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April 24, 2018
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Rs 1 lakh SC fine for plea on settled soldier disability caseExpressing displeasure over the Ministry of Defence (MoD) getting into unnecessary litigation, the Supreme Court has imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the government for filing an appeal in the case of a disabled soldier when similar appeals had already been dismissed earlier.A former soldier, Naik Balbir Singh, who hails from Hoshiarpur district, had been granted relief by the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal in 2016. The MoD, however, challenged the order.“This is unnecessarily adding to the burden of the justice delivery systems for which the Union of India must take full responsibility,” a Division Bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta held recently.It also asked the government to deposit the costs with the SC Legal Services Committee within four weeks for utilisation in juvenile justice issues. The case is expected to come up for hearing on April 23 for the government to file its compliance report.A committee of experts on reduction of litigation had come down heavily upon the MoD and the services headquarters for generating unnecessary “ego-fuelled litigation” by perceiving litigants as persons “acting against the state”. The panel had noted that even SC decisions, sentiments expressed by the PM and Defence Minister and letters by A-G for reducing litigation had not had any effect.