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Jura subvenient- unreasonable delay laches - Equity aids the vigilant and not the indolent - Vigilantibus, non

dormentibus, jura subvenient unreasonable delay laches - Equity aids the vigilant and not the indolent Unreasonable Delay or Laches Vigilantibus, Administrative non Law dormentibus, jura Project subvenient - unreasonable delay laches Equity aids the vigilant and not the indolent Vigilantibus, non dormentibus, jura subvenient unreasonable delay laches - Equity aids the vigilant and not the indolent Vigilantibus, non dormentibus, jura subvenient - unreasonable delay laches Equity aids the vigilant and not the indolent Vigilantibus, non
22nd July 2011 Ruben George Rock, Roll !o" 5#$, 5th Semester BA LLB (Hons , !%ALS, &'loor"

Unreasonable Delay or Laches

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Veena, faculty, Administrative Law, for giving me this opportunity to do a study and prepare a project on Laches and whose enlightening guidance and suggestions helped me in completing this work. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the li rarian without whose co!operation and guidance this project would not have een completed.

Administrative Law

Unreasonable Delay or Laches

CONTENTS:

Laches! "eaning, #urpose And $eneral Application #osition In India %ase Laws &n Laches '#rinciples laid down y courts for entertainment(rejection of petitions marked y delay

)i liography

Administrative Law

Unreasonable Delay or Laches

Laches- Meaning, Purpose and General Application

Vigilantibus, non dormentibus, jura subvenient (Equity aids the vigilant and not the indolent)

*ternal vigilance is the price of li erty. +he primary re,uisite for the protection of ones right is his( her alertness in guarding it. +his e,uity principle may sound analogous to the age old prover $od helps those who help themselves. +he difference eing that it is not $od, ut law who insists the vigilance of those who comes efore it for e,uity reliefs. -hen an injured party has een slow in demanding remedy for a wrong which he has regarded with apparent indifference for a long time, the court will decline to give him that remedy on grounds of pu lic policy.. *,uity does not come to the aid of slothful folks who are inert in claiming their rights. /elay which is sufficient to prevent a party from o taining an e,uita le remedy is technically called laches.0 +hus e,uita le claims can e arred not only y limitation law ut also y unreasona le delay, called laches.1 Laches is an 2unreasona le delay pursuing a right or claim, in a way that prejudices the opposing party.2 Laches is a form of estoppel for delay. -hen asserted in litigation, it is an e,uita le defence. Laches recogni3es that a party to an action can lose evidence, witnesses, and a fair chance to defend himself with the passage of time from the date the wrong was committed. If the defendant can show disadvantages ecause for a long time he or she relied on the fact that no lawsuit would e started, then the case should e dismissed in the interests of justice. +he laches defence, like most of e,uity law, is a general concept containing many variations on the maxim. #hrases used to descri e laches include 2delay that works to the disadvantage of another,2 2inexcusa le delay coupled with prejudice to the party raising the defence,2 2failure to assert rights,2 2lack of diligence,2 and 2neglect or omission to assert a right.2 As aforementioned, an essential element of laches is the re,uirement that the party invoking the doctrine has changed its position as a result of the delay. In other words, the defendant is in a worse position now than at the time the claim should have een rought. 4or example,
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Administrative Law

Unreasonable Delay or Laches

the delay in asserting the claim may have caused a great increase in the potential damages to e awarded, or assets that could earlier have een used to satisfy the claim may have een distri uted in the meantime, or the property in ,uestion may already have een sold, or evidence or testimony may no longer e availa le to defend against the claim. A defence lawyer raising the defence of laches against a motion for injunctive relief 5a form of e,uita le relief6 might argue that the plaintiff comes 2walt3ing in at the eleventh hour2 when it is now too late to grant the relief sought, at least not without causing great harm that the plaintiff could have avoided. If an inference can e reasona ly drawn that the plaintiff had agreed to a andon his rights or acted in such a manner that it induced the other party to alter their position on the reasona le faith that he has done so, the plaintiffs claim will e treated as a andoned. In such cases delay and lapse of time are material. 7owever to reach such an inference there is no any readymade formula. It depends heavily on facts and circumstances. In the case of Chatrabhuj v. Mansukhram8, the plaintiff allowed his land to e occupied y the defendant and this was ac,uiesced y him even eyond the period of limitation. +he claim y the plaintiff for the possession of the land was dismissed and no relief was granted as the period of limitation for recovery of possession has expired. In this case, it is the provisions of the limitation act that decided the outcome of the case. An example of how the doctrine of laches operates9 If a person starts to uild a garage that extends eyond the oundary line and into a

neigh our:s property, and the neigh our immediately files a suit in e,uity and asks the court to issue an injunction to stop the construction, the neigh our will likely prevail. &n the other hand, if the neigh our o serves the construction of the garage on her property and does not file suit until the garage is completed, the defendant may plead laches, arguing that the neigh our had ample time to protect her property rights efore the construction was completed, and the court may find it unfair to order that the garage e torn down.

