Any Leeway In Govt Cases Cannot Be Interpreted As Permission To Break Law: Himachal Pradesh HC

Himachal Pradesh HC

The Himachal Pradesh High Court recently stated that while some leeway is permissible in the case of the government, it should not be interpreted as an absolute permission to break the law.

A single bench of Justice Satyen Vaidya was hearing the matter.

The application was filed alongside an appeal in terms of which the Government had assailed an award passed by a Reference court.

As the appeal had to be reviewed by several authorities, the State blamed the delay on the time needed to receive the certified copy of the award and other statutory formalities.

Judge Satyen Vaidya said after carefully reviewing the record that there is absolutely no justification at all for the State’s failure to file the appeal as soon as it acquired the certified copies.

Observing that the Court can only grant a stay of proceedings for a delay in filing an appeal if it is satisfied that the delay was caused by sufficient and genuine reasons, the bench pointed out that in the facts of the case, the applicants failed to show any cause, let alone sufficient cause, for not filing the appeal within the prescribed period of limitation.

“After receiving a certified copy of the award, the applicants took about six months to prepare and vet the appeals. It cannot be assumed that the applicants, who are represented by legal counsel at all stages, were unaware of the time limit for filing appeals “, the bench noted.

Highlighting the rigours of the Limitation Act, which apply equally to all parties, including the government, Justice Vaidya observed that the sufficiency of a cause for delay can be assessed based on the facts and circumstances of each individual case.

The applicants were unable to provide any explanation for the delay in filing the appeal, particularly after obtaining a certified copy of the award, and the court strongly condemned the government officials’ excessive laxity.

The bench reached the conclusion that the applications had no merit and were therefore dismissed.

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