Supreme Court won’t condone delayed condone application

Supreme Court won’t condone delayed condone application

Takes Odisha government to task for the inordinate delay while imposes a fine for its casual approach

The Supreme Court of India dismissed the Special Leave Petition filed by the State of Odisha on the ground that it was filed with the delay of 1954 days.

The Division Bench of the Supreme Court of India at New Delhi, comprising of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy dealt with this matter titled The State Of Odisha & Ors V Sunanda Mahakuda.

The bench did not go into the facts of the case and merely focused on the delay aspect. The Special Leave Petition arising out of the judgment from the Writ Appeal was filed with the delay of 1954 days. The bench noted that the Writ Appeal itself was preferred after a delay of 783 days and was found not to have been properly explained. This present Special Leave Petition was filed after the contempt proceedings were initiated on 13 May 2019 on dismissal of the said Writ Appeal.

The bench went through the Condonation Application and found that there was no reason much less sufficient and the cogent reason assigned to explain the delay and the application was preferred in a very casual manner. It was noticed by the bench that there was a number of orders of this State Government alone, which were repeated matters being filed beyond the period of limitation prescribed. It made the following remarks:

“We have been repeatedly discouraging such endeavours where the Governments seem to think that they can walk into the Supreme Court any time they feel without any reference to the period of limitation, as if the statutory Law of Limitation does not exist for them.”

The bench observed that the State Government had not even taken the trouble of citing any reason or excuse nor any dates were given in respect of the period for which condonation was sought. It remarked that the object of such cases appeared to be to obtain a certificate of dismissal from the Supreme Court to put a quietus to the issue and thus, say nothing could be done because the highest court had dismissed the appeal. It made the following observation regarding such issue:

“It is mere completion of formality to give a quietus to the litigation and save the skin of the officers who may be at fault by not taking action in prescribed time. If the state government feels that they have suffered losses, then it must fix responsibility on concerned officers for their inaction but that ironically never happens. These matters are preferred on a presumption as if this Court will condone the delay in every case, if the State Government is able to say something on merits.”

The Court, therefore, dismissed the Special Leave Petition as being time-barred and imposed a cost of ₹25,000 considering the period of delay and the casual manner in which the application was worded.

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