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[254 Days Delay In Filing SLP]Supreme Court Imposes 25K Cost On Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), To Be Recovered From Officers Responsible

Sanya Talwar
30 Oct 2020 11:44 AM GMT
[254 Days Delay In Filing SLP]Supreme Court Imposes 25K Cost On Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), To Be Recovered From Officers Responsible
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The Supreme Court has imposed costs on the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for delay in filing a Special Leave Petition, stating that the same shall be recovered from the officer(s) responsible for the delay.Taking note of the inordinate delays that point towards complete inefficiency in administration of legal departments, a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul & Hrishikesh Roy has passed...

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The Supreme Court has imposed costs on the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for delay in filing a Special Leave Petition, stating that the same shall be recovered from the officer(s) responsible for the delay.

Taking note of the inordinate delays that point towards complete inefficiency in administration of legal departments, a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul & Hrishikesh Roy has passed the order in a petition filed by the NCB, challenging a bail order on account of Provisions under Section 37 of the NDPS Act, contending that there is bar to grant of bail in such cases especially where large quantities of ganja have been seized.

The Court noted that while it did find some substance in the merits of what the Additional Solicitor General advanced, there was a delay of 254 days in filing the case which it preferred to deal with first. This led to a threshold bar for the petitioner.

Earmarking the cases as "Certificate Cases", the court noted,

The object is to obtain certificate of dismissal from the Supreme Court to put a quietus to the issue, and thus, say that nothing could be done because the highest Court has dismissed the appeal. It is an endeavour to complete formality to save the skin of the officers who may be at default in such process to be followed in time. We are not willing to countenance this anymore.

It has been stated that a reading of the application for condonation of delay shows that the proposal to file the SLP was submitted on May 2, 2019 and it was forwarded from the officer of the Deputy Legal Advisor, NCB headquarters to the Ministry on July 2019 - after two and a half months. 

On 26th September, 2019 the Kolkata Zone submitted the draft SLP and additional documents to the NCB headquarters, the vetted SLP was received in Central Agency Section only on 22.11.2019 i.e. after about two months.

"We have no doubt that officers have been grossly negligent in conduct of the legal affairs of the department", the Court said.

Thus, stating that it was not only in the instant case that cases were coming before the court from different Government agencies after inordinate delay, the Court observed that it showed complete inefficiency in administration of their legal departments.

"That the same should happen to the legal department of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) reflects an even sadder situation"
- Supreme Court

In this backdrop, the court has observed that it had recently dealt with this issue in a recent order passed on October 15, 2020 in the case of State of Madhya Pradesh V. Bheru Lal, wherein it noted that "pedantic excuses are no more admissible in view of the technology which is now assisting Government agencies".

"In an order recently passed in S.L.P. (Civil)Diary No.9217 of 2020 - State of Madhya Pradesh v. Bheru Lal dated 15th October, 2020, we have dealt with this approach and have observed that these pedantic excuses are no more admissible in view of the technology which is now assisting even the Government agencies and have referred to the judgment of this Court in the case of Office of the Chief Post Master General & Ors. v. Living Media India Ltd. & Anr. (2012) 3 SCC 563. Eight years have passed since that judgment, but still any counsel as advanced in that judgment seems unheeded"

- Supreme Court 

Cause Title: Govt. of India Ministry of Home Affairs Narcotic Control Bureau V. Md. Wasim Akram

Coram: Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul & Hrishikesh Roy

Case No: SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRIMINAL) Diary No(s). 10760/2020

Click Here To Download Order


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