Saturday, 26 March 2016

Leading case law in respect of condonation of delay

In P.K. Ramachandran v. State of Kerala & Anr., AIR 1998
SC 2276, the Apex Court while considering a case of condonation of
delay of 565 days, wherein no explanation much less a reasonable or
satisfactory explanation for condonation of delay had been given, held
as under:–
“Law of limitation may harshly affect a particular
party but it has to be applied with all its rigour
when the statute so prescribes and the Courts have
no power to extend the period of limitation on
equitable grounds.”
10. While considering a similar issue, this court in Esha
Bhattacharjee v. Raghunathpur Nafar Academy & Ors. (2013) 12
SCC 649 laid down various principles inter alia:

v) Lack of bona fides imputable to a party
seeking condonation of delay is a significant and
relevant fact
vi) The concept of liberal approach has to
encapsule the conception of reasonableness
and it cannot be allowed a totally unfettered
free play

ix) The conduct, behavior and attitude of a party
relating to its inaction or negligence are relevant
factors to be taken into consideration. It is so as the
fundamental principle is that the courts are
required to weigh the scale of balance of justice in
respect of both parties and the said principle
cannot be given a total go by in the name of liberal
approach.
xvii) The increasing tendency to perceive
delay as a non-serious mater and, hence,
lackadaisical propensity can be exhibited in a

nonchalant manner requires to be curbed, of
course, within legal parameters.”
(See also: Basawaraj v. Land Acquisition Officer (2013) 14 SCC
81)
11. The courts should not adopt an injustice-oriented approach in
rejecting the application for condonation of delay. However the court
while allowing such application has to draw a distinction between
delay and inordinate delay for want of bona fides of an inaction or
negligence would deprive a party of the protection of Section 5 of the
Limitation Act, 1963. Sufficient cause is a condition precedent for
exercise of discretion by the Court for condoning the delay. This
Court has time and again held that when mandatory provision is not
complied with and that delay is not properly, satisfactorily and
convincingly explained, the court cannot condone the delay on
sympathetic grounds alone.
12. It is also a well settled principle of law that if some person has
taken a relief approaching the Court just or immediately after the
cause of action had arisen, other persons cannot take benefit thereof
approaching the court at a belated stage for the reason that they cannot
be permitted to take the impetus of the order passed at the behest of
some diligent person.
Reportable
 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NOS.6609-6613 OF 2014
Brijesh Kumar & Ors. … Petitioners
Versus
State of Haryana & Ors. …Respondents
Dated;March 24, 2014.


1. These petitions have been filed challenging the judgment and
order dated 22.11.2013, passed by the High Court of Punjab &
Haryana at Chandigarh dismissing the Civil Misc. Applications in
RFA No.5793 of 2012 for condonation of delay of more than10 years
in filing the appeal under Section 54 of the Land Acquisition Act,
1894 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act’).
2. The land of the petitioners alongwith the lands of others
admeasuring 134 acres, 5 kanals and 10 marlas situate in revenue
estate of village Manakpur, Hadbast No.386, Tehsil Jagadhri, District
Yamuna Nagar stood notified under Section 4 of the Act on 8.9.1993.
In respect of the same, the award was made by the Land Acquisition
Collector on 8.10.1997 assessing the market value of the land of the
petitioners @ Rs.1,75,000/- per acre.Page 2
3. Aggrieved, the petitioners and other persons interested filed
references under Section 18 of the Act for enhancement of
compensation and the Reference Court made the award on 7.9.2001
assessing the market value of the land @ Rs.1,85,000/- per acre and
they were also given other statutory benefits.
4. Aggrieved, some of the persons interested filed appeals before
the High Court, however, petitioners had chosen not to file appeal at
the initial stage but filed the same in the year 2012 after a lapse of 10
years 2 months and 29 days. The High Court refused to condone the
delay in spite of the fact that other persons who had preferred the
appeals in time had been given a higher compensation.
Hence, these petitions.

