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State of Uttarakhand cannot be blamed for Tehri Hydro Development Corporation delay and will not bea

STATE OF UTTARAKHAND.VS. UNION OF INDIA & ANR., ORIGINAL SUIT NO. 5 OF 2012 WITH INTERLOCUTORY APPLICATION NO. 3 OF 2014 AND NO. 4 OF 2016. – 6 DECEMBER 2019.

The bench encompassing Justice R.F. NARIMAN and Justice S. RAVINDRA BHAT collectively pronounced judgment on an issue pertaining to the State of Uttarakhand .  The State of Uttarakhand filed the present Suit under Article 131 of the Constitution for various reliefs, including a declaration that the allocation of 25% shareholding in the Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) in favour of the State of U.P. consequent to the enactment and coming into force of the U.P. Reorganisation Act, 2000, was void with effect from 09.11.2000 and a further declaration that the plaintiff/State of Uttarakhand, was the rightful owner of the said shareholding and consequently, decree of mandatory and permanent injunction to allocate the said shareholding of THDC in its favour and also allocate the dividends from 09.11.2000 till disposal of the suit, to it.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court entertained the suit by proceeding dated 06.12.2012 and by order dated 12.12.2012 dismissed the application for interim relief. The record also indicates that the plaintiff resisted the application and filed a reply dated 08.06.2016, and further sought decree in terms of Order VIII Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. It was apparent from the record that the application for recall of the order of 16.12.2013 was listed for hearing on 07.09.2015 and thereafter, again on several dates, i.e. 16.10.2015, 23.02.2016 and 10.03.2016. No steps were taken, nor was the notice of this court brought to the application.

The Court observed the following:

  1. The State of U.P. defaulted in entering appearance and was set down ex parte by order dated 16.12.2013.

  2. It resisted the application notice.

  3. It indicated through a separate affidavit that it incurred a total expenditure or Rs. 57,48,791/- as legal costs towards payment of counsel’s fee towards 11 hearings.

  4. Though the State of Uttarakhand was tardy and could not ensure timely appearance, yet, when the concerned officials were made aware of the pendency of the present suit and order dated 16.12.2013, prompt steps were taken.

  5. After filing of the application- on 09.04.2014, the State of Uttarakhand cannot be accused of negligence and the plaintiff sought an adjournment at least on two occasions, i.e. 27.09.2016 and 06.05.2019.

  6. It cannot be said that the entire blame for the delay in dealing with the application and the costs thereof were to be borne by the State of Uttarakhand

Thereby, it pronounced the following:

“The Interlocutory Application is allowed subject to the State of U.P. paying costs quantified at Rs. 30,00,000/- to the plaintiff/State of Uttarakhand, within four weeks from today. I.A. No. 3/2014 is allowed in the above terms. The plaintiff’s replication, if any, shall be filed within eight weeks from today. The parties shall, in the meanwhile, file their documents. List the suit after twelve weeks for framing the issues.”

–  Jumanah Kader

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