It is an irony that despite the Supreme Court's repeated observations deprecating the practice of government authorities filing appeals before it belatedly to complete a mere formality, no action has ever been taken against officers who sit on file and do nothing.
In fact,the apex court, which has dismissed the plea filed by Deputy Conservator of Forests against the Bombay High Court's February last year order on grounds of delay and imposed a cost of Rs 15,000 on the petitioner for wastage of judicial time, observed that it has repeatedly deprecated such a practice followed by government officers.
'The irony is that despite observations, no action was ever taken against officers who sit on the file and do nothing ', a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul is on record having said.
The problem is further aggravated in the present case and even the present petition was filed with a delay of 462 days.And once again the excuse is of change of counsel." We have repeatedly deprecated such attempts of the state governments to approach this court only to complete a mere formality", said the bench, also comprising justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy.
The top court noted in its order that it has dealt with the issue of government authorities approaching courts belatedly as if the statute of limitation does not exist for them .
The special leave petition has been filed after a delay of 462 days. "This is one more case which we have categorized as a certificate cases' filed before this court to complete a mere formality and save the skin of officers who have been negligent in defending a litigation!" the apex court said.
The top court, while referring to a judgement passed by the SC in October this year, said it had defined the objective of certificate cases which is only to put a quietus to the issue by recording that nothing could be done because the highest court had dismissed the appeal.
We have repeatedly deprecated such practice and process", it said.