The apex court said the government cannot cite administrative inertia as a reason for any delay and dismissed an appeal by the department of posts, challenging a 2009 judgement of the Delhi High Court.
The high court had upheld the appeal of Living Media India Ltd, challenging the department’s refusal to give concessional rates for postage of its two magazines.
The department had filed the special leave petition more than 420 days after the high court judgement in 2009.
“In our view, it is the right time to inform all the government bodies…that unless they have reasonable and acceptable explanation for the delay and there was bonafide effort, there is no need to accept the usual explanation that the file was kept pending for several months or years due to considerable degree of procedural red-tape in the process,” the court said.
The bench of Justices P.Sathasivan and J. Chelameswar said the department had “miserably failed to give any acceptable and cogent reasons sufficient to condone such a huge delay”.
“It is not in dispute that the person(s) concerned were well aware or conversant with the issues involved including the prescribed period of limitation for taking up the matter by way of filing a special leave petition in this court.”