Published On: February 09, 2022 at 17:24 IST
The Gauhati High Court dismissed an Appeal filed by the Union of India (UoI) against a Trial Court Order refusing to condone the delay in filing an Arbitration Appeal under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
The Government argued that the delay was caused due to Official communication as its Headquarters is situated outside the State of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
The High Court noted that everybody including the Government is bound by the Law of Limitation. Therefore, the Government was not entitled to the privilege in this matter of delay due to red tapism in the process, especially when electronic communication was available.
The Court referred to the Supreme Court Judgment in the Case of Postmaster General v. Living Media India Ltd (2012), wherein it was held that departments cannot take the advantage of liberal approach adopted in matters of condonation of delay. The claims of inherited bureaucratic methods and impersonal machinery are inacceptable in the age of modern technology.
It was also held that the Government bodies shall have a reasonable and acceptable explanation for the delay. The usual explanation of keeping the file pending due to considerable degree of procedural red tape in the process shall not be accepted.
The Supreme Court had stated, “The Government departments are under a special obligation to ensure that they perform their duties with diligence and commitment. Condonation of delay is an exception and should not be used as an anticipated benefit for the Government departments. The Law shelters everyone under the same light and should not be swirled for the benefit of a few.”
The High Court noted that the Government failed to give a satisfactory explanation on the reasons for the delay caused. Therefore, the Arbitration Appeal was found to be devoid of merit and the Appeal was dismissed.
Also read: Arbitration of Fraud Disputes