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Words 'Sufficient Cause' under section 5 of Limitation Act to be construed liberally: Allahabad HC

Sonal Bhargava | Edited by Prabhat Bandhulya

“In the absence of anything showing malafide or deliberate delay as dilatory tactics, the Court should normally condone the delay." The Allahabad High Court has ruled that when it comes to condonation of delay, the Court must take a liberal approach. An application should not be dismissed on hyper-technical reasoning where the delay is satisfactorily justified. In this Case [Ashok Singh v State of UP], the petitioner’s substitution application and a subsequent recall application were denied by the Board of Revenue, Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad, for being filed late. Another cause for dismissal was that no steps were done to provide notice in accordance with an order. Concerning the filing delay, the Petitioners claimed that the reasons for the delay were explained in the affidavit that the applicants were unaware of the pendency of the case at hand and filed the substitution application as soon as they learned of it.

The Court placed reliance on the principle laid down in Esha Bhattacharjee v. Managing Committee of Raghunathpur Nafar Academy and others, where it was held that “There should be a liberal, pragmatic, justice-oriented, non-pedantic approach while dealing with an application for condonation of delay, for the courts are not supposed to legalise injustice but are obliged to remove injustice.” Applying the aforementioned principle to the facts of the present case, it can be seen that the affidavit filed in support of the application seeking condonation of delay spelled out the reasons for the delay in filling out the substitution application, and the reasons specified in that regard could not be held insufficient, and no lack of bonafides could be imputed to the petitioners.

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