T. Sathiadev, J.
1. In these revision petitions, it is contended that once a finding is given that the sufficient cause shown does not exist and that delay which has occasioned cannot be condoned, the Rent Tribunal had no jurisdiction to still condone the delay on extraneous factors or out of sympathetic considerations, as claimed by it.
2. Mr. Yamunan, the learned Counsel for the revision petitioner, submits that in the light of the decision in Ramlal v. Rewa Coalfields Limited : 2SCR762 , proof of sufficient cause is a condition precedent for the exercise of the discretionary jurisdiction vested in Court under Section 5 of the Limitation Act. In these matters, it is Rule 14 of the Rules framed under the Tamil Nadu Act XXV of 1955, which is akin to Section 5 of the Limitation Act that has been invoked. In the said decision, it was held that, if sufficient cause is not proved, then nothing further has to be done and the application has to be dismissed on that ground alone. Therefore, he pleads that the Rent Tribunal having held that the delay caused deserved not to be condoned, it had no further jurisdiction to excuse the delay on sympathetic grounds. In the light of the decision of the Supreme Court, undoubtedly, there was no jurisdiction vested in the Rent Tribunal to condone the delay on any extraneous grounds or sympathetic considerations, when the condition precedent of sufficient cause had not been established.
3. In petitions of this nature, it is common knowledge, of the practice of Courts, that they are disposed of only on the averments found in the solemn affidavits. There is nothing on record to show that respondents had been ever communicated that in the light of the stand taken in the counter-affidavit unless oral or documentary evidence is adduced, the Court would have to dispose of the matter adversely to the interest of the respondent tenants.
4. Mr. Yamunan would refer to the stand taken in the counter-affidavit in paragraphs 5 and 6 therein, to the effect, that no documentary evidence had been produced to prove the reason given for the delay of 27 days as due to respondents' partaking in other proceedings. When such a specific stand in taken in the counter-affidavit, it was obligatory on the part of the respondents to have adduced oral or documentary evidence, which they might have considered necessary, and they could not have proceeded on the basis that the Court would accept their bald statement about the illness during the relevant period.
5. Here again, it deserves to be pointed out, that in every counter-affidavit filed in such petitions, if the claims made by the applicants are disputed, and in spite of it, Courts adopt a general practice of disposing of the applications only on the basis of the affidavits filed. If, however, a Court considers that the claims made and refuted would be disposed of on the ground of failure to adduce oral and documentary evidence then, unless an indication is made by the Court of the different approach being made, then it would only misguide the parties. It is pleaded that it is the duty of the respondents to arm themselves with both oral and documentary evidence for such applications and they cannot expect the Court to give any indication. This should be no answer when the existing practice is to dispose of these applications only on the basis of affidavits filed and not to insist upon oral or documentary evidence in every matter to support the claims made in the affidavit and which have been refuted.
6. Hence this Court considers that when the respondents tenants had been deprived of a reasonable opportunity of adducing evidence to substantiate their claim regarding sufficient cause, this is a fit matter wherein, the applications deserve to be remitted for a proper consideration. It is open to the contesting parties to adduce oral and documentary evidence, and thereafter, for valid reasons alone, the applications could be ordered.
7. On behalf of the respondents, the decisions rendered in State of West Bengal v. Howrah Municipality : 2SCR874a and Muktajivandas v. Devendraprasadji : AIR1973SC582 , are referred to contend that the Court was not to take a technical view of the matter in such applications and that the mistaken advice by a counsel can constitute a sufficient cause. He refers to the decision in Krishna v. Chattappan ILR (1890) Mad. 269, wherein it has been held that the Court should look forward for substantial justice being rendered, and in all those cases where no negligence or inaction or want of bona fides is made out, the Court should not hesitate to excuse the delay. Lastly, he refers to the decision of this Court in Mathi Ammal v. Ajjan : (1975)2MLJ384 , wherein it was held that, once a discretion had been validly exercised by the Court below, such a decision shall not be interfered with in revision petitions.
8. In the light of what has been held by the Supreme Court, existence of sufficient cause being a condition precedent for excusing the delay and in these matters when the sufficient cause pleaded could not be established by adducing oral or documentary evidence, it is just and proper to enable the respondents, to substantiate the claim made by them in the applications filed by them.
9. It is on this ground alone, the civil revision petitions are allowed and the applications filed by the respondents before the Court below are remitted for fresh disposal. No costs.