Ramlal, Motilal and Chhotelal Vs Rewa Coalfields Ltd.

Citation: Ramlal, Motilal and Chhotelal Vs Rewa Coalfields Ltd. 1962 AIR 361

Date of Judgment: 04/05/1961

Equivalent citation: 1962 AIR 361; 1962 SCR  (3) 762

Case No.: Civil Appeal No. 276 of 1958.

Case type: Civil Appeal

Appellant: Ramlal, Motilal and Chhotelal

Respondent: Rewa Coalfields Ltd.

Bench: Hon’ble Justice Gajendragadkar, Hon’ble Justice P.B. Wanchoo

Court: Supreme Court of India

Statute Referred:

  • Limitation Act 1908; Section 5

Cases referred:  

  • Karalicharan Sarma Vs Apurbakrishna Bajpeyi AIR 1931 Cal 298,  
  • Ram Narain Joshi Vs Parmeshwar Narain Mehta (1898) ILR 25 Cal 39,
  • Jahar Mal Vs G. M. Pritchard 52 Ind Cas 225


  • Appellant company is Chaurasia Limestone Company, Satna, Vindhya; Pradesh and Ramlal, Motilal and Chhotelal are its partners.
  • The respondent Rewa Coalfields Limited is a registered company herein whose coal mines are located in Burhar and Umaria. Its registered office is located in Kolkata.
  • Appellant prepared and traded limestone in Maihar and Satna, and purchased coal from the respondent’s coal mine in Umaria under a permit from the Kolkata Coal Commissioner for use in his lime kiln.
  • According to the respondent’s case, the appellant bought 3,307 tons of coal from the respondent at a price of Rs. 1,490 per ton from January 1952 to March 1953.
  • The price of this coal is Rs. 48.15840. Since the appellant did not pay the price owed, the respondent filed this lawsuit with the Umaria District Court and requested a judgment against Rs. 52,514140 Includes accrued interest up to the date of the claim.
  • On the subsequent date of hearing, however, the appellant did not appear nor did it pay costs to the respondent as ordered. That is why the trial Court proceeded ex-parte against the appellant.

 Issues involved:

  • What is the structure of Section 5 of the Limitation Act of 1908?
  • This section raises two questions to think about. One is what is a sufficient cause, and the other is what does the term “within such period” mean?

Contention of Applicant:

  • The counsel of Appellant contended that:
  • The appellant claimed that the amount claimed by the respondent was calculated arbitrarily, and that a large part of the coal purchased by the appellant from the respondent had already paid the due price.
  • The appellant claimed that for some time, he had stopped buying coal from the respondent, but obtained coal from Mr. Sood Brothers in Calcutta, and had formally paid him the cost of coal supply.
  • The appellant admitted that he was liable to pay 7.496110 rupees and expressed his willingness to pay the amount
  • The main argument made by the appellant in this appeal is that the express order should be cancelled and the case submitted to the court of first instance for trial. The appellant must be allowed to provide evidence and solve the case according to the evidence in accordance with the law.
  • On November 19, 1955, the appellant based on Section 5 of the Limitation Act prayed that the one-day delay in filing the appeal is forgiven because Ramlal, one of the partners of the appellant company responsible for the limitation.
  • This request was supported by an affidavit and a medical certificate certifying that Ramlal became ill on February 16, 1955.
  • The wise judicial commissioner who heard this request appears to have accepted the appellant’s case regarding Ramlal’s illness on February 16, 1955. The condition was a sufficient explanation, but someone urged it.
  • The appellant argued that he had the right to file an appeal on the last day, for which reason the one-day delay for which he had good reasons to request an explanation has been satisfactorily explained.

Contention of Respondent:

The counsel for the respondent contended that:

  • The respondent urged the appellant need not to prove that his partners were diligent during most of the statute of limitations in which the appeal was allowed, and because they postponed the filing of the appeal until the final date, although it was It was only delayed one day, but Ramlal’s illness cannot be said to be reason enough to forgive the delay.
  • However, the Academic Judicial Commissioner accepted the respondent’s motives and essentially refused to forgive the delay, considering that the appellant’s partners showed a lack of diligence and negligence during the expiry of the statute of limitations. appeal.


The Appeal was Allowed.

The appellant was pardoned a one-day delay in filing an appeal, and transferred the case to the judicial commissioner’s court to resolve the case in accordance with the law. In the circumstances of this case, the appellant must pay the court’s expenses to the respondent.

 Ratio Decidendi:

  • There is no difficulty in holding that the discretion should be exercised in favour of the appellant because apart from the general criticism made against the appellant’s lack or diligence during the period of limitation no other fact had been adduced against it.
  • Indeed, as it was already pointed out, the learned Judicial Commissioner rejected the ap- appellant’s application for condonation of delay only on the ground that it was appellant’s duty to file the appeal as soon as possible within the period prescribed, and that in our opinion, is not a valid ground.


We can conclude by saying that, the general criticism of the appellant’s inefficiency or diligence during the statute of limitations, it is believed that there should be no difficulty in exercising discretion in favour of the appellant. Other facts have been raised against him. In fact, as we have already pointed out, the informed judicial commissioner only considers the appellant as not a valid ground, and hence the appeal was allowed.

Drafted By: Bharti Verma, Chanderprabhu Jain College of Higher Studies and School of Law

Edited by: Aashima Kakkar, Associate Editor, Law Insider

Published On: October 11, 2021 at 19:19 IST

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