Delay in filing Appeal due to sufficient cause can be Condoned on Grounds of Reasonable Cause: Gujarat HC

Lavjibhai Swaroopchand Mehta (CA/1544/2021)

Facts:
The applicant revenue has contended that order of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (for short ‘ITAT’) was received on 30.07.2018 and a rectification application came to be filed on 14.02.2019 which was dismissed by ITAT as time barred by order dated 28.08.2019.

The question before the Hon HC was whether the delay of 474 days in filing the Appeal deserves to be condoned or rejected?

Hon Gujarat HC held as below:

  1. If the cause shown is just and sufficient which is falling within four corners of “sufficient cause” as indicated in Sec 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963, such delay deserves to be condoned irrespective of length of delay.
  2. The contours of sufficient cause requires to be considered as explained by the Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Collector Land Acquisition, Anantnag & Anr. Versus Mst. Katij (AIR 1987 SC 1353).
  3. Considerable delay of procedural red-tape in the process of Government decision making is a common feature. Therefore, certain amount of latitude is not impermissible. If the appeals brought by the State are lost for such default no person is individually affected but what in the ultimate analysis suffers, is public interest.
  4. We are of the considered view that delay deserves to be condoned and accordingly it stands condon.

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