'Certificate Cases That Cost Public Money': SC Raps Govt Officials for Filing Appeals Against Earlier Orders

Utkarsh Anand

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has criticized the attitude of government officials to file appeals in cases as a sham to get "certificates of dismissal".

Pointing out that these pretenses cost public money, the top court reproached such practices, saying a deterrent is a must for such cavalier approach.

“We may note that in many earlier proceedings we have categorized such cases as ‘certificate cases’ where the only purpose is to approach this court to get a certificate of dismissal of the appeal/petition and such endeavours must be discouraged,” held a bench headed by Justice Sanjay K Kaul.

The bench was adjudicating an appeal filed by a district collector and some officials from the highways and rural department of the Tamil Nadu government against the high court judgment in July 2017.

The appeal was filed after a delay of 333 days and when questioned, the usual arguments pertaining to red-tape and procedural issues in the legal department were raised.

“The only explanation given for delay in filing are the usual pedantic pleas of there being problems in the legal department in obtaining approval and that has been characterised as ‘some delay...we have repeatedly emphasized that such pleas are not admissible,” the bench told the Additional Advocate General of the state.

It also noted that apart from the first delay of 333 days, there was a further delay of 438 days in refiling the special leave petition in a proper manner.

“This shows the cavalier manner in which the appeals/petitions are filed and prosecuted,” maintained the bench, adding the case records demonstrated how the government department could not get its witnesses take the stand in their favour.

The apex court then cautioned against filing appeals with inordinate delays and without substantial grounds just for the heck of getting certificates of dismissal and offering tokenism.

“We are, thus, of the view that this is not a fit case for condonation of delay and we would have imposed cost but for the prevailing situation. The special leave petition is dismissed accordingly on the ground of delay,” ordered the bench.

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