“What greater certificate of incompetence would there be for the legal Department!”; SC on State of MP “again and again” filing appeals after inordinate delay

Supreme Court: The State of Madhya Pradesh yet again irked the Court by filing a Special Leave Petition after a delay of 588 days, prompting the bench of SK Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ to say,

“The State of Madhya Pradesh continues to do the same thing again and again and the conduct seems to be incorrigible!”

Earlier, on October 15, 2020, in case of an inordinate delay of 663 days by the State of Madhya Pradesh in filing a Special Leave Petition, the bench of SK Kaul and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ had said,

“it appears that all our counseling to Government and Government authorities have fallen on deaf ears i.e., the Supreme Court of India cannot be a place for the  Governments to walk in when they choose ignoring the period of limitation prescribed.”

In the present case, the Court was told  that on 05.01.2019, the Government advocate was approached in respect of the judgment delivered on 13.11.2018 and the Law Department permitted filing of the SLP against the impugned order on 26.5.2020. Surprised at the fact that the Law Department took almost about 17 months’ time to decide whether the SLP had to be filed or not, the Court said,

“What greater certificate of incompetence would there be for the legal Department!”

The Court, hence, directed the Chief Secretary of the State of Madhya Pradesh to look into the aspect of revamping the legal Department as “it appears that the Department is unable to file appeals within any reasonable period of time much less within limitation.”

Looking to the period of delay and the casual manner in which the application has been worded, the wastage of judicial time involved, the Court imposed a cost of of Rs.35,000/- to be deposited with the Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee within four weeks. The amount be recovered from the officer(s) responsible for the delay in filing and sitting on the files and certificate of recovery of the said amount be also filed in this Court within the said period of time.

Deputy Advocate General has also been cautioned that for any successive matters of this kind the cost will keep on going up. The cost imposed in the October 15, 2020 order was Rs. 25, 000.

The Court concluded by stating that if the present order is not complied with, the Court will be constrained to initiate contempt proceedings against the Chief Secretary.

[State of Madhya Pradesh v. Chaitram Maywde, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 875, Order dated 27.10.2020]


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Supreme Court of India cannot be a place for the Governments to walk in when they choose ignoring the period of limitation prescribed

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