Saturday, 22 October 2016

When application for condonation of delay is tenable in proceeding under Special Acts?

As held by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in
case of Mukri Goplanan V. Cheppilat
Puthanpurayil Aboobacker, reported in
(1995) 5 SCC 5 in paragraph no.15 (placetum d&
e) “.. it is not necessary to expressly state
in a special law that the provisions
contained in Section 5 of the Limitation Act

shall apply to the determination of
periods under it.” “An express mention in
the special law is necessary only for an
exclusion”.
(iv) The legislature while enacting the
Limitation Act, 1963 made several changes to
the provisions of the old Limitation Act,
1908 (as amended in 1922). One of the
change being that the scope of Section 5 was
made wider. The statement of objects and
reasons of the Limitation Act, 1963 state:
“Instead of leaving it to the different
States or High Courts to extend the
application of Section 5 to the
applications other than those enumerated in
that section as now in force, this clause
provides for the automatic application of this
Section to all applications, other than those
arising under Order 21 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, 1908, relating to execution of
decrees. In case of special or local laws,
it will be open to such laws to provide that
Section 5 will not apply.”
(Refer Para. 10 of (1974) 2 SCC 133
Humkumdev Narain Yadav Vs. Lalit Narain
Mishra)
Thus, Limitation Act, 1963 by virtue of
Section 29(2) seeks to automatically apply
provisions of Limitation Act to special or
local law and it is open for such laws to
provide that Section 5 will not apply. Hence,
it is submitted that exclusion of provisions
of Section 5 must be expressly provided by

the special or local law.
(v) Considering from another angle, it is
submitted that one cannot lose sight of the
fact the legislature while enacting the
Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 was
obviously conscious of the provisions of
Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act, 1963
and therefore, it was not necessary for
legislature to expressly mention in the RCT
Act, 1987 that provisions of Limitation Act,
1963 would be applicable to appeals u/s. 23
before Hon'ble High Court.
(vi) If legislature wanted to exclude
applicability of Limitation Act, 1963
nothing prevented it from putting an express
provisions to that effect.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD
CIVIL APPLICATION (FOR CONDONATION OF DELAY) NO. 12844 of
2015
In
FIRST APPEAL (STAMP NUMBER) NO. 2264 of 2015
TO
CIVIL APPLICATION NO. 12864 of 2015
 In
FIRST APPEAL (STAMP NUMBER) NO. 2284 of 2015

UNION OF INDIA.
V
GUJARAT STATE ELECTRICITY CORPORATION LIMITED 
CORAM:  MR.JUSTICE S.R.BRAHMBHATT
and
 MR.JUSTICE A.G.URAIZEE
Date : 21/10/2016



1. Heard learned counsel appearing for the
parties and perused the documents produced on record.
All the applications are heard together and are being
decided by this Common CAV Judgment, as the issues
are similar.
2. As the facts are similar, facts of one case
is set out herein below for appreciating the real
controversy. The respondent no.1 herein – original
applicant before the Tribunal, had preferred
application being M.A./ADI/2014/0019 for condonation
of delay of about 13 years 6 months in filing the
claim petition. The said application was allowed vide
order dated 24.06.2014 by condoning the delay with
condition that the original applicant would not be
entitled to claim interest prior to registration of
claim compensation application by this Tribunal and
directed the registry to register the claim petition
in accordance with law. Being aggrieved by the same,
the present applicant – Union of India, preferred
Review Application being MA/ADI/2014/0054, which came
to be dismissed vide common judgment dated
17.06.2015. Being aggrieved by the same, the
captioned First Appeals have been filed with delay of
410 days. Hence, the present applications for
condoning the delay of 410 days.

3. Learned counsel for the parties have
exchanged and placed on record their written
submissions, which are reproduced verbatim for the
sake of convenience.
Submissions on behalf of Applicant-Union of India
(1) The captioned Appeals have been filed under
Section 23 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act,
1987, challenging the order dated 24.06.2014
passed by Railway Claims Tribunal (RCT)
allowing Application No. MA/ADI/2014/0019,
condoning delay of about 13 years and 6 months.
The Appellant has also challenged in the appeal
the order dated 17.06.2015 passed by RCT in
Review Application No. MA/ADI/2014/0054
dismissing the application.
(2) Since there is delay in filing the
Appeals, Civil Application No.12844 of 2015 to
Civil Application No.12864 of 2015 have been
filed in First Appeals No. 2263 of 2015 to
First Appeal No.2284 of 2015 for condonation of
delay of 410 days.
EXPLANATION FOR DELAY:-
(3) It is the case of the Applicant that
certified copy of the order dated 24.06.2014
passed by RCT was received by the Advocate for

the Applicant on 26.06.2014 and the same was
forwarded to the concerned office of the
Applicant. The papers of the matter were
forwarded to the Head Office of Western Railway
at Mumbai and thereafter, the competent
authority decided to file an application for
review of the order dated 24.06.2014 of RCT.
Accordingly, a review application was preferred
by the applicant with an application for
condonation of delay of 114 days. The delay in
preferring the review application came to be
condoned by RCT and review application was
heard. However, the said review application was
rejected by RCT vide order dated 17.06.2015.
The certified copy of the said order was
received on 22.06.2015. Since, there was a
typographical error in the order an application
was made for rectification and thereafter, the
certified copy of the rectified order was
received on 13.08.2015. After receipt of the
rectified order on 13.08.2015, instructions
were given to the panel Advocate to file
necessary proceedings to challenge the orders
passed by RCT. Pursuant to discussions, it was
decided to file captioned First Appeals.
Accordingly, after approval of the memo of the
appeal, the captioned appeals have been filed
before this Court on 05.11.2015. The delay
caused in preferring the appeals is due to the
procedure undertaken by the applicant for
perusing the legal remedies. There is no

intentional or deliberate delay on the part of
the applicant.
CONTENTION OF OPPONENT NO.1
(4) Pursuant to the order dated 09.12.2015
issuing Rule, Opponent no.1 has appeared and
filed its Affidavit-in-Reply dated 29.01.2016
opposing the delay application. In the said
reply, Opponent No.1 has raised a contention
that application for condonation of delay is
not maintainable as Railway Claims Tribunal
Act, 1987 (hereinafter referred to as RCT Act,
1987) is a special statue and a self contained
code which prescribes special period of
limitation and that power to condone delay has
been given by the statue to RCT u/s. 17, but no
such power has been given to the High Court
u/s.23 of the RCT Act, 1987. Therefore, it has
been contended that by not giving power to
condone delay to the Hon'ble Court u/s. 23, the
legislature intended to exclude operation of
sections 4 to 24 of the Limitation Act, 1963.
SUBMISSIONS OF THE APPLICANT:-
(5) This Court has the power u/s. 5 of the
Limitation Act, 1963 to condone delay in filing
the appeal on sufficient cause being made out.
Section 23 of the RCT Act, 1987 does not in any
manner exclude operation of Limitation Act,

1963.
(6) The contention of Opponent No.1 that power
of condonation provided to RCT u/s. 17 is not
provided to the High Court u/s. 23 and that
therefore this Court has no power to condone
delay is not tenable for the following
reasons:-
(i) The method of reading and interpreting
section 23 in context of Section 17 of RCT Act,
1987 is a wrong reading of the scheme of the
Act.
(ii) The nature of remedy viz. filing of
application u/s. 17 is before a Tribunal
whereas the remedy u/s. 23 of filing an appeal
is before this Court which is an established
Court and a Court of record.
(iii) The legislature u/s. 17 has given a
specific power of condonation of delay to the
Tribunal because the Limitation Act, 1963 would
not be applicable a Tribunal and hence, power
to condone delay u/s. 5 of the Limitation Act,
1963 cannot be invoked by the Tribunal. Hence,
the legislature has to provide for a specific
power to condone delay in case of Tribunals and
other quasi-judicial bodies. However, in case
of appeal u/s. 23 of the RCT Act, 1987 the
legislature is not required to provide a

specific power of condonation of delay to this
Court because the provisions of Limitation Act,
1963 would apply by virtue of Section 29(2) to
all proceedings before this Court.
Refer:-(1) (2015) 7 SCC 58
M. P. Steel Corporation V. Commissioner of
Central Excise.
(2) (1995) 2 SCC 493 (Para 3 & 4)
Birla Cement Works V. G.M. Western Railways And
Another, RCT is held to be not a court and
Limitation Act, 1963 does not apply to RCT.
Note: Hon'ble Supreme Court in Birla Cement
Works (supra) has held that Limitation Act does
not apply to RCT not on the ground that RCT
Act, 1987 is a special statue and a complete
code in itself but because of the fact that RCT
is a Tribunal and not a Court.
(iv) The contention that because the
legislature has not given any power to Hon'ble
High Court to condone delay in filing the
appeal under Section 23 of RCT Act, 1987 does
not mean that the provisions of Limitation Act,
1963 are excluded. On the contrary, if the
legislature has prescribed certain period of
limitation in the special law and made
provision for extension on sufficient cause
being shown then only the provisions of
Limitation Act would stand excluded. In other
words, if the power to condone delay on
sufficient cause is provided under a special
law, the Court would condone delay under that

