Dismissing a private company’s plea asking for condonation of delay, the Delhi High Court said that “the litigant owes a duty to be vigilant of his rights and to be equally vigilant about the judicial proceedings”. The litigant was liable to bear the consequences if he/she did not turn up to find out what orders were passed by the court, the court said.
“After filing a civil suit/written statement, the litigant cannot go off to sleep and wake up from a deep slumber after a long time… as if the court is a storage unit of such suits filed by negligent litigants,” said the court, adding that the private company had “failed to make out any justification for condonation of delay” in filing an appeal .
The company had filed an application for condonation of 400 days’ delay in filing an appeal against the decree of a city court in a civil suit. According to the company, its counsel had stopped attending the proceedings since October 2014.
The company claimed that after the city court’s decree in August 2015, the counsel told them “there was no need to panic”. However, despite repeated requests from the company’s authorised representative till September 2016, the counsel did not provide them with documents pertaining to the matter.
The company further claimed that the counsel did not respond to several phone calls, SMSes and other messages. After the company’s new counsel inspected the case file in October 2016, they moved an application before the executing court, besides filing a complaint in the Bar Council of India (BCI) against the counsel.
An application was also filed for getting certified copies in November 2016, which were provided to them the next month, said the company. They further said the company should not be made to suffer because of negligence of the earlier counsel/lawyer.
Justice Vinod Goel said the allegations against the lawyer were not mentioned in the complaint filed with the BCI.
“It appears that the company is either concealing true facts…of dismissal of suit, or have been careless and negligent in pursuing their case.” The judge also said it appeared that the advocate was being blamed to get the delay condoned and avoid the decree.
“The litigant could not be allowed to cast the entire blame on the advocate,” the judge said, dismissing the appeal while noting that there was “no infirmity” in the verdict of the trial court.