5. Shri Shish Pal Laler, learned counsel appearing for the
petitioners has submitted that it was a fit case where the delay ought
to have been condoned and the High Court has committed an error in
not entertaining the appeal on merit.
6. The High Court had given cogent and valid reasons and relied
upon large number of judgments of this Court while rejecting the
application for condonation of delay including Mewa Ram (Deceased
by L.Rs) & Ors. v. State of Haryana, AIR 1987 SC 45; State of
2Page 3
Nagaland v. Lipok AO & Ors., AIR 2005 SC 2191; and D.
Gopinathan Pillai v. State of Kerala & Anr., AIR 2007 SC 2624.
7. The issues of limitation, delay and laches as well as
condonation of such delay are being examined and explained every
day by the Courts.
The law of limitation is enshrined in the legal maxim “Interest
Reipublicae Ut Sit Finis Litium” (it is for the general welfare that a
period be put to litigation). Rules of Limitation are not meant to
destroy the rights of the parties, rather the idea is that every legal
remedy must be kept alive for a legislatively fixed period of time.
8. The Privy Council in General Fire and Life Assurance
Corporation Ltd. v. Janmahomed Abdul Rahim, AIR 1941 PC 6,
relied upon the writings of Mr. Mitra in Tagore Law Lectures 1932
wherein it has been said that “a law of limitation and prescription may
appear to operate harshly and unjustly in a particular case, but if the
law provides for a limitation, it is to be enforced even at the risk of
hardship to a particular party as the Judge cannot, on applicable
grounds, enlarge the time allowed by the law, postpone its operation,
or introduce exceptions not recognised by law.”
9. In P.K. Ramachandran v. State of Kerala & Anr., AIR 1998
SC 2276, the Apex Court while considering a case of condonation of
delay of 565 days, wherein no explanation much less a reasonable or
satisfactory explanation for condonation of delay had been given, held
as under:–
“Law of limitation may harshly affect a particular
party but it has to be applied with all its rigour
when the statute so prescribes and the Courts have
no power to extend the period of limitation on
equitable grounds.”
10. While considering a similar issue, this court in Esha
Bhattacharjee v. Raghunathpur Nafar Academy & Ors. (2013) 12
SCC 649 laid down various principles inter alia:

v) Lack of bona fides imputable to a party
seeking condonation of delay is a significant and
relevant fact
vi) The concept of liberal approach has to
encapsule the conception of reasonableness
and it cannot be allowed a totally unfettered
free play

ix) The conduct, behavior and attitude of a party
relating to its inaction or negligence are relevant
factors to be taken into consideration. It is so as the
fundamental principle is that the courts are
required to weigh the scale of balance of justice in
respect of both parties and the said principle
cannot be given a total go by in the name of liberal
approach.
xvii) The increasing tendency to perceive
delay as a non-serious mater and, hence,
lackadaisical propensity can be exhibited in a

nonchalant manner requires to be curbed, of
course, within legal parameters.”
(See also: Basawaraj v. Land Acquisition Officer (2013) 14 SCC
81)
11. The courts should not adopt an injustice-oriented approach in
rejecting the application for condonation of delay. However the court
while allowing such application has to draw a distinction between
delay and inordinate delay for want of bona fides of an inaction or
negligence would deprive a party of the protection of Section 5 of the
Limitation Act, 1963. Sufficient cause is a condition precedent for
exercise of discretion by the Court for condoning the delay. This
Court has time and again held that when mandatory provision is not
complied with and that delay is not properly, satisfactorily and
convincingly explained, the court cannot condone the delay on
sympathetic grounds alone.
12. It is also a well settled principle of law that if some person has
taken a relief approaching the Court just or immediately after the
cause of action had arisen, other persons cannot take benefit thereof
approaching the court at a belated stage for the reason that they cannot
be permitted to take the impetus of the order passed at the behest of
some diligent person.
13. In State of Karnataka & Ors. v. S.M. Kotrayya & Ors.,
(1996) 6 SCC 267, this Court rejected the contention that a petition
5Page 6
should be considered ignoring the delay and laches on the ground that
he filed the petition just after coming to know of the relief granted by
the Court in a similar case as the same cannot furnish a proper
explanation for delay and laches. The Court observed that such a plea
is wholly unjustified and cannot furnish any ground for ignoring delay
and laches.
14. Same view has been reiterated by this Court in Jagdish Lal &
Ors. v. State of Haryana & Ors., AIR 1997 SC 2366, observing as
under:–
“Suffice it to state that appellants kept sleeping over
their rights for long and elected to wake-up when
they had the impetus from Vir Pal Chauhan and Ajit
Singh’s ratios…Therefore desperate attempts of the
appellants to re-do the seniority, held by them in
various cadre.... are not amenable to the judicial
review at this belated stage. The High Court,
therefore, has rightly dismissed the writ petition on
the ground of delay as well.”
15. In M/s. Rup Diamonds & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors., AIR
1989 SC 674, this Court considered a case where petitioner wanted to
get the relief on the basis of the judgment of this Court wherein a
particular law had been declared ultra vires. The Court rejected the
petition on the ground of delay and laches observing as under:–
“There is one more ground which basically sets the
present case apart. Petitioners are re-agitating claims
which they have not pursued for several years.
Petitioners were not vigilant but were content to be
6Page 7
dormant and chose to sit on the fence till somebody
else’s case came to be decided.”
16. In the instant case, after considering the facts and circumstances
and the reasons for inordinate delay of 10 years 2 months and 29 days,
the High Court did not find sufficient grounds to condone the delay.
17. In view of the facts of the case and the above-cited judgments,
we do not find any fault with the impugned judgment. The petitions
lack merit and are accordingly dismissed.
 ………………………J.
 (DR. B.S. CHAUHAN)
 ………………………J.
 (J. CHELAMESWAR)
New Delhi
March 24, 2014.

Print Page

No comments:

Post a Comment