provision of the special law and the general
provisions of Section 5 of the Limitation Act
would stand excluded to that extent. Therefore,
if for example, power of condonation of delay
was provided u/s. 23 RCT Act, 1987, the power
of condonation of delay u/s. 5 of Limitation
Act would stand excluded and the Hon'ble Court
would exercise power for condonation u/s.23.
But if no power of condonation is given u/s. 23
RCT Act, 1987 it does not mean that provisions
of Limitation Act, 1963 stand excluded.
(refer Paragraph no.20 placetum f & g of (2008)
7 SCC 169).
(7) The contention of Opponent No.1 that by
providing special period of limitation in
Section 23 of RCT Act, 1987 and not providing
power to Hon'ble High Court to condone delay,
the legislature intended to exclude operation
of Sections 4 to 24 of the Limitation Act, 1963
is not tenable because:-
(i) The language of Section 23 of RCT Act, 1987
neither expressly nor by necessary
implication excludes operation of provisions
of Limitation Act, 1963.
Section 23 of Railway Claims Tribunal Act,
1987 is reproduced hereunder for ready
reference:-
“23. Appeals – (1) Save as provided
in sub- section (2) and

notwithstanding anything contained in
the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of
1908) or any other law, an appeal shall
lie from every order, not being an
interlocutory order, of the Claims
Tribunal, to the High Court having
jurisdiction over the place where the
Bench is located.
(2) No appeal shall lie from an
order passed by Claims Tribunal with the
consent of the parties.
(3) Every appeal under this Section
shall be preferred within a period of
ninety days from the date of the
order appealed against.”
Thus, from the bare reading of the Section
itself it is clear that there is no express
exclusion of the provisions of Limitation Act,
1963.
(ii) Since u/s. 23 of RCT Act, 1987 the
appeal lies before Hon'ble High Court, the
legislature need not provide for power to
condone delay separately in the Special
Act because High Court is a Court established
under the Constitution of India and
therefore, the provisions of Limitation
Act, 1963 would apply.
(iii) As held by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in
case of Mukri Goplanan V. Cheppilat
Puthanpurayil Aboobacker, reported in
(1995) 5 SCC 5 in paragraph no.15 (placetum d&
e) “.. it is not necessary to expressly state
in a special law that the provisions
contained in Section 5 of the Limitation Act

shall apply to the determination of
periods under it.” “An express mention in
the special law is necessary only for an
exclusion”.
(iv) The legislature while enacting the
Limitation Act, 1963 made several changes to
the provisions of the old Limitation Act,
1908 (as amended in 1922). One of the
change being that the scope of Section 5 was
made wider. The statement of objects and
reasons of the Limitation Act, 1963 state:
“Instead of leaving it to the different
States or High Courts to extend the
application of Section 5 to the
applications other than those enumerated in
that section as now in force, this clause
provides for the automatic application of this
Section to all applications, other than those
arising under Order 21 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, 1908, relating to execution of
decrees. In case of special or local laws,
it will be open to such laws to provide that
Section 5 will not apply.”
(Refer Para. 10 of (1974) 2 SCC 133
Humkumdev Narain Yadav Vs. Lalit Narain
Mishra)
Thus, Limitation Act, 1963 by virtue of
Section 29(2) seeks to automatically apply
provisions of Limitation Act to special or
local law and it is open for such laws to
provide that Section 5 will not apply. Hence,
it is submitted that exclusion of provisions
of Section 5 must be expressly provided by

the special or local law.
(v) Considering from another angle, it is
submitted that one cannot lose sight of the
fact the legislature while enacting the
Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 was
obviously conscious of the provisions of
Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act, 1963
and therefore, it was not necessary for
legislature to expressly mention in the RCT
Act, 1987 that provisions of Limitation Act,
1963 would be applicable to appeals u/s. 23
before Hon'ble High Court.
(vi) If legislature wanted to exclude
applicability of Limitation Act, 1963
nothing prevented it from putting an express
provisions to that effect.
SEC. 29(2) OF LIMITATION ACT, 1963 APPLIES TO
SEC. 23 APPEAL:-
(8) The general provisions of Section 29(2) of
Limitation Act, 1963 would get attracted to the
appeal provided under Section 23 of the RCT
Act, 1987 for the following reasons:
(i) The provision of section 29(2) of the
Limitation Act, 1963 is reproduced hereunder
for ready reference:-

“29. Savings – (1).....
(2) Where any special or local law
prescribes for any suit, appeal or
application a period of limitation
different from the period prescribed
by the Schedule, the provisions of
Section 3 shall apply as if such period
were the period prescribed by the
Schedule and for the purpose of
determining any period of limitaton
prescribed for any suit, appeal or
application by any special or local
law, the provisions contained in
Sections 4 to 24 (inclusive) shall apply
only in so far as, and to the extent to
which, they are not expressly excluded
by such special or local law.”
An analysis of Section 29(2) of
Limitation Act, 1963 reveals that following
ingredients are required to be satisfied for
applicability of the said Section viz.:
(a) Special or local law must prescribe a
period of limitation for any suit, appeal
or application;
(b) The period of limitation under special or
local law must be different for the period
prescribed in the Schedule to the Limitation
Act for that suit, appeal or application
provided in the special or local law; and
(c) provisions of Section 4 to 24 must not be
expressly excluded by special or local law.
In the present case, Section 23 of RCT Act,
1987 (a special law) prescribes a period of
limitation of 90 days for preferring an

appeal before this Court. The period of 90
days is different from period prescribed in
the Schedule as there is no period prescribed
for Section 23 appeal in the Schedule to
the Limitation Act, 1963. None of the
provisions of Section 4 to 24 (inclusive)
are expressly excluded by Section 23 of RCT
Act, 1987.
(ii) The provisions of Section 29(2) of
Limitation Act, 1908 came to be interpreted
by the Constitutional Bench of the Hon'ble
Supreme Court in the matter of Vidyacharan
Shula V.Khubchand Baghel, reported in (1964) 6
SCR 129 : AIR 1964 SC 1009. In the case of
Vidyacharan (supra) the Constitutional Bench by
majority held that even absence of a
provision prescribing time limit in the
First Schedule of Limitation Act would be
prescribing a different time limit. It was held
that once the special or local law has provided
a period different from that prescribed in the
Schedule to the Limitation Act, sub-section (2)
of Section 29 stands directly attracted and
Section 3 and other Sections shall apply in so
 far as and to the extent to which they are not
expressly excluded.
Therefore, what follows from the
Constitutional Bench judgment is that once
the Hon'ble Court comes to the conclusion that

the time limit prescribed in the special
law is different from that provided in the
Schedule to the Limitation Act, the
provisions of Section 29(2) stand attracted and
thereafter, all the Hon'ble Court is required
to examine is whether any of the provisions of
Section 4 to 24 (inclusive) of the Limitation
Act are expressly excluded by special law or
not.
(iii) The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the
matter of Mukri Gopalan Vs. Cheppilat
Puthanpurayil Aboobacker, reported in (1995) 5
SCC 5, while following the majority judgment of
the Constitutional Bench in the matter of
Vidyacharan Shukla (supra) has interpreted the
provisions of Section 29(2) of the Limitation
Act, 1963 and has explained that the
requirements to be satisfied by an authority to
invoke provisions of Section 29(2) of the
Limitation Act, 1963 are only two viz.
(a) There must be a provision for the
period of limitation under any special
or local law in connection with any
suit, appeal or application; and
(b) The said prescription of period of
limitation under such special or
local law should be different from the
period prescribed by the Schedule to
the Limitation Act.

(Refer Paragraph 8 placetum f & g)
The Hon'ble Court observes that once the
aforesaid two conditions are fulfilled the
consequences contemplated by Section 29(2)
would automatically follow. The consequences
are as under:-
(a) In such as case Section 3 of the Limitation
Act would apply as if the period
prescribed by the special or local law was the
period prescribed by the Schedule.
(b) For determining any period of limitation
prescribed by such special or local law for any
suit, appeal or application all provisions
containing Section 4 to 24 (inclusive)
would apply in so far as and to the extent
to which they are not expressly excluded
by such special or local law.
(Refer paragraph 9 placetum h & a on Pg. 16)
Therefore, it is submitted that the later part
of Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act, 1963
regarding applicability of Section 3 of the
Limitation as if period prescribed by special
law was period prescribed by the Schedule and
regarding applicability of Sections 4 to 24
(inclusive) is considered by the Hon'ble
Supreme Court as a consequence and not
requirement for attracting or invoking Section
29(2) of the Limitation Act.

The Hon'ble Supreme Court in the said judgment,
following judgment in the matter of Vidyacharan
Shukla (supra), has also held that if the
special law prescribes the period of limitation
for a particular suit, appeal or application,
the Schedule to Limitation Act must also
prescribe for limitation for that suit,
appeal or application under such special
law.
(Refer Paragraph No.10 & 11 Pg. 16-17)
In the present case, Railway Claims Tribunal
Act, 1987 (a special law) prescribes for a
period of limitation of 90 days for filing an
appeal u/s.23. However, no period is prescribed
under Schedule to the Limitation Act, 1963 for
filing an appeal under Section 23 of the RCT
Act, 1987. therefore the two requirements
for attracting Section 29(2) get satisfied.
Hence, on a conjoint reading of Section 23 of
RCT Act, 1987 with Section 29(2) of the
Limitation Act, 1963 the provisions of Section
5 of the Limitation Act would get attracted and
this Court would have the power to condone the
delay.
Note: The Judgment of Mukri Gopalan has been
held to be not a good law by the later judgment
of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the matter of
M.P. Steel Corporation (supra) only to the
extent that it holds that Limitation Act
applies to authorities which may not be
strictly civil courts.

