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Ram Kishore Prasad v/s Ashok Gupta & Others


    Revision Petition No. 2739 of 2018

    Decided On, 02 July 2021

    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. C. VISWANATH
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. RAM SURAT RAM MAURYA
    By, MEMBER

    For the Petitioner: Nishant Kishore, Advocate. For the Respondent: Nemo.



Judgment Text

1. The present Revision Petition has been filed by the Petitioner against the order dated 10.07.2017 of Bihar State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Patna (for short “the State Commission”) in First Appeal No.66/2016, whereby the Appeal filed by the Petitioner was dismissed.

2. Alongwith the Revision Petition, IA/7967/2018, an application for condonation of delay has also been filed by the Petitioner. According to the Petitioner, there is a delay of 158 days in filing the Revision Petition. However, according to the computation done by the Registry, there is a delay of 313 days.

3. Heard the Learned Counsel for the Petitioner on IA/7967/2018, application for condonation of delay and also carefully perused the record.

4. Learned Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that the Petitioner is a resident of Patna and it took considerable time to obtain all documents and the impugned order from the State Commission and contact the advocate at Delhi. Petitioner personally visited Delhi twice to sign and verify the Revision Petition, which also took time. Petitioner being very old and partially disabled, took time to visit Delhi for signing the necessary papers. It was further submitted that brother of the Petitioner died in August, 2017 and the Petitioner had to spend time with the family to perform his brother’s last rights. The Petitioner approached the Counsel at Delhi in October- November, 2017. Thereafter, the Counsel for the Petitioner suffered with dengue for almost four months and resumed work in April, 2018. The Revision Petition, therefore, could not be filed in time.

5. The impugned order was passed on 10.07.2017 and was dispatched to the petitioner on 18.08.2017. The petitioner has filed the death certificate of his brother, showing his date of death as 29.07.2017. The petitioner has stated that he had collected the papers from Patna and approached his counsel in Delhi in October- November, 2017. A copy of the medical prescription relating to the counsel for the petitioner shows that he was diagnosed ‘dengue’ on 05.10.2017. It has been stated that the counsel remained ill and took almost 4 months, in recovery. This revision has been filed on 25.09.2018. Thus there is absolutely no explanation for the inordinate delay, caused from February, 2018 to 24.09.2018.

6. Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that party who has not acted diligently or remain inactive is not entitled for condonation of delay. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of “R. B. Ramlingam vs. R. B. Bhavaneshwari, I (2009) CLT 188 (SC)” has also described the test for determining whether the petitioner has acted with due diligence or not. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has held as under:-

"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.”

7. Condonation of delay is not a matter of right and the applicant has to set out the case showing sufficient reasons which prevented them to come to the Court/Commission within the stipulated period of limitation. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Ram Lal and Ors. Vs. Rewa Coalfields Limited, AIR 1962 Supreme Court 361 has held as under:

“It is, however, necessary to emphasise 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 condition precedent for the exercise of the discretionary jurisdiction vested in the Court by Section 5. If sufficient cause is not proved nothing further has to be done; the application for condoning delay 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.”

8. The burden is on the applicant to show that there was sufficient cause for the delay. The expression ‘sufficient cause’ has been discussed and defined by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Basawaraj&Anr. Vs. The Spl. Land Acquisition Officer, 2013 AIR SCW 6510, as under:

“Sufficient cause is the cause for which defendant could not be blamed for his absence. The meaning of the word “sufficient” is “adequate” or “enough”, inasmuch as may be necessary to answer the purpose intended. Therefore, the word “sufficient” embraces no more than that which provides a platitude, which when the act done suffices to accomplish the purpose intended in the facts and circumstances existing in a case, duly examined from the view point of a reasonable standard of a cautious man. In this context, “sufficient cause” means that the party should not have acted in a negligent manner or there was a want of bonafide on its part in view of the facts and circumstances of a case or it cannot be alleged that the party has “not acted diligently” or “remained inactive”. However, the facts and circumstances of each case must afford sufficient ground to enable the Court concerned to exercise discretion for the reason that whenever he court exercises discretion, it has to be exercised judiciously. The applicant must satisfy the Court that he was prevented by any “sufficient cause” from prosecuting his case, and unless a satisfactory explanation is furnished, the Court should not allow the application for condonation of delay. The court has to examine whether the mistake is bonafide or was merely a device to cover an ulterior purpose. (See: Manindra Land and Building Corporation Ltd. V. Bhootnath Banerjee &Ors, AIR 1964 SC 1336; LalaMatadin V. A.Narayanan, AIR 1970 SC 1953; Parimal V. Veena alias Bharti AIR 2011 SC 1150 L2011 AIR SEW 1233); and ManibenDevraj Shah V. Municipal Corporation of Brihan Mumbai, AIR 2012 SC 1629: (2012 AIR SCW 2412).

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It is a settle legal proposition that law of limitation may harshly affect a particular party but it has to be applied with all its rigour when the statute so prescribes. The Court has no power to extend the period of limitation on equitable grounds. “A result flowing from a statutory provision is never an evil. A Court has no power to ignore that provision to relieve what it considers a distress resulting from its operation.” The statutory provision may cause hardship or inconvenience to a particular party but the Court has no choice but to enforce it giving full effect to the same. The legal maxim “dura lexsedlex” which means “the law is hard but it is the law”, stands attracted in such a situation. It has consistently been held that, “inconvenience is not” a decisive factor to be considered while interpreting a statute.

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The law on the issue can be summarized to the effect that where a case has been presented in the court beyond limitation, the applicant has to explain the court as to what was the “sufficient cause” which means an adequate and enough reason which prevented him to approach the court within limitation. In case a party is found to be negligent, or for want of bona fide on his part in the facts and circumstances of the case, or found to have not acted diligently or remained inactive, there cannot be a justified ground to condone the delay. No court could be justified in condoning such an inordinate delay by imposing any condition whatsoever. The application is to be decided only within the parameters laid down by this court in regard to the condonation of delay. In case there was no sufficient cause to prevent a litigant to approach the court on time condoning the delay without any justification, putting any condition whatsoever, amounts to passing an order in violation of the statutory provisions and it tantamounts to showing utter disregard to the legislature”.

9. Also in the case of “Anshul Aggarwal Vs. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (2011) 14 SCC 578, the Hon’b

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le Supreme Court has warned the Commissions to keep in mind while dealing with such applications the special nature of the Consumer Protection Act. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has held 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 belated petitions filed against the orders of the consumer foras." 10. In view of the above, we find no sufficient ground to condone the inordinate delay of 313 days. The application for condonation of delay is accordingly dismissed. Accordingly, the Revision Petition is dismissed being barred by limitation.
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