1. In this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, the petitioner has challenged the order No. ERIS/CC/107(9) Bang/77/339 dated 13th April, 1977 (Exhibit-B) of the respondent.
2. Against the order No. 58/76 dated 31-1-1977 of the Chief Enforcement Officer, Emergency Risks Insurance, Bangalore (Exhibit-A) made under the provisions of the Emergency Risks (Goods) Insurance Act, 1971 (hereinafter referred to as the Act), the petitioner lodged an appeal before the respondent. The appeal was sent by the petitioner on 14-3-1977 by Registered Post Acknowledgment due which was received by the respondent on 15-3-1977. On 13-4-1977 the respondent has rejected the said appeal holding that the same is barred by title.
3. Sri P. S. Manjunath, learned counsel for the petitioner, contends that in computing the period of 30 days, the authority should have held that the appeal sent by post on 14-3-1977 had been lodged before it on that very day itself and on such a view the appeal filed was in time. In support of his contention, Sri Manjunath strongly relies on a Division Bench ruling of the High Court of Gujarat in Narandas Vallabhram Parmar and another v. the Union of India and others [1978 E.L.T. (J 695)] and a ruling of this Court in M/s. Indian Process Chemical Laboratory (P) Limited, Bangalore v. The Regional Provident Fund Commissioner, Karnataka, Bangalore [1978 (2) I.L.R. (Karnataka) p. 1645].
4. As early as on 17-2-1977 the respondent has been served. But, so far the respondent has remained absent and not represented.
5. The allegation of the petitioner is that it received the order copy of the original authority on 12-2-1977 and the appeal was sent by it on 14-3-1977 by post are not denied by the respondent. Even otherwise, when the appeal is stated to have been received on 15-3-1977, it necessarily follows that the appeal must have been sent by the petitioner at least one day earlier i.e., on 14-3-1977.
6. When the Act and the Rules permit a party to file an appeal by post, it would be proper to treat and hold that the appeal is filed on the very day the same is entrusted to the post office. After all any delay in the transmission and actual delivery that takes place in a post-office or other offices cannot be laid at the doors of the party.
7. In Narandas Vallabhram Parmar' Case a Division Bench of the High Court of Gujarat has even taken the view that the post office itself has to be construed as an agent of the appellate authority. In India Process Chemical Laboratory's case, Raja Jois, J. has also held that the date on which payment due to an authority under an enactment is made by a cheque and sent by post should be construed as the date on which the payment is actually made. In my view, the principle enunciated in Indian Process Chemical Laboratory's case, though it was dealing with a case of payment, is equally applicable in deciding whether the appeal had been lodged on the very day the papers are entrusted to the post office. From this it follows that the appeal should be deemed to have been lodged on 14-3-1977 and not on 15-3-1977 as held by the respondent. If the appeal is held to have been lodged on 14-3-1977, it follows that the same was in time and the conclusion reached by the respondent to the contrary is manifestly illegal and the impugned order rejecting the appeal on that ground is, therefore, liable to be quashed.
8. As I have reached the conclusion that the appeal filed by the petitioner was in time, on the very period of time stated to have been allowed by law, it is unnecessary to consider the contention of Sri Manjunath that there is no period limitation prescribed for filing an appeal in the scheme itself.
9. In the light of my above discussion, I quash the impugned order of the respondent and direct it to restore the appeal filed by the petitioner to its file and dispose of the same on merits in accordance with law.
10. Rule issued is made absolute. But, as the respondent has remained absent and has not contested the case, I direct the parties to bear their own costs.