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SC frowns at inordinate delay by govt authorities in filing appeals

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has deprecated the inordinate delays by government authorities in filing appeals before it, and said they must pay for wastage of judicial time and such costs can be recovered from officers responsible.

A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul said the apex court cannot be a place for the governments to walk in when they choose ignoring the period of limitation prescribed in the statute.

We have raised the issue that if the government machinery is so inefficient and incapable of filing appeals/petitions in time, the solution may lie in requesting the Legislature to expand the time period for filing limitation for government authorities because of their gross incompetence. That is not so, said the bench, also comprising Justice Dinesh Maheshwari.

Till the statute subsists, the appeals/petitions have to be filed as per the statues prescribed, the bench said in its order while dealing with an appeal filed by Madhya Pradesh after a delay of 663 days.

The top court noted the explanation given in the application for condonation of delay which stated that it was due to unavailability of documents and process of arranging them and also that in bureaucratic process works, it is inadvertent that delay occurs .

We are constrained to pen down a detailed order as it appears that all our counselling to government and government authorities have fallen on deaf ears i.e., the Supreme Court of India cannot be a place for the governments to walk in when they choose ignoring the period of limitation prescribed, it said.

The bench said a preposterous proposition is sought to be propounded that if there is some merit in the case, the period of delay is to be given a go-by.

If a case is good on merits, it will succeed in any case. It is really a bar of limitation which can even shut out good cases. This does not, of course, take away the jurisdiction of the court in an appropriate case to condone the delay, it


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