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Question Of Limitation Pertains To Substantial Justice: Supreme Court Condones 67 Days' Delay In Filing Revision Before NCDRC

Mehal Jain
14 Jun 2022 8:00 AM GMT
Question Of Limitation Pertains To Substantial Justice: Supreme Court Condones 67 Days Delay In Filing Revision Before NCDRC
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Setting aside an NCDRC order by which a revision petition filed after 67 days' delay was dismissed, the Supreme Court has observed that "the question of limitation is not to be examined with a view to decline the condonation, but to do substantial justice".

Remarking that "delay in filing the revision was not huge, that should not have been condoned under the Consumer Protection Act", the Court remitted the matter back to the NCDRC for decision on merits.

The bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian was hearing an appeal against a 2019 decision of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission whereby a delay of 67 days in filing the revision before it was not condoned. In the impugned order, the NCDRC had said,
"Hon'ble Supreme Court has also warned this Commission in the matters covered under the Consumer Protection Act, to always keep in mind the special nature of the period of limitation provided therein while dealing with the application for condonation of delay.
"
The Commission was referring to Supreme Court's directions in Anshul Aggarwal vs. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, where it was held that the object of expeditious adjudication of the consumer disputes will get defeated if the court was to entertain highly belated petitions filed against the orders of the consumer Fora.
The bench of Justices Gupta and Ramasubramanian however noted in the present case that the delay in filing the revision was not huge, that should not have been condoned under the Consumer Protection Act, 1985.
The bench proceeded to declare that "the question of limitation is not to be examined with a view to decline the condonation, but to do substantial justice."
Allowing the appeal, the bench directed that the order passed by the NCDRC be set aside, that the delay in filing the revision be condoned, and remitted the matter back to the NCDRC for decision on merits.
In the impugned order, the NCDRC had also referred to Basavraj & Anr. v. The Spl. Land Acquisition Officer, 2013 AIR SCW 6510 where the
Supreme Court had explained the meaning of 'sufficient cause' as under:
"Sufficient cause is the cause for which defendant could not be blamed for his absence...'sufficient cause' means that the party should not have acted in a negligent manner or there was a want of bona fide on its part in view of the facts and circumstances of a case or it cannot be alleged that the party has 'not acted diligently' or 'remained inactive'. However, the facts and circumstances of each case must afford sufficient ground to enable the Court concerned to exercise discretion for the reason that whenever the Court exercises discretion, it has to be exercised judiciously.
"
The Top Court had also said that the applicant must satisfy the Court that he was prevented by any 'sufficient cause' from prosecuting his case, and unless a satisfactory explanation is furnished, the Court should not allow the application for condonation of delay.
The NCDRC had also cited the case of Ram Lal and Ors. v. Rewa Coalfields Limited, AIR 1962 Supreme Court 361, where the Supreme Court held that
condonation of delay is not a matter of right and it is mandatory on the part of the applicant to explain sufficient cause which prevented him from coming to the Court within the prescribed period of limitation, and that where sufficient cause are not shown, the Courts are justified in rejecting the application for condonation of delay.
Case Title: MANAGER, INDUSIND BANK LIMITED & ANR. v. SANJAY GHOSH
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 550



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