in which the Union of India or Union Territories are either petitioners or respondents. The major litigation belongs to Ministry of Finance, Central Excise, Income Tax, Railway, Defence, CBI, PMO, Cabinet Secretariat and Ministry of Communication etc. Central Agency Section is handling approximately 50 cases per day except on admission days, i.e., on Mondays and Fridays.

4. LITIGATION IN HIGH COURTS

4.1 The Litigation (HC) Section handles the Litigation work in Delhi High Court on behalf of all the Ministries/Departments of Government of India except for Railways and Income Tax Departments. The Litigation work is looked after by Additional Government Counsel assisted by the Superintendent (L) and other staff.

4.2 The cases dealt with and contested in Delhi High Court are generally related to: -
Civil and Criminal Writ Petitions under Article 226 & 227 of the Constitution of India, Civil Miscellaneous Applications, Division Bench Appeals, Company Applications, Execution Applications and Criminal Miscellaneous.

4.3 cases dealt with and contested in Courts other than Delhi High Court are generally related to:-

BIFR, AAIFR, National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Court, Company Law Board, Un-lawful activities (Prevention Tribunal), Debt Recovery Tribunal, Debt Recovery Appellant Tribunal, Immigration Appellate Committee, Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, TDSAT, Central Information Commission, District Consumer Forum.

4.4.1 During the period under report 4151 professional fee bills were received from the Law Officers and Government Counsels. The bills were duly registered, scrutinized and processed for payment as per the terms and conditions of their engagement and prescribed scales. From 1-4-2006 to 31-12-2006 total number of 3078 fee bills amounting to Rs.9897674/- were paid to the Law Officers and Government Counsels out of the budget allocation of Rs.1.50 crores for the Financial Year, 2006-07.

4.5 During the period from 1.4.2006 to 31.12.2006, Litigation (HC) Section has engaged Government Counsel in 2937 cases in order to conduct the litigation in Delhi High Court and safeguard the interests of the Government

5. LITIGATION IN C.A.T.

5.1 The Litigation CAT Section is the part of Litigation High Court Section at Copernicus Marg – Central Administration Tribunal Building.
5.2 This C.A.T. Litigation deals with the Original Applications filed by any Central Government Employee against his/her Ministry and concerned Department.
5.3 As per the record this Section has received 647 cases(O.A./M.A./Contempt) during the period from 1st February – 2006 to 31st January – 2007 and engaged Senior Counsel (Government Panel) /Additional Standing Counsel (Government Panel) in the above mentioned 647 cases.

6. LITIGATION IN LOWER COURTS

The Litigation work in District Court/Consumer Forum/Tribunals in Delhi/New Delhi on behalf of all Ministries/Departments of Government of India except Railways and Income-tax Department is handled by Litigation (LC) Section. The Litigation work in the above said courts/tribunals is looked after by Assistant Government Counsel assisted by Superintendent (Legal)/Assistant (Legal).

7. ORGANISATION OF LITIGATION

7.1 The Judicial Section in the Department is responsible for the organization of litigation of the Government of India and Union Territories before the Supreme Court, various High Courts, the Central Administrative Tribunal and District and Subordinate Courts. Its functions include the processing the appointments of the Attorney General for India, the Solicitor General and the Additional Solicitors General of India, Central Government Counsel in the Supreme Court, High Courts, the Central Administrative Tribunals, District and Subordinate Courts and Consumer Forums in some of the States for conducting litigation work on behalf of the Central Government, engagement of Law Officers and other Counsel on behalf of Ministries/Departments for the conduct of cases before the Supreme Court, High Courts, Tribunals, Commission of Inquiry, District and Subordinate Courts, Quasi-Judicial Authorities etc. Its functions also include formulation and settlement of their terms and conditions for conducting cases. During the period from January 2006 to December, 2006 some 614 Government Counsel were engaged/term extended in Supreme Court, various High Courts, Central Administrative Tribunals, District and Subordinate Courts.