(iv) The Hon'ble Supreme Court in the matter of
Mukri Gopalan (supra) has described
provision of Section 29(2) of the Limitation
Act, 1963 as a legislative short hand. In other
words the procedural scheme contemplated by
Sections 4 to 24 (inclusive) would get
telescoped into provisions of special or local
law once the conditions laid down in Section
29(2) are satisfied.
(Refer Paragraph no.20 placetum d & e)
(v) The three judges bench of the Hon'ble
Supreme Court of India in the matter of
hukumdev Narain Yadav V. Lalit Narain Mishra
reported in (1974) 2 SCC 133 had to the
occasion to interpret provisions of Section
29(2) of the Limitation Act, 1963 in context of
its applicability to Petitioner u/s. 81 of
Representation of the People Act, 1951. The
Hon'ble Supreme Court relied upon the
Constitutional Bench judgment in the matter of
Vidyacharan Shukla (supra) but while
interpreting the provision of Section 29(2) of
the Limitation Act introduced the concept of
necessary exclusion of provisions of Limitation
Act. The Hon'ble Court held if on an
examination of the relevant provisions it
is clear that the provisions of the Limitation
Act are necessarily excluded, then the benefits
conferred by Section 29(2) of the

Limitation Act cannot be called in aid to
supplement the provisions of the special law.
It was held that “...even in a case where the
special law does not exclude the provisions of
Sections 4 to 24 of the Limitation Act by an
express reference, it would nonetheless be open
to the Court to examine whether and to what
extent the nature of those provisions or the
nature of the subject matter and the scheme of
special law excludes their operation”.
(Refer Paragraph no. 17)
It is submitted that all that the three judges
bench of Hon'ble Supreme Court has observed
in the case of Hukumdev (supra) is that even if
the provisions of Limitation Act, 1963 are
not expressly excluded by special law, the
Court will have to consider the provisions of
such special law to ascertain whether the
provisions of Sections 4 to 24 of the
Limitation Act are necessarily excluded and
to what extent. In other words, the phrase
“necessarily excluded” would mean that if the
Court would were not to exclude operation of
provisions of Limitation Act then either the
provision or part thereof of special law would
become otiose/redundant or it would frustrate
the basic object of the special law. Only if
the inclusion of provisions of Sections 4 to 24
of the Limitation Act would result in violence
to the plain language of the provision of the

special law or the object of the Act, the Court
would infer the provisions of Limitation Act to
be necessarily excluded. As per the said
judgment, even if the Court comes to the
conclusion provisions of Limitation Act are
necessarily excluded, the Court will have to
ascertain which of the provisions of Section 4
to 24 (inclusive) of Limitation Act stand
excluded and to what extent and for that
purpose the Court has to give due regard to
scheme of the special law and the nature of
remedy provided by such special law.
Instances of the cases of necessary exclusion
can be seen in the matter of:-
(A) Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board
V. Central Electricity Regulatory
Commission & Ors. Reported in (2010) 5
SCC 23. In the said matter the Hon'ble
Supreme Court while considering
applicability of Section 5 by virtue of
Section 29(2) of Limitation Act, 1963 to
Section 125 of the Electricity Act,
2003. The Hon'ble Supreme Court after
considering the provision of Section
125 held that “Any interpretation
of Section 125 of the Electricity Act
which may attract the applicability of
Section 5 of Limitation Act read with
Section 29(2) thereof will defeat the
object of the legislation, namely, to

provide special limitation for filing an
appeal against the decision or order of
the Tribunal and proviso to Section
125 will become nugatory.”
(Refer Paragraph no.32 placetum e & f)
(B) Consolidated Engineering Enterprises
V. Principal Secretary, Irrigation
Department & Ors. Reported in (2008) 7
SCC 169, where the Hon'ble Supreme Court
while interpreting applicability of
Section 5 of L<imitation Act, 1963 to
Section 34 of Arbitration and
Conciliation Act, 1996 has held that
sub-section (3) of Section 34 extends
the period of limitation for another
period of 30 days but not
thereafter. On interpretation of the
words “not thereafter” appearing in
Section 34(3) of the Arbitration and
Conciliation Act, 1996 the Hon'ble
Supreme Court observed that the
provisions of Section 5 of Limitation
Act, 1963 would stand excluded.
(Refer Paragraph no. 19, 20 and 53)
In the present case, neither the scheme of RCT
Act, 1987 nor the provision of Section 23
thereof, warrant an inference that the
provisions of Limitation Act are necessarily
excluded. By invoking the provision of Section

29(2) of the Limitation Act, 1963 and applying
the provisions of Sections 4 to 24 no part of
Section 23 of RCT Act, 1987 stands frustrated
or becomes nugatory.
(vi) The provision of Section 29(2) was also
interpreted by three judges bench of the
Hon'ble Supreme Court in the matter of State
of Madhya Pradesh & Anr. V. Anshuman Shukla
reported in (2014) 10 SCC 814. In the said
case, the Hon'ble Supreme Court was concerned
with High Court's power of revision as
provided in Section 19 of M.P. Madhyastham
Adhikaran Adhiniyam, 1983. Under Section 19
of the Act, 1983 the time limit for making an
application for revision was provided as
three months. Although the said Act, 1983 was
amended subsequently to provide High Court with
power to condone delay in filing revision
application, the Hon'ble Supreme Court was
concerned with the unamended section 19. The
Hon'ble Court after referring to Section 19 in
paragraph no.10 of the judgment, concluded at
paragraph no.32 that the said section 19 of the
Act, 1983 did not contain an express rider on
the power of the High Court to entertain
any application for revision after the expiry
of the prescribed period of three months. By
virtue of Section 29(2) of the Limitation
Act, the Hon'ble Court held that provision of
Section 5 of Limitation Act was applicable to

the proceedings u/s. 19 of the Act, 1983.
(Refer Para 10 and 32)
Note:- Section 19 of M.P. Madhyastham
Adhikaran Adhiniyam, 1983 is similar to
Section 23 of RCT Act, 1987 in the sense
that both sections of special law do not
provide power to the High Court to
condone delay. Even then, the Hon'ble
Supreme Court applied provisions of
Section 5 by virtue of 29(2) of
Limitation Act. The fact that Section
19(3) of M.P. Madhyastham Adhikaran
Adhiniyam, 1983 provides High Court with
the same powers and to follow the same
procedure as it does in deciding
revision u/s. 115 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, 1908 is not material because
the power to condone delay is not
referable to Section 115 of the Code of
Civil Procedure. The said Section only
regulates the power and procedure of the
High Court for entertaining a revision
application. Further suo-moto power of
High Court was not the basis for
applying Section 5 of Limitation Act.
Suo-moto power of High Court was only
referred to in aid to ascertain if the
provisions of Limitation Act can be
interpreted to have been excluded or
not.
RULE OF INTERPRETATION OF STATUTE:-
(9) The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the
matter of State of Goa V. Western Builders,
reported in (2006) 6 SCC 239, while deciding
the issue as to whether provisions of
Limitation Act, 1963 are applicable in respect
of proceedings u/s. 34 of the Arbitration and
Conciliation Act, 1996 has held that “if the

statue is silent and there is no specific
prohibition then the statue should be
interpreted which advances the cause of
justice.”
(Refer Paragraph 19 placetum c & d)
In the present case, applying provisions of
Section 5 by virtue of Section 29(2) of
Limitation Act, 1963 would advance cause of
justice as it would enable the litigants to
purse the remedy of appeal. Therefore, rather
than foreclosing remedy of appeal on the ground
of limitation, the statue should be interpreted
in the manner which would permit the appeal to
be heard on merits.
(10) Even of this Hon'ble Court were to peruse
the statement of object and reasons of the
Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 and also the
scheme of the Act, there is no justification
for reading a prohibition on the power of High
Court to apply provisions of Section 5 of the
Limitation Act, 1963 by virtue of Section 29(2)
thereof.
(11) A bare perusal of section 13 of the RCT
Act, 1987 would reveal that by the special law,
RCT has been given with the jurisdiction which
was otherwise exercisable by civil courts in
relations to claims against Railway
Administration in respect of loss of

