Delay of 1730 Days in Filing Review Shows manifestation of callousness on the part of the State Government: Allahabad HC

Recently, the Allahabad High Court at Lucknow has dismissed a highly belated review petition filed by the State Government.

The State of UP filed a review petition seeking review of the judgment and order dated 19.04.2016 passed by the Court in Writ Petition No.1701 (S/B) of 2000 whereby the writ petition was dismissed. There was a delay of about 1730 days in filing the review petition from the date of judgment under review.

Before filing review, the State Government filed a SLP before the Supreme Court, which was also dismissed on the ground of delay of 252 days. 

Later on after 1355 days the State Government filed a review petition before the Allahabad HC at Lucknow.

The Judgment of which review was sought, related to grant of parity of pay scale to employees.

Sri Raghvendra Singh, Advocate General, appearing for the State argued that delay is genuine, bona fide, and unintentional. He has further submitted that review petition could not be filed as it took time in completing the administrative formalities by following certain norms and procedure of disciplined and systematic performance of official functions, including preparation of office notes etc., scrutinizing various records, movement of files step by step through different sections and lastly referring the matter to the Head of the Department.

A Division Bench of Hon’ble Justice DK Upadhyaya and Hon’ble Justice Manish Kumar observed:

The reasons as argued by the learned Advocate General rather are, in fact, manifestation of callousness and non-seriousness on the part of the officials and officers of the State Government. The application seeking condonation of delay reflects proverbial bureaucratic red tapism wherein the review applicants-State has attempted to take shelter in the usual functioning of the administrative machinery.

The Court referred to the Judgment of Apex Court in the case of Special Leave Petition (Civil) Diary No(s). 19846/2020, Union of India vs. Central Tibetan Schools Admin & Ors.,  where the Supreme Court dismissed an SLP filed with a delay of 532 days from the date of rejection of restoration application and 6616 days from the date of original order.

Further the court referred to the Judgment of Office of the Chief Post Master General & Ors. vs. Living Media India Ltd. & Anr., reported in [(2012) 3 SCC 563], wherein the Supreme Court noticed the advancement in modern technology and observed that the claim of seeking condonation of delay on account of impersonal machinery and inherited bureaucratic methodology of making several notes cannot be accepted in view of the modern technologies being used and available.

In view of the above the Court found that the delay in preferring the review was not satisfactorily explained and infact termed the same as gross negligence.

Before parting with the case, the Court expressed its solemn hope and trust that the State authorities shall in future be guided by the law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Living Media India Ltd. & Anr. (supra) and in the case of Central Tibetan Schools Admin & Ors. (supra).

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