Makhan Singh son of Sh.Mohinder Singh, resident of Village Kasso Chahal, Tehsil and District Kapurthala. Versus The National Insurance Company Limited,

STATE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION, PUNJAB, SCO NO.3009-10, SECTOR 22-D, CHANDIGARH

Misc.Application No.846 of 2009

in

First Appeal No.271 of 2007

    Date of Institution : 19.2.2007

Date of Decision   :  26.5.2010

Makhan Singh son of Sh.Mohinder Singh, resident of Village Kasso Chahal, Tehsil and District Kapurthala.                                                                                                 ………Appellant

Versus

The National Insurance Company Limited, Unit No.3, BMC Chowk, Jalandhar City through its Manager.                                                                                                 ………Respondent

Appeal against the order dated 17.7.2006                                                     of District Consumer Forum, Jalandhar

BEFORE               Hon’ble Mr.Justice S.N.Aggarwal, President

Mrs.Amarpreet Sharma, Member

PRESENT:            For the appellant      :           Sh.Sukhbir Singh, Advocate for         Sh.Nakul Sharma, Advocate.

For the respondent   :           Sh.R.C.Kapoor, Advocate

JUSTICE S.N.AGGARWAL, PRESIDENT

Misc.Application for condonation of delay.  This appeal was filed with delay of 188 days.  This application was filed for condonation of delay.

2.  It was pleaded that the impugned order was passed by the District Forum, Jalandhar on 17.7.2006.  The appellant/applicant was under the impression that the certified copy of the impugned order shall be sent by the District Forum by post and thereafter the appellant was to file an appeal against the said order.  However the District Forum did not send a copy of the impugned order dated 17.7.2006.  The applicant filed the application before the District Forum on 11.1.2007 for the certified copy of the order dated 17.7.2006 and he received a copy of the order on the same day.  The applicant approached his counsel at Chandigarh on 19.1.2007.  He was asked to bring some more documents which the applicant supplied to his counsel on 17.2.2007.  The appeal was filed on 19.2.2008 without delay.  Hence it was prayed that the delay of 188 days in filing the appeal be condoned. This application was supported by the affidavit of the applicant.

3.                     The respondents filed the written reply.  It was pleaded that the applicant has concocted the frivolous story to justify the delay.  The applicant had engaged a counsel in the District Forum, Jalandhar who was well aware about the procedure for obtaining certified copy from the District Forum.  There was no justifiable ground to condone the delay.  Hence dismissal of the application was prayed.

4.                     The impugned order dated 17.7.2006 was passed by the District Forum, Jalandhar in the presence of the counsel for both the parties including the counsel for the applicant.  If the copy of the order dated 17.7.2006 was not received by the applicant in a reasonable time, he could have contacted his counsel for obtaining a copy of the impugned order dated 17.7.2006.  However, the applicant slept over the matter for about six months and applied for the certified copy of the impugned order only on 11.1.2007.  No reasons have been given by the applicant as to why he kept on sleeping for such a long time if he had not received the copy of the impugned order dated 17.7.2006 from the District Forum.  Therefore, the story concocted by the applicant is unbelievable.

5.                     The Hon’ble Supreme Court had also taken the same view in the judgement reported as ‘Delhi Development Authority Versus Krishan Lal 2004 (13) Supreme Court Cases 614’ and the delay of 199 days in filing the appeal was not condoned.

6.                     The Hon’ble Supreme Court in a latest judgment reported as “State Bank of India v. B.S. Agricultural Industries (I)” 2009 CTJ 481 (Supreme Court) (CP) considered the provisions of limitation as contained in Section 24-A of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Although the question before the Hon’ble Supreme Court was only the delay in filing the complaint in the first instance beyond the period of two years as laid down in the statutory provisions but the Hon’ble Supreme Court was pleased to observe as under:-

“8.       It would be seen from the aforesaid provision that it is peremptory in nature and requires consumer forum to see before it admits the complaint that it has been filed within two years from the date of accrual of cause of action. The consumer forum, however, for the reasons to be recorded in writing may condone the delay in filing the complaint if sufficient cause is shown.  The expression, ‘shall not admit a complaint’ occurring in Section 24A is sort of a legislative command to the consumer forum to examine on its own whether the complaint has been filed within limitation period prescribed thereunder.  As a matter of law, the consumer forum must deal with the complaint on merits only if the complaint has been filed within two years from the date of accrual of cause of action and if beyond the said period, the sufficient cause has been shown and delay condoned for the reasons recorded in writing.  In other words, it is the duty of the consumer forum to take notice of Section 24A and give effect to it.  If the complaint is barred by time and yet, the consumer forum decides the complaint on merits, the Vforum would be committing an illegality and, therefore, the aggrieved party would be entitled to have such order set aside.”

7.                     The Hon’ble National Commission in the judgment reported as “Delhi Development Authority v. R.K.Meena, II (2009) CPJ 191 (N.C.)” declined to condone the delay of 80 days in filing the appeal.

8.                     Similarly, the Hon’ble Himachal Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (Shimla) in the judgment reported as“ICICI Bank v. Sandeep Modgil II (2009) CPJ 292” was pleased to observe that no doubt the approach of the Courts for condoning the delay in filing the appeal cannot be pedantic as the Courts are meant to do substantial justice but at the same time, delay must be explained. However, the vague and general allegations are not sufficient to explain inordinate delay.

9.                     In the present case the appeal was required to be filed within a period of thirty days from the date of the order but the appeal was filed after 188 days after the passing of the impugned order.  Delay has not been properly explained.  Therefore, the application for condonation of delay is dismissed. Main Case:

10.   Since the application for condonation of delay is dismissed, the appeal also stands dismissed as barred by limitation.

11.   The arguments in this case were heard on 11.05.2010 and the order was reserved. Now the order be communicated to the parties.                                                                                                                                                                                                ( JUSTICE S.N.AGGARWAL )                                                                                                                                                                                                                              PRESIDENT                                                                                                                                                                                         ( MRS.AMARPREET SHARMA )                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 MEMBER May 26 , 2010

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