Libertatem Magazine

Reasonable and Acceptable explanation are necessary for Condonation of Delay: Supreme Court

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In an important case between Delhi University vs. Union of India & Ors. Court clearly stated that only reasonable and acceptable explanation can be entertained in the appeal of condonation of delay and not the unreasonable or routine explanation

Facts of the case

The case came into limelight after the appeal for condonation of delay of 916 days as well as the letter of patent appeal was declined by the Delhi High Court. The case was regarding allotment of land which was held in the zone ‘C’ of the Delhi University and was given to a private Builder to make multi-story building on it without any height restriction by DDA, on which the Delhi University had objections which were raised in its writ petition.

  1. The land was held with the Delhi metro project for building metro station but DDA has allotted the land  to the private builders which violate the law and it is against the public policy
  2. Another contention that was placed by the university was that it creates a hindrance to the archaeological and historical characteristics of the University as well as Women safety as there are many women hostel present on the campus.
  3. The high raised commercial building under the Delhi master plan 2021 was prohibited near Delhi University control area but then also land was allotted.

In this case, the Delhi University delayed in filing the writ against the order of DDA (Delhi Development Board) passed on 12/5/2011 which was rejected by the learned single Judge of High Court against which letter of the patent was filed in the Delhi High Court and which latterly got rejected.  After which appeal was filed to the Supreme Court in which the appellant justified its delay in filing the writ in the High Court as well as why his letter of patent appeal should have been accepted by the court. 

Reasons for delay of Writ

The reasons that were put forward by appellant for the delay of the writ filing were that vice- Chancellor Post was empty from 28/10/15 to 10/03/2016 due to which the writ was not able to be filed at right time another reason that was filed was delay in various reports no other strong reasons were presented in front of the court. Therefore, these reasons were not accepted by the Court and nor the Letter of Patent appeal as the judge has delivered the right decision the writ was delayed and had laches which cannot be accepted.

Decision of the Supreme Court

The bench comprising of Justice R. Banumathi, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy was of the opinion that there is need to take a liberal approach towards the matter of condonation of delay but the rights of the opposite party must also be kept in mind as it has an adverse effect on them. Therefore the condonation of delay is not automatic. Court also explained that everyday delay should not be explained but explanation must be reasonable and acceptable than only it will be held valid. Therefore the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the High Court and the reasons given by the appellant for the delay is not valid.

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