Legal Definition of Laches
S J Tubrazy
Laches is not the same thing as limitation. It is not every grievance, which requires to be promptly ventilated and pursued in a legal forum. Litigation is to be avoided rather than invited. Whether or not limitation is provided, before recourse to law is taken, an aggrieved person has to be sure that a point of no return has reached and that redress must be sought. However, where limitation is invocable he must act within the prescribed period. But no period, as may constitute laches, can be quantified. In the absence of a bar of limitation, the period within which remedy is to be sought has, however, invariably to be a reasonable one. Element of due diligence is also to be reconciled. What is more, delay should never be such as to generate a belief or situation of abandonment of the right because, then, vested rights come into operation and cannot be deviated from. Still, whether or not laches is involved in a particular case depends on the facts of such case. But, it is only when a right is firmly and finally repudiated, leaving no legitimate scope for retraction that, in the absence of a bar of limitation, a person is obliged to resort to legal proceedings.