At, Andhra Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Hyderabad
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. R. LAKSHMINARASIMHA RAO
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. THOTA ASHOK KUMAR
By, MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. S. BHUJANGA RAO
For the Appellant: Party in person. For the Respondent: Admission Stage.
Oral Order: (R. Lakshminarasimha Rao, Member)
1. This is an appeal preferred by Universal Packers, Movers and Logistics against the order of the District Forum along with it an application F.A.I.A.No.2509 of 2013 u/s 15 of C.P.Act (R/w Sec.5 of Limitation Act) to condone delay of 577 days on the ground that the authorized representative of the petitioner suffered with cardiac problem and was advised rest by the doctors and in the process a delay of 577 days ensued.
2. In the light of the fact that delay was 577 days without any material whatsoever to substantiate the delay, we do not intend to order any notice to the respondent as no improvement could be made by the petitioner/appellant. The procedure contemplated under Civil Procedure Code or provisions of Limitation Act do not apply to the proceedings under the Consumer Protection Act for ordering notice before resolving the issue. The matters have to be resolved by applying principles of natural justice, equity, etc.
3. The point that arises for consideration is whether there are any valid and justifiable grounds to condone delay?
4. Evidently there has been whopping delay of 577 days in filing the appeal. The petitioner except stating that the representative of the petitioner suffered from cardiac problems he did not file any document to show that he was suffered from cardiac problem though he stated to have been filed the medical records to show that he was suffered from cardiac problem.
5. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in 'Anshu Agarawal Vs. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority' reported in IV (2011) CPJ 63 (SC) opined
'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. With the above observations, the application for condonation of delay is rejected and the special leave petition is dismissed as barred by limitation.'
6. The Hon’ble Supreme Court also in Lanka Venkateshwarlu Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh reported in (2011) 4 SCC 363 held:
'reasonable exercise of discretionary power and discretionary power should be exercised systematically informed by reasons. Liberal approach in considering sufficiency of cause for delay should not over-ride substantial law of limitation, especially when court finds no justification for delay.
7. The parties seeking relief has to satisfy the court that he/she has sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal within the time prescribed and the explanation has to cover the entire period of delay. A litigant cannot be permitted to take away a right which has accrued to his adversary by lapse of time. Proof of sufficient cause is a condition precedent for the exercise of discretion of jurisdiction vested in this Court under Section 15(a) of the Consumer Protection Act. The discretion conferred on this court is a judicial discretion and is exercised to advance justice and even if there is a strong cause for acceptance of the appeal that would not be a ground for condoning the delay. Consumer Protection Act provides for speedy redressal to consumer disputes. It follows that the delay cannot be allowed to occur in a routine way and sufficient cause should be made out with specific reasons given supported by material; and that the discretion for entertaining the appeals filed beyond the period allowed will not be exercised in a light and routine manner.
8. The respondent should not be denied the right accrued to her on expiry of limitation provided for to prefer an appeal. If they receive summons or notices after a lapse of time they may be surprised and may not be able to comprehend as to when the litigation would come to an end. As was opined the explanation has to be reasonable, plausible and believable. Mere explanation is not sufficient for condoning the delay in favour of applicant. If it does not satisfy the ingredients, and that it does not reflect ‘sufficient cause’ then th
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e application should be dismissed. When consistently routine and rigmarole facts are pleaded without any justification or proof condonation of exorbitant delay cannot be condoned. 9. When the delay is whopping 577 days in filing the appeal without any explanation and the same is not satisfactorily explained, we are of the opinion that the petition is liable to be dismissed, 10. In the result the petition is dismissed consequently the appeal is rejected. No costs.