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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Delay in representing the review application = “A code of procedure must be regarded as such. It is procedure something designed to facilitate justice and further its ends: not a penal enactment for punishment and penalties; not a thing designed to trip people up. Too technical a construction of sections that leaves no room for reasonable elasticity of interpretation should therefore be guarded against (provided always that justice is done to both sides) lest the very means designed for the furtherance of justice be used to frustrate it. Our laws of procedure are grounded on a principle of natural justice which requires that men should not be condemned unheard, that decisions should not be reached behind their backs, that 6 proceedings that affect their lives and property should not continue in their absence and that they should not be precluded from participating in them. Of course, there must be exceptions and where they are clearly defined they must be given effect to. But taken by and large, and subject to that proviso, our laws of procedure should be construed, wherever that is reasonably possible, in the light of that principle.” - In our opinion, keeping in view the aforementioned observations and further having regard to the nature of controversy involved in the case, the High Court should have been liberal in taking a view in the matter and accordingly should have condoned the delay and granted the appellants one more opportunity to cure the defects. The interest of justice demanded one more opportunity to the appellants to comply with the orders of the Registry. The delay in filing the application filed by the appellants before the High Court is hereby 7 condoned. The appellants are granted one month’s time as an outer limit to cure the defects pointed out by the Registry in their Review Application.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL No. 2601 OF 2018
(Arising out of S.L.P.(C) No.35629 of 2017)
Pralhad Shankarrao Tajale
& Ors. ….Appellant(s)
VERSUS
State of Maharashtra through
its Secretary (Revenue) & Anr. …Respondent(s)
J U D G M E N T
Abhay Manohar Sapre, J.
1) Leave granted.
2) This appeal is directed against the final
judgment and order dated 18.07.2017 passed by
the High Court of Judicature at Bombay in Civil
Application No.120 of 2016 in Rejected Case No.149
of 2016 in Rejected Case No.148 of 2016 whereby
the Single Judge of the High Court dismissed the
appellants’ application on the ground of delay.
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3) In order to appreciate the short question
involved in the appeal, few facts need mention infra.
4) The appellants herein were the Writ/Review
Petitioners before the High Court in the proceedings
out of which this appeal arises. On 28.08.2012, the
appellants filed a petition being Writ Petition
No.8516 of 2012 before the High Court of Bombay
questioning therein the legality and correctness of
the order dated 14.05.2012 passed by the State
Minister for Revenue (MH). It was in relation to a
certain land dispute whereby the appellants’
revision application was dismissed.
5) On 27.11.2012, the Single Judge of the High
Court dismissed the appellants’ writ petition. The
appellants felt aggrieved and filed intra court appeal
(L.P.A.No.33 of 2013) before the Division Bench.
6) By order dated 22.03.2014, the Division Bench
permitted the appellants to withdraw the intra court
appeal and granted them liberty to file review
petition before the Single Judge against the order by
which their writ petition was dismissed.
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7) The appellants accordingly filed review
application (Review Application No.3330/2015 in
W.P.No.8516/2012) on 17.04.2014. The appellants
also filed application for condonation of delay in
filing the Review application.
8) According to the Registry of the High Court,
the Review Application had some defects in its filing.
The appellants were, therefore, directed to cure the
defects so that the Review Application could be
listed for orders before the appropriate Bench.
9) As the appellants did not cure the defects
pointed out by the Registry of the High Court, the
Review Application was listed before the Registrar
(Judicial-1) on 19.10.2015 for passing appropriate
orders in filing the Review Application.
10) The Registrar, by his order dated 19.10.2015
further granted four weeks’ time to the appellants to
cure the defects and at the same time directed that
failing to cure the defects will result in refusing the
registration of the Review Application, i.e., it will
result in rejection of the Review application.
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11) Felt aggrieved by the order dated 19.10.2015
passed by the Registrar, the appellants filed an
application being Civil Application No.120 of 2016
and prayed therein for setting aside of the order
dated 19.10.2015 passed by the Registrar and for
restoration of Review Application No. St. 3330 of
2015, which was dismissed due to non-compliance
of the Registrar's mandatory order dated
19.10.2015.
