Oral:Through Video ConferencingThe present Revision Petition, under Section 58(1)(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (for short “the Act”) has been filed against the three orders dated 17.12.2019, 28.08.2020 and 31.08.2020 of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Odissa (for short “the State Commission”) in Appeal No.127 of 2019 alleging that these orders are arbitrary, illegal and without jurisdiction.2. The brief facts of the case are that a Complaint had been filed by the Respondent before the District Forum. The District Forum vide its order dated 03.09.2018 allowed the Complaint ex parte against the Petitioner holding that the Petitioner had failed to appear before it despite service of notice of the Complaint.3. The Petitioner filed Appeal No.127 of 2019 before the State Commission wherein they had challenged the order of the District Forum on several grounds. The Appeal was delayed. An application for condonation of delay in filling the Appeal was filed. One of the arguments for condonation of delay was that they had not been properly served with the notice of the Complaint and that they had come to know of the filing of the Complaint only after receipt of the notice in the execution petition. The State Commission considered the arguments of the Petitioner. The Appeal was apparently filed with a delay of 236 days and this delay in filing of the Appeal was condoned by the State Commission vide its order dated 17.12.2019. While condoning this delay, cost of ?1 Lakh was imposed.4. It is argued by learned Counsel for the Petitioner that the State Commission had imposed an exorbitant cost and that is why an application for recalling of the said cost had been filed before the State Commission. Vide order dated 28.08.2020, this application was dismissed and the Petitioner was given an opportunity to deposit the cost during the course of the day and the matter was adjourned for 31.08.2020. Finally on 31.08.2020, the Appeal was dismissed on account of non-compliance of the order dated 17.12.2019 and 28.08.2020. Learned Counsel for the Appellant has challenged this order on the ground that the direction in the order dated 28.08.2020 that the cost is to be deposited during the course of the day is harsh and could not have been complied with because an Advocate is not expected to pay the cost out of his pocket and therefore, this order is arbitrary and is liable to be set aside. It is also argued that the subsequent order dated 31.08.2020 is, therefore, liable to be set aside.5. I have given thoughtful consideration to the arguments of learned Counsel and have perused the file.6. Admittedly, the Petitioner had filed an Appeal before the State Commission with a delay of 236 days and sought condonation of such delay on the ground that it was not served with the notice of the Complaint and came to know of the order under challenge when a notice of execution petition was served upon it. The condonation of delay in filing of the Appeal was sought on this ground. It is, therefore, apparent that the State Commission in its order dated 17.12.2019 has not considered the issue on merit regarding service of notice of Complaint upon the Petitioner/Appellant but prima facie considering the arguments of learned Counsel for the Appellant to this effect condoned the delay in filing the Appeal and adjourned the matter for arguments on admission and listed the matter for admission of Appeal for 24.01.2020. The order dated 17.12.2019 is reproduced as under:“This is an application for condonatian of delay of 236 days in filing FA No. 127 of 2019.Heard.Ex parte order impugned in this appeal was passed on 3.9.2018. The appeal has been field on 31.5.2019.The sole contention raised by the learned counsel for the appellant is that no notice was received by the appellant from the District Forum regarding the complaint case. The appellant could know about the complaint only after receipt of notice in the execution proceeding.Written objection has been filed by the respondent/complainant against the limitation petition. It was contended by the learned counsel for the respondent that notice was duly sent by the District Forum on 19.1.2017 which is evident from the order sheet in CC No. 482 of 2016. Therefore, the assertions made by the appellant that they had not received the notice from the District Forum is not acceptable.We have perused the District Forum record from which it appears that in compliance of order dated 9.1.2017, notice was issued on 17.1.2017. Therefore, it is presumed that the appellant received the notice within 30 days from the despatch of the notice. Hence, the appellant is found not made any acceptable and reasonable ground for condonation of delay.However, in order to afford the appellant an opportunity to contest the appeal on merit, we are inclined to condone the delay subject to payment of reasonable cost keeping in view that the consumer complaint was filed in the year 2016.Accordingly, the delay in filing the appeal is condoned subject to payment of cost of Rs.1.00 lac (Rupees one lac) by the appellant to the respondent/complainant within a period of four weeks from today.Put up on 24.1.2020 for payment of cost and hearing on admission.”7. From the perusal of this order, it is apparent that the State Commission had neither heard the learned Counsel on the merits of the Appeal nor had admitted the Appeal since the order itself reflects so. It has only dealt with the prayer for condonation of delay in filing of the Appeal. The State Commission had also clearly held that they did not find any reasonable ground for condoning the delay, yet they