NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over the way suits and appeals related to land disputes are dealt with and take long years to decide, the Supreme Court has stressed on the need for a proper case management system to ensure timely delivery of justice.
“For ease of doing business in so far as justice delivery is concerned, it is time to introspect and introduce case management programmes to streamline the system so that suits and appeals can be decided more efficiently. The present appeal exemplifies the need for a case management system,” a bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said while hearing an appeal on a lawsuit filed in 1987.
In the case, the buyer had filed the suit contending that the sellers failed to obtain a NOC from the appropriate authority, as well as several permissions and clearances. During the trial, the sellers transferred the land in dispute to third parties.
The trial court had ruled against the buyer, noting that he had failed to deposit the balance consideration amount. It said this showed that he was not willing to fulfil his part of the agreement.
But the High Court had set aside the trial court’s verdict, saying that it was the sellers who were not willing to execute the sale deed.
The bench lamented the long delay in settling the dispute. “A disturbing feature of the appeal is that even about 31 years later, the parties are not quite sure about the fate of the agreement to sell entered into in 1986. The period is extremely long and such a lapse of time for the enforcement (or, otherwise) of a contract is good reason to rethink the procedures,” it said. The apex court, then, set aside the High Court’s verdict.