Stale claims could not be allowed to rise like a phoenix by the Writ Court; Supreme Court [Read Judgment]

Stale claims are not to be adjudicated unless non-interference would cause grave injustice. A writ court while deciding a writ petition is required to remain alive to the nature of the claim and the unexplained delay on the part of the writ petitioner. 

The Supreme Court of India has held that Stale claims are not to be adjudicated  unless non-interference would cause grave injustice. A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C. Pant, allowed the appeal filed by State of Jammu and Kashmir against the High Court judgment.

The court noted the fact that the respondent, (petitioner before High Court) was dismissed from service on September, 1999, and he preferred the writ petition in February, 2006, after a lapse of almost five and a half years.  It also observed that the averments in the writ petition were absolutely silent and nothing had been spelt out why the delay had occurred.

The Apex Court referred to  City and Industrial Development Corporation vs. Dosu Aardeshir Bhiwandiwala  wherein it is held that, “The Court while exercising its jurisdiction under Article 226 is duty-bound to consider whether: (a) adjudication of writ petition involves any complex and disputed questions of facts and whether they can be satisfactorily resolved; (b) the petition reveals all material facts; (c) the petitioner has any alternative or effective remedy for the resolution of the dispute; (d) person invoking the jurisdiction is guilty of unexplained delay and laches; (e) ex facie barred by any laws of limitation; (f) grant of relief is against public policy or barred by any valid law; and host of other factors.”

The Court remarked  that the petitioner “ woke up from his slumber to knock at the doors of the High Court after a lapse of five years. The staleness of the claim remained stale and it could not have been allowed to rise like a phoenix by the writ court.”

A writ court while deciding a writ petition is required to remain alive to the nature of the claim and the unexplained delay on the part of the writ petitioner, the Court said. It also added that Stale claims are not to be adjudicated unless non-interference would cause grave injustice. Regarding the case in hand, the court remarked “It deserved to be thrown overboard at the very threshold, for the writ petitioner had accepted the order of dismissal for half a decade and cultivated the feeling that he could freeze time and forever remain in the realm of constant present”.

Read the Judgment here.

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