HC dismisses petition for grade-pay release citing ‘delay’ in approaching court

HC dismisses petition for grade-pay release citing ‘delay’ in approaching court
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SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court has dismissed as petition by Meter Readers of Power Development Department who had knocked the court to seek benefits of a judgement passed in 2008 for release of grade pay of Rs 220-430 passed in 2001.
The court cited delay in seeking relief as the reason for dismissal of the petition.
A judgment passed by Jammu wing of the court on 26 February 2008 in SWP No.2455/2001 directed for release of grade of Rs.220-430 (pre-revised) in favour of petitioning meter readers (Executive) with effect from the respective dates they have been promoted to the post along with all consequential benefits.
Dismissing the fresh petition Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey noted that the petitioners in SWP No.2455/2011, on whose analogy the present petitioners are seeking the benefit of release of a particular grade with retrospective effect, had made their claim before the Court in 2001.
“They had agitated the claim before the court at the relevant point of time for seeking redressal of their grievance, while as the petitioners, herein this petition (SWP no.689/2019) upon gaining the knowledge of the release of benefits in favour of the petitioners who had approached this Court in 2001, have now, after having retired from service upon reaching the age of superannuation, approached this court after a period of 18 long years seeking parity.”
“The approach adopted by the petitioners is not permissible in law. The petitioners were waiting for the outcome of the writ petition pending before this Court and have slept over the matter for quite a long period of time. In that view of the matter, the relief prayed for by the petitioners is hopelessly time barred and hit by the principle of delay and laches,” court said.
The judgment added that that law leans in favour of those who are alert and vigilant.
“Even equality has to be claimed at the right juncture and not on expiry of reasonable time. Even though there is no period prescribed for filing the writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, yet it should be filed within a reasonable time. Though, it is not a strict rule, the Courts can always interfere even subsequent thereto, but relief to a person, who allows things to happen and then approaches the Court and puts forward a stale claim in trying to unsettle settled matters, can certainly be refused on account of delay and laches.”
“In the case at hand, there has been 18 years of delay in approaching the court without any plausible explanation.”
“Thus petition of the petitioners, being hit by delay and laches, merits dismissal,” the court said.