Other States

Supreme Court imposes fine on ‘lethargic’ Bihar government officials

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi  


The Bihar government has been directed to collect a fine of ₹20,000 from the pockets of its officers for the 728-day delay in filing an appeal in the apex court.

The Supreme Court ordered the Bihar government to collect a fine of ₹20,000 from the pockets of its officers whose “lethargy” led to a 728-day delay in the filing of an appeal in the apex court.

A Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indira Banerjee said State governments should not feel that they can approach courts at will and the judiciary is obliged to take up the case of the State.

“We are of the view that a clear signal has to be sent to the government authorities that they cannot approach the court as and when they please, on account of gross incompetence of their officers and that too without taking any action against the officers concerned... No detail of the delay of 728 days have been given as if there is an inherent right to seek condonation of delay by State government,” the Supreme Court observed in its order.

The Bihar government said it had taken time to get the sanctions from various departments, receive the affidavit and vakalatnama from the department concerned, and hence the delay in approaching the apex court.

But the court said “condonation of delay is no more admissible on the pretext of government working lethargy”.

“We strongly deprecate the casual manner,” the apex court said.

Noting that the Bihar government should collect the fine from the officers responsible and deposit the amount with the Supreme Court Mediation Centre, the court said it was punishment for “wastage of judicial time”.

“The petitioners must pay,” the court ordered.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 7:54:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/supreme-court-imposes-fine-on-lethargic-bihar-government-officials/article27139367.ece

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