Supreme Court of India
Question of delay and laches in entertaining a writ petition having been filed after a lapse of 16 years of the date of Award without any explanation for the delay-Whether High Court was not justified in entertaining the writ petition?
Tamil Nadu Housing Board, Chennai Vs. M. Meiyappan and Ors. (Decided on 29.10.2010) MANU/SC/0914/2010
Held, the High Court was not justified in entertaining the writ petition. The writ petition failed on the short ground that the writ petition had been filed 16 years after the award was announced by the Collector. It is trite law that delay and laches is one of the important factors which the High Court must bear in mind while exercising discretionary power under Article 226 of the Constitution.
In the present case, as already stated, the Respondents did not furnish any explanation as to why it took them 16 years to challenge the acquisition of their lands, when admittedly they were aware of the acquisition of their lands and had in fact participated in these proceedings before the Land Acquisition Collector. The High Court should have dismissed the writ petition at the threshold on the ground of delay and laches on the part of Respondent.