This revision petition has been filed by the petitioner against the order dated 13.07.2011 passed by the U.P. State Consumer Disputes RedressalCommission, Lucknow (in short, ‘the State Commission’) in Appeal No. 1625 of 2007 – Regional Provident Fund Commissioner Vs. G.P. Srivastava by which, while dismissing appeal, order of District Forum allowing complaint was upheld.
2. Brief facts of the case are that complainant/respondent who retired on 31.10.1997 was sanctioned pension of Rs.265/- per month. He further alleged that he is further entitled to Rs.365/- per month as pension. OP/petitioner resisted complaint. Learned District Forum after hearing both the parties directed OP to pay Rs.600/- per month as pension. Appeal filed by the OP was dismissed by learned State Commission vide impugned order against which, this revision petition has been filed along with application for condonation of delay of 178 days.
3. Heard learned Counsel for the petitioner on application for condonation of delay at admission stage.
4. Learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that delay occurred as State Commission passed order without hearing the petitioner and knowledge of the order was gathered after long period; hence, delay in filing revision petition be condoned.
5. Paragraphs 3 & 4 of the application for condonation of delay runs as under:
“3. That the Hon’ble State Commission has passed ex-parte impugned order on 13.07.2011 and the petitioner came to know about the said order in September 2013 because the Ld. Counsel who was engaged in this case to prepare the appeal and to file the appeal before the State Commission and appeared at the admission stage on 22.11.2007 and further on 27.11.2007 was removed from the panel of the Advocate of the EPF Organisation and he could not inform about the case to the Petitioner. The Petitioner filed application for extra certified copy of order on 14.10.2013 and extra certified copy of order was ready and delivered on 14.10.2013. The petitioner after going through the order took legal opinion from the panel Counsel in the matter and thereafter by speed post dated 12.03.2014 sent a letter along with all the documents to the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Regional Office, NewDelhi for filing and engaging a counsel at New Delhi to file the present Revision Petition.
4. The Regional Commissioner, New Delhi discussed the matter with local Advocate and handed over all the documents to the Counsel vide letter dated 02.04.2014 on 05.05.2014 to file the Revision Petition.
6. Perusal of aforesaid paragraphs reveals that petitioner came to know about the impugned order in September, 2013 and extra certified copy of the order dated 13.7.2011 was also received on 14.10.2013, but almost 5 months were taken in seeking legal opinion and on 12.3.2014 all documents along with opinion were sent to Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, New Delhi for engaging Counsel. Not only this, documents were handed over to Advocate in Delhi on 5.5.2014 vide letter dated 2.4.2014 meaning thereby, after drafting letter, documents were handed over to the Counsel after 33 days and no explanation has been given for this period. Not only this, revision petition was filed on 30.6.2014, whereas Counsel for the petitioner received all documents on 5.5.2014 and there is no explanation for aforesaid 55 days delay in preparing and filing revision petition.
7. Apparently, there is no reasonable explanation for delay of 178 days in filing revision petition, if delay is counted from knowledge in September, 2013, and this delay cannot be condoned in the light of following judgments passed by the Hon’ble Apex Court.
8. Hon’ble Apex Court in (2012) 3 SCC 563 – Post Master General &Ors.Vs. Living Media India Ltd. andAnr. has not condoned delay in filing appeal even by Government department and further observed that condonation of delay is an exception and should not be used as an anticipated benefit for the Government departments.
9. In R.B.RamlingamVs.R.B.Bhavaneshwari2009 (2) Scale 108,it has been observed:
“We hold that in each and every case the Court has to examine whether delay in filing the special appeal leave petitions stands properly explained. This is the basic test which needs to be applied. The true guide is whether the petitioner has acted with reasonable diligence in the prosecution of his appeal/petition.”
10. InRamLalandOrs. Vs. RewaCoalfields Ltd., AIR 1962 Supreme Court 361, it has been observed;
“It is, however, necessary to emphasize that even after sufficient cause has been shown a party is not entitled to the condonation of delay in question as a matter of right. The proof of a sufficient cause is a discretionary jurisdiction vested in the Court by S.5. If sufficient cause is not proved nothing further has to be done; the application for condonation has to be dismissed on that ground alone. If sufficient cause is shown then the Court has to enquire whether in its discretion it should condone the delay. This aspect of the matter naturally introduces the consideration of all relevant facts and it is at this stage that diligence of the party or its bona fides may fall for consideration; but the scope of the enquiry while exercising the discretionary power after sufficient cause is shown would naturally be limited only to such facts as the Court may regard as relevant.”
11. Hon’ble Supreme Court after exhaustively considering the case law on the aspect of condonation of delay observed in Oriental Aroma Chemical Industries Ltd. Vs.Gujarat Industrial Development Corporationreported in (2010) 5 SCC 459as under;
“We have considered the respective submissions. The law of limitation is founded on public policy. The legislature does not prescribe limitation with the object of destroying the rights of the parties but to ensure that they do not resort to dilatory tactics and seek remedy without delay. The idea is that every legal remedy must be kept alive for a period fixed by the legislature. To put it differently, the law of limitation prescribes a period within which legal remedy can be availed for redress of the legal injury. At the same time, the courts are bestowed with the power to condone the delay, if sufficient cause is shown for not availing the remedy within the stipulated time.”
12. Hon’ble Apex Court in 2012 (2) CPC 3 (SC) – AnshulAggarwal Vs. NewOkhlaIndustrial Development Authority observed as under:
“It is also apposite to observe that while deciding an application filed in such cases for condonation of delay, the Court has to keep in mind that the special period of limitation has been prescribed under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, for filing appeals and revisions in Consumer matters and the object of expeditious adjudication of the Consumer disputes will get defeated, if this Court was to entertain highly belated petitions filed against the orders of the Consumer Foras”.
Thus, it becomes clear that there is no reasonable explanation at all for condonation of inordinate delay of 178 days particularly against concurrent findings involving only Rs.325/- p.m. pension. In such circumstances, application for condonation of delay is dismissed. As application for condonation of delay has been dismissed, revision petition being barred by limitation is also liable to be dismissed.
13. Consequently, the revision petition filed by the petitioner is dismissed as barred by limitation at admission stage with no order as to costs.
( K.S. CHAUDHARI, J)
( VINAYKUMAR )
NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION NEW DELHI