R.S. Pathak, C.J.
1. The petitioner was appointed Office Kanungo in May 1960 against a permanent vacant post. In 1963 he was placed under suspension on account of a criminal proceeding against him. He was tried and was acquitted on March 29, 1966 by the Assistant Sessions Judge, Mahasu. Consequently the Collector, Mahasu reinstated the petitioner as Office Kanungo.
2. On August 19, 1966 the Collector made an order reverting him to his substantive post of Patwari. It was pointed out that the petitioner's candidature as Kanungo had been set aside by the Financial Commissioner by his order dated December 6, 1962, and that he had not been considered for acceptance as Kanungo again and was no longer an accepted Kanungo candidate. The petitioner represented against the order before the Collector and kept on making representations in the matter. The last representation sent by him is dated September 6, 1971. No reply was received by the petitioner to any of the representations. On September 24, 1971 the petitioner filed the present writ petition. The petitioner prays for relief under Article 226 of the Constitution of India against the order withdrawing the candidature of the petitioner as Kanungo and against the order of reversion.
3. It appears from the record that the order withdrawing the candidature of the petitioner as Kanungo was made by the Financial Commissioner as long ago as 1961. The order of reversion was made on August 19, 1966. The question arises at the outset whether the petitioner should be denied relief on the ground of laches.
4. The petitioner seeks to explain the delay in filing the writ petition by the plea that after the order of reversion was made he was making repeated representation to the authorities, and did not receive any reply from them. Having regard to his conduct, he contends, the court should condone any delay occasioned in filing the writ petition. After care-ful consideration, it seems to me that the doctrine of laches bars relief to the petitioner.
5. The order depriving the petitioner of his status as an accepted candidate was made as long ago as 1961. It was communicated by an order dated December 6, 1962. About nine years elapsed before the present writ petition was filed challenging that order. The order of reversion made on August 19, 1966 is a consequential order, the reversion having been effected consequent upon the withdrawal of the petitioner's status as Kanungo candidate. There is no valid explanation for the delay in challenging the order by which the petitioner lost his status as an accepted Kanungo candidate. As regards the order of reversion, the petitioner, it is true, kept on filing representations to the Collector but it has not been shown that those representations were made on the basis of any statutory right conferred in that behalf. That being so, the entire time consumed in making the representations-- a period of about five years-- cannot be taken into consideration as an extenuating factor for excusing the delay in filing the petition. If a suit was filed by the petitioner against the orders of 1961 and 1966 mentioned above, it would have been barred by limitation long before the point of time when the writ petition was filed. It is urged for the petitioner that to such a suit Article 113 of the Limitation Act will apply, while the learned Advocate-General on behalf of the respondents points out that it is Article 100 of the Limitation Act which applies. The first prescribes a period of three years while the latter prescribes a period of one year. Plainly, whichever Article of the Limitation Act can be said to apply a suit would have been time barred in September, 1971. Reliance has been placed by the petitioner on Roop Lal Nand Lal Rawla v. The State of Punjab, 1971 Cur LJ 490. In that case the learned Single Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court held that the writ petition was not barred by laches but in doing so he relied on the circumstance that a suit for the same relief was not yet barred by limitation in State of Madhya Pradesh v. BhaiLal Bhai, AIR 1964 SC 1006, the Supreme Court expressed the opinion that where the delay in filing a Writ petition was more than the period of limitation prescribed for civil action for the remedy it would almost always be appropriate for the court to hold that the delay was unreasonable. The petitioner relies on B. S. Brar v. The State, 1970 Serv LR 889 .(Punj.). A learned Single Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court condoned the delay in filing the writ petition brought five years after the petitioner's services were terminated. In that case also the petitioner continued making representations against the order of termination and received no reply from the Government. The court held that the conduct of the parties was such as to entitle the petitioner to relief on the writ petition notwithstanding the delay with which it was filed. With great respect to the learned Judge, it appears from the judgment that he ommitted to consider the observations made by the Supreme Court in State of Madhya Pradesh v. Bhailal Bhai (supra). Reference was also made to Mrs. H. M. Dhillon v. The State of Punjab, 1966 Cur LJ 678 (Punj.). That was a case where the petitioner contended that her prospects of appointment to a selection grade which was then about to take place were being affected adversely by a void order passed seven years ago. The learned Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court held that the petitioner was not guilty of laches. They proceeded on the reasoning that the original order being void it was not necessary to have it set aside and that it was open to the petitioner to apply to the court for relief when the effect of that void order w.as being visited on her. In the present case it has not been shown by the petitioner that any proceeding is being presently taken in respect of the petitioner pursuant to the orders which he has challenged in the writ petition.
6. In my judgment the writ petition must fail on the ground of laches.
7. The writ petition is dismissed, but in the circumstances there is no order as to costs.