No provision for exempting time lost due to ‘carelessness of counsel’ while computing limitation: Sikkim HC

Sikkim High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Meenakshi Madan Rai, J.,decided an application for condonation of delay filed under Order 41 Rule 3A of Civil Procedure Code, wherein, while granting relief to the appellant (applicant herein), the Court held that no exemption for time lost due to carelessness of the council could be taken into account while calculating period limitation.

The application was filed for condoning the delay of 6 days in filing the appeal against the judgment of District Judge. The appeal was to be filed within a period of 90 days of the judgment as provided in Article 116(a) of Limitation Act 1963. However, there was a delay of 6 days in filing the appeal. The appellant submitted that the certified copy of the impugned judgment was misplaced by the counsel of the appellant. A photocopy of the same was submitted along with the appeal. On receiving an objection from the Registry, the counsel applied for another certified copy. The second copy was received after 34 days, which, according to the appellant, was the cause of the resultant delay.

The High Court considered the submissions and referred to Section 12 of Limitation Act, which provides for exemption of such time as was required for procuring a certified copy of the judgment to be appealed against while calculating the period of limitation. The Court, however, observed that such exemption was to be taken only for the time lost in acquiring the first copy. Further, the clarification that the first certified copy of the judgment was lost holds no water, as no provision has been made for computing limitation for the carelessness of the counsel. The Court was of the view that proper grounds were not shown for allowing condonation. Nonetheless, the Court held, the appellant ought not to suffer on account of what transpired in the chambers of his counsel. Thus, keeping in mind the paramount importance of handing out substantial justice, the Court exercised discretion in condoning the delay. The application was accordingly disposed of. [Nil Kumar Dahal v. Indira Dahal,2018 SCC OnLine Sikk 123, dated 26-06-2018]

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