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Nagar Sahkari Bank Ltd. & Others v. The Arbitrator & Others - WRIT - C No. 22002 of 2003  RD-AH 14318 (24 August 2006)
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 22002 of 2003
Nagar Sahkari Bank Ltd. Gorakhpur & others
The Arbitrator & others
Hon'ble Vineet Saran, J
An award was passed by respondent no. 1 on 18.3.2002 granting relief of promotion with effect from 1.7.1991 to the respondent no. 4, Chandra Kesh Shahi. The said award was challenged by the petitioner in appeal before the respondent no. 3, the District Assistant Registrar on 13.1.2003 stating therein that the copy of the award was received by the petitioner only on 14.12.2002 through communication of the District Assistant Registrar dated 12.12.2002 and as such it was claimed that the appeal was filed within 30 days of the receipt of the award. The respondent no. 3 vide his order dated 24.1.2003 dismissed the appeal on the ground of limitation. Aggrieved by the said order, the petitioner has filed this writ petition.
I have heard Sri Ajit Kumar Singh, learned counsel for the petitioner as well as learned Standing Counsel appearing for respondents no. 1, 2 and 3 and Sri S.N.Tripathi, learned counsel appearing for the contesting respondent no. 4. Pleadings between the parties have been exchanged and with the consent of the learned counsel for the parties, this writ petition is being disposed of at this stage.
By the impugned order dated 24.1.2003 the Appellate Authority has held that since the award was sent to the petitioner by registered post (speed post) on 20.3.2002 it would be presumed to have been served on the petitioner. However, by an application dated 25.7.2002 the petitioner had written to the authority that he had not received the copy of the award and had learnt about the same only on receipt of caveat application filed by the respondent no. 4. The respondents still did not send the copy of the award and gave a reply to the effect that the copy has already been sent on 20.3.2002. The copy was thereafter sent by the respondent-authorities to the petitioner only on 12.12.2002, which was received on 14.12.2002 and thus it has been claimed by the petitioner that the appeal was filed within the period of limitation of 30 days from the receipt of award.
The endeavour of the courts and the authorities hearing the appeal should normally be to decide the dispute on merits and not to brush aside the matter on technicalities.
In the present case even though the copy of the award may have been sent by the respondent authorities to the petitioner-Bank on 20.3.2002 by registered post but still when receipt of the same had been denied by the petitioner vide his communication dated 25.7.2002, the respondent authorities ought to have supplied another copy of the award immediately thereafter. However, on the contrary the petitioner could have also made efforts to procure the copy and by having remained silent after receipt of the reply to its communication dated 25.7.2002, the petitioner is also guilty of not pursuing his case efficiently. As such, balancing the equities between the parties, in my view, it would be appropriate that the appeal of the petitioner be heard and decided on merit, in accordance with law but on payment of costs to the respondent no. 4, which this Court assesses at Rs. 10,000/.
Accordingly, this writ petition is allowed. The order dated 24.1.2004 is set aside on payment of costs of Rs. 10,000/- which the petitioner shall deposit with the Appellate Authority, respondent no. 3 within three weeks from today. On deposit of the same, the said costs shall be paid to the respondent no. 4 immediately thereafter. The appeal of the petitioner shall be thereafter heard and decided on merits, in accordance with law, after giving opportunity of hearing to the petitioner as well as respondent no. 4 and other concerned parties, if there be any, as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of six weeks from the date of deposit of costs.
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