The Supreme Court while dismissing the Special Leave Petition filed by the State of Uttar Pradesh with a delay of 1006 days remarked that it appears that the cautions extended from time to time are falling on deaf ear.
“If the petitioners feel that the period of limitation prescribed by the Legislature is not sufficient, given their inefficiencies and incompetence, then it is for them to persuade the Legislature to change the Law of Limitation so far as applicable to the Government is concerned. Till the Law remains, it must be applied as it stands.” the bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said while imposing costs of Rs.15,000 on the Government.
The Government had challenged a labour court award passed in the year 2009, which was upheld by the Allahabad High Court in 2017. Thereafter, SLP was filed after a delay of 1006 days and a refilling delay of 235 days.
At the outset, the court observed;
“We have set out the aforesaid facts to show the callous manner in which these proceedings have gone on. The fact that the matter should have gone on for two decades before the Tribunal in case of a labour dispute is itself a travesty of justice. That the petitioner takes its own time to assail the same before the High Court is the next stage and finally it has taken them almost three years to get this petition before the Supreme Court.”
The reasons stated in the application for condonation of delay is a usual one showing the file moving from one place to the other court noted. Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed,
“There is complete non- reference to the judgment in the case of Office of the Chief Post Master General & Ors. v. Living Media India Ltd. & Anr. (2012) 3 SCC 563. It is the latter judgment which sets out the position after technology has come to the aid of the Governments. We have had opportunity to deal with such matters and have extended cautions to the State Governments not to come to this Court only to obtain the certificate of dismissal what we have called as “certificate cases”, so as to put a quietus to the matter and absolve he officers of the responsibility of not having performed their duties. A detailed discussion in this behalf is in SLP [C] Diary No.9217/2020- State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors. v. Bherulaldecided on 15.10.2020. We have again referred to this position in Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai & Ors. v. Uday N. Murudkar in SLP [C] Diary No.9228/2020 decided on 15.10.2020. It appears that the cautions extended from time to time are falling on deaf ear. If the petitioners feel that the period of limitation prescribed by the Legislature is not sufficient, given their inefficiencies and incompetence, then it is for them to persuade the Legislature to change the Law of Limitation so far as applicable to the Government is concerned. Till the Law remains, it must be applied as it stands.”
The bench, therefore, proceeded to impose costs on the state for having wasted judicial time. The state should recover the costs from the officers responsible for the delay, the bench added.
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul led bench in another recent order directed the Chief Secretary of the State of Madhya Pradesh to look into the aspect of revamping the legal Department. The court said, it appears that the Department is unable to file appeals within any reasonable period of time much less within limitation.
CASE: STATE OF UP VS. PREM CHANDRA [SLP(C) Diary No(s). 971/2020]
CORAM: Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy