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Haryana Urban Development Authority vs. Shri Rajesh Satija dated 2014-09-10

NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION

NEW DELHI

 

REVISION PETITION NO.2462 OF 2012

(From the order dated 15.02.2011  in F.A. No.867/2006 of the

Haryana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Panchkula)

 

1.  Haryana Urban Development Authority                                                          ….. Petitioners

Through its Administrator

Sector-12, Faridabad through Estate Officer,

HUDA Faridabad

 

  1. The Estate Officer

     Haryana Urban Development Authority

     Sector-12, Faridabad                          

                  

  •  

Shri Rajesh Satija                                                                             .... Respondent

S/o Shri Om Parkash

R/o H.No.666, Sector-19

Faridabad

Through his father as well as

General Power of Attorney, Shri Om Parkash

 

BEFORE:

HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE AJIT BHARIHOKE, PRESIDING MEMBER

HON’BLE MR.SURESH CHANDRA, MEMBER

For the Petitioners               :         Ms. Anubha Agarwal, Advocate

For the Respondent            :         Mr. Pawan Kumar Ray, Advocate

Pronounced on :   10th September, 2014

 

ORDER

 

PER SURESH CHANDRA, MEMBER

By this revision petition, the petitioner/opposite party has challenged the order dated 15.2.2011 passed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Haryana, Panchkula in First Appeal No.867 of 2006 whereby the State Commission has partly accepted the appeal filed by the petitioner Authority and modified the order dated 25.1.2006 passed by the District Forum, Faridabad in favour of the respondent/complainant. The petitioner not being satisfied with the impugned order, has preferred this revision petition for further relief. Along with the revision petition, the petitioner has also filed an application for condonation of delay in filing the revision petition.

2.         We have perused the application and heard learned Ms. Anubha Agarwal, Advocate for the petitioners and learned Shri Pawan Kumar Ray, Advocate for the respondent. It is seen from the application that there is a delay of 344 days in filing the revision petition. Following explanation has been given in the application in support of the request for condonation of delay in question:-

“2. That the Hon’ble State Commission announced the order on 15.2.2011 and the copy of the order was prepared on 18.4.2011 and posted on 27.4.2011. In the office of Estate Officer, Faridabad copy of the order was received and the same was sent to the Head Office at Panchkula for taking appropriate action.

3.  That after receiving the copy of the order from the office of Estate Officer, Faridabad the case was examined by the Legal branch. The D.D.A., HUDA after verification of the facts and legal position of the case proposed for filing revision petition against the order passed by the Hon’ble State Commission. The counsel engaged by the applicant prepared the draft revision petition and sent to the Estate Officer, HUDA Faridabad. In the office of Estate Officer, HUDA Faridabad the file was processed for verification of the facts from the accounts branch and thereafter in the allotment branch and thereafter put before Estate Officer. After verification of the facts the file was sent to the Head Office along with the draft revision petition. The draft revision petition was approved and sent to the counsel for filing the revision petition. The whole process was time consuming. Thus there is a delay for filing the revision petition.

4.  That the delay in filing the present revision petition is neither deliberate nor intentional but on account of aforementioned circumstances.”

3.         Learned counsel for the petitioners has reiterated that the petitioner is a Government authority and the delay in filing the revision petition is on account of the procedures followed by the Authority in such matters and that the delay was neither deliberate nor intentional and as such may be condoned. On the other hand, counsel for the respondent has vehemently opposed condonation of this inordinate delay in filing the revision petition for which, according to him, there is no convincing explanation given by the petitioner Authority.

4.         Perusal of the application shows that the copy of the order which was prepared on 18.4.2011 and posted on 27.4.2011 was received in the office of the Estate Officer, Faridabad after which it was sent to the Head Office, Panchkula for taking appropriate action. It is, however, nowhere mentioned as to when the copy of the impugned order was received in the office of the Estate Officer, Faridabad and how much time it took to forward the same to the Head Office. Besides this, in the entire application no dates have been given by the  petitioner to indicate how much time was taken by each official involved in the processing of the proposal for filing of the revision. In the absence of any specific dates being mentioned by the petitioner in its application for condonation of delay, it cannot be said that the petitioner Authority has acted diligently to ensure that the revision petition is filed within the time limit prescribed and in case some delay was inevitable on account of reasons beyond  its control, the same should have been explained along with necessary details with a view to justify the delay caused. In response to a query from us,  learned counsel for the petitioner Authority could not give us any break-up of the time  taken by different functionaries in the office of the petitioner Authority so as to convince us as to whether the delay caused was justified. It is thus clear that the petitioner Authority has failed to offer any cogent explanation for the delay of 344 days. It is well settled that sufficient cause for seeking condonation of delay in each case is a question of fact and as such it is incumbent on the part of the petitioner to satisfy the Fora concerned with necessary details in support of the delay.

5.         Delhi High Court in New Bank of India Vs. M/s Marvels (India), 93 (2001) DLT 558, has held;

“No doubt the words “sufficient cause” should receive liberal construction so as to advance substantial justice. However, when it is found that the applicants were most negligent in defending the case and their non-action and want of bonafide are clearly imputable, the Court would not help such a party. After all “sufficient cause” is an elastic expression for which no hard and fast guide-lines can be given and Court has to decide on the facts of each case as to whether the defendant who has suffered ex-parte decree has been able to satisfactorily show sufficient cause for non-appearance and in examining this aspect cumulative effect of all the relevant factors is to be seen.”

