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Sec.5 of Limitation Act – Delay of more than 10 years in filing appeal – No sufficient grounds assigned – simply because in some of the cases filed appeal in time , were given enhanced compensation – there is no obligation on the part of court to condone the delay – Apex court held that the High court correctly dismissed the sec. 5 Limitation petition in filing an appeal = Brijesh Kumar & Ors. … Petitioners Versus State of Haryana & Ors. …Respondents = 2014 ( March. Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41333

  Sec.5 of Limitation Act – Delay of more than 10 years in filing appeal – No sufficient grounds assigned – simply because  in some of the cases filed appeal in time , were given enhanced compensation – there is no obligation on the part of court to condone the delay – Apex court held that the High court correctly dismissed the  sec. 5 Limitation petition in filing an appeal =

 

the  judgment  and

      order dated 22.11.2013, passed by the High Court of Punjab  &  Haryana

      at Chandigarh dismissing the Civil Misc. Applications in  RFA  No.5793

      of 2012 for condonation of delay of more than10 years  in  filing  the

      appeal under Section 54 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter

      referred to as the ‘Act’).=

petitioners had chosen not to file appeal  at

      the initial stage but filed the same in the year 2012 after a lapse of

      10 years 2 months and 29 days.  

The High Court refused to condone  the

      delay in spite of the fact that other persons who  had  preferred  the

      appeals in time had been given a higher compensation.

           Hence, these petitions.=

11.   The courts should not adopt an  injustice-oriented  approach  in

      rejecting the application for condonation of delay. However the  court

      while allowing such application has  to  draw  a  distinction  between

      delay and inordinate delay for want of bona fides of  an  inaction  or

      negligence would deprive a party of the protection of Section 5 of the

      Limitation Act, 1963. Sufficient cause is a  condition  precedent  for

      exercise of discretion by the Court for  condoning  the  delay.   This

      Court has time and again held that when  mandatory  provision  is  not

      complied with and that  delay  is  not  properly,  satisfactorily  and

      convincingly  explained,  the  court  cannot  condone  the  delay   on

      sympathetic grounds alone.

      12.   It is also a well settled principle of law that if  some  person

      has taken a relief approaching the Court just or immediately after the

      cause of action had arisen, other persons cannot take benefit  thereof

      approaching the court at a belated stage  for  the  reason  that  they

      cannot be permitted to take the impetus of the  order  passed  at  the

      behest of some diligent person.

      13.   In State of Karnataka & Ors. v. S.M. Kotrayya & Ors.,  (1996)  6

      SCC 267, this Court rejected the contention that a petition should  be

      considered ignoring the delay and laches on the ground that  he  filed

      the petition just after coming to know of the relief  granted  by  the

      Court  in  a  similar  case  as  the  same  cannot  furnish  a  proper

      explanation for delay and laches. The Court observed that such a  plea

      is wholly unjustified and cannot furnish any ground for ignoring delay

      and laches.

      14.   Same view has been reiterated by this Court  in  Jagdish  Lal  &

      Ors. v. State of Haryana &  Ors.,  AIR  1997  SC  2366,  observing  as

      under:–

           “Suffice it to state that appellants kept  sleeping  over  their

           rights for long and elected to wake-up when they had the impetus

           from Vir Pal Chauhan and Ajit Singh’s ratios…Therefore desperate

           attempts of the appellants to re-do the seniority, held by  them

           in various cadre…. are not amenable to the judicial review  at

           this belated stage.  The  High  Court,  therefore,  has  rightly

           dismissed the writ petition on the ground of delay as well.”

 

 

      15.   In M/s. Rup Diamonds & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.,  AIR  1989

      SC 674, this  Court considered a case where petitioner wanted  to  get

      the relief on the basis of  the  judgment  of  this  Court  wherein  a

      particular law had been declared ultra vires. The Court  rejected  the

      petition on the ground of delay and laches observing as under:–

           “There is one more ground which basically sets the present  case

           apart. Petitioners are re-agitating claims which they  have  not

           pursued for several years. Petitioners  were  not  vigilant  but

           were content to be

 

 

           dormant and chose to sit on the fence till somebody else’s  case

           came to be decided.”

