Parliament on Friday saw replies to questions ranging from hate speech cases during the period of enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct for elections to a National Litigation Policy..To a question by Vaiko, Member of the Rajya Sabha from the MDMK party, Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs revealed the vacancy position in consumer fora in the country. "As per the latest information available with the Department, there are 6 vacant posts of President and 44 vacant posts of Members in different State Commissions and 164 vacant posts of Presidents and 361 vacant posts of Members in different District Commissions in the country," the reply reads. .To a question in the Lok Sabha about online dispute resolution, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju stated in reply that,"The concept of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) in India is at a nascent stage. In order to create an effective implementation framework for Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) in India, the NITI Aayog had constituted a high level committee in June 2020 under the chairmanship of Justice A K Sikri, Retired Judge, Supreme Court of India. The Committee was required to develop an action plan that can aid in mainstreaming ODR and thus promote access to justice through ODR."The said report was released in November last year, and offers a phased implementation framework. Towards this, the government is already encouraging ODR by means of the 2021 Mediation Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha. "The Bill is presently under examination of the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice," Rijiju stated. .Revolutionary Socialist Party MP from Kollam NK Premchandran asked a question about alternate dispute resolutions, where the government, among other things, stated, "There is no proposal under consideration to increase the income limit to get free legal aid."On whether the government was considering fixing experience and qualification for the appointment of legal aid advocates, the reply stated,"The lawyers are not on the regular roll of Legal Services Authorities and there is no specific number of posts as such for appointment of lawyers for providing legal assistance.".To a question by BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh Sanjay Seth, the Union Law Ministry noted that increasing litigation is becoming a problem and stated,"It has already been proposed to bring National Litigation Policy with the objective to lay down guidelines for preventing, controlling and reducing litigation, keeping in view the policy & plans of the Government, in a cohesive and organized manner."The reply acknowledged that ministries and departments like the Railways and Revenue are involved in a high number of litigations, and measures have been taken to reduce the number of Court cases. "Ministry of Railways have issued instructions for effective monitoring of Court cases at all levels. Zonal Railways and Production Units have been asked to take effective steps to reduce the number of cases in which the Government is a party and reduce the burden of courts, expedite finalization of all the cases in all courts at the earliest and to cut down the expenditure in contesting court cases."The reply added that the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has issued circulars directing the field officers that pending appeals before different forums or writ courts with tax effect below the specified limits may be withdrawn/not pressed. Field officers were further told that appeals should not be filed merely because the tax effect in a particular case exceeds the prescribed monetary limits, the reply stated.The withdrawal of appeals in matters where the top court has decided on identical matters has also been recommended, apart from not going beyond two stages of appeals. unless gross illegality is involved.The CBDT and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) have enhanced the threshold monetary limit for filing appeals, the details of which were shared in the answer as below:.The status of withdrawal of appeals in the Supreme Court, High Courts and Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) are as under:.Bahujan Samaj Party Member of Parliament Ritesh Pandey asked a question on hate speech during polls and if the Election Commission of India had probed data leaks by Cambridge Analytica and others. The government answered that the Election Commission of India has not conducted any probe into such alleged data leaks. The following information was shared with regard to hate speech complaints registered.