 

6.         In Ram Lal and Ors. Vs. Rewa Coalfields Ltd., AIR 1962 Supreme Court 361, it has been observed;

“It is, however, necessary to emphasize that even after sufficient cause has been shown a party is not entitled to the condonation of delay in question as a matter of right. The proof of a sufficient cause is a discretionary jurisdiction vested in the Court by S.5. If sufficient cause is not proved nothing further has to be done; the application for condonation has to be dismissed on that ground alone. If sufficient cause is shown then the Court has to enquire whether in its discretion it should condone the delay. This aspect of the matter naturally introduces the consideration of all relevant facts and it is at this stage that diligence of the party or its bona fides may fall for consideration; but the scope of the enquiry while exercising the discretionary power after sufficient cause is shown would naturally be limited only to such facts as the Court may regard as relevant.”

 

7.         In  R.B. Ramlingam Vs. R.B. Bhavaneshwari, 2009 (2) Scale 108, Apex Court has observed;

“We hold that in each and every case the Court has to examine whether delay in filing the special appeal leave petitions stands properly explained. This is the basic test which needs to be applied. The true guide is whether the petitioner has acted with reasonable diligence in the prosecution of his appeal/petition.”

 

8.   Apex Court in “Anshul Aggarwal vs. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, IV (2011) CPJ 63 (SC)” laid down that;

                 “It is also apposite to observe that while deciding an application filed in such cases for condonation of delay, the Court has to keep in mind that the special period of limitation has been prescribed under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 for filing appeals and revisions in consumer matters and the object of expeditious adjudication of the consumer disputes will get defeated if this Court was to entertain highly belated petitions filed against the orders of the consumer Foras.”

 

9.         As regards the plea of the learned counsel for the petitioner Authority to the effect petitioner is a Government Authority and hence the delay in filing the revision petition is a procedural delay, we consider it appropriate to reproduce the observations of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Post Master General and Others Vs. Living Media India Ltd. & Another [2012 3 SCC 563]:-

“24. After referring various earlier decisions, taking very lenient  view in condoning the delay, particularly, on the part of the Government and Government Undertaking, this Court observed as under;

29. It needs no restatement at our hands that the object for fixing time-limit for litigation is based on public policy fixing a lifespan for legal remedy for the purpose of general welfare. They are meant to see that the parties do not resort to dilatory tactics but avail their legal remedies promptly. Salmond in his Jurisprudence states that the laws come to the assistance of the vigilant and not of the sleepy.

 30. Public interest undoubtedly is a paramount consideration in exercising the courts' discretion wherever conferred upon it by the relevant statutes. Pursuing stale claims and multiplicity of proceedings in no manner subserves public interest. Prompt and timely payment of compensation to the landlosers facilitating their rehabilitation /resettlement is equally an integral part of public policy. Public interest demands that the State or the beneficiary of acquisition, as the case may be, should not be allowed to indulge in any act to unsettle the settled legal rights accrued in law by resorting to avoidable litigation unless the claimants are guilty of deriving benefit to which they are otherwise not entitled, in any fraudulent manner. One should not forget the basic fact that what is acquired is not the land but the livelihood of the landlosers. These public interest parameters ought to be kept in mind by the courts while exercising the discretion dealing with the application filed under Section 5 of the Limitation Act. Dragging the landlosers to courts of law years after the termination of legal proceedings would not serve any public interest. Settled rights cannot be lightly interfered with by condoning inordinate delay without there being any proper explanation of such delay on the ground of involvement of public revenue. It serves no public interest.”

                   The Court further observed ;

“27. It is not in dispute that the person(s) concerned were well aware or conversant with the issues involved including the prescribed period of limitation for taking up the matter by way of filing a special leave petition in this Court. They cannot claim that they have a separate period of limitation when the Department was possessed with competent persons familiar with court proceedings. In the absence of plausible and acceptable explanation, we are posing a question why the delay is to be condoned mechanically merely because the Government or a wing of the Government is a party before us.

28. Though we are conscious of the fact that in a matter of condonation of delay when there was no gross negligence or deliberate inaction or lack of bonafide, a liberal concession has to be adopted to advance substantial justice, we are of the view that in the facts and circumstances, the Department cannot take advantage of various earlier decisions. The claim on account of impersonal machinery and inherited bureaucratic methodology of making several notes cannot be accepted in view of the modern technologies being used and available. The law of limitation undoubtedly binds everybody including the Government.

29.  In our view, it is the right time to inform all the government bodies, their agencies and instrumentalities that unless they have reasonable and acceptable explanation for the delay and there was bonafide effort, there is no need to accept the usual explanation that the file was kept pending for several months/years due to considerable degree of procedural red-tape in the process.The government departments are under a special obligation to ensure that they perform their duties with diligence and commitment. Condonation of delay is an exception and should not be used as an anticipated benefit for government departments. The law shelters everyone under the same light and should not be swirled for the benefit of a few.

 30. Considering the fact that there was no proper explanation offered by the Department for the delay except mentioning of various dates, according to us, the Department has miserably failed to give any acceptable and cogent reasons sufficient to condone such a huge delay.

31. In view of our conclusion on Issue (a), there is no need to go into the merits of Issues (b) and (c). The question of law raised is left open to be decided in an appropriate case.  

32.  In the light of the above discussion, the appeals fail and are dismissed on the ground of delay. No order as to costs.”

                                                                   (Emphasis provided)

10.       The observations made by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the aforesaid pronouncements discussed above, are fully attracted to the facts and circumstances of the present case.

11.       Under these circumstances, we are convinced that no sufficient case has been made out for the condonation of delay. In view of this, we dismiss the application and consequently the revision petition filed by the petitioner also stands dismissed being barred by limitation. No order as to costs.

..……………Sd/-………………..

(AJIT BHARIHOKE  J.)

PRESIDING MEMBER

 

 

....…………Sd/-…………………

(SURESH CHANDRA)

MEMBER

SS/


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