Not having court fee is not a ground to condone delay in filing appeal: Supreme Court

Not having court fee is not a ground to condone delay in filing appeal: Supreme Court

The bench of justice PS Narasimha and Justice Sudhandhu Dhulia of the Supreme Court held that being short of sufficient funds to pay court fees is not a reason to condone the delay in filing an appeal. It said that an appeal can be filed in terms of section 149 of the Code of Civil Procedure and thereafter the defects can be removed by paying deficit court fee.

The Court held that "We do not have a case at hand where the appellant is not capable of purchasing the court fee. He did pay the court fee ultimately, though belatedly. But then, under the facts and circumstances of the case, the reasons assigned for the delay in filing the appeal cannot be a valid reason for condonation of the delay, since the appellant could have filed the appeal deficient in court fee under the provisions of law, referred above. Therefore, we find that the High Court was right in dismissing Section 5 application of the appellant as insufficient funds could not have been a sufficient ground for condonation of delay, under the facts and circumstance of the case. It would have been entirely a different matter had the appellant filed an appeal in terms of Section 149 CPC and thereafter removed the defects by paying deficit court fees. This has evidently not been done."

The Court observed that "What we have here is a pure civil matter. An appeal has to be filed within the stipulated period, prescribed under the law. Belated appeals can only be condoned, when sufficient reason is shown before the court for the delay. The appellant who seeks condonation of delay therefore must explain the delay of each day. It is true that the courts should not be pedantic in their approach while condoning the delay, and explanation of each day’s delay should not be taken literally, but the fact remains that there must be a reasonable explanation for the delay. In the present case, this delay has not been explained to the satisfaction of the court. The only reason assigned by the appellant for the delay of 254 days in filing the First Appeal was that he was not having sufficient funds to pay the court fee! This was not found to be a sufficient reason for the condonation of delay as the appellant was an affluent businessman and a hotelier. In any case, even it is presumed for the sake of argument that the appellant was short of funds, at the relevant point of time and was not able to pay court fee, nothing barred him from filing the appeal as there is provision under the law for filing a defective appeal, i.e., an appeal which is deficient as far as court fee is concerned, provided the court fee is paid within the time given by the Court."

Nothing the facts the bench observed that' "Both these Appeals before this Court are by the plaintiff who had filed a suit for specific performance, which was dismissed and later his First Appeal before the High Court was dismissed on the grounds of delay. We may state here that the Plaintiff/Appellant was not a party to the contract of which a specific performance was sought. The contract was executed between the defendant and a company called M/s Himalayan Ski Village Pvt. Ltd. which was for sale of an ‘agricultural land’ in Himachal Pradesh. There were two plots of land for which two different “agreements of sale” were executed, and hence two civil suits were filed."

Case Details:-

SLP (C) No.15793 OF 2019
AJAY DABRA Appellant(s)
PYARE RAM & ORS. …Respondent


Read the complete Judgment on this link/tab


Appearance of the Advocates:-

For Petitioner(s) 
Mr. Bhagabati Prasad Padhy, AOR

For Respondent(s) 
Mr. Ajay Marwah, AOR
 Mr. Adhitya Srinivsan,, Adv.
 Mr. Adhitya Srinivsan, Adv.
 Mr. Tapan Masta, Adv.
 Mr. Parantap Singh, Adv.
 Mr. Parantap Singh, Adv.
 Mr. Karan Thakur, Adv.

 Mr. Rameshwar Prasad Goyal, AOR

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