goods/animals, refund of excess freight and
compensation for injury to passenger. During
the time when the jurisdiction was exercised in
respect of aforesaid claims by civil courts, a
regular First Appeal was maintainable under the
Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 to Hon'ble High
Court. By enacting Railway Claims Tribunal Act,
1987 the legislature has only transferred the
jurisdiction of civil court to Railway Claims
Tribunal. However, the remedy of appeal still
lies before this Hon'ble Court and the scope of
the appeal is in no manner curtailed by the
special law. Therefore, it would be incongruous
to interpret Section 23 of RCT Act, 1987 in a
manner so as to curtail power of High Court to
condone delay by applying provisions of Section
5 of Limitation Act, 1963.
POWER TO CONDONE DELAY UNDER HIGH COURT RULES:-
(As alternative submission)
12. Rule No.146 of Gujarat High Court Rules
provide power to the High Court to condone
delay. By virtye of Rule No.148 the said power
is extended to all cases. Rule 217 provide for
procedure for hearing an appeal under special
act. Rules 265 and 266 prescribe procedure for
conducting an appeal before the High Court. A
conjoint reading of the aforesaid rules

indicates that the High Court under its Rules
is also empowered to condone delay in filing of
appeal. The said power is abridged by any of
the provisions of Railway Claims Tribunal Act,
1987.
13. The Hon'ble Supreme Court in the matter of
Fuerst Day Lawson V. Jindal Exports Ltd.
reported in (2011) 8 SCC 333, in paragraph
no.29, has laid down board principles that
“(1) Normally, once an appeal reaches the High
Court it has to be determined according to the
rules of practice and procedure of the High
Court and in accordance with the provisions of
the charter under which the High Court is
constituted and which confers on it power in
respect to the method and manner of exercising
that power. (2) When a statute merely directs
that an appeal shall lie to a court already
established then that appeal must be regulated
by the practice and procedure of that court.”
(Refer Paragraph No.29)
Since, Section 23 of RCT Act, 1983 does not
prescribe a procedure for hearing of the appeal
before the High Court but merely provides
remedy of appeal, the Gujarat High Court Rules
would govern hearing of the appeal and hence,
power to condone delay under the Rules would be
available to this Court.

AUTHORITIES RELIED UPON BY OPPONENT NO.1
14. The judgment of Gauhati High Court in the
matter of union of India V. Md. Jasiruddin
reported in 2011 (2) TAC 813 : Gau LJ 322,
cited by opponent No.1, does not lay down a
correct law. The said judgment incorrectly
rules out applicability of Section 29(2) of
Limitation Act, 1963 to the provisions of
Section 23 of the RCT Act, 1987. The Gauhati
High Court in paragraph no.27 of the judgment
has proceeded on a wrong premise that the
period of limitation prescribed under the
Railway Claims Tribunal Act and under the
Limitation Act for filing an appeal before the
High Court and before the appellate authority
is same i.e. 90 days. The said observation is
directly contrary to the ratio of
Constitutional Bench judgment of Hon'ble
Supreme Court in the matter of Vidacharan
Shukla (supra) as well as three judges bench
judgment in the matter of Hukumdev (supra) and
Mukri Goplan (supra). In the said judgments,
the Hon'ble Supreme Court has held that period
prescribed in the special law for a suit,
appeal or application must be the same provided
in the Schedule to the Limitation Act, 1963 for
that suit, appeal or application. Therefore,
the period for filing an appeal u/s. 23 of RCT
Act, 1987 cannot be compared with the period
prescribed in the Schedule of Limitation Act,

1963 to appeals to High Court under Code of
Civil Procedure, 1908.
(Refer Paragraph no.27 and 30)
RAILWAY CLAIMS TRIBUNAL NOT A COMPLETE CODE BUT
A SUPPLEMENTAL ACT:
15. The judgment of Madhya Pradesh High Court
in Misc. Appeal No.3108 of 2009 in the matter
of Smt. Kujmati V. Union of India proceeds on
the footing that the Railway Claims Tribunal
Act, 1987 is a self contained and that Railway
Claims Tribunal was set up as a specialized
Tribunal with the vowed object of speedy
adjudication of railway claims. On that ground
alone the Madhya Pradesh High Court has
rejected the contention regarding applicability
of Limitation Act, 1963. It is submitted that
the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in the
matter of State of Punjab V. Labour Court,
Jullundur reported in AIR 1979 SC 1981 has
occasion to consider the provisions of Payment
of Gratuity Act, 1972. The Hon'ble Supreme
Court in paragraph no.7 holds that;
“...Payment of Gratuity Act enacts
complete Code containing detailed
provisions covering all the essential
features of a scheme for payment of
gratuity. It creates the right to
payment of gratuity, indicates when the
right will accrue, and lays down the
principles for quantification of the
gratuity. It provides further for
recovery of the amount, and contains and

especial provision that compound
interest at nine per cent per annum will
be payable on delayed payment. For the
enforcement of its provisions, the Act
provides for the appointment of a
controlling authority, who is entrusted
with the task of administering the Act.
The fulfillment of the rights and
obligation of the parties are made his
responsibility, and he has been invested
with an amplitude of power for the full
discharge of that responsibility. Any
error committed by him can be corrected
in appeal by the appropriate Government
or an appellate authority particularly
constituted under the Act.”
In the present case, RCT Act, 1987 only
establishes the Tribunal and provides legal
remedy to apply to the Tribunal for
compensation and jurisdiction to Tribunal
adjudicate the application but the right to
claim compensation arises under the Railways
Act, 1989 as can be seen in Section 13(1)(a)
(ii) and 13(1) of the RCT Act, 1987. The right
to claim compensation on account of untoward
incidents also arises under Section 124-A of
the Railways Act, 1989 and quantum of
compensation is prescribed under the Railways
Accidents and Untoward Incidents Rules, 1990.
Similarly the right to compensation and refund
of overcharge and accrual of the said right in
respect of transport of goods by Railways arise
under Sections 99 to 106 of the Railways Act,
1989.
16. The judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court

of India in the matter of Commissioner of
Customs and Central Excise V. Hongo India Pvt.
Ltd. & Anr. Reported in (2009) 5 SCC 791 would
not squarely apply to the facts of this case,
as in that case, the Hon'ble Supreme Court
excluded applicability of Section 29(2) of
Limitation Act on the ground that (i) Central
Excise Act, 1944 was a complete code by itself
which alone would govern the several matters
provided by the Act and (ii) the Court was of
the view that legislature had provided
sufficient time i.e. 180 days for filing
reference to the High Court which was more than
the period prescribed for an appeal and
revision.
(Refer Para 33 placetum h and 34)
In the present case, it is not as if
legislature has provided large time for filing
an appeal u/s.23 before this Hon'ble Court. As
held in judgment of Hukumdev (supra) the scheme
of the Act and nature of remedy should be seen
to ascertain as to whether the provisions of
Limitation Act are necessarily excluded. In the
case of Hongo India (supra) the nature of
remedy was in form of a reference to the High
Court and the same was permissible only a
question law. Thus, the remedy of reference to
High Court under Customs Act was akin to a
Second Appeal. However, remedy u/s. 23 of RCT
Act, 1987 is in nature of First Appeal where

all questions of law and facts are open.
Further, Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 can
at best be said to be a Supplemental Act.
APPROBATE AND REPROBATE:-
17. Opponent No.1 in its reply opposing delay
application has raised a contention that Union
of India for similar matters against Opponent
No.1 has filed Special Civil Application
challenging orders of RCT. Therefore, it has
been contended that Union of India cannot
approbate and reprobate at the same time. The
said contention is not tenable for the
following reasons:-
(i) The principle of approbate and
reprobate is based on the English
doctrine of election. The underlying
principle is that nobody can accept and
reject the same thing. The Hon'ble
Supreme Court in the matter of Bhau Ram
V. Baij Nath Singh reported in AIR 1961
SC 1327 held in Paragraph no.12 that
choice between two rights is a condition
essential for applicability of doctrine
of approbate and reprobate. In the
present case it is not a matter of
choice between two remedies. Since the
appeal filed u/s. 23 RCT Act, 1987 is in
nature of statutory remedies whereas
power to entertain writ petition is an

extra ordinary powers of the High Court.
The statutory appeal cannot be equated
with writ petition invoking extra
ordinary power of the High Court.
(Refer Para 12)
(ii) The doctrine of approbate and
reprobate would come in play when a
party elects one remedy out of two
available remedies and after receiving
benefit under one remedy elects to
proceed to the other remedy on the
ground that the first remedy was not
proper. In this case, the facts are
otherwise. No benefit has been obtained
by Union of India under any remedy and
neither is the remedy elected been
subsequently rejected by Union of India.
(iii) Even otherwise, there cannot be
any estoppel against statutory appeal.
(Refer Paragraph No.7)
(Also refer (2008) 12 SCC 675 – No
estoppel against statute).
Written Submissions on behalf of Respondent No.1
1. The applicant has prayed to condone the
delay of 410 days caused in preferring
First Appeals against orders passed by
learned Railways Claims Tribunal,
Ahmedabad Bench. Apart from the fact that

