Expressing concern over the delay in filing appeals by government departments, the Supreme Court has asked them to perform their duties with diligence and commitment, saying such delays are not acceptable.
A Division Bench comprising Justice A K Sikri and Justice K S Radhakrishnan on Tuesday said the government could not blame it on the bureaucratic methodology of making several notes, as there was an option of using modern technologies. “The law of limitation undoubtedly binds everybody, including the government,” it said.
The court’s observation came while disposing of a petition filed by the Uttar Pradesh government, seeking condonation of delay of 481 days in a case. The govenment attributed the delay to moving files from one department to the other.
“We hardly find this to be a sufficient explanation for condoning such an abnormal delay. In our view, it is the right time to inform all the government bodies and their agencies that unless they have reasonable explanation for the delay and there was bona fide effort, there is no need to seek condonation. We can’t accept the explanation that the file was kept pending for process,” the Bench said while dismissing UP government’s appeal. Directing the government departments to perform their duties with diligence and commitment, the Bench said condonation of delay was an exception and should not be used as an anticipated benefit.
Pulling up the government for its lackadaisical approach in filing the appeals, the court pointed out that the government was well-aware of the issues involved, including the prescribed period of limitation for taking up the matter by way of filing a Special Leave Petition in the court.
“They cannot claim that they have a separate period of limitation when a government department has competent persons familiar with court proceedings. In the absence of plausible and acceptable explanation, we are posing a question why the delay is to be condoned merely because the government or a wing of the government is a party before us,” the Bench said.