National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, New Delhi: A Division bench comprising of Rakesh Kumar Jain, J., and Mr. Naresh Salecha (Technical Member), dismissed the appeal due to the appellant’s failure to cure defects in a timely manner and insufficient justification for the delay in re-filing.
In the instant matter, the appellant preferred an appeal against an order dated 17-03-2021 passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) under Section 27 of the Competition Act, 2002. The appeal was filed on 24-01-2022, but it faced multiple rejections due to defects pointed out by the Registry. The defects were first noticed on 01-02-2022, but despite several opportunities to rectify these defects, the appellant failed to do so in a timely manner.
The appeal was re-filed again without curing the defects on 13-06-2022 and the memo of appeal was re-filed on 19-09-2022. On 10-10-2022, the Registrar of the Tribunal considered the delay in re-filing and decided to list the case before the bench to determine whether the delay should be condoned.
The Appellant filed an application for condonation of delay, citing unforeseeable circumstances, including one of their counsels going into judicial custody, as the reason for the delay. On the other hand, the respondent opposed the application, arguing that the appellant had been negligent and there were multiple opportunities to rectify the defects.
The NCLAT referred to V.R. Ashok Rao v. TDT Copper Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine NCLAT 3516, and clarified that the limitation for filing an appeal should not govern the period for curing defects in re-filing, and delay can be condoned with sufficient justification.
The NCLAT, in the present case, found the appellant to be negligent in addressing the defects, and their reasons for the delay were not deemed sufficient.
The NCLAT dismissed the application for condonation of delay and as a result, the appeal itself was dismissed.
[People’s All India Anti-Corruption and Crime Prevention Society (IP) v. Usha International Ltd., 2023 SCC OnLine NCLAT 596, order dated 24-08-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Nikhilesh Kumar, Mr. Rohit Arora, Mr. Sahil Patel, Counsel for the Appellants
Mr. Pawan Sharma, Mr. Anuj Shah, Counsel for the Respondent No. 1
Shama Nargis, Dy. Director Pawan Reley, Akshay Lodhi, Simran Singh, Ashish Kr. Pandey, Gaurav Chaudhary, M M Sharma, Counsel for the CCI