Section 5 of the Limitation Act is not
applicable to the present Appeals
preferred by the applicant, also on the
ground that there is no proper explanation
for delay of 410 days in preferring
Appeals as also the fact that the impugned
orders are interlocutory orders and cannot
be challenged by way of Appeals under
Section 23 of the Railway Claims Tribunal
Act, 1987 (hereinafter referred to as 'the
Act, 1987'), these Civil Applications are
required to be rejected.
2. The submission on behalf of opponent
no.1 is to the effect that by virtue of
provisions of the Act, 1987, application
of Section 5 of the Limitation Act has
been specifically excluded and therefore,
this Court has no power to condone the
delay under Section 5 of the Limitation
Act.
3. The Act, 1987 is a complete code in
itself. Initially Railways Act was enacted
by the legislature, which contains several
provisions with regard to claims to be
made before the Tribunal, constitution of
the Tribunal, procedure of filing claims
before the Tribunal, period within which
claims can be made, appeal to be preferred
against orders, time for preferring

appeal, etc., has been provided. Thus the
complete code in itself.
4. It is submitted that the Act, 1987 has
been enacted with specific purpose and
object. It has been recorded in the Act,
1987 itself that following are the
statement of objects and reasons for
enacting the Act, 1987.
STATEMENT OF OBJECT AND REASONS: The
substantive liability of the railway
administration for loss, destruction,
damage, non-delivery or deterioration of
goods entrusted to them for carriage,
and for death or injury, or loss, etc.,
to a passenger in a railway accident
involving a passenger train is laid down
in the Indian Railways Act, 1890. The
consignors/consignees and passengers or
their repre-sentatives prefer claims for
compensation against the railway
administration. Those who claim
compensation for loss of and damage to
book goods and are not satisfied with
the decisions of the railway
administration, file suits in the Courts
of Law. Claims for compensation for
death of, or injury, or loss, etc., to
passengers in train accidents are at
present settled by Claims Commissioners.
2. As the litigation in the Courts of
Law and before the Claims Commissioners
is very protracted, it has been decided
to set up a specialised Tribunal for
speedy adjudication of such claims. The
setting up of such a Claims Tribunal
with Benches in different parts of the
country, and with judicial and technical
members will provide much relief to the
rail – users by way of expenditious
payment of compensation to the victims
of rail-accidents and to those whose

goods are lost or damaged in rail
transit. The Claims Tribunal will also
expedite settlement of disputes
regarding refund of fares and freight
charges. It will reduce the burden on
the various civil courts in the country,
thereby giving them more time to decide
other cases speedily.
3. The Bill seeks to give effect to the
above objectives. The Bill also inter
alia provides for – (a) the
jurisdiction, powers and authority which
may be exercised by the Claims Tribunal:
(b) the procedure (including provisions
as to limitation) to be followed by the
Claims Tribunal; (c) the exclusion of
jurisdiction of all courts exercising
ordinary original civil jurisdiction
relating to specified claims for
compensation and refund against the
railway administration; (d) the transfer
to the Claims Tribunal of any suit or
other proceeding, other than an appeal
pending before any court or other
authority immediately before the
establishment of such Claims Tribunal as
would have been within the jurisdiction
of such Claims Tribunal if the cause of
action on which such suits or
proceedings are based had arisen after
such establishment. - Gaz. of Ind.,
23.11.87, Pt. U.S. 2, Ext., p. 13
(No.55).
5. Section 17 of the Act provides for the
period of limitation. Thus there is a
specific provision with regard to the
limitation under the Act, 1987. This
Section provides limitation for making
claim applications under the Act, 1987. In
this provision, it is specifically
provided that an application may be
entertained after a period specified in

sub-section (1) if the applicant satisfies
the Claims Tribunal that he had sufficient
cause for not making application within
such period. Section 23 of the Act, 1987
provides for appeal. Sub-section (3)
specifically provides that every appeal
under this Section shall be preferred
within a period of 90 days from the date
of order appealed against. Section 23(1)
specifically provides that appeal
provision is notwithstanding anything
contained in the Code of Civil Procedure,
1908. Thus, it is very clear that there is
in-built provision with regard to
constitution of Claims Tribunal, the
nature of claims to be made before the
Tribunal, the nature of application which
can be made to the Tribunal, time limit
within which Tribunal can be approached,
delay condonation provision upon showing
sufficient cause in not making application
within three years as provided under
Section 17, provision with regard to
appeal to be made to the High Court,
special provision relating to limitation
of 90 days for preferring appeal to the
High Court. It is submitted that the Act,
1987 is thus self-contained code in itself
and no other Act much less Limitation Act
has any application while considering
appeal filed under the Act. Appeal has to

be preferred under Section 23 of the Act,
1987 and there is specific limitation of
90 days prescribed under the Section.
There is no provision for condonation of
delay. While Legislature think it fit to
provide further period of limitation under
Section 17 and giving discretion to the
Tribunal to extend such period of
limitation in case of sufficient cause,
Legislature specifically deemed it fit not
to provide any further period of
limitation on whatsoever cause beyond 90
days as provided under Section 23. Thus
the intention of the Legislature is very
clear that no appeal beyond the period of
90 days can be entertained by High Court
under Section 23 of the Act.
6. As held by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in
several cases, Courts have to respect
intention of the legislature. It has been
held time and again by the Hon'ble Supreme
Court that if from the Scheme of the Act
it is very clear that Legislature intended
to make the Act complete code by itself
which would govern several matters
provided by it, then provision of Sections
4 to 24 of the Limitation Act would be
excluded even though there is no specific
exclusion on this behalf. Reliance is
placed on the following decision of

Hon'ble Madhya Pradesh High Court and
Hon'ble Gauwahati High Court, which
specifically deals with situation on hand
and held that there is no provision to
condone delay under Section 23 of the Act,
1987-(i) Kujmati Vs. Union of India
decided on 06.11.2015 rendered in Case
No.3108 of 2009 and (ii) Union of India
Vs. Jasiruddin Talukdar decided on
03.06.2010 in Case No. 1238 of 2009.
7. It is pertinent to note that in case of
Kujmati before the Hon'ble Madhya Pradesh
High Court, Union of India, which is the
present applicant, took up this very
contention. Union of India, i.e. the
present applicant, contended that Section
5 of the Limitation Act has no application
to the appeal under Section 23 of the Act,
1987 and the said contention has been
accepted by the Hon'ble Madhya Pradesh
High Court. After having contended this
aspect before the Hon'ble Madhya Pradesh
High Court, the very applicant and that
too Union of India, cannot take up a
different contention before a different
Hon'ble High Court. Union of India being a
State cannot approbate and reprobate so as
to suit their need. Only on this count,
this application is required to be

rejected. It is pertinent to note that the
Act is a Central Act. Union of India
cannot make interpretation of the Act
before different High Courts in different
manner. After having taken contention of
non-applicability of Section 5 of the
Limitation Act to appeal under Section 23
of the Act, 1987, now before this Hon'ble
Court different contention cannot be taken
by the Union of India. Thus this
application is required to be rejected on
the said ground.
8. The opponent No.1 also relies upon
following decisions of the Hon'ble Supreme
Court to buttress its contention that
Section 5 of the Limitation Act has no
application to the appeal under Section 23
of the Act, 1987-(i) (1974) 2 SCC 133
[paragraphs 10, 14 and 20] and (iii)
(2010) 5 SCC 23.
9. It is pertinent to note that provision
of Section 23 is more or less similar to
Section 35H of the Central Excise Act
wherein there is no negative couching with
regard to express exclusion of the
Limitation Act, even then Hon'ble Supreme
Court relying upon Hukumdev's Judgment
interpreted the said Section as exclusion
by necessary implication by the

Legislature and the intention of the
Legislature to exclude provision of
Section 5 of the Limitation Act. It is
pertinent to note that in the Payment of
Gratuity Act also there is no specific
exclusion of Limitation Act, even then
Courts have held that delay beyond 60+60
days cannot be condoned.
In view of these facts, these
Applications may kindly be rejected along
with Appeals.
4. The peculiar facts, so far as the
applications are concerned, would indicate that the
respondent appears to have approached the Tribunal
after delay of about 13 years and 6 months for filing
the claim petition. The delay occurred in filing the
claim petition is condoned vide order dated
24.06.2014. However, a condition was attached that
the applicant would not allow to claim interest prior
to the date of registration of his claim in the
Tribunal. The Union of India preferred review, which
came to be dismissed vide order dated 17.06.2015. In
preferring the present appeals, the delay of 410 days
have occurred, the condonation whereof, has been
resisted by the respondents in these proceedings on
the grounds narrated hereinabove. On the substantive
ground that the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1978
(hereinafter referred to as the 'Tribunal Act' for
the sake of brevity) being a special Act, would not
permit the appellate court i.e. High Court to invoke

provisions of the Limitation Act, 1963 for condoning
delay, as Section 23 of the Railway Claim Tribunal
Act excludes invoking of the provision of Limitation
Act, 1963.
5. Before adverting to this contentions and
answering the same, it would be most appropriate to
set out the provision of law and the pronouncement of
authoritative judgments in this behalf so that they
could be appreciated in light thereof. The provision
of Sections 17 and 23 of the Tribunal Act needs to be
set out as under:
17. Limitation.-(1) The Claims Tribunal
shall not admit an application for any
claim-
(a) under sub-clause (i) of clause
(a) of sub-section (1) of section 13
unless the application is made
within three years from the date on
which the goods in question were
entrusted to the railway
administration for carriage by
railway;
(b) under sub-clause (ii) of clause
(a) of sub-section (1) [or, as the
case may be, sub-section(1A)] of
section 13 unless the application is
made within one year of occurrence
of the accident;

