At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE J.M. MALIK
By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. VINAY KUMAR
For the Petitioner: Mohammad Ikram, Advocate. For the Respondent: --------
JUSTICE J. M. MALIK, PRESIDING MEMBER
1. Manoj Kumar, complainant filed a complaint before the State Commission against Sh. Rajeev Arora, CMD, OP on 01.11.2011. The OP was preceded against ex-parte due to his non-appearance on 13.03.2012. Order passed by the State Commission i.e. impugned order dated 13.03.2012 runs as follows:-
'None present for the OP despite service of notice under the registered post. Acknowledge receipt is on record. The case will precede ex-parte against OP.
Fixed 28th May, 2012 for filing complainants evidence.'
2. The service of the OP for 13.03.2012 was not denied. The case of the petitioner/OP is that proxy counsel appeared on 28.05.2012 and filed Vakalatnama and the case was adjourned for 18.09.2012. But due to inadvertent mistake, the Steno pasted order sheet on Internet mentioning the next date of hearing as 28.09.2012 instead of 18.09.2012. On 28.09.2012, OP reached the Court and there it transpired that the case was listed on 18.09.2012 and adjourned to final ex-parte arguments on 27.11.2012. It also transpired that as a matter of fact the OP was preceded against ex-parte on 13.03.2012 on account of non-appearance. In the Revision petition, it is prayed that the ex-parte order should be set-aside and the OP should be allowed to participate and defend the case on merits in the interest of justice.
3. The petitioner/OP has also moved an application for condonation of delay. It is stated that he was not aware of the order dated 13.03.2012 before 28.09.2012. It is also alleged that the previous counsel did not inform the OP whether any ex-parte order was passed against him. Consequently the non-appearance of the OP is neither intentional nor deliberate on 13.03.2012.
4. We have heard the counsel for the petitioner. There is inordinate delay in moving this application of 130 days. Even the name of the previous counsel was not disclosed. No complaint was made against the said counsel. No explanation is coming as to why the previous counsel did not inform the OP that he was proceeded against ex-parte. Learned counsel for the appellant admitted that the service on the OPs was effected in the month of January 2012. The petitioner did not appear before the State Commission deliberately on 13.03.2012. He slept over the matter and approached the court on 18.09.2012. It is not possible that State Commission would have given such a long date. The petitioner has failed to explain the day to day delay from the date of service till 19.10.2012 when this revision petition was filed. The explanation given by him in the application for condonation of delay makes neither head nor tail. The namby pamby pleas raised in the application leads the Court nowhere. The version that even on 18.05.2012 the proxy counsel could not come to know that petitioner was proceeded against ex-parte is not worthy of belief.
5. In a recent judgment in reference 'Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. Versus Vasantkumar H. Khandelwal & Anr.', Revision petition No. 1848 of 2012 decided on 21.05.2012, by this Commission, by a Bench headed by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ashok Bhan, President, it was observed that under the Consumer Protection Act, the District Forum is supposed to decide the complaint within a period of 90 days from the date of filing and in case some expert evidence is required to be led then within 150 days. In the said judgment, the delay of 104 days was not condoned. The same analogy will apply to the respondent.
6. 'In Anshul Aggarwal v. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, IV (2011) CPJ 63 (SC), it has been held that '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
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orders of the Consumer Foras.' 7. In the above circumstances, we find that the revision petition filed by the petitioner is hopelessly barred by time. His only purpose is to delay the case for which purpose we will not allow him to succeed. The revision petition is, therefore, dismissed. However, it is made clear that in the ex-parte proceedings, the petitioner can always join the proceedings and argue the case on the basis of complaint itself.