CASES DEALING WITH CONDONATION OF DELAY AND REASONABLE JUSTIFICATION
- In Anshul Aggarwal v. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, IV (2011) CPJ 63 (SC), it has been held that it is also apposite to observe that while deciding an application filed in such cases for condonation of delay, the Court has to keep in mind that the special period of limitation has been prescribed under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 for filing appeals and revisions in consumer matters and the object of expeditious adjudication of the consumer disputes will get defeated if this Court was to entertain highly belated petitions filed against the orders of the Consumer Foras. There was delay of about 152 days’ in this (Anshul-supra) case.
- In R.B. Ramlingam v. R.B. Bhavaneshwari, I (2009) CLT 188
(SC)= I (2009) SLT 701=2009 (2) Scale 108, it has been observed that “We hold that in each and every case the Court has to examine whether delay in filing the Special Appeal Leave Petitions stands properly explained. This is the basic test which needs to be applied. The true guide is whether the petitioner has acted with reasonable diligence in the prosecution of his appeal/petition”.
- In Ram Lal and Others v. Rewa Coalfields Ltd., AIR 1962 Supreme Court 361, it has been observed that “It is, however, necessary to emphasize that even after sufficient cause has been shown a party is not entitled to the condonation of delay in question as a matter of right. The proof of a sufficient cause is a discretionary jurisdiction vested in the Court by Section 5. If sufficient cause is not proved nothing further has to be done; the application for condonation has to be dismissed on that ground alone. If sufficient cause is shown then the Court has to enquire whether in its discretion it should condone the delay. This aspect of the matter naturally introduces the consideration of all relevant facts and it is at this stage that diligence of the party or its bonafides may fall for consideration; but the scope of the inquiry while exercising the discretionary power after sufficient cause is shown would naturally be limited only to such facts as the Court may regard as relevant.”
- Similar view was taken in Banshi Vs. Lakshmi Narain – 1993 (1) R.L.R. 68, it was held that reason for delay was sought to be explained on the ground that the counsel did not inform the appellant in time, was not accepted since it was primarily the duty of the party himself to have gone to lawyer’s office and enquired about the case.
- In Jaswant Singh Vs. Assistant Registrar, Co-operative Societies – 2000 (3) Punj. L.R. 83, it was laid down that cause of delay was that the counsel of the appellant in the lower Court had told them that there was no need of their coming to Court and they would be informed of the result, as and when the decision comes, was held to be a story which cannot be believed.
- In Bhandari Dass Vs. Sushila, 1997 (2) Raj LW 845, it was held that accusing the lawyer that he did not inform the client about the progress of the case nor has he did sent any letter, was disbelieved while rejecting an application to condone delay.
- It is well settled that Qui facit per alium facit per se. Negligence of a litigant’s agent is negligence of the litigant himself and is not sufficient cause for condoning delay. See M/s. Chawala & Co. Vs. Felicity Rodrigues, 1971 ACJ 92.
- In a recent authority in the Office of the Chief Post Master General & ors. Vs. Living Media India Ltd. & Anr., decided on 24.02.2012, by the Apex Court, in Civil Appeal No. 2474-2475 of 2012 arising out of SLP(C) No. 7595-96 of 2011, it was held that :-
“13. In our view, it is the right time to inform all the government bodies, their agencies and instrumentalities that unless they have reasonable and acceptable explanation for the delay and there was bonafide effort, there is no need to accept the usual explanation that the file was kept pending for several months/years due to considerable degree of procedural red-tape in the process. The government departments are under a special obligation to ensure that they perform their duties with diligence and commitment. Condonation of delay is an exception and should not be used as an anticipated benefit for government departments. The law shelters everyone under the same light and should not be swirled for the benefit of a few. Considering the fact that there was no proper explanation offered by the Department for the delay except mentioning of various dates, according to us, the Department has miserably failed to give any acceptable and cogent reasons sufficient to condone such a huge delay. Accordingly, the appeals are liable to be dismissed on the ground of delay.
- See also Balwant Singh Vs. Jagdish Singh & Ors. (Civil Appeal No. 1166 of 2006), decided on 08.10.2010, , in which it was held;
“The party should show that besides acting bonafide, it had taken all possible steps within its power and control and had approached the Court without any unnecessary delay. The test is whether or not a cause is sufficient to see whether it could have been avoided by the party by the exercise of due care and attention. [Advanced Law Lexicon, P.Ramanatha Aiyar, 3rd Edition, 2005]”.
- The Hon’ble Apex Court in a recent case i.e. Sanjay Sidgonda Patil vs. Branch Manager, National Insu. Co. Ltd. & Anr., Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) No. 37183 of 2013 decided on 17.12.2013, confirmed the order of the National Commission and refused to condone the delay of 13 days.
- Likewise, delay of 78 days’ was not condoned by the Apex Court in the case of M/s Ambadi Enterprise Ltd. vs. Smt. Rajalakshmi Subramanian in SLP No. 19896 of 2013 decided on 12.7.2013.