+here should e some time limit for the prosecution of a claim in a court of justice. It is dangerous and impractical to leave it to the sweet will of a person entitled to it. +his idea has een accepted y every legal system and the doctrine of laches is an indicator for the time! limit, though in a crude form. +he maxim of laches applies only when a claim is made to
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Administrative Law

Unreasonable Delay or Laches

e,uita le relief.; Laches is the e,uita le e,uivalent of statutes of limitations. 7owever, unlike statutes of limitations, laches leaves it up to the court to determine, ased on the uni,ue facts of the case, whether a plaintiff has waited too long to seek relief.

In *ngland, those cases which are governed y statutes of limitation 5ie Limitation Act, .<1<6 either expressly or y analogy, the maxim does not apply. +hose cases where there are e,uita le claims to which the statute does not apply are covered y ordinary rules of laches. In cases of purely e,uita le claims, e,uity courts have discretion either to grant or to refuse the e,uita le relief, unless the e,uita le claim is expressly covered y a statute. In cases of legal claims or e,uita le claims closely analogous to legal claims, provisions regarding limitation as per statutes apply. )ut in case of fraud of defendant, which the plaintiff could not discover even up to or after the limitation period was over, e,uity says that the time limit for the plaintiff only from the date when the fraud was first discovered.

POSITION IN INDIA In the Jadunath case=, ack in .<10, >uhrawardy ? declared that @+he *nglish doctrine of delay and laches showing negligence in seeking relief in a %ourt of e,uity cannot e imported into the Indian law in view of Article ..1, Limitation Act, .<=1 which fixes a period of three years within which a suit for specific performance should e rought.A In the case of #.B. Ramachandran v. State of KeralaC, court held that the law of limitation may act harsh on a particular party, ut it has to e applied with all its rigour when the statute so prescri es and the court has no power to extend the period of limitation on e,uita le grounds, thus e,uity cannot e the asis for extending the period of limitation. 7owever a party shall not e penalised for failing to adopt legal proceedings when the facts where wilfully concealed from him.D All this gives a notion that doctrine of laches has no general application in India, ut a limited scope.

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Administrative Law

Unreasonable Delay or Laches

CASE LAWS ON LACHES: #*+I+I&E> F*?*%+*/ &E $F&GE/ &4 /*LAH9 In Durga Prasad v. Chief Controller of mports and !"ports<, court held that when a law prescri es a period of limitation for an action, such action has to e rought within the prescri ed period. A court or a tri unal has no jurisdiction to entertain an action or proceeding after the expiration of the limitation period. In this case, the plaintiff sought for the issuance of a writ in .<=D against alleged defaults of the government in .<;<!=0, which re,uired the court to look into government policies regarding international trade which varied from year to year. >ikhri ?, in this case also commented that it is well!settled that the relief under Art. 00= is discretionary, and one ground for refusing relief under Art. 00= is that the petitioner has filed the petition after delay for which there is no satisfactory explanation. Although the laws of limitation do not directly apply to writ petitions, the court has held that the lapse of a reasona le time can ar a petition. .I +his is, however not a rule of law ut a rule of practice. *ven dela# of less than the limitation period was disallowed in some cases where it would have unnecessarily distur ed the vested rights or caused administrative inconvenience. A petition against the grant of license to the respondent for manufacturing li,uor made within the period of limitation, ut after the respondent had already ac,uired land and constructed uilding for manufacturing li,uor was not entertained. .. A writ petition challenging the validity of an examination held for recruitment of judges in the su ordinate judicial service, filed .0 years after the examination was rejected..0 In the case of Kamini Kumar Das Choudhur# vs State $f %est &engal .1 the court refused to entertain a petition challenging dismissal of the plaintiff from service, though the delay was less than three years. +he court found the delay to e inordinate and made the motives of the petitioner suspicious. In P.S. Sadasivas'am# v. (he State of (amil )adu .8 court opined that It is not that there is any period of limitation for the %ourts to exercise their powers under Article 00= nor is it that
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Administrative Law

