JAMMU AND KASHMIR: In the matter of Dr. Lahoot Hassan & Ors Vs SHO Vigilance Organization Kashmir, Jammu, and Kashmir, and Ladakh High Court observed that the word “sufficient cause” under Sec 5 of Limitation Act has to be given liberal construction and the Courts while considering the delay in filing appeal must avoid technicalities so that merit is preferred.
The bench headed by Justice Sanjay Dhar was hearing a matter in which a plea was moved in a court in which petitioners challenged an order passed by Additional Sessions Judge, Srinagar, whereby, delay in filing the appeal against the judgment and order passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar has been condoned.
The plea states that the delay in filing an appeal on account of administrative reasons is not a sufficient cause within the meaning of Section 5 of the Limitation Act. Further, contended that even after the grant of sanction for filing the appeal, it took almost one year for the respondent to file the appeal and the delay in this regard has remained unexplained.
The petitioners also argued that there is no explanation tendered by the respondent as to why it took seven months to issue 2nd sanction order in favor of the Public Prosecutor and there is no explanation for the delay in filing the appeal after the grant of 2nd sanction order on 19.02.2016.
The Court observed that Section 5 provides that an appeal may be admitted after the prescribed period of limitation if the appellant satisfies the Court that he had sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal within such period.
The expression “sufficient cause” used in the provision must receive a liberal construction so as to advance substantial justice and unless there is gross negligence or deliberate inaction or lack of bonafide attributable to the parties seeking condonation of delay, such a prayer should not be declined, the bench underscored.