Decided on March 16,2007

Rajbeeri Appellant
Manju R Agrawal And Ors Respondents


- (1.) THIS appeal has been preferred against the order dated 16.2.2000 in Complaint Case No. 332/1996 passed by District Consumer Forum, Muzaffarnagar.
(2.) THE order is brief one which mentions that the complainant has not arrayed Insurance Company as a party, hence the complaint is dismissed. Inordinate delay has been made in filing this appeal. The application for condonation of delay accompanied with the affidavit is there and affidavit shows that the appellant is an illiterate lady and is not well acquainted with the technicality of law and proceeding. She could not file appeal against the rejection order of the complaint within the time. It has also been mentioned that the complainant is a poor and illiterate lady (agricultural labourer) and residing in District Muzaffarnagar which is far away from Lucknow. There is no doubt that in our society illiteracy ..... and poverty is sin. The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has been legislated to provide better protection of the rights of consumer. The merit of the case is that the opposite parties Doctors had operated the pregnant lady and it has damaged her uterus and she has gone under trauma and agony and also injury for very long period and she cannot be a mother again. It is alright that parties should obey the orders of the Forum for making necessary party but when the complainant refuses to seek any relief and redressal against a particular party, it may be his wish and the relief for redressal may not be granted by the Forum against the person who has not been arrayed as a party but only on this ground without examining the merit of the case, without going into details of the complaint and without providing the parties opportunity of hearing and adducing evidence it has got no right to dismiss the complaint out rightly. The Forum has committed a grave error and it should be rectified at the appellate stage by directing them to hear the complaint on merit. We take inspirations from , Collector, Land Acquisition, Anantnag and Another v. Mst. Katiji and Others, 1987 2 SCC 107 that when in a strong case the merit is pleaded against technicality of law certainly the merit will get preference over the technicality. In one of the famous cases the Hon'ble Apex Court has ruled that justice is a virtue which transcends every barrier and even law bends before justice. In the above mentioned case of Collector, Land Acquisition v. Mst. Katiji, the following observations have been made: (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 preferred for the other side 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 but because it is capable of removing injustice and is expected to do so.
(3.) THE complaint is a serious one and it must have been decided on merit. In the interest of justice, we are deciding this appeal at the admission stage itself. ORDER The appeal is allowed. The order of the District Forum dated 16.2.2000 is set aside. The dispute is remanded back to the District Forum for deciding it afresh after providing opportunities to the parties for adducing evidence and after reasonable opportunity of being heard.;

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