Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 7
Taking cognisance of inordinate delay in filing complaint under the Insecticides Act, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has slapped costs of Rs 1 lakh. The amount is to be deposited by officers/officials responsible for causing the delay. The direction came in a case where the complaint was filed after a delay of more than four years and eight months.
Dismissing the complaint, Justice Harnaresh Singh Gill made it clear that responsibility would be fixed by the Agriculture Director within a month of receiving the order. The costs would then be deposited by the erring officers/officials with Sangrur District Legal Services Authority. The matter was brought to the High Court’s notice after two petitions were filed by Raj Kumar Gupta and other petitioners. Their counsel argued that the sample was drawn on August 20, 2013, and the report of public analyst was dated September 5, 2013. But the complaint was instituted on May 9, 2018, after four years, eight months and four days. He argued that the offences carried punishment up to two years. As such, the present complaint was not maintainable.
Justice Gill asserted: “The court finds that the continuation of the complaint and the consequential proceedings arising there from against the petitioners in both petitions are not legally justified and sustainable because the delay in filing the complaint cannot be brushed aside.”
He added that the present proceedings had rather resulted in the misuse of the process of law, defeating the ends of justice. Accordingly, the complaint and all consequential proceedings arising there from were liable to be quashed. He said the complaint was found to have been filed by the Agriculture Department at a belated stage not only in the case in hand.
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