Allahabad High Court says litigants, government officials mostly responsible for delay in adjudication of cases

The Allahabad High Court has observed that while the judicial system was often blamed for delays in the adjudication of cases, most of the time, the delay was caused by the litigants and state officials.

The single-judge Bench of Justice JJ Munir made the observations recently while hearing a petition challenging the approval of a suspension order by the District Inspector of Schools, Ballia.

The High Court remarked that the litigants were 75 percent contributors to delay, who sought adjournments or otherwise failed to fulfill their part in the process.

It further criticised the official respondents or government litigants, stating that they were negligent because they had an impression that the outcome of a case would not personally affect them.

The single-judge Bench further expressed its displeasure over the ‘culture’ prevalent among the litigants who were State officials and were nonchalant about the process of the court. They were often heard saying that whatever happened in the court did not affect them.

It said the slightest enforcement of the court process made official litigants rattle and that they objected to such orders by involving appellate mechanisms.

They acted in such a manner not against the Court orders, but against the processes directed to ensure that the case ripened for hearing and the proceedings stayed on schedule, added the Bench.

Earlier in December 2023, the High Court had asked the State of Uttar Pradesh to respond to the petition. However, despite repeated opportunities, the State failed to do so.

The matter was again listed on April 9 and the High Court was told that the State respondent was yet to file a counter affidavit.

Taking a strong view against such negligence, the single-judge Bench directed the District Inspector of Schools, Ballia to file a response by April 15. The matter could not be taken up for hearing on April 15 due to paucity of time and is next listed for April 25.

The High Court warned the officer of action in case of non-compliance and made it clear that the affidavit would be taken on record subject to the payment of costs, which would be recovered personally from the officer.

The petitioner was represented by Advocates Prabhakar Awasthi and Sanjay Kumar Yadav. Advocate Gopal Ji Rai appeared for one of the respondents.

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