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Narendra Pratap Singh v. State of U.P. & anr. - WRIT - A No. 323 of 2004 [2005] RD-AH 2205 (31 August 2005)


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Narendra Pratap Singh -------------    Petitioner              


State of U.P. & anr.           -------------  Respondents


Hon'ble Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.

Hon'ble Ghanshyam Dass, J.

(By Hon'ble Dr. B.S.Chauhan, J.)

Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner and the learned Standing Counsel, appearing for the respondents.

This writ petition has been filed at much belated stage, as the petitioner has approached this Court challenging the impugned order dated 28.11.2002, by which assessment has been made by the Trade Tax Officer. The order is appealable under Section 9 of the Trade Tax Act. However, without exhausting statutory remedy, he has preferred the writ petition before us. No satisfactory explanation has been furnished for approaching the Court at such a belated stage. The writ petition is liable to be dismissed only on the ground of delay and laches.

It  is  settled  law  that  fence-sitters cannot be  allowed  to  raise   the  dispute   or challenge  the  validity of the order  after  its conclusion.   (Vide  Aflatoon  & ors.   Vs.   Lt. Governor,  Delhi & ors., AIR 1974 SC 2077;  State of Mysore  Vs.  V.K.  Kangan & ors., AIR 1975  SC 2190;  Pt.  Girdharan Prasad Missir Vs.  State of Bihar & ors.,  (1980)  2 SCC 83;  H.D.  Vora  Vs. State of  Maharashtra,  AIR 1984 SC  866;   Bhoop Singh Vs.   Union ofIndia, AIR 1992 SC 1414;  The Ramjas Foundation  & ors.  Vs.  Union of India  & ors., AIR  1993 SC 852;  Ram Chand Vs.  Union  of India, (1994) 1 SCC 44;  State of Maharashtra Vs. Digambar,   AIR   1995    SC   1991;    Municipal Corporation  of  Greater Bombay  Vs.   Industrial Development  Investment  Co.  (P) Ltd.   &  ors., (1996) 11 SCC 501;  Padma Vs.  Dy.  Secy.  to the Govt.  of   Tamil  Nadu,  (1997)   2   SCC   627; Hindustan  Petroleum Corp.  Ltd.  Vs.  Dolly Das, (1999) 4  SCC 450;  Life Insurance Corporation of India Vs.   Jyotish Chandra Biswas, (2000) 6  SCC 562;  L.  Muthu Kumar & Anr.  Vs.  State of Tamil Nadu & ors.,   (2000)  7   SCC  618;    Municipal Council,  Ahmednagar & Anr.  Vs.  Shah Hyder Beig & ors., AIR 2000 SC 671;  and Inder Jit Gupta Vs. Union of India & ors., (2001) 6 SCC 637.

The  issue  of  delay in filing  the  writ  petition  was considered by the Hon'ble Apex Court  in Smt.   Sudama  Devi Vs.  Commissioner  &  ors., (1983) 2  SCC  1,  wherein the  Apex  Court  has  observed as under:-        

"There   is   no   period  of   limitation prescribed  by any law for filing the writ petition   under   Article   226  of   the Constitution.   It  is, in fact,  doubtful whether  any such period of limitation can be  prescribed by law.  In any event,  one thing  is  clear and beyond doubt that  no such period of limitation can be laid down either  under  the rules made by the  High Court  or by practice.  For every case, it would  have to be decided on the facts and circumstances  whether  the petitioner  is guilty of laches and that would have to be done  without  taking   into  account  any specific  period as period of  limitation. There  may be cases where even short delay may  be  fatal  while there may  be  cases where  even  a  long   delay  may  not  be evidence  of  laches  on the part  of  the petitioner."

Similarly,  in  State  of U.P.   Vs.   Raj  Bahadur Singh  &  Anr.,  (1998) 8  SCC  685;   the  Hon'ble Apex  Court  held that "there is  no  time  limit for  filing the writ petition.  All that the Court has to see is whether the laches on the part of the petitioner are such as to disentitle him to the relief claimed by him."    

In  S.K.   Mastanee   Bee  Vs. General Manager,  South Central Railways & ors., (2003)  1 SCC 184,  the  Hon'ble  Supreme  Court  held  that entitlement of a particular right guaranteed under Article 21  of the Constitution, coupled with  the haplessness condition  of  a party may be a ground  to entertain a petition even at a belated stage.  But that was a case where third party's interest  had not crystalised.                                  

In  Northern  Indian Glass Industries  Vs. Jaswant Singh  &  ors.,  (2003)  1  SCC  335,  the Hon'ble Apex Court held that the High Court can not ignore the  delay  and laches in  approaching  the writ court   and   there   must  be   satisfactory explanation  by the petitioner as how he could not come to the Court well in time.

No satisfactory explanation has been furnished whatsoever.

In  P.K. Ramachandran Vs. State of Kerala & anr., (1997) 7 SCC 556, the Hon'ble Apex Court held as under:-        

"Law of limitation   harshly affect a particular party but it has to be applied with all its rigour when the statute so prescribes and the courts have no power to extend the period of limitation as equitable   grounds. The   discretion exercised by the High Court was, thus, neither proper nor judicious. The order condoning the delay cannot be sustained."

In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that the  petitioner fails to furnish any satisfactory explanation for approaching the Court at such a belated stage, and therefore, petition cannot be entertained.

Petition is, accordingly, dismissed.




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