‘Misplacing of files’, ‘omission of clerk attached to office of the counsel’ etc., are routine ‘reasons’ in most of the delay condonation applications. Most of the courts do not bother to check genuineness or validity of these reasons averred through an affidavit by the litigants, especially when delay sought to be condoned is only a few days or months.
The Sikkim High Court, while disposing of an application seeking to condone delay of mere six days, observed that no provision has been made in the Limitation Act for computing limitation for the carelessness of the counsel.
Before the bench presided by Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai, a regular first appeal was listed with an application to condone delay of six days.
One of the reasons stated in the application was that the certified copy of the judgment impugned in the first appeal was misplaced on account of repairs in the chambers of senior counsel engaged by the appellant. It was further stated that though an application for a second copy was made before the trial court, it took 34 days to make the copy available.
Justice Rai referred to Section 12(2) of the Limitation Act, 1963 and said: The clarification that the first certified copy of the Judgment was lost holds no water, as no provision has been made for computing limitation for the carelessness of the counsel.
The court also reiterated that an application or regular first appeal cannot be deemed to be filed, unless all defects are cured.
However, the court condoned the delay of six days, observing thus: “Nonetheless, since the Appellant ought not to suffer on account of what transpired in the chambers of his counsel and keeping in mind the paramount importance of handing out substantial and even-handed justice, this Court exercises its discretion in condoning the delay of 6 (six) days.”