he Supreme Court Friday slapped costs of Rs.25,000/- on the Uttar Pradesh Government for filing an appeal after a delay of 502 days.
The amount, the court added, was to be recovered from officers responsible for the delay in filing the Special Leave Petition and a certificate of recovery of the amount filed in court within four weeks.
A bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul also castigated the State Government for its casually worded application seeking condonation of delay.
“Petitioner has approached this Court without any cogent or plausible ground for condonation of delay. In fact, other than the lethargy and incompetence of the petitioner, there is nothing which has been put on record”, the bench said.
The bench emphasized that it had repeatedly discouraged state governments and public authorities in adopting an approach that indicated the belief that they could walk into the Supreme Court as and when they pleased, ignoring the period of limitation prescribed by the statutes, as if the Limitation Act did not apply to them.
“The irony, emphasized by us repeatedly, is that no action is ever taken against the officers and if the court pushes it, some mild warning is all that happens”, the Supreme Court said, expressing its anguish.
The same bench on the same day also imposed costs of Rs.25,000/- on the Karnataka Government for a 1288-day delay in filing an appeal.
The court also referred to its earlier orders, imposing costs on the Madhya Pradesh Government for filing an appeal after a delay of 663 days.
It also pointed out that the object for filing an appeal after this inordinate delay appeared to be to obtain a certificate of dismissal from the Supreme Court to put a quietus to the issue and thus say that nothing could be done because the highest court had dismissed the appeal. It is to complete this formality and save the skin of the officers who may be at default that such a process had been followed, the court said.
Finally, the bench also directed that its order be placed before the Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary, warning that non-adherence of the court’s order within a timeline would result in appropriate proceedings being initiated against the Chief Secretary himself.