In a recent judgment, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, while reiterating the decision of the Apex court in Ram Lal & Ors. V. Rewa Coalfields Ltd., AIR 1962 SC 361, held that in case of an application for condonation of delay, the court still retains the discretion to dismiss the application keeping in view the bonafides of the parties.
The said ruling was delivered in the matter of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. v. Aarogyasri Health Care Trust, Revision Petition No. 1240 of 2018 decided on 15.11.2018.
The Petitioner filed the present revision petition against the impugned order dated 27.07.2017 of the Telangana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Hyderabad. An application for condonation of delay of 211 days was filed along with the revision petition. The cause of delay was duly explained by the Petitioner as in-house formalities required before challenging the impugned order. After the impugned order in July 2017, the present counsel was approached in October, 2017 wherein the relevant documents were shared by the Appellant. Thereafter the revision petitioner was prepared by the counsel and the same was accorded approval on 29.11.2017. The signed copy of petition along with affidavit was received by the said counsel on 04.12.2017, causing delay of 211 days in filing of the revision petition.
While recording that courts are to adopt a liberal attitude while dealing with matters in appeal and revision, it was held that even after sufficient cause has been shown by the party, they are not entitled to condonation of delay as a matter of right. The basic test to be taken into consideration while deciding such an application is whether delay in filing has been properly explained wherein the true guide is whether the petitioner has acted with reasonable diligence in the prosecution of his appeal.
Since the Petitioner in the present case is a public undertaking, the Commission also reiterated the decision of Supreme Court in Post Master v. Balram Singh Patel, III (2018) CPJ 53 (NC), wherein it was held that government departments are under a special obligation to ensure that they perform their duties with diligence and commitment and condonation of delay should not be used as an anticipated benefit for government departments. Therefore, it was held that the reasons given do not justifiably and reasonably explain the delay. Hence, revision petition was dismissed.