At, Andhra Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Hyderabad
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. R. LAKSHMINARASIMHA RAO
By, INCHARGE PRESIDENT & THE HONOURABLE MR. S. BHUJANGA RAO
For the Petitioners: M/s. N. Mohana Krishna, Advocate. For the Respondents: Admission Stage.
Oral Order: (R. Lakshminarasimha Rao, Member)
1. This is an appeal preferred by M/s ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited against the order of the District Forum u/s 15 of C.P.Act along with it an application F.A.I.A.No. 2815 of 2013 to condone delay of 162 days on the ground that the order was pronounced on 25.4.2013 and the copy of order was delivered on 1.5.2013 and the standing counsel gave the copy of the order along with his opinion on 19.6.2013. The Divisional office in turn forwarded the file to Regional Office at Hyderabad and Regional Office sent the file to its standing counsel for opinion on 8.8.2013. The standing counsel returned the file along with his opinion on 22.8.2013 and later the case was entrusted to its standing counsel for filing appeal on 24.9.2013 and in the process a delay of 162 days was ensued.
2. In the light of the fact that delay was 162 days without any material whatsoever to substantiate the delay, we do not intend to order any notice to the respondent as no improvement could be made by the petitioner/appellant. The procedure contemplated under Civil Procedure Code or provisions of Limitation Act do not apply to the proceedings under the Consumer Protection Act for ordering notice before resolving the issue. The matters have to be resolved by applying principles of natural justice, equity, etc.
3. The point for consideration is whether the petitioner company has shown sufficient cause to condone the delay of 162 days in filing the appeal?
4. Evidently there has been delay of 162 days in filing of the appeal. The petitioner except stating that the copy of the order was received on 4.5.2013 and the standing counsel gave the order copy along with his opinion on 19.6.2013 and in turn the Divisional Office forwarded the file to the Regional Office and the Regional sent the file to its standing counsel for his opinion on 8.8.2013. Later, the case was entrusted to standing counsel for filing appeal on 24.9.2013.
5. The petitioner company submits that delay was caused in filing the appeal as the petitioner company has to seek administrative sanction to file the appeal and in the process the delay stated to have been caused in filing the appeal.
6. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in 'Anshu Agarawal Vs. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority' reported in IV (2011) CPJ 63 (SC) opined
'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. With the above observations, the application for condonation of delay is rejected and the special leave petition is dismissed as barred by limitation.'
7. The parties seeking relief has to satisfy the court that he/she has sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal within the time prescribed and the explanation has to cover the entire period of delay. A litigant cannot be permitted to take away a right which has accrued to his adversary by lapse of time. The petitioner has not shown any sufficient cause to condone the delay of 131 days in filing the appeal. The administrative lapse on the part of the head office of the petitioner company cannot be made platform to contend that the delay in filing the appeal is sufficient and justified.
8. The respondents should not be denied the right accrued to them on expiry of limitation provided for to prefer an appeal. If they receive summons or notices after a lapse of time they may be surprised and may not be able to comprehend as to when the litigation would come to an end. As was opined the explanation has to be reasonable, plausible and believable. Mere explanation is not sufficient for condoning the delay in favour of applicant. If it does not satisfy the ingredients , and that it does not reflect ‘sufficient cause’ then the application should be dismissed. When consistently routine and rigmarole facts are pleaded without any justification or proof condonation of exorbitant delay cannot be mad
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e. 9. The petitioner company has not shown sufficient cause to condone the delay of 162 days in filing of the appeal and the aforementioned cause shown by the petitioner company is not sufficient to condone delay of 162 days in filing the appeal. In the circumstances, the petitioner company has not shown cause sufficient enough to consider the delay in filing the appeal. 10. In the result, the petition is dismissed and consequently the appeal is rejected. No costs.