K.S. Chaudhari, Presiding Member
Appellant has filed this appeal against the order dated 06.12.2010 passed by the Andhra Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Hyderabad (in short, the State Commission) in C.C. No. 33/2009 “ Bonda Kasi Annapurna Vs. Br. Manager, Bajaj Allianz Ins. Co. Ltd. and Anr. by which, complaint was dismissed.
2. Brief facts of the case are that complainants husband B.V.V. Nageswara Rao had taken policy of Rs.25,00,000/- (Personal Guard - Individual Personal Accident Policy) for a period of 3 years from 8.12.2006 to 7.12.2009 from OP/Respondent No. 1. On 3.1.2008, complainants husband slipped from stairs and sustained injuries. Ambulance was called and while going to hospital, complainants husband died. Intimation was given to the OP and claim was lodged, but claim was repudiated. Alleging deficiency on the part of OP, complainant filed complaint with State Commission. OP resisted complaint and submitted that death of insured was not on account of accident and as there was no post-mortem report and no intimation to Police, prayed for dismissal of complaint. Learned State Commission after hearing both the parties dismissed complaint against which, this appeal has been filed along with application for condonation of 1163 days delay.
3. Heard learned Counsel for the appellant on application for condonation of delay.
4. Learned Counsel for the appellant submitted that delay occurred on account of financial constraints and as complainant was residing in remote areas, delay be condoned.
5. In application for condonation of delay, appellant submitted that order dated 6.12.2010 was received by Counsel for the appellant in first week of January, 2011, who sent it to local Counsel at Eluru, which was received by Counsel in second week of January, 2011. It was further submitted that appellant hails from an orthodox family and is from a very rural background. Her elder son is only earning member in the family, who has two daughters studying in 8th and 5th class respectively. Appellant due to financial misery could not find an advocate in Delhi and she was not able to travel to Delhi. With great difficulty, her elder son met the local counsel in 2nd week of July, 2013 and as per his advice, RTI information was obtained on 18.7.2013 and later on, local counsel at Eluru sent the documents with the court papers to counsel in Delhi in the last week of July, 2013. Due to financial problems, the complainant could visit Delhi in first week of March, 2014 and after that this appeal has been filed on 10.3.2014 and in such circumstances; delay of 1163 days for filing appeal may be condoned.
6. Perusal of application reveals that complainants son must be about 35 years and was the earning member. Complainant has nowhere stated in the application that she was not residing with her earning son; even then, no reasonable explanation has been given for condonation of inordinate delay of 1163 days. Merely because complainant was from rural background, inordinate delay of more than 1100 days cannot be condoned. Not only this, as per this application, documents were sent to Counsel in Delhi in the last week of July, 2013; even then, appellant did not come to Delhi in time for filing appeal and appeal was filed in March, 2014. Thus, it becomes clear that there is no explanation at all for condonation of inordinate delay of 1163 days.
7. Learned Counsel for the appellant submitted that appellant has very good case on merits and in such circumstances, delay may be condoned. We do not agree with this submission of the learned Counsel for the appellant, as until and unless delay is condoned, merits of the case are not to be considered.
8. As there is inordinate delay of 1163 days, this delay cannot be condoned in the light of the following judgment passed by the Honble Apex Court.
9. In R.B. Ramlingam Vs. R.B. Bhavaneshwari 2009 (2) Scale 108, it has been observed:
œWe 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. In Ram Lal and Ors. Vs. RewaCoalfields Ltd., AIR 1962 Supreme Court 361, it has been observed;
œIt 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. Honble 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 Corporation reported in (2010) 5 SCC 459 as under;
œWe 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. Honble Apex Courtin (2012) 3 SCC 563 “ Post Master General and Ors. Vs. Living Media India Ltd. and Anr. 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.
13. Honble Apex Courtin 2012 (2) CPC 3 (SC) “ AnshulAggarwal Vs. New Okhla Industrial Development Authority observed as under:
œIt 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 1163 days. In such circumstances, application for condonation of delay is dismissed. As application for condonation of delay has been dismissed, appeal being barred by limitation is also liable to be dismissed.
14. Consequently, the appeal filed by the appellant is dismissed as barred by limitation at admission stage with no order as to costs.