Substantial cause cannot be sacrificed for lapse on part of petitioner who can be put to terms: Delhi HC

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sunil Gaur, J. allowed a petition filed against the order of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal whereby petitioner’s application to recall its order of closing petitioner’s evidence was dismissed.

The application was denied by the Tribunal on the ground that the application was filed by the petitioner at the stage of final arguments and also because, despite sufficient opportunities given, petitioner had not lead evidence. The petitioner assailed the order impugned on the ground that the report regarding the driving license being fake was not proved on record earlier and so the occasion for the petitioner to get its witness examined did not arise earlier.

Upon hearing the parties and perusing the order impugned, the High Court was of the view that the Tribunal erred in dismissing petitioner’s application on the ground of delay as the occasion to lead evidence arose only when the respondent-insurer placed on record the licensing authority’s report regarding driving license in question being fake. It was the case of the petitioner that due to the communication gap, the witness could not be examined on the relevant date. It was observed that for the lapse on the part of petitioner, substantial cause cannot be sacrificed, as for the lapse occasioned, petitioner can always be put to terms. In the considered opinion of the Court, instant case was not one of filling up the lacunae. The evidence sought to be led by the petitioner appeared to be essential for adjudication of the matter. In such facts and situation, the order impugned was set aside and the Tribunal was directed to grant one opportunity to the petitioner to lead evidence subject to his depositing a sum of Rs 10,000 with Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. The petition was accordingly disposed of. [Delhi Transport Corpn. v. Neha,2018 SCC OnLine Del 11571, Order dated 24-09-2018]

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