The main functions of the Administration Division of the Department are:
1. Appointment of Law Officers, Special Counsel for conduct of State litigation within the State, outside the State and Supreme Court,
2. Appointment of Notaries,
3. Appointment of Official Receivers,
4. Appointment of Administrator General and Official Trustee,
5. Matters relating to the following Departments:-
i) Subordinate Judiciary
ii) Office of the Advocate General
iii) Directorate of Government Litigations
iv) Karnataka State Legal Services Authority,
v) Karnataka Judicial Academy
6. Internal matters relating to the Law Department and Co-ordination matters.
7. Grants to Bar Associations in the State.
8. As a Nodal Department in the matter of Human Rights Commission.
Litigation Division :
The main functions of the Litigation Division are as follows:
i) Conduct of Litigation in which Government is a party in Courts within and outside the State, including the Supreme Court, except Karnataka Administrative Tribunal, Central Administrative Tribunal and High Court of Karnataka on the Writ side wherein powers have been delegated to Secretaries of Administrative Departments to take a decision to file Appeals/Revision or Review against the orders passed by the KAT, CAT, High Court of Karnataka.
ii) Scrutiny of notices of suits and Statement of Objections, Counter Affidavits to be filed on behalf of the Government.
Government is the biggest litigant in the State. There is considerable litigation not only in the Supreme Court and High Court but also in Lower Courts in the State. The conduct of litigation is governed by the Karnataka Conduct of Government Litigation Rules, 1985.
The Department supervises litigation concerning the State Government in all these Courts on behalf of the Departments of Secretariat. There are five sections dealing with litigation work. Three Additional Secretaries are incharge of litigation matters and they are assisted by one solicitor, 2 Additional Solicitors and 1 Assistant Solicitor.
All notices, either of the suits or Writ Petitions issued to the Chief Secretary to Government are taken service by the Solicitor in the Law Department. Thereafter the Law Officers are authorized to appear before the Courts concerned. On receipt of the remarks of the concerned Administrative Department on the allegations made in the plaint or in the Writ Petition concerned, the Law Officers prepare a draft Written Statement or Counter Affidavit as the case may be which will be examined from Legal aspect and whenever necessary they are revised or redrafted by law Officers and thereafter they will be approved by the Officers of the Law Department or by the Heads of Legal Cells. A close watch is kept on the progress of litigation at every stage. Appropriate instructions, as deemed necessary are given from time to time to the Law Officers appearing in Courts on behalf of the Government. In important cases Officers in Law Department and Heads of Legal Cells attend the Courts to watch the proceedings.
After final disposal of the case, the Law Officers concerned have to furnish to the Law Department or Legal Cells, the certified copies of the Judgements/Decrees/Orders along with their opinion in the matter of filing or otherwise of appeals. A decision is taken by Law Department or Legal Cells in regard to the filing / non-filing of an appeal or an application for review of the judgements or orders thereafter.
Heads of Departments, Deputy Commissioners and other Officers who receive notices of suits under Section 80 of Civil Procedure Code obtain parawise remarks of the concerned officers and forward them to the concerned Administrative Departments of the Secretariat. The Administrative Departments examine and forward the same to the Law Department which furnishes opinion whether or not to contest the claim.
With effect from 22.9.2004 the control of the Department of Prosecution has been taken over by the Home Department, from Law Department, after amending the Karnataka Government (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1977. The files pertaining to Criminal cases and the administrative matters of Prosecution Department have been transferred to the Home Department. As a temporary working arrangement, Shri Mudigoudar-I ADS of Litigation-VII Section is attending the work of scrutinizing the judgements/Orders in criminal cases and recording opinions. Litigation Sections-1 and 3 of Law Department have been transferred to the Home Department. Consequently, files relating to Civil matters have been transferred from Litigation Sections – 1 & 3 to Litigation Section – 2.
Government have directed that in the matter of preferring an appeal or review against the order of the KAT or CAT or against any decision of the High Court in Writ or Writ Appeal and connected matters, issue of authorization to Law Officers is to be dealt by the concerned Administrative Departments.
In the context of amendment to the Karnataka Government (Allocation of Business) Rules, the Karnataka Conduct of Litigation Rules, 1985 has been amended. As per the said amendment Heads of Legal Cells of the Administrative Departments of Secretariat are entrusted with the work of conduct of litigation with respect to Writ Petition, Writ Appeal in High Court of Karnataka, Karnataka Administrative Tribunal and Central Administrative Tribunal.
Powers have been given from 18th February 1997 to the Legal Cells and Secretaries of Administrative Departments concerned to take decisions to the Appeals, Revision or Review on the orders passed by the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal, Central Administrative Tribunal and High Court and if the Administrative Department feels that the matter need not be challenged in Appeal, Revision or Review, then the matter need to be referred to Department of Law to take a final decision in the matter.
In pursuance to the current policy of the Government to simplify the Acts and Rules that are being administered by the Government Departments, action is being taken to constitute a Committee comprising of senior officers of Law Department to examine and suggest suitable amendments to the Acts and Rules administered by Law Department.
The functions of the opinion division of the Department are:-
1. Advising different Departments of the Karnataka Government Secretariat on legal matters including interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, various statutes, rules, orders;
2. Scrutiny of orders, notices, rules (other than subordinate legislation) to be issued in accordance with the legal opinion furnished by the Department;
3. Scrutiny of instruments relating to immovable properties, bonds and other agreements, contracts or instruments to be executed either by or in favour of Government.