08 April 2021, Thursday

2 years ago

Time taken by counsel to prepare petition is sufficient cause under Section 34 (3) ACA but delay in refiling cannot be condoned without reasonable explanation (Delhi High Court)

08 April 2021| Delhi State Industrial & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. v M/s Mapsa Tapes Pvt Ltd. | OMP (Comm) 489 of 2019 | Vibhu Bakhru J

An award was made on 24 December 2018. DSIIDC filed on 12 April 2018 a Section 34 ACA application with defects and a delay of 17 days (beyond three months but within the grace period of 30 days). Somehow not knowing this, DSIIDC made another Section 34 application, but again defective, on 02 August 2018. Treated ultimately as a refiling, the delay in refiling was 113 days under the rules of the court. The defects were finally cured and a proper petition made with a further delay of 117 days in November 2019.

Dismissing the petition, the court held, the delay of 17 days is liable to be condoned not because of the time-taking departmental procedures but because counsel took time to prepare the petition. However, the delay in refiling could be condoned because there is no reasonable explanation. The total delay was over 7 months (from April to November), and condoning would “debilitate” the objective of expeditious disposal of Section 34 applications.

Nonetheless, as submissions were heard, it was considered “apposite to decide the issues on merits as well.” But the court found no patent illegality or violation of the fundamental policy of Indian law. It reiterated the scope of examination under Section 34 ACA (no analysis of evidence, no review on merits).

Read the judgment here.


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