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Hakim Singh Vs. District Judge and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ petn. No. 6927 of 1980
Judge
Reported inAIR1982All108
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Limitation Act, 1963 - Sections 5 and 14; Uttar Pradesh Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1961 - Sections 13A
AppellantHakim Singh
RespondentDistrict Judge and ors.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....13-a would provide a good basis for granting the benefit under section 5 in respect of the belated filing of the appeal, i would not like to express any crystallised opinion on the said point. we would accordingly hold that the learned judicial commissioner was in error in taking the view that the failure of the appellant to account for its non-diligence during the whole of the period of limitation prescribed for the appeal necessarily disqualified it from praying for the condonation of delay, even though the delay in question was only for one day; it is true that there is no period of limitation for filing a petition under article 226 of the constitution but it is also well known that the settled practice of this court is that where the petitions are considered to be highly..........petitioner has come up in the instant petition and in support thereof, i have heard sri. tejpal, learned counsel for the petitioner. it may be stated here that subsequently during the pendency of the petition an application was made in sep. 1980 praying as follows:--'it is, therefore, prayed that this hon'ble court be graciously pleased to quash the impugned orders dated 6-1-1976 and 5-7-1980 passed by respondents 1 and 2 and further quash annexure 7, orders dated 22-2-1977 and 5-8-1978, passed by respondent 2.'4. so far as the said prayer is concerned, i do not propose to entertain the same as the prayer is highly belated. this petition was moved in aug. 1980 and the orders whose quashing is sought were passed as far back as 6-1-1976, 22-2-1977 and 5-8-1978. the writ petition itself.....
Judgment:
ORDER

M.P. Mehrotra, J.

1. This petition arises out ofproceedings under U. P. Imposition ofCeiling on Land Holdings Act, Thefacts, in brief, as these :--

The petitioner was issued the notice under Section 10 (2) of the Act. It seems that an ex parte order had been passed on 15-10-1975 but the same was set aside on the application of the petitioner. Thereafter an order was passed on 6-1-1976 wherein the notice under Section 10 (2) of Act was confirmed. A true copy of the order dated 6-1-1976 is Annexure 2 to the petition. In the order it is recited that no objections had been filed. However, the petitioner has annexed a true copy of his written statement dated 31-10-1975, An application wassubsequently moved on 13-12-1976 for setting aside the said ex parte order dated 6-1-1976. A true copy of the said application is Annexure 3 to the petition. The application was rejected by the prescribed authority by his order dated 22-2-1977, a true copy whereof is Annexure 5 to the petition. It seems that apart from the said proceedings to get rid of the said ex parte order dated 6-1-1976 (annexure 2) the petitioner simultaneously took proceedings under Section 13-A by filing an application before the prescribed authority on 17-12-1976, a true copy whereof is Annexure 6 to the petition. The said application was rejected by the prescribed authority by his order dated 22-2-1977, a true copy whereof is Annexure 7 to the petition. Thereafter an appeal was preferred against the said order dated 22-2-1977, rejecting the application under Section 13-A. The appeal was dismissed by the appellate Court by its judgment dated 5-8-1978, a true copy of which is Annexure 13 to the petition. A certified copy of the said judgment has also been placed on the record. In the said appellate judgment dated 5-8-1978 an observation was made as under :-- 'I do not find any force in the appeal though it is a different matter that the appellant may file an appeal against the order dated 6-1-1976 if it is still within time or he is able to get condonation of delay under Section 5 of the Limitation Act.'

2. Thereafter an appeal was filed against the aforesaid ex parte order of the prescribed authority dated 6-1-1976 and the same was accompanied with an application under Section 5, Limitation Act, An affidavit was annexed along with the application under Section 5 and a true copy of the same is Annexure 10 to the petition. The said application was rejected by the appellate Court by its order dated 5-7-80 and the appeal was also rejected as time barred by the same order. A certified copy of the said order of the appellate Court is Annexure 11 to the petition.

