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Delay- “Rip Van Winkles Have a Place in Literature, But Not in Law”: Allahabad High Court

The Allahabad High Court observed that the rule of delay and laches, as a policy of litigative repose, creates certainty in legal relations and curtails fruitless litigation thereby ensuring that the administration of justice is not clogged by pointless litigation. The observation came from a Single Judge Bench comprising of Justice Ajay Bhanot while dismissing a writ petition filed after a delay of more than 4 years, by observing it to be barred by the rule of delay and laches, without there being any satisfactory explanation as to the delay. The petitioners not being the parties in the proceedings (third parties) assailed an order dated 9th September 2016 wherein they claimed inheritance from one Ram Avtar (deceased) who allegedly executed a will dead in their favour. “Clearly, the writ petition is barred by delay and laches. The petitioner has approached this Court after more than four years. There is no satisfactory explanation for laches and the delay in filing the writ petition on the part of the petitioner. Further third party rights have been entrenched. The law has long set its face against indolent litigants who approach this Court after a long delay.” The Court observed at the outset.

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