SDO, CITY SUB-DIVISION, UHBVN Vs. OM PARKASH JAIN
PUNJAB STATE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
Sdo, City Sub -Division, Uhbvn
Om Parkash Jain
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R.K. Bishnoi, Member (J) -
(1.) ALONG with the appeal, appellant has filed an application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act (in short "Act") for condonation of delay of 49 days wherein, it is alleged that the copy of the order dated 6.2.2014 was prepared on 12.2.2014. The SDO sent the said order for seeking legal opinion from the office of legal remembrance at Shakti Bhawan, Panchkula, Haryana and after it's approval, file was handed over to the Counsel for the appellant for filing appeal and due to this reason appeal cannot be filed in time. So, the delay of 49 days in filing the appeal may be condoned. Arguments heard. File perused.
(2.) IT is clear that the appellant is a Government department and the file has to pass through so many hands. In such like cases, the matter is not pursued as swiftly as by private party. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has opined in State of Haryana v. Chandra Mani & Others (supra), that on account of impersonal machinery (no one in -charge of the matter is directly hit or hurt by the judgment sought to be subjected to appeal) and the inherited bureaucratic methodology imbued with the note -making, file -pushing, and passing -on -the -buck ethos, delay on the part of the State is less difficult to understand though more difficult to approve. The State which represent collective cause of the community does not deserve a litigant -non -grata status. It is axiomatic that decisions are taken by officers/agencies proverbially at slow pace and encumbered process of pushing the files from table to table and keeping it on table for considerable time causing delay -intentional or otherwise -is a routine. Considerable delay or procedural red -tape in the process of their making decision is a common feature. Therefore, certain amount of latitude is not impermissible. If the appeals brought by the State are lost for such default no person is individually affected but what in the ultimate analysis suffers, is public interest. The expression "sufficient cause" should, therefore, be considered with pragmatism in justice -oriented approach rather than the technical detection of sufficient cause for explaining every day's delay. The factors which are peculiar to and characteristic of the functioning of the governmental conditions would be cognizant to and requires adoption of pragmatic approach in justice -oriented process. The Court should decide the matters on merits unless the case is hopelessly without merit. In Collector Land Acquisition, Anantnag and Another v. MST Katiji and Others, : AIR 1987 SC 1353, it is laid down by Hon'ble Supreme Court that the power to condone the delay in Section 5 of the Act had been conferred in order to enable the Court to do substantial justice to parties by disposing of matters on merits. It is observed that the expression "sufficient cause" employed by the legislature is adequately elastic to enable the Courts to apply the law in a meaningful manner which subserves the end of justice, which is the life -purpose for the existence of institution of Courts. Hon'ble Supreme Court laid down following principles to be taken into consideration while deciding such question -
"(1) Ordinarily a litigant does not stand to benefit by lodging an appeal late.
(2) Refusing to condone delay can result in a meritorious matter being thrown out at the very threshold and cause of justice being defeated. As against this when delay is condoned, the highest that can happen is that a cause would be decided on merits after hearing the parties.
(3) 'Every day's delay must be explained' does not mean that a pedantic approach should be made. Why not every hour's delay, every second's delay? The doctrine must be applied in a rational, common sense pragmatic manner.
(4) When substantial justice and technical considerations are pitted against each other, cause of substantial justice deserves to be referred for the other (sic) to cannot claim to have vested right in injustice being done because of a non -deliberate delay.
(5) There is no presumption that delay is occasioned deliberately, or on account of culpable negligence, or on account of mala fides. A litigant does not stand to benefit by resorting to delay. In fact he runs a serious risk.
(6) It must be grasped that judiciary is respected not on account of its power to legalize injustice on technical grounds because it is capable of removing injustice and is expected to do so."
Our Hon'ble Supreme Court also opined in G. Rantagowda v. Special Land Acquisition Officer, Bangalore, : 1988 AIR SC 897, that while dealing with application for condonation of delay approach should be liberal. Keeping in view all the facts and circumstances of the case, the delay of 49 days in filing the appeal is hereby condoned.
(3.) THIS appeal has been preferred against the order dated 6.2.2014 passed by District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Sonepat (in short "District Forum").;
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