Monday, December 4, 2023

Supreme Court asks Centre to explain 437-day delay in appeal against Allahabad HC order

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to come up with an explanation for this inordinate delay in filing an appeal against such a sensitive matter

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The Supreme Court on Friday expressed its displeasure over an inordinate delay of 437 days in filing of an appeal by the Centre against an Allahabad High Court order which had granted bail to a businessman from whose registered electric godown, a banned chemical, Acetic Anhydride, was found used in manufacturing of heroin.

A three-judge bench of Justices N.V. Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose directed the Centre to come up with an explanation for this inordinate delay in filing an appeal against such a sensitive matter.

The Apex Court noted in its order

“taking into consideration the inordinate delay of 437 days in filing the special leave petition in a sensitive matter like the present one, we are not satisfied with the averments of the petitioner – Union of India in the application for condonation of delay, as they have not indicated in the application who is responsible for such an inordinate delay.”

“Unless and until the petitioner comes before us with some material indicating that appropriate action has been taken against the erring officers/officials, we are not inclined to condone the said delay or to entertain the instant special leave petition,” said the top court.

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The court has granted two weeks’ time to the centre to file an affidavit indicating what action they have taken against the erring officers/officials for filing the present SLP with such an inordinate delay.

Yesterday, another bench of the Supreme Court after getting infuriated had imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the Centre for filing an appeal after the delay of 532 days and 6616 days from the original order.

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The Court had noted in its order that,

“We have heard learned Additional Solicitor General for some time and must note that the only error which seems to have occurred in the impugned order is of noticing that it is not an illiterate litigant because the manner in which the Government is prosecuting its appeal reflects nothing better! The mighty Government of India is manned with large legal departments having numerous officers and Advocates. The excuse given for the delay is, to say the least, preposterous.”

Read the order here;


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