Prem Narain, Presiding Member
This revision petition has been filed by the petitioner Ministry of Railways against the order dated 24.09.2018 of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Delhi, (in short ‘the State Commission’) passed in First Appeal No.487 of 2017.
2. Brief facts relevant for disposal of the present revision petition are that the respondent/complainant filed a consumer complaint before the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum –VI, Distt. New Delhi, (in short ‘the District Forum’) bearing complaint No.639 of 2013 in respect of the deficiency against the petitioner herein/opposite party. The District Forum vide its order dated 03.04.2014 directed the petitioner herein/opposite party to pay a compensation of Rs.75,000/- to the complainant.
3. The complainant preferred an appeal bearing no.556 of 2014 before the State Commission and the petitioner herein contested that appeal. The appeal was decided vide order dated 24.05.2017.
4. Petitioner also preferred appeal no.487 of 2017 before the State Commission. The State Commission has dismissed this appeal on the ground of limitation.
5. Hence the present revision petition.
6. Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner at the admission stage. Learned counsel argued that the order of the District Forum awarding Rs.75,000/- as compensation to the respondent/complainant is not justified at all and particularly the order relating to deduction of Rs.25,000/- from the salary of the concerned TTE. The State Commission has dismissed the appeal filed by the petitioner herein on the ground of limitation. The fact is that the petitioner herein was proceeded ex-parte before the District Forum as the complainant had given wrong address of the opposite party. This point has been raised before the State Commission in appeal, however, the State Commission has not considered anything on merit and has dismissed the appeal on the ground of limitation only. The learned counsel argued that the delay has occurred because the petitioner herein was proceeded ex-parte before the District Forum and therefore, the petitioner herein got the information of the order of the District Forum only when notice was issued in the appeal filed by the respondent/complainant. It is stated by the learned counsel that the petitioner herein was already contesting the appeal filed by the respondent/complainant before the State Commission and therefore, no need was felt to file the appeal by the petitioner herein before the State Commission against the same impugned order of the District Forum. As the delay is bonafide and unintentional, the delay should have been condoned by the State Commission as the petitioner herein had merit in its appeal.
7. I have carefully considered the arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the petitioner and have examined the record. Special periods of limitation have been prescribed under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 for speedy disposal of consumer disputes as held by Hon’ble Supreme Court in Anshul Aggarwal vs. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, IV (2011) CPJ 63 (SC) as follows;
“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.”
8. Decision of Anshul Aggarwal (Supra) has been reiterated in CicilyKallarackal Vs. Vehicle Factory, IV (2012) CPJ 1(SC) 1, wherein Hon’ble Supreme Court observed:-
“4. This Court in Anshul Aggarwal v. NOIDA, (2011) CPJ 63 (SC) has explained the scope of condonation of delay in a matter where the special Courts/ Tribunals have been constituted in order to provide expeditious remedies to the person aggrieved and Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is one of them. Therefore, this Court held that while dealing with the application for condonation of delay in such cases the Court must keep in mind the special period of limitation prescribed under the statute (s).
5. In the instant case, condoning such an inordinate delay without any sufficient cause would amount to substituting the period of limitation by this Court in place of the period prescribed by the Legislature for filing the special leave petition. Therefore, we do not see any cogent reason to condone the delay.
6. Hence, in the facts and circumstance of the case as explained hereinabove, we are not inclined to entertain these petitions. The same are dismissed on the ground of delay”.
9. In R.B. Ramlingam Vs. R.B. Bhavaneshwari, 2009 (2) Scale 108, the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed:-
“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”.
10. It is admitted by the learned counsel for the petitioner and the same is also proved from the record that the District Forum passed the ex-parte order on 03.04.2014. The respondent/complainant preferred appeal no.556 of 2014 before the State Commission, which was contested by the petitioner herein. Thus, the petitioner got the information about the order of the District Forum while contesting the appeal filed by the respondent/complainant. If the petitioner was aggrieved by the order of the District Forum, the same should have been challenged when the information of the order of the District Forum came to the notice of the petitioner. This appeal has been filed on 03.08.2017 after the decision of the State Commission in appeal no.556 of 2014 filed by the respondent/complainant, which was decided on 24.05.2017. Thus, clearly the petitioner has waited for the decision in the appeal filed by the respondent/complainant, which was not the correct legal action taken by the petitioner. The petitioner should have filed the appeal within a period of 30 days after getting the information regarding ex parte order of the District Forum dated 03.04.2014. Thus, in the present case, no ground is made out for condoning the delay in filing the appeal preferred by the petitioner herein before the State Commission. The above referred judgments of the Hon’ble Supreme Court are f
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ully applicable in the present case and negligence and deliberate inaction are imputable to the petitioner in filing the appeal before the State Commission. The petitioner has not shown reasonable diligence in the prosecution of their appeal. Hence, the State Commission has rightly dismissed the appeal filed by the petitioner herein on the ground of limitation as there was a delay of more than 3 years in filing the appeal 11. Based on the above discussion, I do not find any illegality, material irregularity or jurisdictional error in the order dated 24.09.2018 of the State Commission which calls for any interference from this Commission. Accordingly, the revision petition No.3418 of 2018 is dismissed at the admission stage.