FEMA Appellate Tribunal | Delay of 370 days condoned despite not being convinced of ‘sufficient cause’ for delay, as dismissal of application would bar examination of merits of appeal

Appellate Tribunal (FEMA): Justice G.C. Mishra (Acting Chairman) allowed the application for the condonation of delay in respect to the substitution of the legal representatives (LRs) of the managing director of the deceased Ramesh Babu Muppalaneni of the company Sanjay Agro Traders (P) Ltd.

 In the instant case, the deceased having died on 26-10-2017, the appellant failed to file an application for the substitution of his legal heirs. Rather the application for its condonation of delay was filed on 27-05-2019, which prayed to condone a delay of 296 days only though there was a delay of 370 days.

The counsels for the appellant, S.K. Vasudeva Rao and Rabin Majumder pleaded that the delay in filing the application for the substitution of the LRs was not intentional but it happened due to the communication gap between the deceased’s family and the counsel about the death of the deceased which reached the counsel much later on 05-09-2018 as the family was much disturbed from their irreparable loss. Moreover, on 06-09-2018 itself, the Tribunal allowed the appellant to file an appropriate application in that regard when he submitted for it.

The counsel on behalf of the respondent, Aagam Kaur, however, contended that even though the family was in grief, the advocate could have moved an application for bringing the legal heirs on record. Also, there seemed no reasonable cause as to how he was prevented from moving a timely application. The Counsel also placed reliance on the judgment of the case N. Balakrishnan v. M. Krishnanmurthy, (1998) 7 SCC 123 wherein it was clearly held that the law of limitation fixes a lifespan for such legal remedy for the redressal of the legal injury so suffered. 

In view of the above case, the Tribunal allowed the application of condonation of delay in filing the applications for substitution of legal heirs subject to payment of Rs 25000 in each appeal to be paid within six weeks from the date of the order. 

Observing “sufficient cause” under Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 the Court noted the concept of reasonableness as brought out by the case Esha Bhattacharjee v. Managing Committee of Raghunathpur Nafar Academy, (2013) 12 SCC 649.[S. Ramesh v. Special Director Directorate of Enforcement, Hyderabad, MP-FE-476/HYD/2019(COD) IN FPA-FE-300/HYD/2009, decided on 24-12-2019]

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