Regarding delay condonation applications, the Supreme Court remarked that courts should adopt a justice-oriented approach instead of a “rigid technical approach.”
The trial court decided the case on October 1, 2005. The defendants filed their initial appeal along with a request to waive a 52-day delay. The lower appellate court dismissed the appeal based on the statute of limitations on October 8, 2010, finding that the delay was not adequately explained. On April 16, 2015, the High Court dismissed the second appeal because there was no legal issue to consider.
The bench of the Supreme Court noted that the appellants were only 52 days late in submitting their appeal and needed to be made aware of the ruling.
The bench, referring to Collector, Land Acquisition, Anantnag & Anr. vs Mst. Katiji & Ors.
“The above decision expressing the intention of justice oriented approach percolating down to all the courts was rendered nearly three decades ago but unfortunately the case on hand demonstrates the pervading insensitive approach, which apart from continuing the agony of the litigants concerned has also unnecessarily burdened the judicial hierarchy which after going through the entire process will have to set the clock back, at this distant point in time and prolong their agony. If only the court concerned had been sensitive to the justice oriented approach rather than the iron- cast technical approach, the litigation between the parties probably would have come to an end much earlier after decision on the merits of their rival contention.”
The court noted that the lower Appellate Court had dismissed the appeal based on delay, even though the delay was not excessive. Holding that it was unjustified, the bench returned the request to the subordinate Appellate Court’s file.
Raheem Shah vs Govind Singh | (SC) 572 | 2023 INSC 651
Limitation Act, 1962; Section 5 – Justice oriented approach rather than the iron-cast technical approach to be adopted – Supreme Court restored an appeal before the lower appellate court, which had dismissed it on the ground that the delay of 52 days was not adequately explained – Referred to Collector, Land Acquisition, Anantnag & Anr. Vs. Mst. Katiji & Ors. (1987) 2 SCC 107. (Para 3-6)