Tag Archives: Legal Right

Legal Right – Meaning of

The meaning of the expression ‘person aggrieved’ will have to be ascertained with reference to the purpose and the provisions of the Statute. One of the meanings is that person will be held to be aggrieved by a decision if that decision is materially adverse to him. The restricted meaning of the expression requires denial or deprivation of legal rights. The expression ‘person aggrieved’ means a person who has suffered a legal grievance, i.e. a person against whom a decision has been pronounced which has lawfully deprived him of something or wrongfully refused him something.
A “legal right”, means an entitlement arising out of legal rules. Thus, it may be defined as an advantage or a benefit conferred upon a person by the rule of law. The expression “person aggrieved” does not include a person who suffers from a psychological or an imaginary injury; a person aggrieved must therefore, necessarily be one, whose right or interest has been adversely affected or jeopardised. A person aggrieved, means a person who is wrongly deprived of his entitlement which he is legally entitled to receive and it does not include any kind of disappointment or personal inconvenience. “Person aggrieved” means a person who is injured or he is adversely affected in a legal sense. Naval Kishore v. State of U.P., 2017 (122) ALR 121.

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Doctrine of Laches vis-à-vis Doctrine of Acquiescence

It is now a well settled principle of Jurisprudence that a right not exercised for a long time is non-existent. Even when there is no limitation period prescribed by any statute relating to certain proceedings, in such cases courts have coined the doctrine of laches and delays as well as doctrine of acquiescence and non-suited the litigants who approached the Court belatedly without any justifiable explanation for bringing the action after unreasonable delay. Doctrine of laches is in fact an application of maxim of equity “delay defeats equities”.

The principle is applied in those cases where discretionary orders of the court are claimed, such as specific performance, permanent or temporary injunction, appointment of Receiver etc. These principles are also applied in the writ petition filed under Article 32 and 226 of the Constitution of India. In such cases, courts can still refuse relief where the delay on the petitioner’s part has prejudiced the respondent even though the petitioner might have come to court within the period prescribed by the Limitation Act.

Likewise, if a party having a right stands by and sees another acting in a manner inconsistent with that right and makes no objection while the act is in progress, he cannot complain afterwards. This principle is based on the doctrine of acquiescence implying that in such a case the party who did not make any objection acquiesced into the alleged wrongful act of the other party and therefore, has no right to complain against the alleged wrong.

Thus, in those cases where period of limitation is prescribed within which the action is to be brought before the court, if the action is not brought within that prescribed period, the aggrieved party loses remedy and cannot enforce his legal right after the period of limitation is over. Likewise, in other cases even where no limitation is prescribed, but for a long period the aggrieved party does not approach the machinery provided under the law for redressal of his grievance, it can be presumed that relief can be denied on the ground of unexplained delay and laches and/or on the presumption that such person has waived his right or acquiesced into the act of the other. As mentioned above, these principles as part of equity are based on principles relatable to sound public policy that if a person does not exercise his right for a long time then such a right is non-existent. Prabhakar v. Joint Director, Sericulture Department, (2015) 15 SCC 1.

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