SC takes note of unexplained delay in filing plea against HC order, imposes cost on Guj Govt

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New Delhi, Jul 7 (PTI) The Supreme Court has expressed displeasure over the delayed manner in which the Gujarat government challenged a decision of the high court in a matter related to grant of compassionate pension to a police constable who was compulsorily retired after a disciplinary enquiry and dismissed its petition with a cost of Rs 25,000.

The apex court, which was anguished that the state government filed the appeal with a “gross and unexplained delay', also said the circumstance in which direction for compassionate pension was issued was that one child of the man was mentally challenged and another polio affected. In February 2017, a single judge of the high court had directed the authority to grant compassionate pension to the man with effect from March 21, 2002 and pay arrears within a period of one month from the date of receipt of the order.

The division bench of the high court had refused to interfere with the single judge order.

Disapproving the manner in which the appeal was filed, the apex court noted in its order that there was a delay of 856 days in filing the special leave petition against the high court order by the deputy commissioner of police, traffic branch, Ahmedabad and the home department of the state of Gujarat.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said the circumstance in which direction for compassionate pension was issued under Rules 78 and 79 of the Gujarat Civil Services (Pension) Rules 2002, was that one child of the man was mentally challenged and another polio affected.

“Despite these facts bearing on the hardship involved in the matter, the State chose to litigate the matter with a delay of 200 days before the division bench and is now before us in a Special Leave Petition under Article 136 of the Constitution with a delay of 856 days,” the bench said in its July 5 order, adding, “We decline to condone the delay.” “We are of the view that such litigation adds to expenses, costs and delay and ultimately, postpones the date on which the benefit of a judgment which accrues to the private citizen can be granted,” it said.

“We accordingly disapprove of the manner in which the state of Gujarat has moved this court with a gross and unexplained delay and dismiss the special leave petition on the ground of delay with costs. The petitioners shall deposit costs of Rs 25,000 with the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee within four weeks,” the apex court said.

After the February 2017 single judge decision, the authority had moved the division bench which had in July 2018 rejected the application seeking condonation of delay of 200 days in preferring the letters patent appeal. PTI ABA MNL SJK ABA RKS RKS RKS

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