 

      16.    In  the  instant  case,  after  considering   the   facts   and

      circumstances and the reasons for  inordinate  delay  of  10  years  2

      months and 29 days, the High Court did not find sufficient grounds  to

      condone the delay.

 

 

      17.   In view of the facts of the case and the above-cited  judgments,

       we do not find any fault with the impugned judgment.   The  petitions

      lack merit and are accordingly dismissed. 

 

2014 ( March. Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41333

 

Reportable

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NOS.6609-6613 OF 2014
Brijesh Kumar & Ors. … Petitioners

Versus

State of Haryana & Ors. …Respondents
O R D E R
1. These petitions have been filed challenging the judgment and
order dated 22.11.2013, passed by the High Court of Punjab & Haryana
at Chandigarh dismissing the Civil Misc. Applications in RFA No.5793
of 2012 for condonation of delay of more than10 years in filing the
appeal under Section 54 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (hereinafter
referred to as the ‘Act’).
2. The land of the petitioners alongwith the lands of others
admeasuring 134 acres, 5 kanals and 10 marlas situate in revenue
estate of village Manakpur, Hadbast No.386, Tehsil Jagadhri, District
Yamuna Nagar stood notified under Section 4 of the Act on 8.9.1993.
In respect of the same, the award was made by the Land Acquisition
Collector on 8.10.1997 assessing the market value of the land of the
petitioners @ Rs.1,75,000/- per acre.
3. Aggrieved, the petitioners and other persons interested filed
references under Section 18 of the Act for enhancement of compensation
and the Reference Court made the award on 7.9.2001 assessing the
market value of the land @ Rs.1,85,000/- per acre and they were also
given other statutory benefits.
4. Aggrieved, some of the persons interested filed appeals before
the High Court, however, petitioners had chosen not to file appeal at
the initial stage but filed the same in the year 2012 after a lapse of
10 years 2 months and 29 days. The High Court refused to condone the
delay in spite of the fact that other persons who had preferred the
appeals in time had been given a higher compensation.
Hence, these petitions.
5. Shri Shish Pal Laler, learned counsel appearing for the
petitioners has submitted that it was a fit case where the delay ought
to have been condoned and the High Court has committed an error in not
entertaining the appeal on merit.
6. The High Court had given cogent and valid reasons and relied
upon large number of judgments of this Court while rejecting the
application for condonation of delay including Mewa Ram (Deceased by
L.Rs) & Ors. v. State of Haryana, AIR 1987 SC 45; State of Nagaland v.
Lipok AO & Ors., AIR 2005 SC 2191; and D. Gopinathan Pillai v. State
of Kerala & Anr., AIR 2007 SC 2624.
7. The issues of limitation, delay and laches as well as
condonation of such delay are being examined and explained every day
by the Courts.
The law of limitation is enshrined in the legal maxim “Interest
Reipublicae Ut Sit Finis Litium” (it is for the general welfare that a
period be put to litigation). Rules of Limitation are not meant to
destroy the rights of the parties, rather the idea is that every legal
remedy must be kept alive for a legislatively fixed period of time.
8. The Privy Council in General Fire and Life Assurance Corporation
Ltd. v. Janmahomed Abdul Rahim, AIR 1941 PC 6, relied upon the
writings of Mr. Mitra in Tagore Law Lectures 1932 wherein it has been
said that “a law of limitation and prescription may appear to operate
harshly and unjustly in a particular case, but if the law provides for
a limitation, it is to be enforced even at the risk of hardship to a
particular party as the Judge cannot, on applicable grounds, enlarge
the time allowed by the law, postpone its operation, or introduce
exceptions not recognised by law.”
9. In P.K. Ramachandran v. State of Kerala & Anr., AIR 1998 SC
2276, the Apex Court while considering a case of condonation of delay
of 565 days, wherein no explanation much less a reasonable or
satisfactory explanation for condonation of delay had been given, held
as under:–
“Law of limitation may harshly affect a particular party but it
has to be applied with all its rigour when the statute so
prescribes and the Courts have no power to extend the period of
