At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S.M. SUBRAMANIAM
For the Petitioner: K. Govi Ganesan, Advocate. For the Respondents: ------
(Prayer: C.M.P.No.5265 of 2020 is filed under Section 173(1) of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to condone the delay of 303 days in filing the above appeal.C.M.A.SR.No.26756 of 2020 is filed under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, against the Fair and Decreetal order dated 13.12.2018 passed in MCOP.No.282/2013 on the file of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal(Sub Court), Gudiyatham for enhancement of compensation.)1. The civil miscellaneous petition is filed to condone the delay of 303 days in filing the civil miscellaneous appeal against the order passed by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal in M.C.O.P.No.282/2013 dated 13.12.2018.2. The condone delay petition is filed under Section 173(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The appeal is to be filed within the period of limitation prescribed under Section 173(1) of the said Act. Accordingly, 90 days time limit is contemplated. The Proviso Clause to Section 173(1) stipulates that the High Court may entertain the appeal after the expiry of the said period of 90 days, if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from preferring the appeal in time. Thus, there must be sufficient cause for delay and the reasons stated for such an enormous delay in filing the appeal is also to be explained and must be an acceptable one.3. Law of Limitation as contemplated under Section 173(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act is the law. The condonation of delay is an exception under the proviso clause. Thus, the condonation of delay can never be a mechanical affair and the High Court cannot condone the delay in a routine manner. When the law provides limitation for preferring an appeal and the proviso clause as contemplates the power of discretion to the Court to condone the delay, then such discretionary powers are to be exercised judiciously and by recording reasons. It is not as if, the High Courts can condone the delay in a routine manner, so as to dilute the law of limitation as contemplated under the said Act. Thus, in all cases, where there is an enormous delay in filing an appeal, the Courts are bound to ascertain the reasons and its genuinity and the acceptability of such reasons. The reasons must be candid and the Courts are bound to record such reasons, while condoning long delay.4. As far as the lis on hand is concerned, Perusal of the affidavit filed in support of the miscellaneous petition reveals that the award was passed on 13.12.2018. The copy application was filed on 17.12.2018 and the copies were made ready on 29.01.2019 and delivered on 29.01.2019 and the CMA ought to have been filed on or before 24.03.2019. However, it was filed within a period of delay of 303 days. The reasons stated is that the petitioner could not able to arrange funds to pay the Court fee due to Poverty.5. On verification of the appeal papers, it is found that the petitioner had paid the Court fee amount of Rs.873/-. Admittedly, the petitioner is working as a Mechanic at Gudiyatham and for payment of the Court fee of a sum of Rs.873/-, he pleads that he is in poverty and could not able to arrange funds for the purpose of filing an appeal. Such a reason is not only flimsy, but cannot be trusted upon. The reasons stated for condoning such long delay can be candid and convincing. It is not as if the condonation of delay can be granted in a routine manner.6. In all such delay, the reasons must be candid, enabling this Court to exercise the power of discretion under the Proviso Clause to Section 173(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act. In the absence of any such convincing reasons, the Courts would not condone the huge delay in a routine manner, which would defeat the very purpose of law of limitation as contemplated under the statute. Uncondonable delay cannot be condoned.7. Power of discretion and the exception clauses are to be exercised properly and in order to mitigate certain circumstances arising on account of the certain events or incidents, which must be an acceptable one. Contrarily, certain reasons, which are flimsy and routine, cannot be a ground to condone the huge delay.8. In the present case, the reasons stated that the petitioner is
Please Login To View The Full Judgment!
unable to mobilize a sum of Rs.873/- for the purpose of paying the Court fee is untenable and cannot be believed for the purpose of condoning the delay. Thus, the petitioner has not established any acceptable reason for the purpose of condoning the delay of 303 days and therefore, this Court is not inclined to condone the delay and consequently, C.M.P.No.5265 of 2020 stands dismissed and C.M.A.SR.No.26756 of 2020 is rejected at the SR Stage itself. No costs.