3. Now the petitioner has come up in the instant petition and in support thereof, I have heard Sri. Tejpal, learned counsel for the petitioner. It may be stated here that subsequently during the pendency of the petition an application was made in Sep. 1980 praying as follows:--

'It is, therefore, prayed that this Hon'ble Court be graciously pleased to quash the impugned orders dated 6-1-1976 and 5-7-1980 passed by respondents 1 and 2 and further quash Annexure 7, orders dated 22-2-1977 and 5-8-1978, passed by respondent 2.'

4. So far as the said prayer is concerned, I do not propose to entertain the same as the prayer is highly belated. This petition was moved in Aug. 1980 and the orders whose quashing is sought were passed as far back as 6-1-1976, 22-2-1977 and 5-8-1978. The writ petition itself was directed against the impugned order dated 5-7-1980 whereby the petitioner's application under Section 5, Limitation Act, was rejected and the appeal was also rejected on the ground that it was time barred. Learned counsel for the petitioner emphasised that the prescribed authority and the appellate court were wrong in not extending the benefit of Section 5, Limitation Act, to the petitioner. I should like to say that in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Monindra Land & Building Corporation Ltd. v. Bhutnath Banerjee, (AIR 1964 SC 1336) sufficiency or otherwise of cause under Section 5, Limitation Act, is normally a matter which rests in the jurisdiction of the courts below and this Court in its revisional side or in its writ jurisdiction does not interfere with such orders which have been passed by the courts below on an appraisal of the evidence on record.

Learned counsel contended that in the instant case Section 14, Limitation Act, was applicable. Learned Standing Counsel on the other hand contended that in view of Section 42, U. P. Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, Section 14, Limitation Act, will not be applicable to the facts of the instant case. Section 14 in terms refers to its benefit being extended to suits. However, there is good case law which has laid down that its principle should be applied while considering the question of condoning the delay under Section 5, Limitation Act. Therefore, it may be taken as settled that it was open to the authorities below to have applied the principle of Section 24 in case it was found that the requirement and the approach laid down therein was applicable. However, it is highly controversial whether it could be said that an application under Section 13-A would provide a good basis for granting the benefit under Section 5 in respect of the belated filing of the appeal, I would not like to express any crystallised opinion on the said point. However, one thing is very clear namely that only such time could be excluded, even if the principle of Section 14 of the Act is held to be applicable, as had been actually spent in the proceedings which were taken under Section 13-A. The appellate court in the impugned order has, therefore, pointed out that still the period from the date of the ex parte order dated 6-1-1976 and the date when the application under Section 13-A was filed, i.e. 17-12-1976 remained unexplained and there was no sufficient cause for condoning the delay in such a situation. Learned counsel for the petitioner, however, contended that there was sufficient cause because under Section 13-A the period of two years' limitation is prescribed and. therefore, the entire period from the date when the ex parte order was passed i.e. from 6-1-1976 and the date of the application under Section 13-A, i.e. 17-12-1976 should be held to have been sufficiently explained. I cannot accept this contention. This contention is against the express language which has been used in Section 14 and no case has been placed before me where it might be held that the entire period of limitation for a misconceived remedy should be held to be providing sufficient cause in such a situation.

Learned counsel for the petitioner emphasized the point that an error was apparent on the face of the record in the order of the prescribed authority and the ends of justice require that interference should be made. I do not propose to say anything in the matter because as I have stated above, there has been a complete lack of diligence on the part of the petitioner. He did not file any writ petition when his appeal under Section 13-A was dismissed. Thereafter he moved the application for getting rid of the ex parte order dated 6-1-1976. The prescribed authority held that the cause shown namely a paralytic attack was not a genuine one and that the application was highly belated inasmuch as it had been given 11-1/2 months after the date when the ex parte order was passed and did not show sufficient cause. It is not clear whether any appeal was filed againstthe order dated 22-2-1977 rejecting the petitioner's application for setting aside the ex parte order dated 6-1-1976.

