1. The Shipping Corporation of India Ltd., 13, Strand Road, Calcutta- /00001 has filed an appeal being aggrieved from Order No.Cal-Cus-430/83, dated 16th March, 1983 passed by the Collector (Appeals), Calcutta. The said appeal was presented in the Registry on the 7th day of September, 1983. In colume 3 of the Memorandum of Appeal the date of communication of the order has been mentioned as 7th June, 1983.
2. Shri S.K. Ghosal, Dy. Manager of the appellant company, has appeared on behalf of the appellant. Before the commencement of the proceedings it was brought to the notice of the learned authorised representative of the appellant that the appeal is barred by limitation. In column 3 of the Memorandum of appeal the communication of the order has mentioned as 7th June, 1983 ana as per provisions of Section 129A (3) of the Customs Act, 1962, every appeal has to be filed within 3 months from the date on which the order sought to be appealed against is communicated to the party preferring the appeal and as such the appeal had to be filed on or before the 6th day of September, 1983 whereas the same has been filed on the 7th day of September, 1983. Shri Ghosal, the learned authorised representative has requested for condonation of the delay on the ground that the papers were misplaced in the office for some time. He has referred to para 4 of the annexure attached with the appeal which is reproduced as under :- "Your petitioners pray for condonation of delay, if any, in preferring this appeal as papers concerning the above appeal case were misplaced at our office for some time." He has pleaded for condonation of the delay and has submitted that it is a sufficient cause.
3. In reply Shri A.K. Chatterjee, Jr. Deptt. Representative has submitted that it is not a fit case where the delay should be condoned and the appellant has not been able to establish sufficient cause as per provisions of Section 129A(5) of the Customs Act, 1962.
4. After hearing both the sides I feel that the explanation given by the appellant for the late filing of the appeal is not sufficient enough to justify the condonation of the delay in the late filing of the appeal. Mere misplacement of the papers in the office is not a sufficient cause and I feel hat it is not a fit case where discretion under Section 129A(5) of the Customs Act, 1962 should be exercised. It is a settled law that a cause for delay which by due care and attention, the party could have avoided cannot be a sufficient cause.
The Limitation Law ought to receive such a construction as the language in its plain meaning imports. The rule must be enforced even at the risk of hardship to a particular party. The judge cannot on equitable grounds enlarge the time allowed by law, postpone its operation, or introduce exceptions not recognised by it. It was so held by the Hon'ble Rajasthan High Court in the case of State of Rajasthan v.Ramnath and Ors., reported in AIR 1972 Rajasthan 161 (not cited by the parties). The Hon'ble Court had further held that there was no sufficient cause which could entitle the appellant for extension of time as all of them acted without due care and attention. The Hon'ble High Court had followed the judgment of Calcutta High Court and Privy Council reported in AIR 1933 Cal. 462 and AIR 1941 Privy Council 6.
(Not cited by the parties). In the result I hold that the appeal is barred by limitation and the same is dismissed. As being hit by limitation I am not going to the merits of the appeal.