The Supreme Court has restored a Letters Patent Appeal (LPA) which was dismissed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana on the ground that there was an unexplained delay of 1612 days on the part of the petitioner. The petitioner's application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act explaining the delay was rejected by the High Court.

It was contended before the Supreme Court that initially LPA was filed with a delay of 47 days, but the said LPA was returned by the High Court Registry on a few occasions. However, the lawyer appearing on behalf of the petitioner had not taken proper care, and thus delay was caused in the refiling of the LPA. The petitioner was repeatedly assured by his former counsel that his appeal was pending with the registry branch of the High Court.

A Bench comprising Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice Bela M Trivedi set aside the dismissal order passed by the Division Bench of the High Court and said, "Although there was an inordinate delay, but the same has been duly explained by the petitioner and LPA preferred at his instance deserves to be considered on merits."

The Letters Patent Appeal (LPA) was filed against the 2016 decision of the Single Judge of the High Court which upheld the unsuitability of the petitioner for appointment to the post of Nursing Sister on the ground that he was opined to be color blind during a medical examination.

"[W]e do not find the present case to be a fit case for condoning the gross, inordinate, and unexplained delay of 1612 days. Thus, no cause, at least a sufficient cause, is made out to condone the delay in filing the appeal", held the Division Bench of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana while dismissing the application for condonation of delay in filing the appeal.

"Accordingly, the order passed by the High Court dated 19.07.2022 is set aside. The LPA is restored on the file of the High Court, with a request to hear and decide the same on its own merits expeditiously", read the Order of the Supreme Court.

Cause Title- Anil Kumar Sharma v. The State of Haryana & Ors.

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