CASE LAW ON CONDONATION OF DELAY

In  Warlu vs. Gangotribai Anr. [(1995)  Supp. 1 SCC 37] a three-Judge Bench condoned delay of 11 years in filing the special leave petition.Following these Obove judgments, the Supreme  Court in the case of State of  Haryana v. Chandra Mani and Ors. AIR 1996 SC  1623 , has held as under:
It is notorious and common knowledge that delay in more than 60 per cent of the cases filed in this Court – be it by private party or the State – are barred by limitation and this Court generally adopts liberal approach in condonation of delay finding somewhat sufficient cause to decide the appeal on merits. It is equally common knowledge that litigants including the State are accorded the same treatment and the law is administered in an even-handed manner. When the State is an applicant, praying for condonation of delay, it is common knowledge that on account of impersonal machinery and the inherited bureaucratic methodology imbued with the note-making, file-pushing, and passing-on-the-buck ethos, delay on the part of the State is less difficult to understand though more difficult to approve, but the State represents collective cause of the community. It is axiomatic that decisions are taken by officers/agencies proverbially at slow pace and encumbered process of pushing the files from table to table and keeping it on table for considerable time causing delay intentional or otherwise – is a routine. Considerable delay of procedural red tape in the process of their making decision is a common feature. Therefore,certain amount of latitude is not impermissible. If the appeals brought by the State are lost for such default no person is individually affected but what in the ultimate analysis suffers, is public interest. The expression “sufficient cause” should, therefore, be considered with pragmatism in justice-oriented approach rather than the technical detection of sufficient cause for explaining every day’s delay. The factors which are peculiar to and characteristic of the functioning of the Governmental conditions would be cognizant to and requires adoption of pragmatic approach in justice-oriented process.

The Court should decide the matters on merits unless the case is hopelessly without merit. No separate standards to determine the cause laid by the State vis-a-vis private litigant could be laid to prove strict standards of sufficient cause. The Government at appropriate level should constitute legal cells to examine the cases whether any legal principles are involved for decision by the cours or whether cases require adjustment and should authorise the officers take a decision or give appropriate permission for settlement.

READ  NOONE RAMESH vs STATE OF A.P

In the event of decision to file appeal needed prompt action should be pursued by the officer responsible to file the appeal and he should be made personally responsible for lapses, if any. Equally, the State cannot be put on the same footing as an individual. The individual would always be quick in taking the decision whether he would pursue the remedy by way of an appeal or application since he is a person legally injured while State is an impersonal machinery working through its officers or servants. Considered from this perspective, it must be held that the delay of 109 days in this case has been explained and that it is a fit case for condonation of the delay. On the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the opinion that it is a fit case for condoning the delay. The delay is accordingly condoned. The High Court is requested to dispose of the appeal as expeditiously as possible.

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA.

WARLU Vs. GANGOTRIBAI [1993] RD-SC 95 (23 February 1993)

CORUM: VERMA, JAGDISH SARAN (J) VERMA, JAGDISH SARAN (J) JEEVAN REDDY, B.P. (J) VENKATACHALA N. (J)

CITATION: 1994 AIR 466 1995 SCC Supl. (1) 37

ACT:

HEADNOTE:

ORDER 1. The appellant, Warlu, made an application before Addl. Tahsildar, Hinganghat, District Wardha in State of Maharashtra for a declaration that he 38 was a tenant of Survey Nos. 7, 8 and 9 of Village Anatargaon. That application was registered as Revenue Case No. 12. Appellant, Warlu, claimed to be a tenant by virtue of a lease granted in his favour by Subhadra and Ahilya, daughters of Mahadeorao through his second wife Parvatibai.

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On the other hand, Gangotribai, the first wife of Mahadeorao filed an application registered as Revenue Case No. 1 before the Addl. Tahsildar for a declaration that Warlu and Keshao were not tenants, the right which they claimed in Revenue Case No. 12. In addition to these two revenue cases, there were two other cases registered as Revenue Case Nos. 2 and 4 which arose out of references made by the civil court for deciding the claim of Laxman, Tulshiram and Bani who claimed to be tenants of the same lands through Gangotribai. These applications were heard and decided by a common order made by the Addl. Tahsildar who accepted Warlu’s claim of being the tenant of these lands. Against the common order, made by the Addl. Tahsildar, appeals were filed to the Special Deputy Collector (Land Reforms), Wardha. In appeal, it was held that the owner was Gangotribai and not Subhadra and Ahilya and, therefore, the claim made by Warlu as tenant of these lands was rejected; and the two references made by the civil court were remanded to the Addl. Tahsildar for inquiry and fresh decision in accordance with law.

Thereafter, three revisions arising out of these revenue cases were filed before the Revenue Tribunal by Warlu.

These revisions were dismissed.

2. The appellant, Warlu, then filed three Writ Petition Nos. 677, 679 and 760 of 1974 against the common order made by the Land Revenue Tribunal rejecting the three revisions.

The High Court by a common order dated 20-8-1980 passed in these writ petitions has rejected all the writ petitions.

3. The said Warlu has filed Civil Appeal No. 244 of 1982 by special leave against the High Court’s order only insofar as it relates to dismissal of Writ Petition No. 677 of 1974.

READ  VIKAS & ORS. Vs. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA

Against the common order of the High Court dismissing Writ Petition Nos. 679 and 760 of 1974, Warlu has filed special leave petitions which are barred by 4125 days i.e. by more than 11 years.

4. The first question is whether there is any ground to condone the delay in filing the special leave petitions by which the High Court’s common order dated 20-8-1980 rejecting Writ Petition Nos. 679 of 1974 and 760 of 1974 has been challenged.

5. We do not find any cogent ground given in the application for condonation of delay which in law can constitute sufficient cause to explain the inordinate delay in filing of the special leave petitions. The applications for condonation of delay (I.A. Nos. 1 and 2 of 1992) in filing the special leave petitions are, therefore, dismissed resulting in the dismissal of the special leave petitions as time barred.

6. The question now is of the effect of the dismissal of the special leave petitions on the tenability of Civil Appeal No. 244 of 1982. The facts stated above giving rise to this Civil Appeal clearly indicate that after dismissal of the special leave petitions resulting in finality of the common order dated 20-8-1980 relating to dismissal of Writ Petition Nos. 679 and 760 of 1974, correctness of that order relating to dismissal of the Writ Petition No. 677 of 1974 cannot be examined for the obvious reason that interference in this appeal is bound to result in the making of conflicting orders regarding tenancy rights in the same 39 lands. This alone is sufficient to require dismissal of Civil Appeal No. 244 of 1982.

7. Consequently, the above SLPs as well as Civil Appeal No. 244 of 1982 are dismissed. No one appears for the other side. No costs.

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