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The Special Tehsildar, Land Acquistion, Kerala Vs. K.V. Ayisumma [1996] INSC 844 (23 July 1996)

Ramaswamy, K.Ramaswamy, K.G.B. Pattanaik (J)

CITATION: JT 1996 (7) 204 1996 SCALE (5)548

ACT:

HEAD NOTE:

O R D E R

This appeal by special leave arise from the order of the High Court of Kerala dated July 27, 1992 made in CRP No.695/92. The admitted facts are that in an acquisition of the land for public purpose, the reference Court by its award and decree dated March 31, 1989 had enhanced the compensation. The appellant had filed an application on July 29, 1991 lo review the award and decree. There was a delay in filing the application The learned subordinate judge had condoned the delay. Against the said order of condoning The delay the respondent has gone in revision to the High Court.

The High Court in the impugned order Set aside the order of the Subordinate Judge. Thus this appeal by special leave.

It is now settled taw that when the delay was occasioned at the behest of the Government, it would be very difficult to explain the day today delay. The transaction of the business of the Government being done leisurely by officers who had no or evince no personal interest at different levels. No one takes personal responsibility in processing the matters expeditiously. As a fact at several stages they take their own time to reach a decision. Even in spite of pointing at the delay, they do not take expeditious action for ultimate decision in filing the appeal. This case is one of such instances. It is true that Section 5 of the Limitation Act envisages explanation of the delay to the satisfaction of the Court and in matters of Limitation Act made no distinction between the State and the citizen. Nonetheless adoption of strict standard of proof leads to grave miscarriage of public justice. it would result in public mischief by skilful management of delay in, the process of filing the appeal.

The approach of the Court would be pragmatic but not pedandic. Under those circumstances, the Subordinate Judge has rightly adopted correct approach and had condoned the delay without insisting upon explaining every day's delay Sn filing the review application in the light of the law laid down by this Court. The High Court was not right in setting aside the order. Delay was rightly condoned.

The appeal is accordingly allowed. The case is remitted to the reference Court for disposal of the review petition in accordance with law. No costs.

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