Herculean task to get pleadings completed: SC on State Govts failing to file response timely

Supreme Court of India [Representational Image]
Supreme Court of India [Representational Image] File: ANI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it is unhappy with some state governments for not filing counter-affidavits in time, while hearing a plea seeking directions for enacting well-defined laws/rules to ensure adherence to the fundamental duties as enshrined in the Constitution.

A bench, headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and comprising Justices Manoj Misra and Aravind Kumar, said getting the pleadings completed in the matter is a herculean task as it was informed that according to the court's office report, some state governments have not filed their counter-affidavits in the matter.

It also observed that affidavits were being filed just a day before the scheduled hearing in the matter, adding that the Secretaries of the state governments' ministry concerned which have not filed the counter-affidavits will have to present in the court virtually and posted the matter for further hearing on March 28.

In November last year, the apex court had given the last opportunity to state governments to file their affidavits within four weeks, saying, "the failure to file an affidavit within the specified time (whether filed or not) will result in costs of Rs 25,000 each".

In February last year, the apex court issued notice to Centre and state governments on a PIL seeking enforcement of fundamental duties set out in Article 51A of the Constitution.

The plea, filed by advocate-on-record Durga Dutt through advocate Karunakar Mahalik, said: "The Fundamental Duties are an important tool to protect the unity and integrity of several institutions including the judiciary" and contended that every citizen must learn how to respect the institutions of the country and added there have been cases where fundamental duties have been brazenly flouted by the people including the officers of the law.

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