Recently, the Allahabad High Court observed that rule of delay and laches creates certainty in legal relations while avoiding fruitless litigation to ensure that justice administration is not clogged by pointless litigation.
This observation was made by Hon’ble Justice Ajay Bhanot when he dismissed a writ which was filed after a delay of four years. He further observed that the rule of delay and laches barred the writ, and the party could not provide any satisfactory explanation for the delay.
The petitioners, who were third parties, had challenged the order dated 09.09.2016 and claimed inheritance from a person (Ram Avtar) who allegedly executed a will in their favour.
Court’s observations on Rule of Delay:-
As per the Bench, Courts have consistently refused to condone the delay and denied relief to parties who were guilty of laches. Litigants who are not vigilant about their rights are discouraged by courts.
The Court referred to a short story written by Washington Irvin wherein a person awakes after twenty years only to find out that he had missed the American revolution. In this context, the Court observed that Rip Van Winkles might have a place in literature but not in law.
While considering elements of the administration of justice and public policy, Hon’ble Court observed that indolent litigants revel in inactivity. Still, the cycle of life moves on, and if courts entertain inordinate delays, then affairs of institutions and individuals will be in disarray.
According to the Court, inordinate delays that are entrenched upon third party rights can’t be dislodged by events that obscure the original claim.