At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MS. JUSTICE DEEPA SHARMA
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Petitioners: Mohit P. Bhansali, Karan Jain, Advocates. For the Respondents: ------
IA No. 15036 of 2019 ( condonation of delay)
1. The present revision petition is filed against the order dated 30.8.2016 passed by the State Commission dated in MA/15/374 and appeal No.822/2015. Following order had been passed by the State Commission: -
“Nobody is present for applicant/appellant. Advocate Shri Ashok Desai is present for respondent No.1. Nobody was present for applicant/appellant on 21.4.2016. Notice sent to the respondent No.2 is returned with endorsement “Left.” On 21.4.2016 applicant/appellant was directed to take steps for service on respondent No.2. ON the next date i.e. on 15.6.2016 nobody was present for applicant/appellant. Steps were not taken for service on respondent No.2. It appears that applicant/appellant is not interested in prosecuting the matter. Hence, it is disposed of.”
2. This order is impugned before this Commission by way of the present revision petition. Since the revision petition is delayed by 975 days, an application for condonation of delay has also been filed seeking condonation of delay.
3. It is argued by learned counsel that the free copy of the impugned order was never received by the petitioner. In fact, it was never sent to the petitioner and they learnt about the impugned order only when the execution proceedings were initiated by the respondent i.e. on or about 14.6.2019. It is further argued that the petitioner has a good case on merit and, therefore, in the interest of justice the delay in filing the present revision petition be condoned.
4. I have given thoughtful consideration to the argument of learned counsel and have also perused the record. The impugned order has been passed in the appeal of the petitioner against the order of the District Forum dated 7.4.2015 whereby the complaint was partly allowed. From the perusal of District Forum’s order it is apparent that the petitioner had not attended the proceedings even before the District Forum and did not put up any defence and an ex-parte order was passed against the present petitioners. There is no merit in the argument that petitioners had a good case on merit.
5. Sole ground on which the condonation of delay is sought is that the free copy of the impugned order was not received by the petitioner and they came to know of the passing of the impugned order only when they learnt about the execution proceedings against them and it is submitted that delay, therefore, is unintentional. It is further contended in the application that the counsel for the petitioner, in fact, never informed him about the order passed on 30.8.2016 i.e. about the impugned order. It is further submitted that on that date the counsel did not appear. A. The party who seeks condonation of delay has to explain the sufficient cause for each and every day. Condonation of delay is not a matter of right of any party to get the delay condoned. Delay can only be condoned when sufficient reasons have been shown. A party is required to show that they have acted diligently and remained active. A party who had been casual in approach and did not bother about the case which it had filed and remained in slumber and never enquired about the status of his case from his counsel, cannot be said that the said party has been acting with due diligence. The advocates appear in the Court only on the instructions of the parties and if the party did not enquire from the counsel as to what happened on the date i.e. 30.8.2016 on which date the case of the petitioner was pending, it cannot be said that the petitioner has acted with due diligence. There is no contention in the application that the petitioner had made enquiries from his counsel of the proceedings held on 30.8.2016. There is no contention that thereafter he made any effort to find out the status of his case, either by appearing in person or otherwise. In the present case, it is apparent from the conduct of the petitioner that he had never acted diligently in his matter. Despite the service, he did not cared about his appeal as well.
6. In the case of Ram Lal and Ors. vs. Rewa Coalfields Limited, AIR 1962 Supreme Court 361, Hon’ble Supreme Court has clearly held that condonation of delay is not a matter of right and where sufficient reasons are not shown, the Courts have no other jurisdiction/discretion but to dismiss the complaint. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has held as under: -
“12. 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.”
7. In the case of “R. B. Ramlingam vs. R. B. Bhavaneshwari, I (2009) CLT 188 (SC), Hon’ble has given the guidelines which needs to be followed by the Court/Commission while determining whether there was a sufficient reason for condoning the delay. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has held as under: -
"4. 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.”
8. Also in the case of Anshul Aggarwal Vs. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (2011) 14 SCC 578, Hon’ble Supreme Court has clearly held that special nature of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 needs to be kept in mind while dealing with such applications. Hon’ble Court has held as under: -
5. “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
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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 Fora." 9. In this case, there is delay of 975 days and as discussed above, the petitioner has failed to give any reasonable grounds for condonation of such delay. They have not acted diligently and bonafidely and it is their habit to delay. While moving MA No. 15/374 in their appeal, again there was delay of 45 days. This conduct of the petitioners, therefore, is neither bonafide nor sufficient for condoning the delay. The application for condonation of delay has no merit and same is dismissed. Consequently, revision petition is also dismissed in limine.