SC imposes cost of Rs 25,000 on NCB for delay in filing petition challenging a bail order

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New Delhi, Oct 30 (PTI) The Supreme Court has slapped a cost of Rs 25,000 on the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for delay in filing a petition challenging a bail order, saying several such cases are coming from different government agencies which show 'complete inefficiency' in the administration of their legal departments.

A bench of Justices S K Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy said the cost be recovered from the officers responsible for the delay of 254 days in filing the special leave petition against the Orissa High Court order of April last year.

'This is not the only case but many cases are coming before this court from different government agencies after inordinate delays showing complete inefficiency in administration of their legal departments. That the same should happen to the legal department of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) reflects an even sadder situation,” the bench said.

The apex court referred to the application filed for condonation of delay in the matter and noted that proposal to file the petition was submitted on May 2 last year and it was forwarded from the office of deputy legal advisor, NCB headquarters, to the Ministry of Law and Justice on July 23, 2019.

“We have no doubt that officers have been grossly negligent in conduct of the legal affairs of the department,” it said, while referring to time taken by the officers concerned in the process.

The bench noted that recently, it had dealt with a similar approach of government agencies in another case and observed that these 'pedantic excuses' are no more admissible in view of the technology which is now assisting even the government agencies.

'We are thus, inclined to impose cost on the petitioner/Narcotics Control Bureau of Rs 25,000 to be deposited with the mediation and conciliation project committee within a period of four weeks,” it said.

“The amount be recovered from the officer/officers responsible for the delay in filing the special leave petition and a certificate of recovery of the said amount will also be filed in this court within the said period of time. Notice returnable in three weeks subject to the aforesaid,” it said.

In its plea before the apex court, the NCB has challenged the high court order granting bail to the accused in a case lodged under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. PTI ABA MNL SJK SMN