At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MS. JUSTICE DEEPA SHARMA
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Petitioner: Suvendu Suvasis Dash, Advocate. For the Respondent: --------
The present revision petition has been filed against the order dated 27.07.2017 passed by Telangana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Hyderabad ( in short, the State Commission) in First Appeal No. 260 of 2016.
2. Alongwith this revision petition, an application being IA No.8404 of 2018 for condonation of delay of 211 days in filing the present revision petition has also been filed. As per the calculation done by the Registry, the delay is of 181 days. In the application for condonation of delay, the cause of delay is mentioned in paragraph nos. 4 & 5 which are reproduced as under:
'4. There is a delay of 211 days in filing the present revision petition. The delay had occasioned on account of the fact that pursuant to the impugned order dated 27.07.2017, the Petitioner authority herein has undergone a in-house legal cell drill to take further necessary action for the purpose of challenging the impugned order dated 27.07.2017 and finally it was decided by the Corporate Office to challenge the same before this Hon’ble Commission.
5. That pursuant to the sanction of the challenge received by the Corporate Office, and assignment of the case to the present counsel, the Petitioner approached the present counsel in the month of October, 2017 and sent requisite documents for preparation of the Revision Petition. Thereafter, the Revision Petition has been prepared and the same was sent for approval. The approval of the same was accorded only on 29.11.2017 and the affidavit was received by the advocate on 04.12.2017. The entire exercise took some time and there occurred a delay in filing the present revision petition.'
3. From the perusal of these grounds, it is apparent that only ground is that delay had occurred due to completion of in-house formalities before taking a decision of challenging the order of Appellate Court. There is no doubt that while dealing with the matters relating to Revision Petition and Appeal, a liberal attitude has to be adopted by the Courts while dealing with the application for condonation of delay in filing said appeals or revision petitions. It is, however, the bounden duty of the applicant to explain convincing reasons for such delay and also show sufficient and reasonable cause for such delay. Hon’ble Supreme Court in 'Ram Lal and Ors. Vs. Rewa Coalfields Limited, AIR 1962 Suprerme Court 361' has clearly held that even if a party successfully shows sufficient cause, still the party is not entitled for condonation of delay as a matter of right. The Courts still retains the discretion to dismiss the application, observing the bonafides of the parties. The Hon’ble Apex Court has held as under:
'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.'
4. The tests to be applied while dealing with such explanation has been laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of 'R. B. Ramlingam vs. R. B. Bhavaneshwari, I (2009) CLT 188 (SC) and the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the said case held as under:
"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.'
5. Hon’ble Supreme Court has also warned the Commissions to keep in mind the special nature of the Act while dealing with such applications. In 'Anshul Aggarwal vs. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority, (2011) 14 SCC 578, Hon’ble Supreme Court has held as under:
'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 Fora."
6. There is no doubt that petitioner is a Public Undertaking. Being public undertaking, the petitioner is under special obligation to observe the law framed by the government. Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of 'Post Master vs. Balram Singh Patel Inaram Lodhi, III (2018) CPJ 53 (NC)' has held as under:
'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.'
7. The in-house delay in getting the sanction for fi
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ling the revision petition by no stretch of imagination can be considered sufficient reasons for condoning the delay. The department ought to have acted faster knowing well that there is special period of limitation provided in the said Act i.e. Consumer Protection Act. 8. Keeping in mind the established principles of law, the reasons given in the application does not justifiably and reasonably explain the reasons necessitating the condonation of delay of 181 days. Application for condonation of delay is, accordingly, dismissed. As a consequence, Revision Petition is also dismissed as barred by limitation.