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The Principal, Pondicherry Engineering College, Puducherry v/s J. Christhuraja

    C.R.P. (NPD) No. 944 of 2019 & C.M.P. No. 6148 of 2019
    Decided On, 10 January 2022
    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S.S. SUNDAR
    For the Petitioner: No appearance. For the Respondent: V. Vasanthakumar, Advocate.


Judgment Text
(Prayer: Civil Revision Petition is filed under Article 115 of Constitution of India, against the order dated 25.01.2017 made in I.A. No.1 of 2016 in E.C.A. No.5 of 2016 on the file of the Additional Commissioner for Employee's compensation, Puducherry.)

1. This Civil Revision Petition is directed against the order of Additional Commissioner for employees compensation, Puducherry, in I.A. No.1 of2016 in E.C.A. No.5 of 2016.

2. The revision petitioner is the Principal, Pondicherry Engineering College, a Government Educational institution, who is the opposite party before the Additional Commissioner for employees compensation, Puducherry, in the petition filed by the respondent under Section 22 of Employee's Compensation Act, 1923. The respondent filed an application claiming compensation for a sum of Rs.10,00,000/- with interest at 12%per annum from the date of accident i.e. 03.01.2001. The respondent has stated that he was on duty as Security Guard in the petition institution and that on 03.01.2001, a gate fell on his right leg and as a result the respondent sustained Compound Communited Fractures. It is the case of the respondent that amputation was done on his right leg and therefore, the revision petitioner is liable to compensate the respondent for the grievousinjury sustained by him during the course of employment. Unfortunately ,the application was presented by the respondent nearly 13 years after the date of accident (i.e.03.01.2001). Along with the application in E.C.A.No.5 of 2016, the respondent filed an application in I.A. No.1 of 2016 to condone the delay of 13 years 3 months and 22 days in presenting the claim application in E.C.A. No. 5 of 2016. The learned Additional Commissioner for employees compensation, Puducherry, allowed the application. Aggrieved by the same, the above Civil Revision Petition is preferred.

3. Learned Government Advocate appearing for the petitioner did not appear before this Court when the matter was listed earlier on 06.01.2022.Since there was no representation for the petitioner, the matter was directed to be posted under the caption “For dismissal”, today. Though the matter is listed today under the caption “For dismissal” and the name of Government Pleader is printed in the cause list, there is no representation for the petitioner. However, having regard to the peculiar circumstances ofthe case, this Court is inclined to go into the merits of the case.

4. Heard the learned counsel appearing for the respondent.

5. Learned Additional Commissioner for employees compensation, Puducherry, has allowed the application to condone the inordinate and huge delay of 13 years. Relying upon the judgment of this Court in the case of K.Visalakshi Vs. Superintending Engineer, S.A.E.S, reported in(1992) 1 LLN 296, (Mad.), the Additional Commissioner for employees compensation, Puducherry, observed that in order to deliver substantial justice, the petition to condone the delay should be allowed.

6. It is to be seen that the delay in filing claim petition was not even explained. Even though it is a basic principle that ignorance of law is not an excuse, the respondent filed an application to condone the delay for the following reasons:“

I further submit that I was asked by the Respondent / Opp. Party to file the claim petition before this Hon'ble Court only on 12.01.2016along with this delay condonation petition for the belated submission. I further submit that I underwent another surgery at Bangalore. I further submit that I was admitted on 04.02.2016 and discharged on 12.03.2016with an advice to take bed rest with out movement for at least two months.

Therefore the delay in filing this claim caused due to lack of awareness ignorance of law and hence I am filing this petition to condone the delay of 13 years, 3 months and 22 days in presenting the claim application for claiming compensation. I further submit that the delay in filing the claim application is neither willful nor wanton but due to the above said reasons.

Therefore it is earnestly prayed before this Hon'ble Additional Commissioner for Employees Compensation may kindly be pass an order to condone the delay of 13 years, 3 months and 22 days in presenting the Claim Application, otherwise I will be put into irreparable losses and hardships and pass such other orders as this Hon'ble Additional Commissioner for Employees Compensation deems fit and proper in the interest of justice.”

7. From the affidavit, this Court is unable to find any cause or explanation for the delay till 12.01.2016 for not preferring any claim application to get compensation for the injuries sustained by the respondent in the accident that occurred in the year 2001. The lower Court has given peculiar reasons to allow the petition condoning a huge delay of13 years without assigning any reason but relying upon a few precedents which was not applicable to the case on facts. Learned Additional Commissioner, ignored the nature of explanation offered by the respondent but observed that consequent to the accident, the respondent was continuously ill.

8. The revision petitioner has raised several grounds in the memorandum of grounds of Civil Revision Petition pointing out that the respondent was given financial assistance as well as other supports till he completely recovered. This Court is unable to find any justification for the inordinate delay of more than 13 years and three months. No convincing reason has been assigned by the learned Additional Commissioner for condoning the delay of 13 years. In such circumstances, this Court is of the view that the order of learne

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d Additional Commissioner, employees compensation, Puducherry, is not only irregular but also contrary to the settled principles of law. When there is no explanation for the period of more than thirteen years i.e. from the date of accident till the date on which the application was filed, this court is unable to sustain the order of the lower authority by any stretch of imagination expanding the scope of discretion or power that is available with the Additional Commissioner, Employees Compensation. 9. Accordingly, this Civil Revision Petition is allowed. No costs. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petition is closed.
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