'Speed Post' Prompts Supreme Court to Redeem a Man's Hopes of Becoming a Judge
The Supreme Court has come to the rescue of a man whose ambition of becoming a judge took a hit when Madhya Pradesh High Court junked his application on the ground of delay in receiving it.
File Photo of the Supreme Court of India.
New Delhi: What can you do when your application to sit in an exam is rejected because the postal department delivered it late? You may still stand a chance if you have sent it through the speed post.
The Supreme Court has come to the rescue of a man whose ambition of becoming a judge took a hit when Madhya Pradesh High Court junked his application on the ground of delay in receiving it. The last date for submission of the application was January 20 but Ashutosh Agnihotri’s application, sent through speed post, reached a day later.
Agnihotri’s representations to the registry failed to move the authorities, compelling him to knock on the doors of the High Court on judicial side. But on March 21, the HC dismissed his petition, underlining the registry was not responsible for speeding up postal delivery system.
Pursuing his cause, Agnihotri moved the Supreme Court. As an interim order, the court asked the HC to let him sit in the exam but not declare his result till the merits of his plea was decided. It also called for Agnihotri’s result in a sealed cover envelope.
In a recent order, a bench led by Justice Madan B Lokur redeemed Agnihotri’s hopes when it cleared his results and directed the HC to call him for interview. The result, adduced confidentially in the court, had showed that Agnihotri qualified the written exam.
The bench, interestingly, went through the track consignment report before ruling in Agnihotri’s favour. While the application was dispatched on January 11 from Palam, it was received in Jabalpur on January 20. Thereafter it was delivered to the High Court on January 21 but the last date for receiving the application was January 20, observed the bench, perusing the consignment report.
“Although there is no doubt that the post office is not the agent of the High Court yet there is an unexplained delay of 10 days by the postal department in the dispatch of the application sent by Ashutosh Agnihotri from Palam to Jabalpur,” it noted.
The top court then held as: “Surely, under the circumstances, the petitioner cannot be blamed for the delay particularly since the application was sent by him through speed post and not by ordinary post.”
Describing it as “special circumstances”, the bench said: “We are of the view that the result of the examination should be accepted by the High Court and the rejection of his application on the ground of one day’s delay should not come in the way for considering him for interview.”
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