7.2 The Judicial Section is responsible for nomination of Arbitrators in disputes between the various Departments of the Government of India and private parties. During the period in question 17 Arbitrators were appointed/nominated. This Section also appoints counsel to appear in Arbitration disputes between the CPWD, DGS&D and Ministry of Defence etc. on the one hand and private contractors on the other. In all 173 Arbitration cases were distributed among the panel of the Arbitration Counsel between the period from January 2006 to December, 2006.

7.3 The Section is also dealing with the work of Reciprocal arrangements with foreign countries for the service of summons in civil suits, the execution of decrees of Civil Courts, the enforcement of maintenance orders and the administration of the estates of foreign dying in India inte-state. Negotiations for entering into Mutual Legal Assurance Agreement in civil and commercial matters with Bahrain and Ukraine were held and texts of the proposed agreements were finalized.

8. ADMINISTRATION OF NOTARIES ACT

8.1 The administration of the Notaries Act, 1952 and the Notaries Rules, 1956 are within the purview of the Notary Cell. The Notary Cell deals with examination/scrutiny of the Memorials/applications received from different States/Union territories in the country and processing of these memorials for appointment as Notaries. This Cell conducts inquiries into the allegations of professional or other misconduct on the part of the Notaries. The Notary Cell also renews the certificates of practice as Notary issued by the Central Government.

8.2 About 510 Advocates/applicants have been appointed as Notaries during the period from January, 2006 to January, 2007. So far, about 3799 Notaries have been appointed by the Central Government in various parts of the country.

 

 

9. IMPLEMENTATION CELL

9.1 The Implementation Cell in this Department is vested with responsibility of processing reports of the Law Commission, laying them before the Parliament and also forward reports to the Ministries/Departments concerned for their examination/implementation as well as pursue them for expedition’s action. This Cell is also concerned with the administration of the Advocates Act, 1961, the Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act, 2001, National Tax Tribunal (NTT) Act, 2005, legal education and legal profession. This Cell is also the nodal Section in respect of Right to Information Act, 2005, for the Main Secretariat, Department of Legal Affairs.

9.2 PROCESSING OF LAW COMMISSION REPORTS
The Law Commission of India upto April, 2014, has submitted 244 Reports. Upto 243rd Report have been laid before both the Houses of the Parliament. The 244th Report is to be laid in Parliament. All the Reports received upto April, 2014 have also been forwarded to the concerned Ministries/Department for examination/implementation.

This Cell in pursuance of the recommendations of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personal, Public Grievances, Law & Justice, has been laying an Annual statement showing the status of pending Law Commission Reports before both the Houses of the Parliament since 2005. The last Statement (9th) was laid on the Table of both the Houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha on 18.12.2013 and Rajya Sabha on 20.12.2013).


9.3 THE ADVOCATES ACT, 1961
The Advocates Act, 1961 (“Act”) was enacted to amend and consolidate the law relating to legal practitioners and to provide for the constitution of Bar Councils at State level and an All India Bar. The Act recognizes only one class of persons who are entitled to practise the profession of law in India, namely, advocates, vide its section 29. Section 30 of the Act, which was not in force, has been brought into force w.e.f. 15th June, 2011 (vide Notification No. S.O. 1349(E) dated 09.06.2011)

9.4 The Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act, 2001,

Social security in the form of financial assistance to junior lawyers and welfare schemes for indigent or disabled advocates has always been a matter of concern for the legal fraternity. Certain States enacted their own legislation on the subject. The Parliament enacted “Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 2001” applicable to the Union Territories and the States which do not have their own enactments on the subject, for creation of “Advocates Welfare Fund” by the appropriate Government. This Act makes it compulsory for every advocate to affix stamps of the requisite value on every Vakalatnama filed in any court, tribunal or other authority. Sums collected by the way of sale of “Advocates’ Welfare Funds Stamps” constitute an important source of the Advocates’ Welfare Fund.

Any practicing Advocate may become member of the Advocates’ Welfare Fund on payment of an application fee and annual subscription. The Fund shall west in and be held and applied by the Trustee Committee established by the appropriate Government. The Fund shall, inter alia, be used for making ex-gratia grant to a member of the fund in case of a serious health problem, payment of a fixed amount on cessation of practice and in case of death of a member, to his nominee or legal heir, medical and educational facilities for the members and their dependants, purchase of books and for common facilities for advocates.

