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J.M.B. Roche by Power of Attorney Agent, Nevis Michael Matched Vs. the Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Steel and Mines, Department of Mines and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCommercial
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1983)2MLJ180
AppellantJ.M.B. Roche by Power of Attorney Agent, Nevis Michael Matched
RespondentThe Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Steel and Mines, Department of Mines and ors.
Excerpt:
- - on the simple ground that there is a glaring omission on the part of the first respondent to apply his mind in that he failed to advert to, consider and assess the factual features relied on by the writ petitioner, revision petitioner before the first respondent, for condonation of the delay, we feel obliged to interfere in writ appeal......that the order of the collector was passed on 15th february, 1975; and that as per rule 54 of the rules, the revision ought to have been filed by 15th may, 1975, and since the revision came to be filed only on 22nd april, 1977, there was a delay of one year, eleven months and seven days in filing the revision and the first respondent declined to condone the delay and dismissed the revision petition as time barred, without going into the merits. this order of the first respondent dated 20th may, 1977, is very perfunctory on the question of condonation of the delay. the relevant portion of the said order reads as follows:the proviso to rule 54 of mineral concession rules, 1960, confers a discretionary power on the central government to condone the delay in a case where the revision.....
Judgment:

S. Nainar Sundaram, J.

1. This writ appeal is directed against the order of Koshal, J., as he then was, in W.P. No. 1741 of 1977. The appellant is the writ petitioner. The respondents herein are the respondents in the writ petition. The prayer in the writ Petition is to call for the records pertaining to the order of the first respondent in 1/212/77 M/V and to quash the order dated 20th May, 1977. That order was passed by the first respondent in a revision preferred by the writ petitioner under Rule 54 of the Mineral Concession Rules. 1950, hereinafter referred to as the Rules. The order against which the revision wn preferred by the writ petitioner before the first respondent was one passed by the Collector, Tirunelveli on 15th February, 1975, demanding an Additional amount of Rs. 73,832.86 by way of interest, excess royalty and on other accounts in respect of the mineral licence for limestone over an area of forty acres in the village of Madavakurichi, Tirunelveli District. The first respondent took note of the fact that the order of the Collector was passed on 15th February, 1975; and that as per Rule 54 of the Rules, the revision ought to have been filed by 15th May, 1975, and since the revision came to be filed only on 22nd April, 1977, there was a delay of one year, eleven months and seven days in filing the revision and the first respondent declined to condone the delay and dismissed the revision petition as time barred, without going into the merits. This order of the first respondent dated 20th May, 1977, is very perfunctory on the question of condonation of the delay. The relevant portion of the said order reads as follows:

The proviso to Rule 54 of Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, confers a discretionary power on the Central Government to condone the delay in a case where the revision petitioner has made out a sufficient cause for not making the application within prescribed time. The Central Government, however, do not consider your application a fit case for condonation of the unreasonable delay. The Central Government, therefore, in exercise of their revisional powers under Rule 55 of Mineral Concession Rules and Section 30 of M.M. (R. & D.) Act hereby dismiss the revision application as time barred.

Koshal, J., as he then was, declined to entertain the writ petition on the ground that in the circumstances of the case, the first respondent cannot be stated to have used his discretion improperly or capriciously.

2. Mr. T. R. Rajagopalan, learned Counsel for the writ petitioner, the appellant herein, submits that proviso to Rule 54 of the Rules confers a discretion which is practically a judicial discretion on the part of the revisional authority to condone the delay when a revision comes to be filed after the prescribed period of two months and in the instant case, there has been no application of the mind on the part of the first respondent when he passed the impugned order. Learned Counsel also draws our attention to very many salient features which the writ petitioner set forth in the revision petition before the first respondent and would urge that they would form sufficient cause for the condonation of the delay and in the instant case, the first respondent practically declined to advert to consider and assess the said salient features and has chosen to pass a very summary order as per the extract made above. On going through the relevant averments made in the revision petition before the first respondent, a copy of which has been furnished to us in the typed set of papers filed along with the writ appeal, we are inclined to agree with the learned Counsel that there is, in fact, an omission on the part of the first respondent to apply his mind to the factual features urged by the writ petitioner, who was the revision petitioner before him, on the question of condonation of delay, in our view, if the first respondent had adverted to, considered and assessed the factual features delineated in the revision petition, he would have found a justification for condoning the delay. In any event, we are refraining from expressing any opinion on this aspect Suffice it if we state that the discretion vested with the revisional authority to condone the delay must be exercised with reason, bestowing attention to the factors pleaded and put forth, and the decision must be arrived at according to justice, common sense and sound judgment and the order passed must set out the reasons therefore, and not a sweeping or a cursory statement that the case is not a fit one for condonation of the delay. On the simple ground that there is a glaring omission on the part of the first respondent to apply his mind in that he failed to advert to, consider and assess the factual features relied on by the writ petitioner, revision petitioner before the first respondent, for condonation of the delay, we feel obliged to interfere in writ appeal. It is true that the learned single Judge has to some extent, justified the order passed by the first respondent by adverting to certain features of the case. But it is the primary duty and obligation of the authority concerned, who is vested with a statutory discretion on the question of condonation of delay, to advert, to consider and assess the facts urged in this behalf and set out the reasons for the order passed and it is not for this Court, sitting in writ jurisdiction, to assess the factual features in those contingencies, fill up the omissions, in the order passed by the authority or substitute, or supplement the inchoate reasons given in his order. In this view, we are not able to lend our support to the order passed by the learned Judge. Accordingly, this writ appeal is allowed, the order of the learned single Judge is set aside and the writ petition will stand allowed, and the order of the first respondent impugned is quashed and the matter will stand remitted back to the first respondent for him to consider the question of condonation of delay in preferring the revision concerned, after adverting to, considering and assessing the factual features urged in this behalf by the writ petitioner, the revision petitioner before him, and give reasons for the order to be passed thereafter. The writ petitioner, the revision petitioner before the first respondent, will also have liberty to file any further representation delineating further features both on facts and in law, justifying the condonation of the delay and the same will also be considered by the first respondent before he passes orders. There will be no order as to costs in this writ appeal.


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