Directing the Registrar General to issue instructions that failure to adhere to the two-week rule would result in suitable disciplinary action against the officials concerned, Justice S M Subramaniam said, “On account of not filing the counter statements and not listing of vacate stay petitions within the time stipulated, the cases are not listed and there is a scope for collusion by the Registry officials with the litigants in respect of listing the matters in a routine manner, which may result in corrupt practices.”
Noting that even assuming that the time limit fixed under the Constitution was directory in nature and cannot be construed as mandatory, Justice Subramaniam held, “This court is of an opinion that the principles of reasonableness enunciated in the Constitution is to be adhered to in such circumstances. Thus, non-listing of vacate stay petitions for three years or five years or more to be considered as blatant violation of the constitutional principles, its philosophies and ethos.”
The Registrar had replied that the rules framed in 2002 incorporated Rule 3-A (which deals with counter affidavits) that they have to be filed within three months from the date of service. However, this was suspended until further orders and not it force, and hence the Registry has to follow rules issued in 1965, the official submitted. Recording this, Justice Subramaniam directed the Registrar to incorporate the contents of Rule 3-A suitably in the Rule Nisi Notice, to be issued to the respondents/litigants in all the writ petitions, with effect from October 1.
The judge also directed the Registrar to issue instructions that in the event of not filing the counter within the three-month time limit as stipulated, the litigants/respondents should explain the reasons for such delay in the affidavits.