While condoning delay, “sufficient cause” must be given liberal interpretation to ensure substantial justice

Sikkim High Court: An application filed under Section 5 of the Limitation Act 1963, praying for condoning the delay of 81 days in filing the regular first appeal was allowed by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Meenakshi Madan, J.

Brief facts of the case were that the petitioner was a senior citizen aged about 74 years, and living in a remote area. An Order was passed by the District Judge in a certain suit filed before him. The petitioner challenged the said Order. However, in filing the appeal, he made a delay of 81 days. The instant petition was filed praying for condonation of such delay on the grounds that the petitioner resided in a remote area and was a senior citizen. He was not aware of the procedure to be followed and the appeal was filed only after the legal aid counsel was appointed for him by the State Legal Services Authority.

Relying on the Apex Court’s decision in Basawraj v. LAO, (2013) 14 SCC 81, the High Court held that the expression “sufficient cause”, as mentioned in Section 5, should be given a liberal construction to ensure that substantial justice is done. Considering the facts and circumstances of the instant case as stated by the petitioner, the Court held that his application for condoning the delay of 81 days ought to be allowed. Orders were made accordingly. [Dambar Singh Chhetri v. Lachuman Chhetri, 2018 SCC OnLine Sikk 62, order dated 1-5-2018]

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