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Balwant Singh (Dead) Vs Jagdish Singh & Ors.

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Citations: Balwant Singh (Dead) Vs Jagdish Singh & Ors., [2010] 8 S.C.R. 597

Date of Judgement: 8/7/2010

Case No: Civil Appeal No. 116 of 2006

Case Type: Civil Appeal

Petitioner: Balwant Singh

Respondent: Jagdish Singh & Ors.

Bench: Hon’ble Mr. Justice B.S Chauhan and Hon’ble Swatanter Kumar.                       

Statutes Referred

  • Limitation Act, 1963; Sections 5, 3
  • Haryana Urban Rent (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1973; Section 15
  • Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1974; Section 488,
  • Code Of Civil Procedure, 1908; Order 22 Rule 1, Order 22 Rule 3, Order 22 Rule 9(3), Section 151
  • Constitution of India; Article 171

Cases Referred

  • P.K. Ramachandran Vs State of Kerala, 1997 7 SCC 556;
  • Ram Sumiran Vs D.D.C,1985 1 SCC 431;
  • Mithailal Dalsangar Singh Vs Annabai Devram Kini, (2003) 10 SCC 691;
  • Ganeshprasad Badrinarayan Lahoti Vs Sanjeevprasad Jamnaprasad Chourasiya (2004) 7 SCC 482;
  • State of Bihar Vs Kameshwar Prasad Singh 2000 9 SCC 94
  • Ramlal & Ors Vs Rewa Coalfields Ltd AIR 1962 SC 361
  • Union of India Vs Tata Yodogawa Ltd.,1988 Excise Law Times 739 SC
  • Collector of Central Excise, Madras Vs. A.MD. Bilal & CO., 1999 (108) Excise Law Times 331 (SC)
  • Krishna Vs Chathappan, ILR 13 Mad 269.
  • Union of India Vs Ram Charan, AIR 1964 SC 215
  • Nathu Ram and Jhanda Singh Vs Gurmukh Singh, C.A. No. 344 of 1956, D/- 10-4-1962 (SC); AIR 1962 SC 89
  • Perumon Bhagvathy Devaswom Vs Bhargavi Amma (2008) 8 SCC 321
  • Katari Suryanarayana Vs Koppisetti Subba Rao, AIR 2009 SC 2907

Facts

  • The landlord Balwant Singh (Dead) had filed a petition against the tenant Jagdish Singh for non- payment of rent.
  • The tenant denied the landlord and tenant relationship and even claimed title to the property based on an agreement between the petitioner’s predecessor in interest of the petitioner dated, 21 November 1953.
  • The tenant was evicted for non-payment of rent which was only Rs. 200/- per month by the Appellate Authority, Ambala.
  • Landlord’s eviction petition against the tenant for non-payment was set aside by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh in 2003.
  • Thus, the appellant moved to the Supreme Court of India for an appeal.
  • During the pendency of the appeal, the appellant died on 28th November 2007 but no steps were taken to bring forth the legal representative of the appellant for a long period.
  • An application for delay in filing the application to bring the deceased’s lawful representatives on record has been postponed until April 15, 2010. The non-applicants argue that there has been no sufficient cause or even reasonable cause shown for condoning delay for the delay.

Issues Involved

  • Whether the delay for 778 days should be acceptable by the court or not?
  • Whether the application for bringing forth representatives is maintainable in court?

Contentions of Appellant

The counsel for Appellant’s contended that:

  • The appellant stated that there is a delay of 778 days in filling the application for bringing the legal representatives on record. The legal representatives came to know about the pendency of the appeal in March 2010 and appeal was decided in May holidays.
  • The application was filed on 15th April,2010, and the matter was scheduled for the final disposition during the May holidays. The applicant has filed a one-page application to explain the delay and that they were unaware of the situation.
  • The deceased’s legal representatives are all residents of Ambala City (Haryana), and there are no other legal heirs. It has been established that the ‘Legal Representative’ were in service and were unaware of the status of the appeal or the requirement of law to bring on record any LRs.

Contention of Respondent

Respondents were in the favour of the previous order which was passed by the High Court.

Judgement

The Appeal was dismissed.

  • The court has dismissed applications I.A.No.1 of 2010 and No.2 of 2010 for want of bona fide. The application does not contain correct and true facts.
  • The Hon’ble Court dismissed I.A.No.2 of 2010 and consequently, I.A.No.1 of 2010 does not survive for consideration and was also dismissed. Resultantly, the appeal having already abated also stood dismissed.
  • No orders in relation to costs were made.

Ratio Decedendi

  • Except for a vague averment that the legal representatives were not aware of the pendency of the appeal before the Court, there was no other justifiable reason stated in the one-page application filed by the counsel for the appellants. The application did not contain correct and true facts. Thus, want of bona fides was imputable to the applicant.
  • There was no reason or sufficient cause shown as to what steps were taken during the period and why immediate steps were not taken by the applicant, even after they admittedly came to know of the pendency of the appeal before the Court. It is abnormal conduct on the part of the applicants. The cumulative effect of all these circumstances was that the applicants had miserably failed in showing any ‘sufficient cause’ for condonation of delay of 778 days in filing the application in question.
  • When the delay is not due to dilatory tactics, a lack of bona fide, or wilful inaction, the Supreme Court has determined that the term “sufficient cause” in Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 should be given a liberal interpretation in order to achieve substantial justice.
  • In application for setting aside abatement, the courts are more indulgent than in other situations. The court must remember that when an appeal is dismissed, respondents gain an essential right; it will not punish an appellant with foreclosure of the appeal.

Conclusion

In this present case “to accomplish substantial justice”, the term “sufficient cause” in Section 5 of The Limitation Act, 1963, should be given a broad construction.” Appellant claims that if an appeal fails due to accidental lapses, the Supreme Court will no longer punish an appellant with foreclosures of the enactment for unintended lapses. If it fails.

Drafted By: Samanta Rao, CLS – Gitarattan International Business School

Published On: September 21, 2021 at 19:04 IST