12) By impugned order, the Single Judge
dismissed the appellants’ application essentially on
the ground of delay, which has given rise to filing of
the present appeal by way of special leave by the
Writ/Review petitioners in this Court.
13) On 05.03.2018, we requested Ms. Deepa M.
Kulkarni, learned counsel for the State of
Maharashtra, who was present in Court, to accept
notice on behalf of the Respondent-State to enable
us to dispose of the appeal finally on that day
having regard to the short issue involved in the
appeal. Learned counsel, on our request, accepted
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the notice on behalf of the respondent-State.
14) Having heard the learned counsel for the
parties and on perusal of the record of the case, we
are inclined to allow the appeal and while setting
aside of the impugned order, we restore the review
Application No. (St. 3330/2015) for its hearing by
the appropriate Bench in accordance with law.
15) Paras 8, 12 and 13 of the impugned order,
which deal with the issue, read as under:
“8. In Review Petition, office raised
objections on 14th July, 2015. On 1st June,
2015 as the Applicants failed to remove all
office objections, Section Officer made noting
that all office objections are not removed on
14th July, 2015. Thereafter the matter
appeared before the learned Registrar
(Judicial-I) on 15th July, 2015, 19th August,
2015, 21st September, 2015 and 19th
October, 2015. No one appeared on behalf of
Applicants before the Registrar (Judicial-I) for
removal of office objections. Hence, the
Registrar (Judicial-I) passed conditional order
on 19th October, 2015 granting four weeks
time to remove all office objections, failing
which, matter will stand rejected.
12. As the Applicants failed to disclose the
sufficient cause for delay, I am of the opinion
that Applicants have not made out any case
for allowing the Civil Application.
13. Hence, Civil Application stand rejected.”
16) This case reminds us of the apt observations
5
made by the learned Judge of this Court, Vivian
Bose J., in Sangram Singh vs. Election Tribunal
Kotah & Anr., AIR 1955 SC 425. His Lordship,
speaking for the Bench, in his distinctive style of
writing with subtle power of expression reminded
the Courts as to how the code of procedure should
be construed in the context of rights of the parties
to the lis, which affects their lives and properties.
His Lordship reminded that procedural laws should
not be construed like a penal provision to punish
the parities as far as possible. The following is the
classic passage, which is always followed for doing
substantial justice to the parties to the lis:
“A code of procedure must be regarded as
such. It is procedure something designed
to facilitate justice and further its ends:
not a penal enactment for punishment and
penalties; not a thing designed to trip
people up. Too technical a construction of
sections that leaves no room for
reasonable elasticity of interpretation
should therefore be guarded against
(provided always that justice is done to
both sides) lest the very means designed
for the furtherance of justice be used to
frustrate it. Our laws of procedure are
grounded on a principle of natural justice
which requires that men should not be
condemned unheard, that decisions should
not be reached behind their backs, that
6
proceedings that affect their lives and
property should not continue in their
absence and that they should not be
precluded from participating in them. Of
course, there must be exceptions and
where they are clearly defined they must
be given effect to. But taken by and large,
and subject to that proviso, our laws of
procedure should be construed, wherever
that is reasonably possible, in the light of
that principle.”
17) In our opinion, keeping in view the
aforementioned observations and further having
regard to the nature of controversy involved in the
case, the High Court should have been liberal in
taking a view in the matter and accordingly should
have condoned the delay and granted the appellants
one more opportunity to cure the defects. The
interest of justice demanded one more opportunity
to the appellants to comply with the orders of the
Registry.
18) As a consequence, the appeal succeeds and is,
accordingly, allowed. The impugned order is set
aside.
19) The delay in filing the application filed by the
appellants before the High Court is hereby
7
condoned. The appellants are granted one month’s
time as an outer limit to cure the defects pointed
out by the Registry in their Review Application.
20) On curing the defects by the appellants, the
Review Application be placed before the appropriate
Bench for passing orders in accordance with law.

………...................................J.
[ABHAY MANOHAR SAPRE]
 ...……..................................J.
 [S. ABDUL NAZEER]
New Delhi;
March 08, 2018
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