V.B. Gupta, Presiding Member
In this revision petition there is challenge to order dated 27.2.2012, passed by A.P. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Hyderabad (for short, ‘State Commission’).
2. Respondent no.1/complainant filed a complaint under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (for short, ‘Act’) against petitioner/OP-2 and respondent no.2/OP-1 on the ground that respondent no.1’s son A. Rajesh was employed with petitioner and had Group Personal Accident Policy with respondent no.2 through petitioner. Respondent no.1’s son was murdered on 10.1.2005. Accordingly, he submitted all the necessary documents as demanded by the petitioner as well as respondent no.2 with regard to the group insurance claim. However, the claim was rejected. Therefore, respondent no.1 filed complaint before District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-III, Hyderabad (for short, ‘District Forum’). Petitioner did not appear before the District Forum and was proceeded ex parte on 2.11.2007. Thereafter, District Forum, vide order dated 7.2.2008, allowed the complaint of respondent no.1. It directed respondent no.2 to pay a sum of Rs.10,000/- for causing delay in settling the claim and petitioner was directed to pay the claim amount of Rs.5,00,000/- together with interest @ 12% per annum from the date of claim till realization. Rs.75,000/- as compensation and cost was also awarded to respondent no.1.
3, Aggrieved by the order of District Forum, petitioner filed an appeal before the State Commission, which partly allowed the same. The State Commission modified the order of the District Forum and directed petitioner to pay a sum of Rs.5,00,000/- with interest @ 9% per annum from the date of filing of the complaint till payment. Rest of the order of District Forum was set aside.
4. Being aggrieved, petitioner has filed this revision. Alongwith it, an application seeking condonation of delay of 56 has been filed.
5. We have heard the learned counsel for the petitioner on application for condonation of delay and gone through the record.
6. As per grounds taken in the application for condonation of delay, free copy of impugned order was dispatched to the petitioner on 4.4.2012 at its old registered office address. Since, petitioner has changed the registered office address on 01.9.2009 it did not receive the certified copy of the impugned order in time. It was only on 17.7.2012 it received copy of the impugned order which was sent by respondent no.1 alongwith letter dated 14.7.2012. Thereafter, petitioner engaged Advocate around 23.7.2012 who asked for certified copy of the impugned order. Hence, petitioner applied for copy of the impugned order on 1.8.2012 which was delivered on 6.8.2012. Resultantly, present petition was filed on 29.8.2012. Hence, delay is neither intentional nor deliberate.
7. Petitioner as per its own case has changed its registered office in September, 2009. There is nothing on record to show that petitioner ever informed the fora below regarding change of its registered office address or got the new address recorded in the memo of parties. Therefore, under such circumstances, order of the State Commission passed on 27.2.2012 had to be sent only at the address mentioned as per memo of the parties.
8. It is not the case of petitioner that it has not received the certified copy of the impugned order at all. Petitioner’s plea is that the same was not received in time. However, in the same breath petitioner states that it was only on 17.7.2012 it received the copy of the impugned order. Again petitioner’s plea is that, it applied for the certified copy of the order on 1.8.2012.
9. Thus, petitioner is taking contradictory and different stand, with regard to the receipt of the impugned order. Petitioner has deliberately not mentioned in the entire application, as to when he received the free copy of the impugned order. Even assuming for the sake of arguments that certified copy of the impugned order was received by petitioner on 17.7.2012, then there is no explanation as to why petitioner took more than one and half month to file the present revision petition on 29.8.2012.
10. It is well settled that 'sufficient cause' for condoning the delay in each case is a question of fact. Under the Act, a special period of limitation has been provided to ensure expeditious disposal of cases. Complaint has to be disposed of within 90 days from the date of filing where no expert evidence is required to be taken and within 150 days where expert evidence is required to be taken. The inordinate delay of 56 days cannot be condoned without showing sufficient cause. Day to day delay has also not been explained. We are not satisfied with the explanation given.
11. Hon'ble Supreme Court in AnshulAggarwal vs. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority –IV (2011) CPJ 63 (SC) has held that while deciding the application filed for condonation of delay, the Court has to keep in mind that the special period of limitation has been prescribed under the Act for filing appeals and revisions in consumer matters and the object of expeditious adjudication of the consumer disputes will get defeated if the appeals and revisions which are highly belated are entertained. Relevant observations made by Apex Court read 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 fora'.
12. Hence, inordinate delay of 56 days cannot be condoned. Accordingly, we reject the appl
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ication for seeking condonation of delay of 56 days in filing the revision petition before this Commission. Consequently, we dismiss the present revision petition being time barred with cost of Rs.10,000/- (Rupees Ten Thousand only). 13. Petitioner is directed to deposit the cost of Rs.10,000/- (Rupees Ten Thousand only) by way of demand draft in the name of ‘Consumer Welfare Fund’ as per Rule 10A of Consumer Protection Rules, 1987, within four weeks from today. In case, he fails to deposit the cost within prescribed period, then he shall be liable to pay interest @ 9% p.a. till its realization. 14. List on 17.05.2013 for compliance.