Govt. Cannot Operate Like Limitation Doesn’t Apply To It : Supreme Court Imposes Costs On Officers Responsible For 462 Days’ Delay In SLP

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Cannot Operate Like Limitation Doesn’t Apply To It : Supreme Court Imposes Costs On Officers Responsible For 462 Days’ Delay In SLP Mehal Jain20 Dec 2020 4:20 AMShare This – xOnce again deprecating the practice of the government moving the Court belatedly only by way of formality, the Supreme Court on Friday imposed costs of Rs. 15000 to be recovered from the officers responsible for 462 days’ delay in filing the SLP.The bench then dismissed the petition as barred by time and impose cost of Rs.15,000/- on the petitioner for wastage of judicial time. “We put it to…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginOnce again deprecating the practice of the government moving the Court belatedly only by way of formality, the Supreme Court on Friday imposed costs of Rs. 15000 to be recovered from the officers responsible for 462 days’ delay in filing the SLP.The bench then dismissed the petition as barred by time and impose cost of Rs.15,000/- on the petitioner for wastage of judicial time. “We put it to the learned counsel that the cost would have been much greater but for the fact that a young counsel is appearing before us and we have given considerable concession in the costs on that factor alone”, said the bench, adding that the costs be recovered from the officers responsible for the delay and costs be deposited within a month with the Supreme court Employees Welfare Fund.”This is one more case which we have categorized as a “certificate cases” filed before this Court to complete a mere formality and save the skin of the officers who have been throughout negligent in defending a litigation!”, observed the bench headed by Justice S. K. Kaul on Friday.The bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy observed that the respondent(s) filed a suit in 1977 before the Additional Sessions Judge, South Goa against the petitioner, being the Deputy Conservator of Forests, claiming ownership rights to a property known as “Aforamento Perpeto”. The prayer was made for permanent injunction against the petitioner. The suit was contested by the petitioner but it appears that the written statement was filed only in the year 1980. The suit was ultimately decreed by the ADJ on 25.08.2003. The petitioner filed a first appeal against the said judgment which was admitted by the High Court of Bombay at Goa in the year 2003. The appeal came up for hearing on 10.02.2014 when fresh notices were issued to the parties. On 07.08.2014 the petitioner was unrepresented by the counsel. Thus the matter was adjourned. Ultimately, the appeal was dismissed for non- prosecution on 03.09.2014. Despite this mishap, no application for restoration was filed till 05.01.2016 seeking condonation of delay in moving the restoration application. That application was dismissed by the impugned order dated 07.02.2019.”A perusal of the impugned order shows that once again a reference has been made, as in similar cases of delay by the State to the judgment of this Court in the case of Collector, Land Acquisition, Anantnag & Anr. Vs. Mst. Katiji & Ors., AIR 1987 SC 1353. A claim was also made that the petitioner should not suffer for the fault of the counsel”, noted the bench on Friday.”There is no warrant for according a stepmotherly treatment when the ‘State’ is the applicant praying for condonation of delay. In fact experi- ence shows that on account of an impersonal machinary (no one in charge of the matter is directly hit or hurt by the judgment sought to be subjected to appeal) and the inherited bureaucratic methodology imbued with the note-making, file pushing, and passing-on-the-buck ethos, delay on its part is less difficult to understand though more difficult to approve. In any event, the State which represents the collective cause of the community, does not deserve a litigant-non-grata status”, the top court had observed in the aforesaid judgment of 1987.On Friday, the bench opined that it has dealt with the issue of Government authorities in approaching Courts belatedly “as if the Statute of Limitation does not exist for them”. The bench commented that while referring to some reasons given for insufficiencies, the parties cannot keep on relying on judicial pronouncements for a period of time when technology had not advanced and a greater leeway was given to the Government. “This situation no more prevail and this position had been elucidated by the judgment of this Court in Office of the Chief Post Master General & Ors. vs. Living Media India Ltd. & Anr. (2012) 3 SCC 563”, said the bench.The bench reiterated that these aspects have been analysed by it recently in a judgment of October 15, where the bench defined “certificate cases” the objective of which is only to put a quietus to the issue by recording that nothing could be done because the highest Court had dismissed the appeal. “We have repeatedly deprecated such practice and process. The irony is that despite observations, no action was ever taken against officers who sit on the file and do nothing…We have repeatedly deprecated such attempts of the State Governments to approach this Court only to complete a mere formality”, observed the bench.The bench was of the view that the matter was further aggravated in the present case and even the present petition is filed with a delay of 462 days and once again the excuse is of change of counsel- “Learned counsel for the petitioner strenuously contends that there is valuable land involved. In our view, if it was so, then the concerned officers responsible for the manner in defending this petition must be made to pay for it”Click Here To Download Order[Read Order]Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img

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