Delhi High court judge roasts babudom, calls them a major impediment to growth

Updated on Sep 13, 2022 05:39 AM IST

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said the fact that top officials ordered to appear before the court were not just a no-show but also did not bother to seek more time. “This clearly depicts the high-headedness of the officials,” the high court said

The Delhi high court recalled that it had ordered officials to decide an application filed by a farmer more than 30 years ago but there had been no action (Mint File Photo/Pradeep Gaur)
The Delhi high court recalled that it had ordered officials to decide an application filed by a farmer more than 30 years ago but there had been no action (Mint File Photo/Pradeep Gaur)
By, New Delhi

Pained at the pendency of a farmer’s plea before the land-owning authorities for 35 years, the Delhi high court on Monday said that “babudom of bureaucracy is symbolic of the colonial mindset” and it is high time that the countrymen are freed from such carcinogenic tendencies.

In 1987, the petitioner's father's land at Maidangarhi was acquired by the DDA, for which he received compensation. However, a 1987 application filed for the allotment of an alternative plot is still pending. Subsequently, the petitioner had moved the high court seeking a direction to the concerned authority to decide his application.

“Today, India is celebrating the Amrit Kaal of 75 years of its independence, and marching ahead shunning the shackles of servitude, and with fresh vigour and greater conviction to become a developed nation. The babudom of the bureaucracy is symbolic of the colonial mindset, and a major obstacle to the attainment of this goal. It is high time that the mindset is shunned away for good, and the people of this country are liberated from such carcinogenic tendencies and vestiges of the colonial past,” the court said in its order.

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh noted that despite its clear directions on August 2 to decide the man’s application within 15 days, neither the application of the petitioner, which has been pending for more than three decades, has been decided nor the officials concerned directed to remain present have bothered to be present before the court.

“In the instant case, as is evident from the record, the application was filed before the authorities way back in 1987. Since then, 35 years have passed but no action, whatsoever, has been taken by the concerned officials till date,” justice Chandra Dhari Singh said.

The court said that any conscientious citizen of the country would be pained by such contumacious conduct.

“As long as the Rule of Law breathes in this land, so long will the following quote popularised by Lord Denning, and borrowed from the writings of Dr Thomas Fuller shall continue to echo: “Be ye never so high, the law is above you.”.. The orders passed by a constitutional court of this country being violated at the sweet will of the officials openly butcher the spirit of Rule of Law,” the court said.

The court said that the “conduct of the officers is highly objectionable, and it is evident that both the officials outrightly and wilfully demeaned and disobeyed the order of this court, adding that not only they have failed to discharge their duty but have prima facie committed contempt of court.

“This is despite the fact that the counsel for the respondents intimated and even reminded them to remain present before this court. The said officials did not even take the pain to seek time for an extension of the period prescribed nor any application has been filed for exemption from personal appearance. This clearly depicts the high-headedness of the officials namely – Vice-Chairman, DDA and Secretary, Land & Building Department,” the court said in its order.

The judge, however, gave one last chance to the officers to appear before the court and posted the matter for hearing on Tuesday.

“It is accordingly directed that both the concerned officials shall be present before this court tomorrow (Tuesday) with an affidavit explaining therein the reasons for non-compliance of the order of this court,” the judge ordered.

The court said that even on the earlier date he observed that it was disturbing that such an approach adopted by the officers concerned, and their failure to discharge their duty, had led to the filing of a plethora of petitions before the high courts across the country, thereby, adding to the pendency and backlog of cases as well as burdening the judiciary.

“It was regretfully remarked by this court even in its last order that the situation depicted a sad state of affairs and travesty of justice that the representations of the citizens of this country have been reduced to mere pieces of paper and the system kept on moving, in its usual snail speed, being least bothered about their grievances. Consequently, their applications have been remaining stacked in files for decades and decades,” the court noted in its order.

The court said that despite passing strictures on the earlier date (August 2), the officials concerned have utterly failed to comply with the same, adding that the counsel representing them has been unable to satisfactorily reply to the query of the court, as to why and under what circumstances the officials have not complied with the order.

“Despite the aforesaid observations by this court that should have led to introspection by the concerned officials and instead of complying with the directions given, the officials did not even pay heed to the intimation and reminder by their counsel. This is an open and wilful breach of the authority of this court and cannot be tolerated,” the order said.

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    Reports from the Delhi High Court and stories on legal developments in the city. Avid mountain lover, cooking and playing with birds 🐦 when not at work

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