limitation on equitable grounds.”
10. While considering a similar issue, this court in Esha
Bhattacharjee v. Raghunathpur Nafar Academy & Ors. (2013) 12 SCC 649
laid down various principles inter alia:
“ x x x
v) Lack of bona fides imputable to a party seeking
condonation of delay is a significant and relevant fact
vi) The concept of liberal approach has to encapsule the
conception of reasonableness and it cannot be allowed a
totally unfettered free play
x x x
ix) The conduct, behavior and attitude of a party relating to
its inaction or negligence are relevant factors to be taken into
consideration. It is so as the fundamental principle is that the
courts are required to weigh the scale of balance of justice in
respect of both parties and the said principle cannot be given a
total go by in the name of liberal approach.
x x x
xvii) The increasing tendency to perceive delay as a non-serious
mater and, hence, lackadaisical propensity can be exhibited in a
nonchalant manner requires to be curbed, of course, within legal
parameters.”
(See also: Basawaraj v. Land Acquisition Officer (2013) 14 SCC 81)
11. The courts should not adopt an injustice-oriented approach in
rejecting the application for condonation of delay. However the court
while allowing such application has to draw a distinction between
delay and inordinate delay for want of bona fides of an inaction or
negligence would deprive a party of the protection of Section 5 of the
Limitation Act, 1963. Sufficient cause is a condition precedent for
exercise of discretion by the Court for condoning the delay. This
Court has time and again held that when mandatory provision is not
complied with and that delay is not properly, satisfactorily and
convincingly explained, the court cannot condone the delay on
sympathetic grounds alone.
12. It is also a well settled principle of law that if some person
has taken a relief approaching the Court just or immediately after the
cause of action had arisen, other persons cannot take benefit thereof
approaching the court at a belated stage for the reason that they
cannot be permitted to take the impetus of the order passed at the
behest of some diligent person.
13. In State of Karnataka & Ors. v. S.M. Kotrayya & Ors., (1996) 6
SCC 267, this Court rejected the contention that a petition should be
considered ignoring the delay and laches on the ground that he filed
the petition just after coming to know of the relief granted by the
Court in a similar case as the same cannot furnish a proper
explanation for delay and laches. The Court observed that such a plea
is wholly unjustified and cannot furnish any ground for ignoring delay
and laches.
14. Same view has been reiterated by this Court in Jagdish Lal &
Ors. v. State of Haryana & Ors., AIR 1997 SC 2366, observing as
under:–
“Suffice it to state that appellants kept sleeping over their
rights for long and elected to wake-up when they had the impetus
from Vir Pal Chauhan and Ajit Singh’s ratios…Therefore desperate
attempts of the appellants to re-do the seniority, held by them
in various cadre…. are not amenable to the judicial review at
this belated stage. The High Court, therefore, has rightly
dismissed the writ petition on the ground of delay as well.”
15. In M/s. Rup Diamonds & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors., AIR 1989
SC 674, this Court considered a case where petitioner wanted to get
the relief on the basis of the judgment of this Court wherein a
particular law had been declared ultra vires. The Court rejected the
petition on the ground of delay and laches observing as under:–
“There is one more ground which basically sets the present case
apart. Petitioners are re-agitating claims which they have not
pursued for several years. Petitioners were not vigilant but
were content to be
dormant and chose to sit on the fence till somebody else’s case
came to be decided.”

16. In the instant case, after considering the facts and
circumstances and the reasons for inordinate delay of 10 years 2
months and 29 days, the High Court did not find sufficient grounds to
condone the delay.
17. In view of the facts of the case and the above-cited judgments,
we do not find any fault with the impugned judgment. The petitions
lack merit and are accordingly dismissed.
………………………J.
(DR. B.S. CHAUHAN)

 
………………………J.
(J. CHELAMESWAR)
New Delhi
March 24, 2014.

 

———————–
6

 

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