Mere Excuse of Procedural Aspect is no Sufficient Cause for Condonation of Delay: High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh at Jammu

Merely saying that the delay was on account of procedural aspect, is not sufficient cause to condone the delay, as observed by the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh at Jammu, before the HON’BLE JUSTICE MR. TASHI RABSTAN, in the matter of State of Jammu & Kashmir vs. Lalan Yadav [SLA No. 12/2015], on 09.12.21.

The facts of the case were that while HC Rattan Singh and party were on routine duty, they intercepted the respondent, Lalan Yadav, and seized 11 Kg of ganza. After the registration of an FIR, SI Niayat Ali conducted the investigation, recorded the statements and performed all the legal formalities and presented the challan before the Court of Principal Sessions Judge, Kathua on 20.03.2010, who transferred the case to the trial court on the same day.

Charges were framed against the respondent under Section 8 and 20 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 on 21.04.2010, who pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried. The prosecution was directed to lead evidence, post which the defense denied the occurrence after which the case was posted for advancing of arguments.

The trial court delivered the judgement on 13.06.2014 whereby the respondent herein had been acquitted of the charges, drawing the conclusion that the prosecution had miserably failed to prove the case and the charges leveled against the accused. Aggrieved by the said order, the appellant has filed an appeal. As the appeal has been filed after the expiry of period of limitation, application on hand has been filed seeking condonation of delay in its filing. The appellant has also filed an application seeking leave of the Court to file the appeal against the acquittal.

The Honourable High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh at Jammu, observed that the application seeking to condone the delay in filing the Criminal Acquittal Appeal is concerned, a perusal of the file reveals that there is 148 days delay in filing the appeal. The Court noted that the applicant failed to give any cogent reason for this delay, let alone explain day-to-day delay in filing the appeal.

Delay in filing appeal after the statutory period of limitation prescribed cannot be condoned as a matter of course. The party seeking condonation of delay was required to satisfy the Court that there was sufficient cause justifying condonation of delay. It was held that merely saying that the delay was on account of procedural aspect, is not sufficient cause to condone the delay.

Thus, it was held that the application seeking condonation of delay deserves to be rejected and accordingly, the same was dismissed. Resultantly, in light of dismissal of condonation of delay application, the application seeking leave to appeal as well as the Criminal Acquittal Appeal also stood dismissed, being time barred.

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