Supreme Court imposes Costs on Officers for 'Wasting Judicial Time' A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court (SC) comprising Justices S.K. Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari, and Hrishikesh Roy, in the case of State of UP & Ors. v. Sabha Narain & Ors. and Commissioner of Public Instruction & Ors. v. Shamshuddin, imposed heavy costs of Rs. 25,000 each on the States of Uttar Pradesh (UP)...
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Supreme Court imposes Costs on Officers for 'Wasting Judicial Time'
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court (SC) comprising Justices S.K. Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari, and Hrishikesh Roy, in the case of State of UP & Ors. v. Sabha Narain & Ors. and Commissioner of Public Instruction & Ors. v. Shamshuddin, imposed heavy costs of Rs. 25,000 each on the States of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Karnataka as the States were lethargic in approaching the SC
The Top Court imposed cost vide two different orders while it was hearing proceedings wherein Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) were preferred by the States of UP and Karnataka for requesting the Court to admit the SLPs and condone the delay.
The SC imposed costs of Rs. 25, 000 on both the States stating that these States caused wastage of judicial time. It further ordered that the said amount should be deposited within four weeks with the Supreme Court Employees Welfare Fund. It directed that the imposed cost was to be recovered from the officers responsible for causing an inordinate delay in filing the SLPs.
The bench was disappointed with both the States as the SLPs were filed "without any cogent or plausible ground for condonation of delay". The State of UP filed SLP after a delay of 502 days and the State of Karnataka filed SLP after a delay of 1288 days.
The bench observed, "We have repeatedly discouraged State Governments and public authorities in adopting an approach that they can walk into the Supreme Court as and when they please ignoring the period of limitation prescribed by the Statutes as if the Limitation statute does not apply to them."
Justice Kaul stated while considering the SLP filed by the State of UP, "The Law of limitation prevents even a good case for coming up. It is not as if you can come up after hundred or thousand days." Justice Kaul further added, "It is a question of justice which is a question mark here."
The Bench observed that the Court has categorized the cases that are filed after an inordinate delay as 'certificate cases'. It stated that such cases are being filed with the sole objective of completing a mere formality and 'to save the skin of the officers who may be in default in following the due process or may have done it deliberately.'
The Apex Court put reliance on the judgment passed in the case of Office of the Chief Post Master General & Ors. v. Living Media India Ltd. & Anr. (2012) 3 SCC 563, wherein the SC held that the government departments have a special obligation to ensure that they perform their duties with diligence and commitment.
The Top Court dismissed the SLP being time-barred and it further directed to place a copy of the orders to Chief Sectaries of both the States as a caution for them that any further non-adherence to the order of the SC would result in the initiation of proceedings against the Chief Secretaries.