9.5 Legal Education

As per Section 7(1) (h) of the Advocates Act, 1961, the Bar Council of India promotes legal education and lay down standards of such education in consultation with the Universities in India imparting such education and the State Bar Councils. Further, under Section 7(1)(i) of the Advocates Act the Bar Council of India recognize Universities whose degree in law shall be a qualification for enrollment as an advocate and for that purpose to visit and inspect Univeristies.

9.6 National Tax Tribunal Act, 2005

The National Tax Tribunal Act, 2005 (49 of 2005) was enacted by the Parliament provides for adjudication by the National Tax Tribunal of Disputes with respect to levy, assessment, collection and enforcement of Direct Taxes. It also provides for adjudication by that Tribunal of disputes with respect to determination of the rates of duties of customs and Central Excise on goods and the valuation of goods for the purpose of assessment of such duties as well as in matters relating to levy of tax on services. The said Act was enacted in pursuance of Article 323-B of the Constitution. The Act was brought into force by the notification of the Government of India S.O. 1826(E) on 28.12.2005. The Act was however challenged by various Writ Petitions filed in High Courts throughout the country. In order to consolidate all the Writ Petitions, a transfer petition No.92/2006 was filed on 2nd February, 2006 in the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, after hearing the arguments, passed an Order on 9th January, 2007 observing that certain amendments may be considered by the Government. A liberty was given to the Government to mention the matter for listing after the amendments in the provisions of the Act are made.

In order to give effect to the observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the National Tax Tribunal (Amendment) Ordinance, 2007 (No. 3 of 2007) was promulgated on 29th January, 2007. The said Bill was replaced by the National Tax Trinbunal(Amendment) Act, 2007 which, was published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 1, dated 4th April, 2007 as Act No.18 of 2007.

The Transferred case (C) No.116 of 2006 – Sandeep Goyal Vs. Union of India & Ors. challenging the constitutional validity of National Tax Tribunal was come up before the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 08.09.2008. The Hon’ble Supreme Court had adjourned the matter for 15.12.2008. However, the Petition was called on 28.11.2008 for hearing the Hon;ble Court permitted I.A. Nos. 3-4 to be withdrawn. The Hon’ble Court has tagged the said Transfer Case with the Transfer Case (C) No.3067/ 2004 – R. Gandhi Vs. Union of India, which is pending before the Supreme Court, came up for hearing on 28.01.2009 before the Constitutional Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has reserved its decision.

9.7 Right to Information Act

The nodal Section in respect of Right to Information Act, 2005, for the Main Secretariat, Department of Legal Affairs and has dealt with following receipts and 1st & 2nd appeals before the Appellate Officer & Central Information Commission from 1.04.2008 to 31.03.2009:-

(A) Total Receipts--------------------1156
(B) First & Second Appeals---------272
(C) Fee received for seeking information --------Rs.2910/-
(D) Fee received for providing information------Rs.1125/-

10. LEGAL AID TO POOR

10.1 Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society and ensures justice for all. Articles 14 and 22(1) of the Constitution also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system, which promotes justice on the basis of equal opportunity to all. In 1987, the Legal Services Authorities Act was enacted by the Parliament, which came into force on 9th November, 1995 to establish a nationwide uniform network for providing free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society on the basis of equal opportunity. The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to monitor and evaluate implementation of legal aid programmes and to lay down policies and principles for making legal services available under the Act.

10.2 In every State, a State Legal Services Authority and in every High Court, a High Court Legal Services Committee has been constituted. District Legal Services Authorities and Taluka Legal Services Committees have been constituted in the Districts and most of the Talukas in order to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to provide free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the States.


10.3 Supreme Court Legal Services Committee has been constituted to administer and implement the legal services programme in so far as it relates to the Supreme Court of India.

11. National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)

NALSA issues guidelines for the State Legal Services Authorities to implement the Legal Aid Programmes and schemes throughout the country. Primarily, the State Legal Services Authorities, District Legal Services Authorities, Taluka Legal Services Committees, etc. have been assigned the task of discharging the following two main functions on regular basis:
i) To provide Free Legal Services to the eligible persons; and
ii) To organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes
12. Lok Adalats

12.1 Lok Adalat is a forum where the disputes/cases pending in the court of law or at pre-litigation stage are settled/compromised amicably. The Lok Adalat has been given statutory status under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. Under this Act, an award made by a Lok Adalat is deemed to be a decree of a civil court and is final and binding on all parties and no appeal lies against thereto before any court.