Unreasonable Delay or Laches

there can never e a case where the %ourts cannot interfere in a matter after the passage of a certain length of time. )ut it would e a sound and wise exercise of discretion for the %ourts to refuse to exercise their extra!ordinary powers under Article 00= in the case of persons who do not approach it expeditiously for relief and who stand y and allow things to happen and then approach the %ourt to put forward stale claims and try to unsettle settled matters.A +he %ourt has said that even though any impugned order may e void, if the party does not approach the %ourt within reasona le time, which is always a ,uestion of fact and have the order invalidated or ac,uiesced or waived, the discretion of the %ourt has to e exercised in a reasona le manner. -hen the discretion has een conferred on the %ourt, the %ourt may in appropriate case decline to grant the relief, even if it holds that the order was void. .; +his view was re!iterated in the 0I.I case of Sawarn Lata Etc. Vs. State Of Haryana & Ors. In Chairman* +.P. Jal )igam and another v. Jas'ant Singh .= court held that @+herefore, whenever it appears that the claimants lost time or while away and did not rise to the occasion in time for filing the writ petitions, then in such cases, the %ourt should e very slow in granting the relief to the incum ent.A +his was re!iterated in a 0I.I judgment y the >upreme %ourt..C In a very recent case.D the $ujarat 7igh %ourt said that the court has consistently rejected the contention that a petition should e considered ignoring the delay and laches in case the petitioner approaches the %ourt after coming to know of the relief granted y the %ourt in a similar case as the same cannot furnish a proper explanation for delay and laches. A litigant cannot wake up from deep slum er and claim impetus from the judgment in cases where some diligent person had approached the %ourt within a reasona le time.

ADMISSION OF PETITION DESPITE DELAY +he >upreme %ourt in the Dehri Rohtas ,ight Rl# Co ,td v. District &oard* &hojpur .< has said that @where the petitioner show that illegality is manifest in the impugned action, and explains the cause of delay, the delay may e condoned. In the case of -run Kumar v. S!
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Administrative Law

Unreasonable Delay or Laches

Rail'a#0I, where a civil servant was shown to

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representation made in .<=C the authorities replied only in .<C1, it was held that a writ petition against that seniority listing could not e rejected on grounds of delay. +he petitioner had made representations efore the authorities soon after the list was produced, however they never heeded. In Raja Pratap )arain v. Central &oard* Direct (a"es 0., >upreme %ourt held that there was no law of limitation, especially for pu lic odies, against returning 'hat 'as 'rongl# recovered to 'hom it belonged. +he %ourts have taken the view that they 'ould not consider the time spent in pursuing legal remedies as dela#. /elay of = months caused due to representation made to the university against its decision was held not to e a delay and the writ petition was admitted.00 In Kashinath . Jalmi v. (he Speaker01 >upreme %ourt held that where a ,uestion of pu lic interest was involved, a court should e slow in rejecting a petition on the ground of delay. +he %ourt said @In our opinion the exercise of discretion y the court even where the application is delayed, is to e governed y the o jective of promoting pu lic interest and good administrationJ and on that asis it cannot e said that discretion would not e exercised in favour of interference where it is necessary to prevent continuance of usurpation of office or perpetuation of an illegality.A In ?awaharlal >a3awal v. >tate of ?B 08, the >upreme %ourt was of the view that a writ petition which was filed efore the 7igh %ourt on .<D0 and coming for hearing after .= years in not arred y laches due to the special circumstances of the case. In this case a writ had een filed in the 7igh %ourt in .<C0 y permanent government servants, serving in $overnment industrial undertaking, su se,uent to privati3ation, for a declaration that they will continue to e government servants was dismissed as premature. %ompany granted them wages at a rate admissi le to government servants till .<C<. In .<DI company denied them parity. >uch order was challenged in .<D. efore the >upreme %ourt which relegated the petitioners to the remedy under Article 00=. -rit accordingly was filed efore 7igh %ourt in .<D0 as was came for hearing after .= years. +he court held an illiterate widows petition admissi le despite delay, who was denied of her hus ands arrear of family pension.0;
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Administrative Law

Unreasonable Delay or Laches

+he application of doctrine of laches, like any other discretionary power of the court, depends heavily on facts and circumstances. +here is no a conventional or well! esta lished procedure which lays down the reasons for application of doctrine of laches. )eing an e,uity principle the principles of laches are continuously in a state of evolution.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Books re erre!:

Administrative Law y . P. Masse# Administrative Law y S.P. Sathe Lectures on Administrative Law y C.K. +akwani Equity, Trusts and Specific Relief y &.M. .andhi

In"erne" s#"es re erre!:

Administrative Law

Unreasonable Delay or Laches

www.indiankanoon.org www.manupatra.com www.wikipedia.com www.thefreedictionary.com

Administrative Law