Time once fixed by the Court or the tribunal is not sacrosanct or the final word. These orders or directions fixing the time for compliance are procedural orders and in terrorem and are passed for a purpose to avoid delay and expedite the proceedings. Courts or tribunals do have the power to extend the period/time fixed by them. Extension of time does not amount to review of the earlier order.
It is well settled that quasi judicial tribunals on procedural matters are entitled to adopt a procedure which they feel is just and fair. Unless there is a specific or implied bar or prohibition by the statute, a quasi judicial tribunal has flexibility and can follow procedure, which is fair and compliant with the principles of natural justice. Every procedure is acceptable and permissible until it is shown to be prohibited by law (See, Hansraj Harjiwan Bhate versus Emperor AIR 1940 Nag. 390 follwing Narasingh Das versus Mangal Dubey 1882 ILR (5) All 583). Further quasi judicial tribunals have ancillary and incidental powers to ensure that there is effective adjudication and decision. In Suresh Jindal versus BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd. (2008) 1 SCC 341, the Supreme Court has observed that a statutory authority while exercising statutory powers may do all things, which are necessary for giving effect thereto.
Courts and tribunals during hearing of any case do pass orders fixing and granting the time and giving directions to the parties like file documents, replies, etc. The courts or the tribunal in such cases retain the power to extend the time granted, unless there is a specific bar or prohibition in the Act or the Rules. Time once fixed by the Court or the tribunal is not sacrosanct or the final word. These orders or directions fixing the time for compliance are procedural orders and in terrorem and are passed for a purpose to avoid delay and expedite the proceedings. Courts or tribunals do have the power to extend the period/time fixed by them. Extension of time does not amount to review of the earlier order.
... In Ganesh Prashad Sah Kesari versus Lakshmi Narayan Gupta (1985) 3 SCC 53, the Supreme Court observed that when a time is fixed or granted by a court for doing any prescribed act or thing, the court in its discretion can enlarge the time fixed though the period originally fixed/granted had expired. Time once fixed, does not whittle down the discretion of the court to further extend the time. In the said case the question was whether a court can extend the time to enable a tenant to deposit rent.
Rules of procedure, it is well settled, are handmaid of justice and are normally treated as directory and not mandatory unless legislative intent is opposite. Most of the procedural rules are enacted with the object to ensure expeditious trial and do not normally impose a prohibition and bar on the power of the court/tribunal to extend time. A prohibition or bar requires a penal consequence which should flow from non-compliance of a procedural provision. In Kailash versus Nankhu AIR 2005 SC 2441 and Salem Advocate Bar Association, Tamilnadu versus Union of India AIR 2005 SC 3353 it has been held that there may be many cases where non-grant of extension would amount to failure of justice. The object of procedural rules is not to promote failure of justice. Procedural rules deserve to be read down to mean that where sufficient cause exists or events are beyond the control of a party, the Court would have inherent power to extend the time.
The aforesaid Rule permits and allows IPAB to extend the time for doing any act prescribed under the IPAB Rules whether such time as specified has expired or not. Thus IPAB has been given power to extend the time even if the time is specifically fixed under the Rules but cannot extend time fixed under the provisions of the parent Act. It will be incongruous to hold that IPAB has power to extend the time fixed under the statutory Rules but is functus officio and barred from extending time fixed in an order or direction given in an earlier order passed by them. It follows that IPAB has the power to extend the time even when it has fixed a specific time in their earlier order. Rule 14 certainly does not bar or expressly or impliedly prevent the IPAB from extending time fixed by them in an order. IPAB retains inherent eight and power to extend time. IPAB is required to follow fair and just procedure.