Bombay High Court takes Centre to task for not filing affidavits

Mumbai: The Union govt faced the ire of the Bombay High Court last week for “callousness and carelessness” in dealing with petitions filed in courts and failing to comply with orders to file affidavits. A division bench of Chief Justice N H Patil and Justice G S Kulkarni reprimanded the Centre for failing to file an affidavit in response to petitions challenging the Maharashtra government’s decision to build a 210-metre statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj off the Mumbai coast.

When the petitions came up for hearing, the court was informed that the Union government was asked to file an affidavit in March, but it was yet to file one. The court summoned the joint secretary of the Ministry of Law and Justice (Mumbai branch secretariat) who admitted to a lapse on their part. The bench noted that such lapses were taking place regularly and not only in this particular case. “This is ridiculous.

The government cannot be so callous and careless when the high court is spending so much time hearing petitions. We do not appreciate this,” the court said.”We order…the Secretariat, Ministry of Law and Justice, New Delhi, to take immediate remedial measures to make the Mumbai branch efficient and effective by having a proper mechanism of co-ordination…,” the court said.

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