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The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed an appeal from the Delhi University for condonation of a 916 day delay in filing an appeal against a 2015 order by a single judge bench upholding the allotment of an area of two hectares by the DMRC to a private builder for constructing a 34 story residential tower.

A two judge bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao has dismissed the appeal  saying “there is no need to accept the usual explanation that the file was kept pending for several months/years due to considerable degree of procedural red-tape in the process. The government departments are under a special obligation to ensure that they perform their duties with diligence and commitment.”

They added that “the applicant has to explain the court as to what was the “sufficient cause” which means an adequate and enough reason which prevented him to approach the court within limitation. In case a party is found to be negligent, or for want of bonafide on his part in the facts and circumstances of the case, or found to have not acted diligently or remained inactive, there cannot be a justified ground to condone the delay. No court could be justified in condoning such an inordinate delay by imposing any condition whatsoever”.

Though the original order upholding the sale was passed in April 2015, it was only early this year that DU went in appeal against the order.   Its counsel submitted before the court that the delay was due to the University not having a Vice Chancellor for nearly two years and a subsequent committee set up to look into the matter taking  an inordinately long time to peruse through nearly a 1000 pages of documents pertaining to the sale and the court verdict. “The explanation given by the University justifying this period does not inspire confidence” the court said while dismissing the appeal.

—India Legal Bureau

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