By Nusrat Sidiq

Srinagar: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh while observing that the doctrine of ‘delay and latches’ is not to be taken so lightly dismissed a plea of a paramilitary trooper against his termination from the services of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) way back in 2001.
Quoting British barrister and judge, Alfered Denning who says that “limitation is not a matter of justice. It is the rule of public policy which has its origin in history and it’s justification in convenience”, Justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi while pronouncing the judgement held that ‘delay and latches’ in approaching the court is not to be taken lightly.
The plea filed by Nissar Ahmad Shah, states that he was appointed as Constable in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at Assam in 1998. In 2000 he was granted leave for 60 days from 12 July 2000 to 9 September 2000 on account of his mother being ill. Unfortunately, Shah said, he lost his mother and his wife. These harsh circumstances, he said, led to adverse psychiatric symptoms and he had to undergo consistent treatment and had to maintain proper follow-up from the year 2001.
The petitioner had first filed a plea in 2011 but had withdrawn it later. Again in 2017 he filed a fresh petition which was dismissed by the court today.
The court said, “Even if it is presumed that the petitioner was having psychiatric issues since 2001 till 2011 after the order passed by this court, he still waited for six years till 2017 to approach this court by way of filing this petition.”
Also adding, “The memorandum of charges dated 26 January 2001 was duly received by the petitioner which substantiates that the petitioner had knowledge with respect to the disciplinary proceedings initiated against him but the petitioner chose to remain silent for about 10 years and approached this court in 2011”.
Moreover, the court said, the petitioner was supposed to challenge the termination order of 2001 at least after the same was provided to him by this court. “The petitioner slept over the matter, remained in deep slumber for about six years.”
The court underscored that the doctrine of delay and latches was not to be taken so lightly when Shah “miserably failed to explain as to why he could not approach this Court after the termination order was furnished to him on 16.12.2011.”
“Petitioner has nowhere explained the inordinate delay in approaching this court after about six years,” the court said, adding, “The conduct of the petitioner reflects his inefficiency to be allowed to serve in a disciplined force.”
Subsequently, the court dismissed the plea, holding same to be without “merit” and suffering from “delay and latches.”

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