Decided on November 22,2006



S.S.Parkar, J. (Chairperson) - (1.) THIS application for condonation of delay presents a very sorry state of affairs because after getting one more opportunity to file additional affidavit, there seems to be no desire on the part of the appellant Bank to put its house in order.
(2.) THE application is filed by the appellant Bank for condonation of delay of 224 days in filing the appeal against an order of dismissal of claim of the Bank as against the defendant Nos. 3 to 5 and against other defendants in respect of reduction in the rate of interest while decreeing the claim against them. In the affidavit filed by the branch manager in support of the application for condonation of delay, reason given is that the previous Advocate representing the appellant Bank had orally given advice to file review application before the D.R.T. According to the Bank its previous advocate was perhaps ignorant about the settled law with respect to the issues involved in the present appeal and, therefore, the Bank had to approach experts to seek legal advice and thereafter had to seek concurrence of the higher authorities, which took substantial time. It is further stated that there was no deliberate intention on the part of the appellant Bank to approach this Tribunal beyond the period of limitation. However the appellant Bank has not given particulars as to when the Bank approached the experts to seek legal advice and how much time was taken by the higher authorities of the Bank to give concurrence or sanction. The affidavit is blissfully vague. Moreover, the additional affidavit dated 29th August, 2006 is filed by the Law Officer of the Bank stating that this Tribunal had directed the appellant Bank to file an affidavit explaining each and every day's delay which is not correct. I just wonder as to how these words are attributed to this Tribunal in the absence of such direction. I have never expressed such view any time orally or in any of my orders.
(3.) ANOTHER surprising aspect of this additional affidavit is that instead of giving explanation for the long delay of more than seven months which took place in filing this appeal it is stated that it is not possible to give explanation for condonation of delay. In other words the only inference that can be drawn is that the Bank has got no explanation of offer for filing the application after more than seven months. It is obviously assumed and taken for granted that such long delay will be condoned as a matter of right. I just wonder how the delay in filing this appeal can be said to be not deliberate when the officer of the Bank in the affidavit states that it is not possible to give explanation of each and every day's delay. On previous dates when the matter was adjourned it was not mentioned in the order that the matter was adjourned for filing additional affidavit. I had never directed or expected the appellant to explain each and every day's delay though it is so argued on behalf of the other side in many such cases. The way these affidavits dated 4th April, 2005 and 29th August, 2006 have been drafted show that the appellants have no respect for the Tribunal before which they appear. Even the tenor of two affidavits reflects that according to the appellants they are not bound to explain delay, but the Court must condone the delay in the name of justice. It is stated in the affidavit that ordinarily the appellants do not stand to benefit by lodging appeal beyond period of limitation and even assuming that there was lapse on the part of the appellants that would not be enough to shut the doors for the appellants. The approach of the Bank reflected in the two affidavits is that the appellant Bank is not bound to explain delay and it must be condoned because delay in filing the appeal cannot be said to be deliberate in the absence of explanation. The said approach runs in the teeth of several judgments of the Apex Court to which it has become necessary to make reference here.;

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