12.2 Lok Adalats are being organized by the Legal Services Authorities/Committees on usual pattern i.e. under section 19 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 and also for matters at pre-litigative stage, under the guidance of NALSA.

12.3 During the period from 1st April, 2006 to 30th September, 2006 more than 1.90 lakh persons have benefited through legal aid services in the country. Out of them 13,191 persons belonged to the Scheduled Castes, 8,383 Scheduled Tribes, 23,694 persons were women and 962 were children. During this period, 28,844 Lok Adalats were organised. These Lok Adalats settled more than 11 lakh cases. In Motor Vehicle Accident Claim cases, compensation to the tune of Rs. 258.54 crore has been awarded.


13. BRANCH SECRETARIATS

13.1 BRANCH SECRETARIAT, MUMBAI

13.1.1 Ministry of Law & Justice, Department of Legal Affairs, Branch Secretariat at Mumbai is headed by a Joint Secretary and Government Counsel and is assisted by two Central Government Advocates (re-designated as Additional Government Counsel), one Deputy Government Counsel, one Assistant Government Counsel, two Superintendents (Legal), one Section Officer and other supporting staff.

13.1.2 The Branch Secretariat, Mumbai received 1592 fresh Litigation cases during the period from January to October, 2006 and in all 1140 cases could be disposed off and injunctions vacated finally. The Branch Secretariat had 2719 advice cases during the period January to November, 2006 and 2393 cases were disposed off during this period.

13.2 BRANCH SECRETARIAT, KOLKATA

13.2.1 During 2006-07, the Branch Secretariat, Kolkata was headed by Joint Secretary & Government Counsel who also functioned as overall in-charge. It has seven wings viz. Advice, Administration, Cash & Accounts, Hindi, Counsel Fee Bill, Litigation and CAT/Lower Court Section. Further, this Branch Secretariat has one Library, which mostly contains Law Books. The Litigation Wing of the Branch Secretariat, Kolkata looks after the entire litigation matters pertaining to the High Court at Calcutta both in the Original as well as Appellate Side.

13.2.2 The Branch Secretariat is looking after litigation of the Union of India in the High Courts and Courts below, covering 12 States and one Union Territory. The Branch Secretariat also looks after the service matters relating to Central Government employees before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Calcutta Bench as well as the other benches of CAT at Cuttack, Guwahati, Patna and Circuit Benchs at Sikkim and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The Branch Secretariat renders legal advice and also conducts litigation pertaining to Income tax Department, Customs and Central Excise, Revenue Intelligence, FERA/FEMA, Ministry of Railways (old matters), Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home, Ministry of External Affairs and all others having their offices at West Bengal, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Tripura, Mizoram and Sikkim and Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands on receipt of references from concerned Departments/Ministries. Counsel are also engaged to appear before the CESTAT and ITAT and in Arbitration matters on receipt of specific requests from Departments concerned.
13.2.3 During 2006-07, the Advice Wing is headed by the Joint Secretary & Government Counsel with two Deputy Government Counsel (one posted at OFB, Kolkata who only deals with matters pertaining to Ordnance Factories and its Board) and one Assistant Government Counsel. Total number of cases received by the Advice Wing during 2006-07 up to December, 2006 was 1412.

13.2.4 . The total number of High Court cases received/conducted by the Litigation Division of the Branch Secretariat, Kolkata during 2006-07 up to December, 2006 was 1632 and 1666 (some cases pertained to previous years) number of cases were disposed off during the said period. The total number of government cases pending in the Calcutta High Court till the end of December, 2006 was about 78000. Similarly, the number of cases received in the Branch Secretariat, Kolkata for engagement on service matters in CAT, Calcutta Bench during 2006-07 (up to December, 2006) were 352. The numbers of cases in Courts below handled during 2006-07 up to December, 2006 were 227.
13.2.5 Out of the total budget of Rs.90,00,000/- for payment towards Professional Fees to the Counsel, an amount of Rs.67,41,043/- has already been paid to them till December, 2006 for the cases relating to High Court at Calcutta only.