condoned the delay in the interest of justice so that the Appeal could be heard on merit. This clearly shows that the issue whether the Petitioner/Appellant was duly served with the notice of the Complaint or not before the District Forum was kept open and the cost only relates to the condonation of delay in filing the Appeal. The argument of learned Counsel, therefore, that without going through the record of the proper service upon the Petitioner/Appellant the impugned order had been passed, has no merit. It is an order which relates only to the issue whether the delay in filing the Appeal be condoned or not. There is no finding in the impugned order to the effect that the ex parte order passed by the District Forum was right or wrong. Also, the State Commission had been considerate enough towards the Petitioner/Appellant that despite its holding that there was no ground for condoning the delay on merit, it had yet condoned the delay in the interest of justice with imposition of costs. If the Appellant found the cost to be on higher side, nothing had stopped it from challenging the said order before the appropriate Forum within stipulated period of limitation. The Petitioner/Appellant instead of taking that recourse, filed an application before the State Commission for recall of the said order knowing very well (since ignorance of law is not an excuse and the Petitioner was duly represented by Counsel) that the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 did not confer any jurisdiction upon the State Commission to recall/review/set aside its own order. From the act of filing an application for recall of the order, it is apparent that the Petitioner was simply buying time.8. The next argument of learned Counsel is that the State Commission had acted arbitrarily on 28.08.2020 while dismissing its application for recall of the order dated 17.12.2019, and giving time to the Petitioner to deposit the cost imposed vide order dated 17.12.2019 during the course of the day. The detailed argument of learned Counsel has already been recorded. I found no illegality in the order dated 28.08.2020. The State Commission did not have authority, under the old Consumer Protection Act, 1986 to either recall, review or modify its order. The State Commission on the other hand had been considerate enough to give one more opportunity to the Petitioner to deposit the cost. In case, the Petitioner had difficulty in depositing the said cost during the course of the day, nothing had stopped the Petitioner from filing an appropriate application seeking more time for deposit of the cost. Further, on 28.08.2020, the State Commission had adjourned the matter for 31.08.2020 and even within that period of three to four days, the Petitioner made no efforts to deposit the said cost.9. The order dated 28.08.2020 of the State Commission is reproduced as under:Heard.Mr U.N.Sahoo, learned counsel appearing for the appellant submits that he has filed the Misc. Case to recall the order whereunder the appellant has been directed to pay cost to the respondent for condoning the delay.2. Mr Sahoo, learned counsel submits that the appellant is unable to comply the order dated 17.12.2019 passed by this Commission in Misc. Case No. 385 of 2019.3. Mrs.Pragyan Mohanty, learned counsel appearing for the respondent submits that the appellant has taken eight adjournments to pay the cost to the respondent but finally has filed the present Misc. Case to harass the respondent. So, she submits to dismiss the Misc. Case.4. Considered the submission of learned counsel for both the parties and perused the order sheets.5. It appears from the order dated 17.12.2019 that this Commission has condoned the delay subject to payment of cost of Rs.1.00 lac by the appellant to the respondent within a period of four weeks. Since then the matter has been adjourned form time to time. On the last occasion i.e., on 14.8.2020 for the larger interest of justice time was granted as last chance. This Misc. Case has been filed to recall the order dated 17.12.2019 passed in Misc. Case No. 385 of 2019.6. On perusal of petition, it appears, it is designed to harass the respondent and defect the purpose of order dated 17.12.2019. Hence, we do not find any merit in the Misc. Case as such, the Misc. Case stands dismissed. The appellant is directed to deposit the cost of Rs.1.00 lac before this Commission in course of the day failing which put up the matter on 31.8.2020 for further or
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ders.10. From the above orders, it is apparent that the State Commission had acted within its jurisdiction while dismissing the application for recall of the order dated 17.12.2019 and has acted fairly while giving one more opportunity to deposit the cost during the course of the day. There is no explanation given by the Petitioner as to why it could not deposit the cost from 17.12.2019 till the date it filed the application for recall of the order. No explanation has also been given as to why the order dated 17.12.2019 was not properly challenged before the appropriate Forum. Hence, the order was binding and needed to be complied with. However, on account of non-compliance of the order dated 17.12.2019 by which the delay in filing the Appeal was condoned on payment of cost and subsequently on account of non-compliance of order dated 28.08.2020, the State Commission has rightly dismissed the Complaint for failure on the part of the Petitioner to comply with the directions. I found no illegality in any of the orders of the State Commission. The present Revision Petition has no merit and the same is dismissed.