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Senior lawyer can't be excused for late appeal in own case

Monday, 23 December 2013 - 11:58pm IST | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA
Plea, which came after 200 days, was rejected by state consumer commission

Not realising the importance of filing appeals in time is going to cost a senior lawyer loss of face as despite being one of the most reputed practising lawyers in legal circles, his appeal was rejected for a mere technical reason - not adhering to deadlines set by the consumer forum.
Stating that a practising lawyer could not be allowed condonation of delay (forgiveness for unintentional delay) in filing his appeal that took 200 days, Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has rejected the appeal of senior high court lawyer Ashok Saraogi.

In 2007, Mumbai-based lawyer Saraogi hired a lawyer and filed consumer case before Mumbai Suburban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum complaining against ICICI Bank, Kapadia Brothers and Ghel Automobiles Pvt Ltd for allegedly illegally using his credit card to buying petroleum products.

“I was in Jaipur with my wife for some rituals when my credit card was used to make illegal transactions. Not only did I file a criminal case but also moved the consumer forum,” said Saraogi.

The forum in November 2011 rejected Saraogi’s plaint stating there was no deficiency in service from the bank as tallying signatures was the merchant’s responsibility. Since Saraogi could not prove that he was a direct consumer of the other two parties, the forum said it had no jurisdiction to decide the case.

The appeal for a second hearing before the state consumer redressal forum was filed after 200 days and so the state body rejected the appeal.

The commission observed that despite being an advocate, Saraogi employed services of another advocate to prepare the appeal.

“The appeal was stated to be ready on January 17, 2012, but was filed on June 26, 2012. No reasons are disclosed for condonation of delay except the personal difficulty of the advocate Jagtap who filed the appeal. It was orally learned that Saraogi’s advocate got married sometime in January 2012 but that cannot be a ground for filing an appeal so late.”

Stating that marriage of the advocate employed by complainant, who is himself an advocate, isn’t a reason good enough for the delay, the appeal was rejected.

"They have rejected the plaint on technical grounds. I will appeal in the National Consumer Greviance Redressal Forum," said Saraogi.

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