CHIEF ENGINEER, IRRIGATION DEPARTMENT Vs. BISWAJIT CHOUDHURY
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
CHIEF ENGINEER, IRRIGATION DEPARTMENT
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PRASANTA KUMAR DEKA,J. -
(1.) Heard Dr. B. Ahmed, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioners. Also heard Mr. S.P. Roy, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents.
(2.) This is an application under section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 filed by the present appellants/petitioners for condonation of delay of 372 days in filing the connected first appeal against the judgment and decree dated 20.07.2015, passed in Title Suit No.45/2014 by the learned Civil Judge at Karimganj.
(3.) Dr. Ahmed submits that the suit preferred by the respondents was against the contractual payment purportedly due to the respondents from the Office of the Executive Engineer, Irrigation, Karimganj Division. The present petitioners/appellants are officials of the Irrigation Department of the Government of Assam, represented by the learned Government Pleader at Karimganj in Title Suit No. 45/2014. The suit was decreed vide judgment and decree dated 20.07.2015 whereafter the conducting Government Pleader, vide his letter dated 10.09.2015, informed the Executive Engineer, Karimganj about the disposal of the suit. It was also advised by the said letter dated 10.09.2015 that there are good grounds for preferring the appeal indicating to the Executive Engineer that the said appeal would lie before the Gauhati High Court. Anticipating that the appeal is to be filed before this Court, the Executive Engineer, Karimganj Division sent the para-wise comments to the Chief Engineer of the Irrigation Department vide letter dated 19.09.2015 and a copy thereof was also sent to the learned Standing Counsel of this Court of the said Department. Subsequent thereto, vide letter dated 29.10.2015, the Chief Engineer, Irrigation Department requested the present learned Standing Counsel to take effective steps with regard to the judgment and decree dated 20.07.2015. It is further submitted by Dr. Ahmed that the dealing Executive Engineer, Sri Baktaruddin Laskar was transferred vide notification dated 20.02.2016 as the Executive Engineer, Guwahati West Division. Thereafter on receipt of the said case record, it is submitted by Dr. Ahmed that the relevant plaint, written statements, evidence and other necessary documents were not placed before the learned Standing Counsel following which he had to ask for it from the concerned Division at Karimganj. Owing to the transfer of the earlier Executive Engineer, though another official was posted, however, as he was quite new, he took some time in arranging the said requisite documents. Finally, the said required documents were placed in the Office of the learned Standing Counsel in the month of February, 2016. On further scrutiny of the said documents and the record, the learned Standing Counsel again had to request for the running bill accounts but as the Executive Engineer was new in the said Division he was unable to bring the running bills instantly which were scattered at various places for which the appeal could not be filed up to April, 2016. The General Assembly Election and its process started in the month of May, 2016 and the officers were entrusted with the election duties and as such no one could bring the aforesaid documents sought for, by the learned Standing Counsel. It is further submitted that in the first week of August, 2016, all the necessary records were made available in the Office of the Chief Engineer, Irrigation Department and finally in the second week of August, 2016, the same were transmitted to the learned Standing Counsel. Thereafter, since record of payment etc. and the running bills were voluminous, the learned Standing Counsel took one month's time to prepare exact account tallying with the actual work done and only in the month of September, 2016 the appeal memo was ready. Though the appeal memo was made ready before the Puja vacation in the year 2016, it could be filed after the Puja vacation on 18.11.2016 as the learned Standing Counsel met with a serious accident. In the process, delay of 372 days occurred.;
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