At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
By, THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. MUNISHWAR NATH BHANDARI & THE HONOURABLE MRS. JUSTICE N. MALA
For the Appellants: A.K.Rajaraman, Advocate. For the Respondents: R1, L. Jaivenkatesh, Standing Counsel, R2, K.M.D. Muhilan, Government Advocate.
(Prayer: W.A.No.SR 48231 of 2022: Appeal under Clause 15 of the Letters Patent against the order dated 14.10.2019 passed in W.P.No.17279 of 2018 by the learned Single Judge.
C.M.P.No.13722 of 2022: Petition filed under Section 5 of the Limitation Act to condone the delay of 890 days in filing the appeal against the order dated 14.10.2019 passed in W.P.No.17279 of 2018.)
1. Heard on the application for condonation of the delay of 890 days in filing the appeal.
2. An affidavit to support the application has been filed and explanation for the delay has been given only in paragraph 7 and is quoted hereunder:
"7. The order was passed by the single judge on 14.10.2019 and we applied for the certified copy but due to intervention of COVID during the month of March 2020, we were prevented from meeting the counsel about next course of action. the Petitioner had personal losses in their family during COVID second wave too. Even after the pandemic restrictions were lifted, the petitioner was not recouped the original strength to move around and travel to Chennai for instructing my counsel to prefer appeal against the impugned order."
3. The other paragraphs of the affidavit refer to the facts of the case. The order of the learned Single Judge is dated 14.10.2019. The paragraph quoted above does not disclose when an application to obtain certified copy of the order was submitted before the Registry and the intervening period to get the copy. In view of the above, we have gone through the certified copy of the order impugned herein and find that the application to obtain the certified copy was made on 1.4.2022 and was delivered on 11.4.2022. Therefore, till 1.4.2022, the applicants have not taken any action even to apply for certified copy of the order and a vague statement of fact has been given in paragraph 7 of the affidavit that due to the Covid pandemic in the month of March 2020, the applicants were prevented from meeting their counsel about the next course of action. The facts narrated in paragraph 7 are misleading in view of the fact that the application to obtain certified copy was not made prior to March 2020 so as to prevent them from meeting the counsel about the next course of action.
4. As stated supra, application to obtain certified copy of the order was made only on 1.4.2022. Even if the period of Covid pandemic is excluded, the initial period of 5 months (150 days - from October 2019 to March 2020) and the subsequent period from January 2022 to March 2022 (90 days) has not been explained. Therefore, no explanation exists for the delay of 240 days.
5. This Court cannot be ignorant of the aforesaid because application for condonation of the delay cannot be filed as an empty formality or for the sake of it. The application does not explain the delay, rather, a vague statement of fact and, that too, contrary statement has been made which cannot be appreciated. If we ignore that, the parties would intend
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to mislead the Court with wrong statement of fact to seek the relief, which tendency has to be curbed. 6. Taking the aforesaid into consideration and finding no justification for the delay, the application fails and it is accordingly dismissed. Consequently, the writ appeal SR is rejected. There will be no order as to costs.