(c) under clause (b) of sub-section
(1) of section 13 unless the
application is made within three
years from the date on which the
fare or freight is paid to the
railway administration:
Provided that no application for any
claim referred to in sub-clause (i) of
clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section
13 shall be preferred to the Claims
Tribunal until the expiration of three
months next after the date on which the
intimation of the claim has been
preferred under section 78B of the
Railways Act.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained
in sub-section (1), an application may
be entertained after the period
specified in sub-section (1) if the
applicant satisfies the Claims Tribunal
that he had sufficient cause for not
making the application within such
period.
23. Appeals.-(1) Save as provided in
sub-section (2) and notwithstanding
anything contained in the Code of Civil
Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) or in any
other law, an appeal shall lie from
every order, not being an interlocutory
order, of the Claims Tribunal, to the

High Court having jurisdiction over the
place where the Bench is located.
(2) No appeal shall lie from an order
passed by the Claims Tribunal with the
consent of the parties.
(3) Every appeal under this section
shall be preferred within a period of
ninety days from the date of the order
appealed against.”
Section 17 of the Tribunal Act empowers the
Tribunal to condone delay on being satisfied about
existence of sufficient cause preventing claimant to
lodge claim. However, Section 23, whereunder the
appeal would lie to the High Court, does not provide
any provision for delay condonation and this absence
in Section 23 is heavily relied upon by the
respondents to support their contentions that the
provision of Limitation Act, 1963 have been excluded
and therefore, once the appeal is filed beyond the
period of time prescribed in the provision of Section
23 of the Tribunal Act, the Court has no power to
condone delay by invoking provision of Limitation
Act, 1963.
6. As it is mentioned hereinabove, the
peculiar facts of this case indicate that the
claimants lodged the claim after delay of about 13
years and 6 months, which came to be condoned and the
delay of 410 days, which is occurred in filing the

appeal is being resisted on the ground that the same
is not permissible.
7. The learned counsel for the respondent has
cited two decisions directly on Section 23 rendered
by two different High Courts namely High Court of
Gauhati and High Court of Madhya Pradesh. The High
Court of Gauhati has rendered its decision in case of
Union of India Vs. Fasiruddin Talukdar, reported in
2010 Law Suit (Gau) 677, on 03.06.2010, wherein the
Gauhati High Court held that Railway Tribunal Act and
particularly Section 23 do not confer any power upon
the High Court to condone delay under Section 23 of
the Tribunal Act. The Gauhati High Court relying upon
decision of the Supreme Court in case of Hukumdev
Narain Yadav Vs. Lalit Narayan Misra, reported in
(1974) 2 SCC 133, held that the power is to be
exercised in the way it is prescribed in the statute.
The Act being complete code it excludes the
provisions of Limitation act. The another judgment
on the same line is rendered by the High Court of
Madhya Pradesh in case of Smt. Kujmati Vs. Union of
India, decided on 06.11.2015 in M.A. No.3108 of 2009,
in which the M.P. High Court has after referring to
the various decisions rendered, arising from Excise
Act and making reference to Section 17 of the
Tribunal Act held that Section 23 of the Tribunal Act
does not confer any power upon the High Court to
condone delay, as the Railway Tribunal Act being a
complete Code in itself.

8. The 3rd Judgment on Section 23 that of
Orissa High Court in case of Union of India Vs.
Ashok Kumar Sahoo, decided on 25th September, 2013,
reported in 2013 Law Suit (Ori) 370, in which the
Orissa High Court held that Section 35H of the
Central Excise Act is not in pari materia with
Section 23 of the Tribunal Act. The citation based
thereupon would be of no avail and when there is no
specific provision excluding the provision of
Limitation Act, the Court held that the provision of
Limitation Act were not excluded and thus this was
the decision in which the Orissa High Court held that
there was no specific exclusion of the provision of
Limitation Act and hence, the power under Section 23
was held to be available to the Court for condoning
the delay. Learned counsel for the respondent has
also relied upon the judgment in case of Union of
India Vs. Mysore Paper Mills Limited, reported in
2003 Law Suit (Kar) 885.
9. Section 29 of the Limitation Act, 1963
clearly provides that where any special or local law
prescribes for any suit, appeal or application for
the period of limitation different from the period
prescribed by the schedule, the provisions of Section
3 shall apply as if such period were the period
prescribed by the Schedule and for purpose of
determining any period of limitation prescribed for
any suit, appeal or application by any special or
local law, the provisions contained in sections 4 to
24 (inclusive) shall apply only in so far as, and to

the extent to which, they are not expressly excluded
by such special or local law.
10. The counsels of both sides invited attention of
this court on observations made by the Supreme Court
rendered in case of Hukumdev Narain Yadav (supra) to
support their rival contentions. The counsel for the
respondent heavily relied upon the observations made
by the Court in paragraph no.17 and submitted that
the close examination of the scheme of the Act i.e.
Railway Tribunal Act and the observations of the
Gauhati High Court as well as Madhya Pradesh High
Court, would indicate clearly that the Railway claims
Tribunal Act, Section 23 specially, contains
exclusion of applicability of provision of Limitation
Act and, therefore, the applicants have no right to
seek condonation of delay. As against this, the
counsel for the applicant invited Court's attention
to the observations made by the Supreme Court in case
of Hukumdev Narain Yadav (supra) in paragraph nos.13
and 14 and submitted that there is no express bar to
applicability of provision of Limitation Act on plain
reading of the judgment of the Supreme Court, so far
as special Acts are concerned, as Supreme court has
clearly said that it is for the Court concerned to
decide in respect of the particular Act and its
scheme as to whether the condonation provision
prescribed under the Limitation Act are excluded or
not?
11. This Court is of the considered view that

in fact the Hukumdev Narain Yadav (supra) deserves to
be considered in light of the facts mentioned
thereunder, which would indicate that the
observations of the Supreme Court made in paragraph
no.20 would be, in fact clinching the entire
controversy.
12. Learned counsel for the applicant has
relied upon the decision of the Supreme Court in case
of M.P. Steel Corporation Vs. Commissioner of
Central Excise, reported in (2015) 7 Supreme Court
Cases 58, in support his contention that the
legislature has not provided delay condonation
expressly under Section 23, as Section 23 confers
power upon High Court where the applicability of the
Limitation Act would not be expressly required to be
provided. As against this, Section 17 of the Railway
Claims Tribunal Act confers power upon Tribunal and,
therefore, Tribunal not being cover under the
provisions Limitation Act. The legislature was
required to provide specific power for condoning
delay. The relevant paragraphs thereof deserve to be
set out as under;
“20. Now to the case law. A number of
decisions have established that the
Limitation Act applies only to courts
and not to Tribunals. The distinction
between courts and quasi-judicial
decisions is succinctly brought out in
Bharat Bank Ltd. v. Employees of Bharat
Bank Ltd., 1950 SCR 459. This root
authority has been followed in a catena
of judgments. This judgment refers to a
decision of the King’s Bench in Cooper
v. Wilson. The relevant quotation from

the said judgment is as follows:-
“'A true judicial decision
presupposes an existing dispute
between two or more parties, and
then involves four requisites: (1)
The presentation (not 18 Page 19
necessarily orally) of their
case by the parties to the
dispute; (2) if the dispute between
them is a question of fact, the
ascertainment of the fact by means
of evidence adduced by the parties
to the dispute and often with the
assistance of argument by or on
behalf of the parties on the
evidence; (3) if the dispute
between them is a question of law,
the submission of legal argument by
the parties, and (4) a decision
which disposes of the whole matter
by a finding upon the facts in
dispute and application of the law
of the land to the facts so found,
including where required a ruling
upon any disputed question of law.
A quasi-judicial decision equally
presupposes an existing dispute
between two or more parties and
involves (1) and (2), but does not
necessarily involve (3) and never
involves (4). The place of (4) is
in fact taken by administrative
action, the character of which is
determined by the Minister’s free
choice.”
21. Under our constitutional scheme of
things, the judiciary is dealt with in
Chapter IV of Part V and Chapter V of
Part VI. Chapter IV of Part V deals with
the Supreme Court and Chapter V of Part
VI deals with the High Courts and courts
subordinate thereto. When the
Constitution uses the expression
“court”, it refers to this Court system.
As opposed to this court system is a
system of quasi-judicial bodies called
Tribunals. Thus, Articles 136 and 227
refer to “courts” as distinct from

