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District Ayurvedic Officer, Sirmour and Ors. Vs. Joint Labour Commissioner-cum-Appellate Authority, Himachal Pradesh and Ors. - (High Court of Himachal Pradesh) (23 May 2022)

Appellate Authority can extend limitation period for 60 days only on showing of sufficient cause



The question to be adjudicated in all present petitions is whether Section 7(7) of the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 permits condoning the delay in filing the appeal beyond period of 60 days from the date of expiry of available statutory period of 60 days against an order passed under Section 7(4) of the Act? The Appellate Authority held that, the appeal filed beyond maximum limit of 120 days was not maintainable.

Appeal can be filed under Section 7(7) of the Payment of Gratuity Act within 60 days from the date of receipt of the order passed under Section 7(4) of the Act. The statutory period of 60 days can be further extended by the Appellate Authority for a period of 60 days, in case it is satisfied that the Appellant/aggrieved person was prevented by sufficient cause in not preferring the appeal within the said period of 60 days.

The Payment of Gratuity Act is a special enactment. Period of 60 days is the prescribed limitation under Section 7(7) for instituting appeal against order passed under Section 7(4) of the Act. The Appellate Authority's discretion to extend the limitation period is only for further period of 60 days on showing of sufficient cause. In the instant case order under Section 7(4) of the Act was passed on 17th January, 2017 and dispatched to the Petitioner on 24th January, 2017. The appeal under Section 7(7) of the Act against order dated 17th January, 2017 was instituted by the Petitioner on 3rd August, 2017. There was delay of 198 days in filing the appeal.

The Petitioner had not even filed any application for condoning the delay. The Petitioner did not make out any sufficient cause for not preferring the appeal within the statutory period of 60 days. No case was made out even for extension of the statutory period by further period of 60 days. The appeal was clearly barred by limitation. Having been filed beyond maximum period of 120 days, the appeal was required to be dismissed as not maintainable. No interference is called for in the order passed by the learned Appellate Authority. Petitions dismissed.


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