Appeal to State Commission against District Forum decision
15. Appeal.-Any person aggrieved by an order made by the District Forum may prefer an appeal against such order to the State Commission within a period of thirty days from the date of the order, in such form and manner as may be prescribed:
Provided that the State commission may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days If it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period.
(Provided further that no appeal by a person, who is required to pay any amount in terms of an order of the District Forum, shall be entertained by the State Commission unless the appellant has deposited in the prescribed manner fifty per cent of that amount of twenty-five thousand rupees, whichever is less.)
(i) Providing cross objections at appellate stage cannot be made applicable to the proceedings under the Act, hence cross objections are not maintainable as these were not filed before the District Forum; Arvinder Singh Chawla v. Kullbhushan, 2001 (1) CPR 387.
(ii) the words “sufficient cause”, though deserves to receive a liberal interpretation, yet, a just and equitable balance has to be maintained between the right secured by the respondent as a result of expiry of the prescribed period of limitation and the injustice of depriving the appellant
of a adjudication of his grievances on the merit of his appeal for causes beyond his reasonable control, which means the cause in bona fide and beyond the control of the appellant. Though, no hard and fast line can be drawn as to what affords `sufficient causes’ in a given case, yet, again
as per settled law, any cause which prevents a person from approaching the court within the time is `sufficient cause’. In doing so, it is the test of a reasonable man in normal circumstances which has to be applied; Pradeep Kumar v. Assistant Finance Officer, Delhi Vidhut Board, 2001 (1) CPR 9.
(iii) The appellate fora constituted under the Act should not dismiss the appeal merely on the ground of default of appearance of the appellant but the merits of the case should be considered on the basis of the material available before them and thereafter pass appropriate order in the appeal; General Manager. Telecom v. Jyantilal Hemchand Gandhi, 1993 (III) CPR 155.
(iv) Ordinarily, the appellate Court does not interfere with the compensation awarded unless it is too inadequate or too excessive; Namlada v. Suresh Chandra Mittal, 1993 (I) AIR 631.