The Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has lambasted the Union government for filing frivolous leave to appeal applications in almost every case.
The bench headed by justice Surinder Singh Thakur said: “The Union of India cannot behave like an irresponsible litigant resorting to filing applications indiscriminately for leave to appeal in almost all cases without application of mind. The bureaucratic psyche needs to be changed.”
The bench was hearing to a leave to appeal filed by the central government in a case where the AFT has granted a retired soldier, Yashwant Singh Bharmouria, disability pension with benefit of rounding off of disability percentage.
Appeals against the AFT orders cannot be filed before the Supreme Court as a matter of right. The permission from the AFT is mandatory before challenging the order before apex court by filing a leave to appeal application. The AFT grants permission only if a point of law of general public importance is involved in the order.
Passing strictures, the bench said: “We feel the Union government or its instrumentalities should not resort to haphazard filing of leave to appeal/special leave petition as it involves wastage of public time and money and also, at times, causes such an injury to the individual that cannot be compensated in terms of money. At the same time, the dockets of the court are rising at the cost of poor litigants’ money, which becomes unbearable to them to approach the highest court even to defend frivolous appeals against them.”
“The Union government is a welfare state which enjoys the trust of citizens. Their rights are required to be protected. Once the matter is settled by the Supreme Court, it has to be implemented to uphold the rule of law, without resorting to raising frivolous pleas, which causes insecurity and distress to the system.”
Dismissing the “frivolous” application, the bench added: “To see the faith of the common man is not shattered, it would be advisable in the interest of justice that appeals against the orders/judgment in which the point in issue which has attained finality be compiled with without any ifs and buts in a time-bound manner, failing which we shall be constrained to impose exemplary costs and award litigation expenses to be recoverable from the officers/officials who would raise frivolous objections for not implementing the tribunal’s order.”