Bombay High Court berates Central government for repeated adjournments in 2016 case

The government is not only the largest litigator and but also one which frequently seeks needless adjournments, the Court stated.
Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court recently expressed its displeasure at repeated adjournments sought by the Central government in a case pending before it since 2016 [Ramkali Dayakisan Gupta & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.].

A division bench of Justices GS Patel and Kamal Khata took a dim view of the stand taken by the Central government that pending cases cause impediment in "ease of doing business".

Such an assertion conveniently overlooks the fact that the government is not only the largest litigator and but also one which frequently seeks needless adjournments, the Court stated.

"We are equally mindful, and we are constrained to say this, that we are no strangers to repeated assertions from the Union Government itself regarding pendency of cases, mounting arrears, frequent adjournments and impediments allegedly caused by our Courts to what the Government calls 'the ease of doing business'. Conveniently overlooked in all these assertions is the fact that it is the Government that is by far the largest litigant, and it is the Government that most often seeks adjournments, frequently needlessly. This case is an example", the Court observed in its order passed on October 5.

It also said that the pleadings in the instant case had been completed in 2017 and the matter was ripe to be disposed of at admission stage.

"This is all the more reason not to accept any applications for long adjournments. Given this, we are entirely unable to appreciate, and indeed we express our strongest displeasure of these applications for repeated adjournments," the Court said in its 4-page order.

The Court was hearing a writ petition filed by the one Ramkali Gupta challenging the decision of the Air Force Station at Pune by which a No Objection Certificate was refused for the construction of a building on the ground that it fell within 100 metres of the Air Force boundary wall. 

The Court noted that the petition had been pending since 2016 for final disposal.

On October 5, the Central government sought adjournment on the ground that the Additional Solicitor General was occupied in another court.

The Court was displeased by this request as there were other lawyers from the panel of lawyers for the Central government other than the ASG who could appear in the matter.

"We do not expect the learned Additional Solicitor General to appear in every single one of the matters that involves the Union of India. Obviously, it is not unreasonable to expect that there will be perfectly competent advocates from his office who will be able to lighten his load and assist him in discharging the duties of his office. We see no reason why no one else is prepared to go on with this matter" the court remarked.

The Court, however, kept the matter for hearing on October 6.

On October 6, the ASG appeared and sought time to set out the boundaries for wall.

The matter will be heard next on October 23.

[Read order]

Ramkali Dayakisan Gupta & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors..pdf

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