The Supreme Court last week, pulled up the Madhya Pradesh Government for filing an appeal before it after a delay of 663 days.
The Court dismissed this matter on grounds of limitation and went on to levy costs of Rs. 25,000 on the State for wasting judicial time.
The scathing order passed by a Bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari reads,
“The Supreme Court cannot be a place for the Governments to walk in when they choose disregarding the period of limitation prescribed. We have raised the issue that if the Government is so unproductive and incapable of filing appeals/petitions in time, the resolution may lie in requesting the Legislature to increase the time period for filing limitation for Government authorities because of their gross incompetence. But, until the Statute exists, the appeals/petitions need to be filed as per the Statues set.”
The message directed by the Court was, however, not limited to the MP government, but was for all government counsel.
In the present case, the cause of delay cited by the Madhya Pradesh government was “unavailability of the documents and the process of arranging for documents”. The “involuntary delay” had also been passed off as a result of “bureaucratic process works”, the Court records.
The Court propounded that a larger message must be sent out to counter the inconsiderate manner in which government appeals are filed.
The Court said, that the costs of Rs. 25,000 must be recovered from the concerned officials whose inaction caused the delay in filing the Special Leave Petition. A Recovery Certificate of the above mentioned amount is to be filed before the Court within four weeks.
The Court also stated that a failure to deposit the costs would lead to commencement of contempt proceedings against the Chief Secretary of the State.