Equity aids the vigilant: Delhi HC on applications seeking condonation of delay devoid of sufficient reasons or grounds

Delhi High Court: A Bench of the Delhi High Court dismissed a Letters Patent Appeal which was preferred to assail the dismissal of applications filed for restoration of a writ petition (‘subject petition’). The subject petition itself had been dismissed in default.

The subject petition was listed for hearing before a single Judge on 08.10.2013 wherein it was noted that the petition was stated to be suffering from Dengue and as requested, the hearing was adjourned till 28.11.2013. On 28.11.2013 however, the petition was dismissed as the petitioner had not appeared. Thereafter, applications seeking restoration of the subject petition and Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 seeking condonation of 387 days delay in filing the application were filed.

The said applications were dismissed along with the observation that the petitioner was not present on 08.10.2013 and was represented through a counsel, thus, he could not plead to restore the subject petition based on the submission that the petitioner himself had misheard the date of the hearing. The observation also relied on the verdict of the Delhi High Court in Virender Kumar v. Maya Devi, 94 (2001) DLT 848 to assert that no sufficient ground had been put forth on behalf of the appellant to explain his absence before the Court on 28.11.2013 and so it would be a travesty of justice to entertain a condonation of 387 days on such a belated restoration application. Aggrieved by the impugned order, the appellant preferred the appeal. The Court analyzed the merits of the application and came to the conclusion that equity aids the vigilant and not those who slumber over their rights. The application seeking condonation as well as the appeal itself was dismissed for being devoid of any merit. [Raj Kumaar v. Shiv Steel, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 12598, decided on 06.12.2017]

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