'Incorrigible': SC Rebukes MP Govt's Legal Department, Asks Chief Secretary to Revamp
Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Calling the Madhya Pradesh government’s legal department as “incompetent” and “incorrigible”, the Supreme Court has asked the chief secretary of the state to revamp the unit so that cases can be filed without massive delays.
A bench, headed by Justice Sanjay K Kaul, reproached the state government for not mending its ways despite several reminders and orders, adding that the conduct by the legal department seems to be indifferent.
“The State of Madhya Pradesh continues to do the same thing again and again and the conduct seems to be incorrigible! The Special Leave Petition has been filed after a delay of 588 days,” noted the bench, which also included Justice Hrishikesh Roy.
It pointed out that the law department took almost about 17 months’ time to decide whether the petition had to be filed or not in the apex court. “What greater certificate of incompetence would there be for the legal Department,” remarked the bench.
“We consider it appropriate to direct the chief secretary of the State of Madhya Pradesh to look into the aspect of revamping the legal department as it appears that the department is unable to file appeals within any reasonable period of time much less within limitation,” added the court.
Imposing a penalty of Rs 35,000 for filing an appeal with a delay of 588 days, the top court made it clear that the penalty will now go up with each successive case filed belatedly.
It said that the amount of fine will be recovered from the officers responsible for the delay in filing and sitting on the files and certificate of recovery of the said amount will also be filed in the Supreme Court. If the order is not complied within four weeks, the bench said, it will be constrained to initiate contempt proceedings against the chief secretary of the state.
The bench also put the Deputy Advocate General of the state government to caution that for any successive matters of this kind the cost will keep on going up.
The top court further said that these kinds of cases are only ‘certificate cases’, filed to obtain a certificate of dismissal from the Supreme Court so as to put a quietus to the issue.
“The object is to save the skin of officers who may be in default. We have also recorded the irony of the situation where no action is taken against the officers who sit on these files and do nothing,” lamented the bench.