CHENNAI: Poverty to engage a lawyer cannot be a ground to condone a delay of 866 days in preferring an appeal challenging the lower court order, the Madras High Court has ruled.
Justice M Venugopal gave the ruling while dismissing a petition from Ravi of Palladam challenging an order dated September 9, 2014 of the Sessions Judge (Fast Track Mahila Court) in Tirupur sentencing him to undergo rigorous imprisonment (RI) for 10 years for offences under IPC and TN Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act.
After a lapse of 866 days, Ravi filed the present petition seeking to condone the delay of about 2-1/2 years.
He contended that he was not rich enough to engage a lawyer to argue his case in time. Moreover, he had misplaced the certified copy of the 2014 order of the lower court. Hence, he could not file the appeal within the limitation period of 60 days, he contended.
Concurring with the submissions of government advocate K Mathan (criminal side), Justice M Venugopal pointed out that the appellant could have very well exercised the option of approaching the Free Legal Aid Cells functioning at taluk, district and State levels.
As regards the second contention of misplacing the certified copy of the lower court judgment, the judge said that Ravi could have filed a petition seeking to dispense with the production of the certified copy of the judgment.