“tribunals”. The question in this case
is whether the Limitation Act extends
beyond the court system mentioned above
and embraces within its scope quasijudicial
bodies as well?
22. A series of decisions of this Court
have clearly held that the Limitation
Act applies only to courts and does not
apply to quasi-judicial bodies. Thus, in
Town Municipal Council, Athani v.
Presiding Officer, Labour Court, (1969)
1 SCC 873, a question arose as to what
applications are covered under Article
137 of the Schedule to the Limitation
Act. It was argued that an application
made under the Industrial Disputes Act
to a Labour Court was covered by the
said Article. This Court negatived the
said plea in the following terms:-
“12. This point, in our opinion, may
be looked at from another angle
also. When this Court earlier held
that all the articles in the third
division to the schedule, including
Article 181 of the Limitation Act of
1908, governed applications under
the Code of Civil Procedure only, it
clearly implied that the
applications must be presented to a
court governed by the Code of Civil
Procedure. Even the applications
under the Arbitration Act that were
included within the third division
by amendment of Articles 158 and 178
were to be presented to courts whose
proceedings were governed by the
Code of Civil Procedure. As best,
the further amendment now made
enlarges the scope of the third
division of the schedule so as also
to include some applications
presented to courts governed by the
Code of Criminal Procedure. One
factor at least remains constant and
that is that the applications must
be to courts to be governed by the
articles in this division. The scope
of the various articles in this
division cannot be held to have been

so enlarged as to include within
them applications to bodies other
than courts, such as a quasi
judicial tribunal, or even an
executive authority. An Industrial
Tribunal or a Labour Court dealing
with applications or references
under the Act are not courts and
they are in no way governed either
by the Code of Civil Procedure or
the Code of Criminal Procedure. We
cannot, therefore, accept the
submission made that this article
will apply even to applications made
to an Industrial Tribunal or a
Labour Court. The alterations made
in the article and in the new Act
cannot, in our opinion, justify the
interpretation that even
applications presented to bodies,
other than courts, are now to be
governed for purposes of limitation
by Article 137.”
Similarly, in Nityananda, M. Joshi &
Ors. v. Life Insurance Corporation &
Ors., (1969) 2 SCC 199, this Court
followed the judgment in Athani’s case
and turned down a plea that an
application made to a Labour Court would
be covered under Article 137 of the
Limitation Act. This Court emphatically
stated that Article 137 only
contemplates applications to courts in
the following terms: (Nityananda, M.
Joshi case, SCC P.200, para 3)
“3. In our view Article 137 only
contemplates applications to Courts.
In the Third Division of the Schedule
to the Limitation Act, 1963 all the
other applications mentioned in the
various articles are applications
filed in a court. Further Section 4
of the Limitation Act, 1963, provides
for the contingency when the
prescribed period for any application
expires on a holiday and the only
contingency contemplated is “when the
court is closed.” Again under Section

5 it is only a court which is enabled
to admit an application after the
prescribed period has expired if the
court is satisfied that the applicant
had sufficient cause for not
preferring the application. It seems
to us that the scheme of the Indian
Limitation Act is that it only deals
with applications to courts, and that
the Labour Court is not a court
within the Indian Limitation Act,
1963.”
23. In Kerala State Electricity Board v.
T.P. Kunhaliumma, (1976) 4 SCC 634, a 3-
Judge Bench of this Court followed the
aforesaid two judgments and stated:-
“22. The conclusion we reach is that
Article 137 of the 1963 Limitation
Act will apply to any petition or
application filed under any Act to a
civil court. With respect we differ
from the view taken by the two-judge
bench of this Court in Athani
Municipal Council case [(1969) 1 SCC
873 : (1970) 1 SCR 51] and hold that
Article 137 of the 1963 Limitation
Act is not confined to applications
contemplated by or under the Code of
Civil Procedure. The petition in the
present case was to the District
Judge as a court. The petition was
one contemplated by the Telegraph Act
for judicial decision. The petition
is an application falling within the
scope of Article 137 of the 1963
Limitation Act.”
This judgment is an authoritative
pronouncement by a 3-Judge Bench that
the Limitation Act applies only to
courts and not to quasi-judicial
Tribunals. Athani’s case was dissented
from on a different proposition – that
Article 137 is not confined to
applications under the Code of Civil
Procedure alone. So long as an
application is made under any statute to
a Civil Court, such application will be
covered by Article 137 of the Limitation

Act.”
25. It is clear that this judgment
clearly laid down two things – one that
authorities under the Sales Tax Act are
not “courts” and thus, the Limitation
Act will not apply to them. It also laid
down that the language of Section 10 (3-
B) of the U.P. Sales Tax Act made it
clear that an unusually long period of
limitation had been given for filing a
revision application and therefore said
that the said Section as construed by
the Court would not be unduly
oppressive. Most cases would, according
to the Court, be filed within a maximum
period of 18 months but even in cases,
rare as they are, filed beyond such
period, the revising authority may on
its own motion entertain the revision
and grant relief. Given the three
features of the U.P. Sales Tax Act
scheme, the Court held that the
legislature deliberately excluded the
application of the principle underlying
Section 14 except to the limited extent
that it may amount to sufficient cause
for condoning delay within the period of
18 months.
28.Two other judgments of this Court
need to be dealt with at this stage. In
Mukri Gopalan v. Cheppilat Puthanpurayil
Aboobacker, (1995) 5 SCC 5, a 2-Judge
Bench of this Court held that the
Limitation Act would apply to the
appellate authority constituted under
Section 13 of the Kerala Buildings
(Lease and Rent Control) Act , 1965.
This was done by applying the provision
of Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act.
Despite referring to various earlier
judgments of this Court which held that
the Limitation Act applies only to
courts and not to Tribunals, this Court
in this case held to the contrary. In
distinguishing the Parson Tools’ case,
which is a 3-Judge Bench binding on the
Court that decided Mukri Gopalan’s case,
the Court held:- (Mukrri Gopalan case,

SCC p.23, para18)
“18....If the Limitation Act does not
apply then neither Section 29(2) nor
Section 14(2) of the Limitation Act
would apply to proceedings before
him. But so far as this Court is
concerned it did not go into the
question whether Section 29(2) would
not get attracted because the U.P.
Sales Tax Act Judge (Revisions) was
not a court but it took the view that
because of the express provision in
Section 10(3) (B) applicability of
Section 14(2) of the Sales Tax Act
was ruled out. Implicit in this
reasoning is the assumption that but
for such an express conflict or
contrary intention emanating from
Section 10(3)(B) of the U.P. Sales
Tax Act which was a special law,
Section 29(2) would have brought in
Section 14(2) of the Limitation Act
even for governing period of
limitation for such revision
applications. In any case, the scope
of Section 29(2) was not considered
by the aforesaid decision of the
three learned Judges and consequently
it cannot be held to be an authority
for the proposition that in
revisional proceedings before the
Sales Tax authorities functioning
under the U.P. Sales Tax Act Section
29(2) cannot apply as Mr. Nariman
would like to have it.”
It then went on to follow the judgment
reported in The Commissioner of Sales
Tax, U.P. v. M/s. Madan Lal Das & Sons,
Bareilly, (1976) 4 SCC 464 which, as has
been pointed out earlier, is not an
authority for the proposition that the
Limitation Act would apply to Tribunals.
In fact, Mukri Gopalan’s case was
distinguished in Om Prakash v. Ashwani
Kumar Bassi, (2010) 9 SCC 183 at
paragraph 22 as follows: (Om Prakash
case, SCC p.188)

“22. The decision in Mukri Gopalan
case [(1995) 5 SCC 5] relied upon by
Mr Ujjal Singh is distinguishable
from the facts of this case. In the
facts of the said case, it was the
District Judges who were discharging
the functions of the appellate
authority and being a court, it was
held that the District Judge,
functioning as the appellate
authority, was a court and not
persona designata and was, therefore,
entitled to resort to Section 5 of
the Limitation Act. That is not so in
the instant case where the Rent
Controller appointed by the State
Government is a member of the Punjab
Civil Services and, therefore, a
persona designata who would not be
entitled to apply the provisions of
Section 5 of the Limitation Act,
1963, as in the other case.”
The fact that the District Judge himself
also happened to be the appellate
authority under the Rent Act would have
been sufficient on the facts of the case
for the Limitation Act to apply without
going into the proposition that the
Limitation Act would apply to tribunals.
33.The sheet anchor in Mukri Gopalan was
Section 29(2) of the Limitation Act.
Section 29(2) states:-
“29. Savings.—(1)
(2) Where any special or local law
prescribes for any suit, appeal or
application a period of limitation
different from the period prescribed by
the Schedule, the provisions of Section
3 shall apply as if such period were the
period prescribed by the Schedule and
for the purpose of determining any
period of limitation prescribed for any
suit, appeal or application by any
special or local law, the provisions
contained in Sections 4 to 24
(inclusive) shall apply only insofar as,

and to the extent to which,
they are not expressly excluded by such
special or local law.”
A bare reading of this Section would
show that the special or local law
described therein should prescribe for
any suit, appeal or application a
period of limitation different from
the period prescribed by the schedule.
This would necessarily mean that such
special or local law would have to lay
down that the suit, appeal or
application to be instituted under it
should be a suit, appeal or
application of the nature described in
the schedule. We have already held that
such suits, appeals or applications as
are referred to in the schedule are only
to courts and not to quasi-judicial
bodies or Tribunals. It is clear,
therefore, that only when a suit, appeal
or application of the description in the
schedule is to be filed in a court under
a special or local law that the
provision gets attracted. This is made
even clearer by a reading of Section
29(3). Section 29(3) states:-
 “29. Savings.—(1)-(2)
 (3) Save as otherwise provided in any
law for the time being in force with
respect to marriage and divorce, nothing
in this Act shall apply to any suit or
other proceeding under any such law.”
When it comes to the law of marriage and
divorce, the Section speaks not only
of suits but other proceedings as well.
Such proceedings may be proceedings
which are neither appeals nor
applications thus making it clear that
the laws relating to marriage and
divorce, unlike the law of limitation,
may contain proceedings other than
suits, appeals or applications filed in
courts. This again is an important
pointer to the fact that the entirety
of the Limitation Act including Section
29(2) would apply only to the three
kinds of proceedings mentioned all of

