Supreme Court not bound by its own decision on interim stay

The Supreme Court has observed that, the principle that ‘interim stay on civil/criminal proceedings would end on expiry of six months from the date of such order’ is not applicable to the Supreme Court orders.

In the case of Asian Resurfacing of Road Agency Private Limited v. Central Bureau of Investigation, the apex court had held that any interim stay on civil/criminal proceedings shall vacate on the expiry of six months of the interim order unless an extension is granted by speaking order. In this order, it was observed that such an extension will also last only six months unless another extension by the way of  speaking order was received. Such a speaking order should also illustrate why the case is of such exceptional order that the interim order must be extended and the trial cannot be finalized.

However, recently, in the case of  Fazalullah Khan v. M.Akbar Contractor, observed that this rule would not apply to interim orders by the Supreme Court. The bench comprising of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K M Joseph observed: We are constrained to pen down a more detailed order as the judgment of this Court in Asian Resurfacing of Road Agency’s case (supra) is sought to be relied upon by different courts even in respect of interim orders granted by this Court where the period of 6 months has expired. Such a course of action is not permissible and if the interim order granted by this Court is not vacated and continues beyond a period of 6 months by reason of pendency of the appeal, it cannot be said that the interim order would automatically stand vacated.

In this case, interim stay was granted to a tenant facing eviction proceedings in March 2009. The tenant filed an appeal in the apex court as the revisional court seeked to proceed on a ground that, on the expiry of six months, the interim order of March 2009 is no longer in force. The bench pronounced that the interim order granted must continue until the appeal is decided, which should be kept in mind by both the trial court and High Court while dealing with this aspect.

The Court posted the appeal of the tenant of 2011 for hearing in the week commencing on 20th August 2019.


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