1 April 2022 7:30 AM GMT
The Calcutta High Court has recently refused to grant relief under Section 5 of the Limitation Act to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for condonation of delay of about 302 days in filing an appeal. Justice Bibek Chaudhuri remarked that the government agency is not a privileged litigant and no explanation is forthcoming as to why the heads of various offices of CBI took such an...
The Calcutta High Court has recently refused to grant relief under Section 5 of the Limitation Act to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for condonation of delay of about 302 days in filing an appeal.
Justice Bibek Chaudhuri remarked that the government agency is not a privileged litigant and no explanation is forthcoming as to why the heads of various offices of CBI took such an unusual time to release the record of the case for the purpose of filing the appeal.
"..the Government or a Government agency is not a privileged litigant. The Government agency is required to explain the delay in the same manner like that of an ordinary litigant to get the relief of condonation of delay under Section 5 of the Limitation Act", the Court underscored.
Reliance was also placed on the Supreme Court decision in Office of the Chief Post Master General & Ors. v. Living Media India Ltd. & Anr wherein it had been held that unless government bodies and their agencies have a reasonable explanation for the delay, there is no need to accept the usual explanation that the file was kept pending for several months/years due to considerable degree of procedural red-tape in the process.
Further opining that it has not been explained why the CBI took such an unusual time to file the appeal after the expiry of almost 302 days of limitation, the Court observed,
"The petitioner has stated in the said paragraph different dates when the file was sent to different offices of CBI. It has not been stated why the office of various heads of office of CBI took unusual time to release the record and finally allowed the appeal to be filed after expiry of 302 days of Limitation."
Thus, the Court observed that the CBI has not been able to come up with satisfactory explanation in support of its case for condonation of delay.
Accordingly, the Court dismissed the application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act as well as the Special Leave application.
The CBI had filed an application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act for condonation of delay of 302 days in filing the appeal against the impugned judgment and order of acquittal. Furthermore, the Court was apprised that the Regional Office of the CBI at Kolkata has no authority to decide as to whether an appeal should be filed against an order of acquittal or not. The permission comes from Delhi office and only after getting the official permission, the CBI, Kolkata can file an appeal under Section 378(3) of the CrPC against an order of acquittal.
The Court was further informed that the delay had been caused in the offices of the Superintendent of Police and the Head of the Branch as a result of which there was an inordinate delay of 302 days in preferring the appeal.
On the other hand, the respondents argued that the explanation for condonation of delay is vague, misconceived, speculative, baseless and bereft of better or more particulars. It was further contended that official delay in according permission to the CBI to file appeal against an order of acquittal cannot be said to be a sufficient cause for delay in filing the appeal. Reliance was also placed on the Supreme Court decision in State (Delhi Administration) v. Dharam Pal to contend that under Section 378 CrPC, the State Government or the Central Government shall have to file an appeal from an order of acquittal within 90 days from the date of the impugned judgement and order of acquittal being passed.
Case Title: Central Bureau of Investigation v. Biman Kumar Saha & Anr
Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Cal) 102
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