This revision petition has been filed by the petitioners against the order dated 22.07.2011 passed by the Haryana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Panchkula (in short, ‘the State Commission’) in Appeal No. 1696 of 2006 – S.D.O. 'OP' S/Divn. No. 1, UHBVNL Vs. Narang Cold Storage & Ors. by which, while allowing appeal, order of District forum allowing complaint was set aside.
2. Brief facts of the case are that Complainants/Petitioners who are owners of different cold storages filed complaint before District Forum and learned District forum allowed complaint and directed OP/respondents to refund charges quoted as per audit report with 9% p.a. interest. Appeal filed by OP was allowed by learned State commission vide impugned order against which, this revision petition has been filed along with application for condonation of delay.
3. None appeared for respondent even after service and he was proceeded ex-parte.
4. Heard learned Counsel for the petitioner on application for condonation of delay.
5. In the application for condonation of delay it has not been mentioned that how many days delay is to be condoned. As per office report, there is delay of 123 days in filing revision petition.
6. Learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that delay occurred in collecting documents so delay may be condoned and revision petition be admitted.
7. Paragraph 4, 5 & 6 of the application for condonation of delay runs as under:
'4. That on the receipt of the said order/judgment dated 22.7.2011 passed by the learned State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Haryana and on the Respondent debiting the said amount in the account of the five petitioners and forcing them to pay the same forcibly, the five Respondents contacted Salil Paul, Advocate Delhi who immediately advised them to file and Revision Petition and demanded documents to enable him to prepare the Revision Petition.
5. That the Petitioners on the advice of Salil Paul, Advocate Delhi obtained documents from the State Commission, Panchkula and form the District forum, Kurushetra
6. That on the receipt of the said documents from the Petitioners, Salil Paul, Advocate Delhi prepared the Revision Petition and filed it before the National Commission on April, 2012 and for the above reasons the present Revision Petition has been filed after a day of days.'
As per application copy of impugned order dated 22.7.2013 was received by petitioners on 12.9.2011. In the aforesaid paragraphs it has nowhere been mentioned that when they contacted Advocate Salil Paul and how many days were taken in collecting documents and when revision petition was prepared and when it was filed, but as per office report it was filed on 12.4.2012. No date wise explanation for condonation of delay has been given and in the absence of reasonable explanation for condonation of delay, inordinate delay of 123 days cannot be condoned. Learned Counsel for the petitioner placed reliance on judgment of Hon’ble Apex Court in 2012 (4) SCALE 152 – S. Ganesharaju (D) Thr. LRs & Anr. Vs. Narasamma (D) Thr. LRs & Anr. in which delay of 53 days was condoned, as other parties did not oppose condonation of delay whereas in the case in hand there is delay of 123 days without any explanation. He also placed reliance on judgment of Hon’nble Apex Court in 2012 (7) SCALE 230 – B. Madhuri Goud Vs. B. Damodar Reddy in which order for condonation of delay of 1236 days was set aside. How this judgment help to the petitioner is not clear rather it goes against the petitioner. He also placed reliance on judgment of Hon’ble Apex Court AIR 1987 SC 1353 – Collector, Land Acquisition, Anantnag & Anr. Vs. Mst. Katiji & Ors. in which it was observed that court should take liberal approach in condonation of delay. I agree with the law laid down by Hon’ble Apex Court in the aforesaid judgment, but as there is no reasonable explanation for condonation of delay, this judgment is not helpful to the petitioners. As there is inordinate delay of 123 days, this delay cannot be condoned in the light of the following judgment passed by the Hon’ble Apex Court.
8. In R.B. Ramlingam Vs. R.B. Bhavaneshwari 2009 (2) Scale 108, it has been 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.'
9. In Ram Lal and Ors. Vs. Rewa Coalfields Ltd., AIR 1962 Supreme Court 361, it has been observed;
'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 S.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 bona fides may fall for consideration; but the scope of the enquiry 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.'
10. Hon’ble Supreme Court after exhaustively considering the case law on the aspect of condonation of delay observed in Oriental Aroma Chemical Industries Ltd. Vs. Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation reported in (2010) 5 SCC 459 as under;
'We have considered the respective submissions. The law of limitation is founded on public policy. The legislature does not prescribe limitation with the object of destroying the rights of the parties but to ensure that they do not resort to dilatory tactics and seek remedy without delay. The idea is that every legal remedy must be kept alive for a period fixed by the legislature. To put it differently, the law of limitation prescribes a period within which legal remedy can be availed for redress of the legal injury. At the same time, the courts are bestowed with the power to condone the delay, if sufficient cause is shown for not availing the remedy within the stipulated time.'
11. Hon’ble Apex Court in (2012) 3 SCC 563 – Post Master General & Ors. Vs. Living Media India Ltd. and Anr. has not condoned delay in filing appeal even by Government department and further observed that condonation of delay is an exception and should not be used as an anticipated benefit for the Government departments.
12. Hon’ble Apex Court in 2012 (2) CPC 3 (SC) – Anshul Aggarwal Vs. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority observed as under:
'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 b
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elated petitions filed against the orders of the Consumer Foras'. Thus, it becomes clear that there is no reasonable explanation at all for condonation of inordinate delay of 123 days. In such circumstances, application for condonation of delay is dismissed. As application for condonation of delay has been dismissed, revision petition being barred by limitation is also liable to be dismissed. 13. Learned State Commission allowed appeal and dismissed complaint as connection was for commercial purposes. It also appears that 5 complainants having different cold storages have filed one compliant which was apparently not maintainable due to misjoinder of parties. 14. Consequently, revision petition filed by the petitioner is dismissed as barred by limitation at admission stage with no order as to costs.