which are to be filed in courts.
38. We have already held that the
Limitation Act including Section 14
would not apply to appeals filed before
a quasi-judicial Tribunal such as the
Collector (Appeals) mentioned in Section
128 of the Customs Act. However, this
does not conclude the issue. There is
authority for the proposition that even
where Section 14 may not apply, the
principles on which Section 14 is based,
being principles which advance the cause
of justice, would nevertheless apply. We
must never forget, as stated in Bhudan
Singh & Anr. v. Nabi Bux & Anr., (1970)
2 SCR 10, that justice and reason is at
the heart of all legislation by
Parliament. This was put in very
felicitous terms by Hegde,J. As
follows: (SCC p. 485, para 9)
“9. Before considering the meaning
of the word “held” in Section 9, it
is necessary to mention that it is
proper to assume that the lawmakers
who are the representatives of the
people enact laws which the society
considers as honest, fair and
equitable. The object of every
legislation is to advance public
welfare. In other words as observed
by Crawford in his book on Statutory
Constructions the entire legislative
process is influenced by
considerations of justice and reason.
Justice and reason constitute the
great general legislative intent in
every piece of legislation.
Consequently where the suggested
construction operates harshly,
ridiculously or in any other manner
contrary to prevailing conceptions of
justice and reason, in most
instances, it would seem that the
apparent or suggested meaning of the
statute, was not the one intended by
the law- makers. In the absence of
some other indication that the harsh

or ridiculous effect was actually
intended by the legislature, there
is little reason to believe that it
represents the legislative intent.”
(emphasis supplied)
Thus, it was submitted that Section 23
being a Section providing an appeal to the High
Court. There is no specific requirement on the part
of the legislature to specifically mention the delay
condonation power, as the Limitation Act would have
applicability in view of provision of Section 29(2)
of the Limitation Act.
13. On the same line one more judgment is cited
on behalf of the applicant in case of Birla Cement
Works Vs. G.M., Western Railways And Another,
reported in (1995) 2 Supreme Court Cases 493.
Paragraph no.3 thereof needs to be set out as under;
“3. Section 17(1)(c) of the Limitation
Act, 1963, would apply only to a suit
instituted or an application made in
that behalf in the civil suit. The
Tribunal is the creature of the statute.
Therefore, it is not a civil court nor
the Limitation Act has application, even
though it may be held that the
petitioner discovered the mistake
committed in paying ’over charges’ and
the limitation is not saved by operation
of s. 17(1)(c) of the Limitation Act.”
(emphasis supplied)
Another two judgments are cited on behalf
of the applicant in case of Mukri Gopalan Vs.
Cheppilat Puthanpurayil Abooacker, reported in (1995)

5 Supreme Court Cases 5, and in case of Chhatisgarh
State Electricity Board Vs. Central Electricity
Regulatory Commission And Others, reported in (2010)
5 Supreme Court Cases 23.
14. Against this backdrop of the provision of
law, it seems that learned counsel for the applicant
is justified in contending that non mentioning of the
delay condonation power under Section 23 and
mentioning of the same under Section 17, would not be
construed as express exclusion of the said power so
as to exclude the provision of the Limitation Act
from its applicability to the case, as the
observations of the Supreme Court in case of Hukumdev
Narain Yadav (supra) of course cannot be said to be
laying down so absolute a proposition of law. On the
contrary, even in Hukumdev Narain Yadav (supra) also
the Supreme Court did say that the Court has to
examine the scheme of the Act for coming to the
conclusion as to whether the provisions of Limitation
Act are excluded or not?
15. It is all the more required to be noticed
that in case of Hukumdev Narain Yadav (supra), the
Supreme Court has observed in Paragraph no.20 as
under;
“20. It is also significant that
delay in the presentation of the
election petition under the repealed
Section 81 could be condoned by the
Election Commission in its
discretion under the proviso to the

repealed Section 85 of the Act. But
there was nothing in Section 85
which permitted the Election
Commission to condone the noncompliance
with the provisions of
Section 117 of the Act. When the Act
was amended and the jurisdiction was
given to the High Court to entertain
and try election petitions, a
provision similar to the proviso for
condoning delay was not enacted.
This omission definitely expresses
Parliament's intention not to confer
the power to condone any delay in
the presentation of the petition.
The whole object of the amendment in
1966 was to provide a procedure for
a more expeditious method of
disposal of election disputes, which
experience had shown had become
dilatory under the former procedure
where election trials were not
concluded even after five years when
the next elections were held,
notwithstanding the fact that every
petition was enjoined to be tried as
expeditiously as possible and every
petition was enjoined to be tried as
expeditiously as possible and
endeavour was required to be made to
conclude the trial within six months
from the date on which the election
petition was presented to the High
Court for trial.”
(emphasis supplied)
Thus, in case of Hukumdev Narain Yadav
(supra), the Supreme Court recorded that Peoples
Representative Act, as it stood prior to amendment,
the Election Commission did have a power to condone
delay. Subsequently, that delay condonation power was
omitted after the amendment. This omission was

treated by the Supreme Court as intentional omission
by the legislature and therefore, the Court read into
that there was clear exclusion of condonation of
delay power.
As against this, in the instant case,
learned counsel for the applicant appears to be
justified in contending that the power of condonation
of delay as embedded in Section 17, would indicate
that the scheme of the Act is also not the one which
is sought to be canvassed by the learned counsel for
the respondent.
16. In the instant case, the very provision for
condonation of delay, as provided under Section 17,
would militate against the Act and the scheme of the
Act being construed as excluding the limitation
provision, as the legislature has in fact provided
delay condonation power in Section 17 itself. The
same power need not be provided so far as Section 23
is concerned as it pertains the appeal to be led
before High Court and High Court being Court, the
provision of Section 29(2) would get attracted.
Therefore, there was no requirement of providing
specific power for condoning delay. The legislature,
if at all, wanted to exclude the power in the High
Court for condoning delay in filing of appeal, then
legislature would have by way of express provision
excluded the same. With profound respect to the High
Court of Gauhati and High Court of Madhya Pradesh,
this Court is unable to accept the proposition that

the provision of the Act and the scheme based upon
its object and reason, could be said to be one in
which the provisions of Limitation Act appears to
have been excluded. On the contrary, the provision of
Section 17 expressly contains delay condonation power
without there being any outer limit in the Tribunal
and hence Tribunal, in the instant case, has even
condoned delay on the part of the claimant of 13
years and 6 months. If this power is there under
Section 17 to condone delay of any number of years,
then absence of condonation power under Section 23
cannot be read as express exclusion by the
legislature.
17. The contention canvassed on behalf of the
respondent claimants that the Union of India cannot
approbate and reprobate, as before other High Courts
the appeal was not filed and S.C.A. was filed on the
ground that the appeal would not be available on
account of lack of power in condoning delay,
therefore, the same litigant cannot change its stand
before this High Court and submit that under Section
23 there is a power to condone delay, in our view the
learned counsel for the respondent is not correct in
contending thus.
18. It may be required to be noted that the
stand taken in the present delay condonation
application on behalf of the Union of India is a
stand taken on the basis of the provision of law and
when provision of law is sought to be relied upon the

strength of the judgment of the Supreme Court and in
view of the provision of the Act itself, then learned
counsel for the applicant appears to be justified in
contending that the Union of India cannot be said to
be bound by its stand in a litigation, as there
cannot be any such binding. In light thereof, the
contention appears to be not just and proper so as to
require acceptance by the Court. We are, to say the
least, not impressed by the submission on behalf of
the learned counsel for the respondent in these
applications.
19. The counsel for the applicant has also
relied upon the High Court Rules and the Rules of
interpretation of statute. The High Court Rules, in
our view, need not be pressed into service for
justifying the power to condone delay, as in case if
the substantive statutes itself had barred such
power, then on the strength of mere High Court Rules,
the Court would not have exercised such power.
However, in the instant case, on the strength of the
provisions of statute and the scheme of the Act and
decisions of the Supreme Court and the aforesaid
discussion, would indicate that there exists a power
to condone delay, as Section 23 of the Railway Claims
Tribunal Act, cannot be treated to have excluded the
provision of the Limitation Act expressly or
impliedly and therefore, the power of condonation of
delay is existing in the Court, so far as Section 23
of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, are concerned.

20. In view of this, we are of the considered
view that the provisions of Limitation Act are
applicable and therefore, the delay is sufficiently
explained, as the respondents have failed in pointing
out how and in what manner the cause of action is
said to have been given up by the applicant and
therefore, sufficient cause is made out to condone
the delay. Hence, the delay is condoned. Applications
are allowed. Rule is made absolute to the aforesaid
extent.
Office to place copy of this order in each
matter.
(S.R.BRAHMBHATT, J.)
(A.G.URAIZEE,J)
Pankaj

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