13.3 BRANCH SECRETARIAT, CHENNAI

13.3.1 ADVICE: The Branch Secretariat renders legal advice to all Central Government offices located in the States of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Pondicherry. During the period from 1.4.2006 to 31.12.2006, about 3500 references were received for advice and disposed of. About 1500 references for advice are expected during the remaining period of current financial year 2006-2007.

13.3.2 LITIGATION: The Branch Secretariat, Chennai looks after the entire litigation work of the Central Government (except cases relating to Railways and Income-tax) in the High Court of Madras and the High Court of Kerala, in the city Civil Courts and the Presidency Courts of Small Causes, in the Chennai and Ernakulam Benches of Central Administrative Tribunal and in some other Tribunals. The Branch Secretariat Chennai has also been entrusted the work of Central Government Litigation in the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum and the State Consumer Redressal Commission, both at Chennai. During the period from 1.4.2006 to 31.12.2006, about 12000 litigation matters, which include receipts, fee bills and files opened regarding High Court/CAT/LC, etc..

13.3.3 The Government appointed an Additional Solicitor General of India for Madras High Court since 1997.

13.4 BRANCH SECRETARIAT, BANGALORE

Branch Secretariat Bangalore was set up in 1983 and renders legal advice to various Central Government Departments and offices located in the State of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. During the current year i.e. 2006-07 as on 31.12.2006 about 4100 references have been received for advice. The advice work includes vetting of contracts, scrutiny and vetting of pleadings and counter affidavits to be filed in the respective Courts of Karnataka, CAT, examining the feasibility of filing SLP, appeals, review etc., interpretation of laws, guiding departments on legal sustainability of their action and holding discussions with the administrative departments whenever necessary.

14. LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA

14.1 The Law Commission of India is a non-statutory body constituted by the Government from time to time. The Commission was originally constituted in 1955 and is reconstituted every three years. The present 18th Law Commission has been reconstituted with effect from September 1, 2006 for a period of three years ending August 31, 2009. The Commission comprises of the Chairman and Members. The present Chairman is Hon’ble Justice A.R. L:akshmanan, a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. The Members are Prof. Dr.Tahir Mahmood (full time) and other part time Members are Dr.(Mrs.) Devinder K. Raheja and Dr. K.N.C. Pillai.
14.2 The terms of reference of the 18th Law Commission, inter alia, include review/repeal of obsolete laws, laws which affect the poor and carry out post-audit for socio-economic legislation, to harness law and legal process in the service of the poor, judicial administration. It also includes to examine the existing laws in the light of Directive Principles of State Policy and to suggest ways of improvement and reforms and also to suggest such legislation as might be necessary to implement the Directive Principles and to attain the objective set out in the Preamble to the Constitution.

15. INCOME-TAX APPELLATE TRIBUNAL

15.1 ORIGIN:

Section 252 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 provides that the Central Government shall constitute an Appellate Tribunal consisting of as many Judicial Members and Accountant Members as it thinks fit, to exercise the powers and discharge the functions conferred on the Appellate Tribunal by the said Act. The Income-tax Appellate Tribunal was established on 25th January, 1941, in pursuance of a similar provision contained in the Indian Income-tax Act, 1922.

15.2 CONSTITUTION :

The Income Tax Act, 1961 further provides that, a Judicial Member of the Tribunal shall be a person, who has for at least 10 years held a Judicial Office in the territory of India or has been a Member of the Central Legal Service and has held a post in Grade-II of that Service or any equivalent or higher post for at least three years or who has been an Advocate for at least ten years. An Accountant Member shall be a person, who has for at least 10 years been in practice of Accountancy as Chartered Accountant under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949 or as a Registered Accountant under any law formerly in force or partly as Registered Accountant and partly as a Chartered Accountant, or who has been a Member of the Indian Income Tax Service, Group A and has held the post of (Additional) Commissioner of Income-tax or any equivalent or higher post for at least three years.
15.3 The present sanctioned strength of Members of Tribunal is 126 for 63 benches spread over 27 cities throughout the country out of which only 97 Members are in position and accordingly there are 29 posts of Members, vacant, as on date. The Tribunal is presently headed by the President assisted by one senior Vice-President and nine Vice-Presidents.

