Mend rule fix­ing time limit to file coun­ters, Regis­trar-gen­eral told

The New Indian Express - - TAMIL NADU -

TO en­sure counter af­fi­davits are filed on time, the Madras High Court has di­rected its Regis­trar- gen­eral to re­store Rule 3-A of Rules to Reg­u­late Pro­ceed­ings un­der Ar­ti­cle 226 of the Con­sti­tu­tion or to ef­fect nec­es­sary amend­ments in the rule, en­abling the par­ties to the writ pe­ti­tions to file their counter af­fi­davits and the doc­u­ments within the time to be stip­u­lated in the rule to be is­sued.

Rule 3-A of the Rules to Reg­u­late Pro­ceed­ings un­der Ar­ti­cle 226 of the Con­sti­tu­tion has not been in­cor­po­rated by the High Court in the Rule Nisi No­tice, which is to be is­sued to the par­ties in the writ pe­ti­tion. Though the rule was amended in 1965, till to­day, it has not been in­cor­po­rated in the Rule Nisi No­tice be­ing is­sued by the High Court.

“When the State is not rep­re­sent­ing its case, then it is to be con­strued that the “State” fails in its duty to pro­tect the Con­sti­tu­tional man­dates and per­spec­tives. Thus, it is very much im­por­tant to en­sure that counter state­ments are filed by the re­spon­dent of­fi­cials within a rea­son­able pe­riod of time, en­abling this court to ad­ju­di­cate the cases prop­erly, when it is taken up for fi­nal hear­ing,” Jus­tice S M Subramaniam said.

He passed the or­der af­ter rev­enue divi­sional of­fi­cer of Pon­neri and Tah­sil­dar of Gum­midipoondi failed to file coun­ters to a writ pe­ti­tion filed

by one Nal­la­sura Ravi Reddy. “It is fre­quently no­ticed that counter af­fi­davits and re­lated doc­u­ments are not filed in large num­ber of writ pe­ti­tions now pend­ing be­fore HC. The State of­fi­cials and com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties, who all are re­spon­dents in the writ pe­ti­tions, are not ini­ti­at­ing any ef­fec­tive steps to file counter af­fi­davits and the re­lated doc­u­ments and pro­duce files, wher­ever nec­es­sary within a rea­son­able pe­riod of time,” the judge ob­served.

“The Rule was sus­pended by the HC in No­ti­fi­ca­tion No.188 of 2013 dated July 2, 2013. The rea­sons for the sus­pen­sion of Rule is not known to this court. But, this court is of a con­sid­ered opin­ion that an outer time limit for fil­ing of the counter af­fi­davits and doc­u­ments to be fixed to the par­ties to the writ pe­ti­tions. The outer time limit to be fixed by the High Court is to be in­formed to the par­ties to the writ pe­ti­tions through the Rule Nisi No­tice is­sued by the HC, en­abling the re­spon­dents to know that the counter af­fi­davits and the doc­u­ments are to be filed within the time limit pre­scribed in the no­tice,” the judge ob­served. “The Regis­trar gen­eral, HC of Madras is di­rected to take nec­es­sary ac­tion in this re­gard for ef­fec­tive and speedy dis­posal of the writ pe­ti­tions filed un­der Ar­ti­cle 226 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of In­dia be­fore the High Court,” the judge said and posted the next hear­ing on Septem­ber 19.

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