SC: Condonation cannot be merely because the applicant is a public body

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 17th December 2019, in the matter of University of Delhi v. Union of India & Ors. pronounced that in the matter of condonation of delay and laches, the accrued right of the opposite party cannot be lightly dealt with. The consideration to condone can be made only if there is reasonable explanation. Condonation cannot be merely because the applicant is a public body.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

By and large, a liberal approach is to be taken in the matter of condonation of delay. The consideration for condonation of delay would not depend on the status of the party namely the Government or the public bodies so as to apply a different yardstick but the ultimate consideration should be to render even­ handed justice to the parties. (Para 20)

The condonation of long delay should not be automatic since the accrued right or the adverse consequence to the opposite party is also to be kept in perspective. (Para 20)

While considering condonation of delay, the routine explanation would not be enough but it should be in the nature of indicating “sufficient cause” to justify the delay which will depend on the backdrop of each case and will have to be weighed carefully by the Courts based on the fact situation. (Para 20)

The consideration to condone can be made only if there is reasonable explanation and the condonation cannot be merely because the applicant is a public body. (Para 21)

In the matter of condonation of delay and laches, the accrued right of the opposite party cannot be lightly dealt with. (Para 28)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_17-Dec-2019

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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