5. Learned counsel contended that on merits the order dated 6-1-1976 contained an apparent error and the same should have been corrected in view of the position contained in the Ceiling Law. He referred me to the definition of the 'tenure-holder family' and to tha provisions of Sections 5 (2) and 5 (3) (a) and 5 (3) (b). Here in my view, as I have already stated above, I do not propose to allow the petitioner to question the said order dated 6-1-1976 in this petition as that will be highly belated. Learned counsel contended that the said order dated 6-1-1976 contained an erroneous recital that no objection had been filed when actually the objection had already been filed as admitted in the counter-affidavit on behalf of the State. Learned counsel contended that annexure I should be treated as such objection. Again, I do not propose to say anything in the matter because, as I have stated above, I am not allowing the petitioner to impugn the order dated 6-4-1976 in this petition which was filed in the year 1980. Learned counsel placed some case law in support of his contention and I propose to notice the same

1. Ram Lal v. Rewa Coalfields, (AIR 1962 SC 361) 2. Balbir Singh v. Bogh Singh, (AIR 1974 SC 650) and 3. Mata Din v. A. Narayan (AIR 1970 SC 1953).

6. In Ram Lal v. Rewa Coalfields, (AIR 1962 SC 361) (supra) the position was that there was one day's delay in the filing of the appeal and the Judicial Commissioner did not extend the benefit of Section 5, Limitation Act, on the ground that the litigant had been lacking in diligence during the period of limitation. The Supreme Court said that this was not warranted while considering the question of the applicability of Section 5. The litigant had only to explain the sufficiency of cause regarding the delay in filing the appeal. He need not say what he was doing during the period when the limitation subsisted, This is clear from the following extract, which occurs in the said decision (at p. 364 of AIR 1962 SC) :--

'In other words, in all cases falling under Section 5 what the party has to show is why he did not file an appeal on thelast day of limitation prescribed. That may inevitably mean that the party will have to show sufficient cause not only for not filing the appeal on the last day but to explain the delay made thereafter day by day. In other words, in showing sufficient cause for condoning the delay the party may be called upon to explain for the whole of the delay covered by the period between the last day prescribed for filing the appeal and the day on which the appeal is filed. To hold that the expression 'within such period' means during such period would, in our opinion, be repugnant in the context. We would accordingly hold that the learned Judicial Commissioner was in error in taking the view that the failure of the appellant to account for its non-diligence during the whole of the period of limitation prescribed for the appeal necessarily disqualified it from praying for the condonation of delay, even though the delay in question was only for one day; and that too was caused by the party's illness.'

6-A. The aforesaid case is hardly applicable to the facts of the instant petition.

7. In AIR 1974 SC 650 (supra) again emphasis was laid that a litigant will get the benefit of that period during which he had been prosecuting the appeal in the wrong court. The appellate court in the instant case held that even if the benefit of the entire period during which the petitioner had been prosecuting the proceedings under Section 13-A and during the appeal against the order which was passed in the proceedings under Section 13-A was excluded, still, a very big period remained unexplained. The application under Section 13-A was filed in December, 1976 whereas the ex parte order was passed on 6-1-1976 and the period of limitation for filing the appeal against the said order was admittedly 30 days.

8. In Mata Din v. A. Narayan, (AIR 1970 SC 1953) (supra) it was emphasized that mistake of the counsel will not in every case by itself be sufficient cause to condone the delay. However, in the facts of the said case it was held that there was a bona fide error committed by the counsel due to which the appeal had been filed in the wrong court. I do not think thiscase has any applicability to the present case.

9. Lastly, it was contended by the learned counsel for the petitioner that there is no period of limitation for the filing of a writ petition and accordingly this Court should interfere with the orders which were passed even anterior to the usual period of 90 days. It is true that there is no period of limitation for filing a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution but it is also well known that the settled practice of this Court is that where the petitions are considered to be highly belated, this Court in its discretion refuses to entertain the same. In the instant case, as I have pointed out above, the orders which are sought to be questioned now, apart from the one which was passed on 5-7-1980 were passed long ago and in my discretion, I do not allow the same to be questioned in this petition.

10. The petition fails and in dismissed, but there will be no order as to costs.


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