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Reliance Consultancy Services Ltd. & Another v/s Ramesh Chandra Srivastava & Another

    Revision Petition No. 3356 of 2017
    Decided On, 20 March 2018
    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
    By, MEMBER
    For the Petitioners: Jahanvi Worah, Advocate. For the Respondents: ------

Judgment Text
Present Revision Petition has been filed by the Petitioners /Opposite Parties against the impugned order dated 05.10.2016 passed by Uttar Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at Lucknow (for short, ‘State Commission’) in First Appeal No. 1353 of 2004.

2. The Respondents/Complainants had filed a Complaint against the Petitioners/Opposite Parties seeking directions against the Opposite Parties No.1 and 2 i.e Reliance Consultancy Services Ltd. and Karvy Consultants Ltd. to immediately return to the Complainants 44 shares plus 44 bonus shares of RIL along with dividends together with compensation of Rs.50,000/- for mental agony, physical torture and expenses in correspondence plus Rs.33,000/- as litigation expenses.

3. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II, Lucknow (for short, ‘District Forum’), vide its ex-parte order dated 13.01.2004, while allowing the Complaint gave the following order;

'The Complaint of the Complainants is hereby allowed. It is ordered to the respondents that within one month of this order return the 44 share of the complainants and 44 Bonus Share of Reliance Industries Ltd. along with dividend to the complainant and pay the compensation of Rs.2,000/- and Rs.1,000/- for the suit expenses to the complainant. Otherwise 12 percent annual interest will be payable on Rs.3,000/- annual interest will be payable on Rs.3,000/-.'

4. Aggrieved by the order of the District Forum, the Petitioners preferred an Appeal before the State Commission. The State Commission, vide their order dated 05.10.2016, while dismissing the Appeal, observed as under;

'From the side of the appellant the present appeal has been presented on date 15.07.2004 from the side of the appellant Sri P.K. Raman had filed the Vakalatnama. From the observation of the order sheet it is clear that after the said date none was present from the side of the appellant. On Date 09.12.2014 the appellant was directed to file the written arguments but the written argument has not been filed. On date 24.02.2015 also none came present from the side of the appellant and it was ordered and it was ordered by the office to send notice to the appellant and the notice was sent by the office on Date 27.02.2015 even after that none come present form the side of the appellant and nor the trial of the case was done. It appears that the appellant don’t have any interest to proceed with this appeal further, thus the appeal is liable to be dismissed.'

5. Hence, the present Revision Petition.

6. The present Revision Petition has been filed with a delay of 19 days as per the Petitioner and 38 days as per the Registry.

7. The reasons given in the application seeking the condonation of delay are as under;

'That as stated in the revision petition, the Petitioners received the certified copy of the impugned order dated 05.10.2016 on 7.7.2017. Thereafter, the petitioner took immediate steps to file the present revision petition. A delay of 19 days occurred as the petitioners are at Hyderabad and some time was taken to collect and verify documents related to facts of the present petition.'

8. The reasons given in the application days are not sufficient to justify the condonation of the delay of 38 days in filing the present Revision Petition. As per the Petitioners, they received the certified copy of the impugned order on 07.07.2017. However, it is seen from the certified copy of the order dated 05.10.2016, free copy was dispatched through Registered Post by the State Commission on 21.06.2017. The Petitioners have failed to produce any proof to prove that they received the Registered Post containing free certified copy of the impugned order on 17.07.2017. Hence, the present Revision Petition deserves to be dismissed on the ground of limitation alone.

9. It is seen from the record that the appeal filed by the Petitioners was dismissed for non-prosecution by the State Commission because the Appellants and their counsel did not appear even on a single date before the State Commission from the date of filing of the appeal i.e. 15.07.2004 till 15.10.2016, the date on which the appeal was dismissed. We have verified this fact from the order sheets placed on the record.

10. We have heard the learned counsel for the Petitioners. She contended that the Petitioners have a good case on merit and the State Commission had erred in coming to the conclusion that the Appellants/Petitioners had not actively pursued their case.