15.4 At present the number of Members who are posted at different Benches is 96 whereas the sanctioned strength is 126 for existing 63 Benches. The shortfall in the sanctioned strength is to be made good within a short time as the appointment of the Members is at the final stage.

16. RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005:

To implement the Right to Information Act, 2005 necessary steps, as required under the said Act, have been taken.

17. APPELLATE TRIBUNAL FOR FOREIGN EXCHANGE

17.1 The Appellate Tribunal for Foreign Exchange was established on 1st June, 2000, vide Government of India Notification No. S.O. 53(E) dated 1.6.2000 issued under section 18 of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999. Under section 19 of FEMA, the Central Government or any person aggrieved by an order made by Special Director (Appeals), or made by an Adjudicating Authority other than referred to in sub-Section (1) of Section 17, may prefer an appeal to the Appellate Tribunal that may be filed within 45 days from the date of receiving the order by the aggrieved person or the Central Government.

17.2 Section 20 of FEMA, provides that the Appellate Tribunal shall consist of a Chairperson and such number of members as the Central Government may deem fit. The jurisdiction of the Appellate Tribunal may be exercised by the Benches. The Bench may be constituted by the Chairperson, with one or more Members as the Chairperson deems fit. The Benches of the Appellate Tribunal shall ordinarily sit at New Delhi and at such other places as the Central Government may, in consultation with the Chairperson, notify and the Chairperson may transfer a Member from one Bench to another Bench. If at any stage it appears that the matter should be heard by a Bench of two Members the Chairperson may transfer the matter to such Bench as he deems fit.

17.3 A person who is qualified to be a Judge of a High Court or is or has been a Judge of High Court can be appointed as Chairperson of the Tribunal and person who has been or is qualified to be a District Judge can be appointed as a Member of the Tribunal.

17.4 Under section 49 sub-section (5) clause (b), all appeals which were pending before FERA Board have been transferred and are at the disposal of the Appellate Tribunal constituted under Foreign Exchange Management Act.

18. GRANTS IN AID TO PRIVATE ORGANISATIONS FOR LEGAL RESEARCH

With a view to promoting studies and research in matters of law, the Department of Legal Affairs sanctions grants-in-aid to certain institutions engaged in research in the field of law.

19. INDIAN LAW INSTITUTE

19.1 During the period 1.4.2006 to 31.12.06 ILI has published Books on Indian Legal System including Journals and Newspapers. Several students have taken admission in Ph.D., LL.M and P.G. Diploma Courses. The 5th and 6th batch of online certificate course of 3 months have been conducted by ILI during the said period.

19.2 The renovation work at the main entrance, lobby, Room No. 1 (Academic Section), Room No. 2 (Administration Section) and Room Nos. 5, 6 and 7 (Director’s room and PA to Director) have been completed.

20. THE INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ICADR)

The International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR) was registered under the Societies Act, 1860 on 31st May, 1995. It is an autonomous organization working under the aegis of the Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India with its headquarters at New Delhi and Regional Centres at Hyderabad and Bangalore. It has been established to promote, popularize and propagate alternative dispute resolution methods to facilitate earlier resolution of disputes and to reduce the burden of arrears in Courts.

21. BAR COUNCIL OF INDIA (BCI)

21.1 The Bar Council of India is a statutory body constituted under the Advocates Act, 1961. The Bar Council of India under the aegis of the Bar Council of India Trust had organized National Moot Court Competition at Bhopal on 1st to 3rd December, 2006.

21.2 The Bar Council of India during the year started “Bar Council of India Research Centre” in Council building for the purpose of promotion of Legal Education and related activities. Fixed Assets e.g. furniture, computers with printers and law books were purchased in the Research Centre for research work to be conducted. A small library has also been set up for reference purpose and for the benefit of lawyers.

22. The web sites of the various organizations may be seen for detailed information.


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