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Rs 1.5 lakh cr locked up in litigations

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, Aug. 27

HAVE you ever thought how much public money is locked up in litigation? Up to Rs 1,52,797.98 crore of public money was locked up in litigation as on March 31, 2002 in various forums for direct and indirect taxes and courts of law.

Of the total amount, Rs 1,10,000 crore is locked up in cases of debt recovery before the Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRT) alone. Various companies and business houses took this money as loan from Government banks and public financial institutions. In the area of direct taxes, Rs 25,080 crore is locked up before Commissioners of Income-Tax (Appeals) all over the country, Rs 7,569 crore before the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunals, Rs 2,127 crore before the Supreme Court and High Courts and Rs 8,021.98 crore on account of indirect taxes before various forums of indirect taxes.

According to an official release, the cumulative public money locked up in litigation on account of direct taxes and indirect taxes went up from Rs 31,349.79 crore as on March 31, 2000 to Rs 32,764.75 crore on March 31, 2001 and to Rs 42,797.98 crore on March 31, 2002. These exclude the public money locked up in loans given by Government banks and public financial institutions.

Meanwhile, the Government has taken various steps for speeding up the disposal of debt recovery cases and those involving income-tax and excise duties. The President has already promulgated an ordinance for debt recovery with a view to ensure faster recovery of debts from companies and business houses. Besides, the rules and procedures of judicial and quasi-judicial bodies have been simplified on the basis of the advice and recommendations of expert bodies like the Law Commission and the Malimath Committee.

In addition, whenever courts grant stays, all efforts are made to get the stays vacated for deciding the cases on priority. Measures are also taken to get the pending cases finalised by bunching them issue-wise and by cases covered by earlier judgments of the Supreme Court and High Courts and requesting the courts concerned for early hearing and one time disposal of such cases, the release said.

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