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A petition can be dismissed on the ground of unexplained delay and laches: High Court of Patna

While exercising its jurisdiction under Article 226, the Court is duty-bound to consider whether adjudication of writ petition involves any complex and disputed questions of facts and whether they can be satisfactorily resolved. If the petition reveals all material facts and the petitioner has any alternative or effective remedy for the resolution of the dispute. The person invoking the jurisdiction is guilty of unexplained delay and laches or ex facie barred by any laws of limitation and the same was upheld by High Court of Patna through the learned bench led by JUSTICE P. B. BAJANTHRI in the case of Shyam Nandan Roy vs. Union of India [Case No.5708 of 2021] on 07.03.2022.

The facts of the case are that the Petitioners were ex-employees of the Hindustan Urvarak and Rasayan Limited. The aforesaid corporation was closed and because of it, the employees were settled with certain compensation. Thereafter, Government of India has taken a decision to accommodate ex-employee of the aforesaid Corporation in some other organization of Government of India. The petitioners and others filed a petition and it was decided in favour of the petitioners only to the extent of examining the petitioners’ claim. Due to non-compliance the petitioners preferred contempt petition. Thereafter, the petitioners have slept over the matter till presenting of the present petition.

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that cause of action still subsists in view of various correspondence by the Government. It is to be noted that the petitioners have slept over the matter till the date of presentation of this petition. Assuming that there were certain correspondence among the respondents that does not cure the delay and laches from the year 2011 to 2021. Having regard to the fact that the petitioners have slept over the matter. Moreover, except petitioner no. 2 rest of them have already crossed age of sixty years.

In light of the facts and circumstances of the case, Court held that the present petition stands to be dismissed on the ground of delay and laches. The Court observed that “while exercising its jurisdiction under Article 226 is duty-bound to consider whether adjudication of writ petition involves any complex and disputed questions of facts and whether they can be satisfactorily resolved. If the petition reveals all material facts and the petitioner has any alternative or effective remedy for the resolution of the dispute. The person invoking the jurisdiction is guilty of unexplained delay and laches or ex facie barred by any laws of limitation. If the grant of relief is against public policy or barred by any valid law and host of other factors”.

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Judgment reviewed by – Shristi Suman

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