11. The reasons given for non-appearance before the State Commission on behalf of the Appellants/Petitioners in the Revision Petition, are as under;

'That after filing of the appeal, the Petitioner herein were in touch with their advocate regarding the status of the matter. Time and again the Petitioners herein made inquiries regarding the matter and the Petitioner were reassured by the counsel that he shall send the Petitioners an update regarding the matter. As no information was forthcoming and some-time had lapsed since filing of the appeal, the Petitioners decided to engage some other counsel. However, before the Petitioners could take steps and inform the Ld. State Commission, dismissed the appeal of the Petitioners herein vide order dated 05.10.2016 and the Petitioners received a copy of the impugned order by Registered Post on 7.7.2017.'

12. In the grounds of the Revision Petition, reasons for non-appearance before the District Forum as well as the State Commission, the Petitioners have stated, as under;

'E. Because the Hon’ble State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has failed to appreciate that even though the Petitioner took steps to defend the case, due to unfortunate inadvertence, written submission could not be filed on time before the Ld. District Forum. It is submitted that the order dt. 13.01.2004 was passed by the District Forum, ex-parte, without hearing the Petitioners herein. The delay in filing of Written Statement before the District Forum was not bona fide and beyond the control of the Petitioners herein.

It is submitted that the petitioner No.2 company is one of the largest corporate companies of India, being a flagship of numerous companies dealing with multifarious business on large scales. Every part of the business is conducted in accordance with specific procedures in manners laid out by the government of India by its various departments such as the Company Law Board, Securities and exchange Board of India, Registrar of Companies Etc. The Petitioners have to deal with thousands of crores of shares. The proceedings and handing of shares is dealt with by the Petitioner herein is at Hyderabad. Thus, obtaining necessary information regarding the case of the complainant took some time. Upon receipt of the details pertaining to the complainant, the Petitioners drafted and forwarded a reply to the counsel. Unfortunately by the time he went to the District Forum for filing the same, the District Forum had proceeded ex parte against the petitioners. The Ld. Forum failed to appreciate that the delay was beyond human control and denying the Petitioners a right to be heard and to place relevant facts on record would cause great loss and injury to the Petitioner but would not have caused any prejudice to the Complainants/Respondents herein.

F. Because the Hon’ble State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has failed to appreciate that although the Petitioners filed an appeal before the Hon’ble State Commission, and took steps to follow up the case with their counsel. However, for reasons unknown to the Petitioners, it appears that the counsel did not appear on the date the matter was called out for arguments. The Petitioner was not aware of the order dt. 05.10.2016 until the Petitioner received a copy of the impugned order by post on 21.06.2017.'

13. The learned counsel for the Petitioners failed to give any cogent reason to explain as to why the Petitioners had not been pursuing their case in a more diligent manner before the Fora below. From the perusal of the record, we find that there is not an iota of evidence to show as to what action had been taken by the Petitioners, against their Counsel for not filing the written statement before the District Forum as also for non-appearance before the State Commission for such a long period from the date of its filing of the Appeal till the date of its dismissal. It is also seen from the record that the Petitioners have been pursuing their case in a very careless and casual manner right from the date of receiving of notice from the District Forum in Consumer Complaint filed by the Respondents /Complain

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ants till the date of filing the present case. They did not file their written statement in time and were proceeded exparte before the District Forum. From the record it appears that no application/appeal for setting aside the exparte order was filed. Thereafter, no one appeared before the State Commission and their Appeal was dismissed in default. Even after dismissal of their Appeal, Petitioners did not become wiser and filed the present Revision Petition with a delay of 38 days. 14. Thus, in view of the above discussion, we are of the view that the State Commission has rightly dismissed the Appeal of the Appellants/Petitioners. Moreover, it seems that the present revision petition has been filed without any legal basis, just to harass the Respondents and deprived them of the benefit of the order of the District Forum passed in their favour more than 14 years ago. Accordingly, we dismiss the present Revision Petition. 15. No order as to cost.