At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MS. JUSTICE DEEPA SHARMA
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Appellant: Ch. Leela Saveswar, Adesh Kumar, Advocates. For the Respondents: G.L.N. Murthy, Advocate.
IA No. 6219 / 2018 (Condonation of delay)
1. This application is filed by the Appellant for condonation of delay of 211 days in filing the present Appeal against the order dated 18.07.2017 of State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Telangana at Hyderabad in CC No. 02 / 2014 of the Appellant by which its complaint was partly allowed and passed the following directions:-
“In the result the complaint is allowed in part directing the opposite parties to rectify the defects such as seepages, water logging, cracks and dampness in Sapthagiri Apartments within two months from the date of this order and also pay costs of Rs.5,000/- to the complainants. Time for compliance two months”.
2. In the application, the Appellant has submitted that the counsel for the complainant went to his hometown Avanigadda due to birth of his child and his child was suffering from Jaundice and he stayed back there for more than 5 months.He was thus not aware of the passing of the order by the State Commission.He returned to his work at Hyderabad and learnt on 25.01.2018 about the order.The Association also produced a free copy of the impugned order dated 28.07.2017 received by them on 31.07.2017.Immediately he applied for certified copy of the order, which was made available to him on 30.01.2018.Counsel at Delhi was contacted in second week of Feb. 2018 and the file was sent to Delhi.The vakalatnama which was sent by the Association, since was not stamped and seal of the Association was not put, another vakalatnama was required to be sent which took some time.For these reasons, the delay had occurred.On these contentions it is prayed that the delay in filing the Appeal be condoned.
3. The arguments of the Learned Counsel for the parties were heard.The Appellant has submitted that the delay was totally unintentional and occurred due to the reasons which were beyond their control – first his counsel had to leave for his home town for his child birth who was also suffering with Jaundince and it took him 5 months to return to work and secondly when the file was sent to Delhi for filing the Appeal, the Vakalatnama sent alongwith file, was not properly executed and execution of that vakalatnama subsequently took some more time.It is argued on behalf of the Respondent that delay is totally unexplained.It is submitted that the Appellant has already admitted in his application that applicant had received free copy of the impugned order on 31.07.2017 and no grounds have been shown as to what steps were taken by the Appellant for filing the appeal since then.He submitted that application has no merit and the same be dismissed.
4. I have given thoughtful consideration to the arguments advanced by the parties.The Appellant is the complainant who has filed the present appeal against the impugned order whereby his complaint was partially allowed.There is no doubt that in plethora of judgments, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that Appeals and the Revisions should be disposed of on merits and the Court should take liberal approach while dealing with the applications for condonation of delay.It is also settled principle of law that the party who have come before the Court for condonation of delay needs to explain delay of each and every date showing sufficient cause.In the present case, the Appellant has clearly submitted that the free copy of the impugned order was received on 31.07.2017.There is no explanation in the application as to what steps were taken by the Appellant for filing the Appeal thereafter.It is submitted in the application that the counsel has left for his hometown due to the birth of his child who was suffering with jaundice and he remained there for 5 months.Even in the application it is submitted that the counsel was not even aware of the order passed in the complaint.It was the duty of the complainant to make efforts to file the appeal within the period of limitation.As per the contention of the Appellant, he applied for certified copy only on 29.01.2018, i.e., after almost a lapse of 6 months. No explanation has come-forward for such delay on the part of the Appellant.There is no reason why the Appellant could not file appeal within time after receiving the free copy on 31.07.2017.
5. It is settled principle of law that the condonation of delay is not a matter of right.The Hon’ble Supreme Court in “Ram Lal and Ors. vs. Rewa Coalfields Limited, AIR 1962 Supreme Court 361” 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.”
6. The Hon’ble Supreme Court “R. B. Ramlingam vs. R. B. Bhavaneshwari, I (2009) CLT 188 (SC), has laid down the test which the court should adopt and satisfy whether there was a sufficient cause or not.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.”
7. Therefore, the parties who seeks condonation of delay, has to establish that they had been acting with reasonable diligence and delay had occurred due to unavoidable circumstances which were beyond their control.Also in the case of “Anshul Aggarwal vs. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, (2011) 14 SCC 578,” the Hon’ble Supreme Court has clearly held that the special nature of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has to be kept in mind while dealing with the applications for condonation of delay. The Hon’ble Supreme 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 limi
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tation 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 Fora.” 8. The present application is bereft of any explanation to show as to why the Association could not file the present appeal within the period of limitation especially when they admittedly had received the free copy of the impugned order on 31.07.2017. 9. I find no reason to condone the inordinate delay of 211 days in filing the present appeal. IA stands dismissed. Consequently the present appeal also stands dismissed.