14 October 2019


Judgments

High Court of Delhi

Sadhu Forging Limited Vs. Continental Engines Ltd.

MANU/DE/2475/2017

24.08.2017

Civil

Additional documents can be filed only with the leave of the Court

Plaintiff filed the present suit seeking a decree for a sum of Rs 1,48,39,218/- along with interest pendent lite and future. Pursuant to completion of pleadings, Plaintiffs witness PW-1 entered appearance and tendered his evidence by way of affidavit. During the cross-examination of PW-1, Plaintiff filed affidavit of another witness without him being named in the list of witnesses and along with affidavit of PW-2 filed number of documents without seeking leave of the Court. Hence, learned counsel for the Defendant objected to validity of affidavit of PW-2 and the additional documents filed. Faced with this situation, Plaintiff filed an application under Order XVIII Rule 4 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC), which was heard by the learned Joint Registrar and same was dismissed vide impugned order. Hence, present appeal. Issue in the present appeal arises is, whether by examining witnesses not mentioned in the list of witnesses, Plaintiff can introduce additional documents which had not been filed earlier either with the plaint or before settlement of issues.

In the present case, issues were settled on 10th May, 2011 and the parties were directed to file their list of witnesses within four weeks with a further direction to the Plaintiff to file his evidence within four weeks. Despite opportunities, evidence by way of affidavit of the Plaintiff's witnesses was not filed and finally on 5th July, 2012 evidence by way of PW-1 duly authorized representative of the Plaintiff's company was filed. It was further re-filed on 31st July, 2012. On 10th April, 2013 PW-1 tendered his affidavit and was examined-in-chief and partly cross-examined. Thereafter cross-examination of PW-1 continued, when Plaintiff filed IA No. 18974/2014 under Order XI Rule 14 of CPC followed by IA No. 7107/2016 under Order XVIII Rule 4 of CPC. No doubt, Plaintiff can examine as many witnesses it wishes to especially when Plaintiff's witness is not required to be summoned even though not mentioned in the list of witnesses.

On a plain reading of Order VII Rule 14 of CPC, it is evident that, the Plaintiff is mandated to file documents to support its claim along with the plaint and a document which ought to be produced in Court by the Plaintiff, when the plaint was presented but has not been produced, shall not be received in evidence on behalf of the said party without the leave of the Court.

The present application is not under Order VII Rule 14(3) of CPC but under Order XVIII Rule 4 of CPC. However, mere invocation of a different provision of law will not entail dismissal of the application, if the facts have been properly elaborated. In I.A. No. 7107/2016 which can be treated to have been wrongly filed under Order XVIII Rule 4 of CPC, the case of the Plaintiff is that, there is no bar to placing such documents along with the affidavit and no prejudice has been caused to the Defendant, thus the document can be taken on record. It is further stated that, the witness who is producing the said documents has dealt with the Defendant and is in a position to prove said documents. The Plaintiff/Applicant has sought leave of the Court to place the documents along with evidence of PW-2.

It is well-settled that procedure is the handmade of justice. It is undisputed that, even at this stage, a party can file documents but with the leave of the Court. The Plaintiff cannot be non-suited from filing the documents it seeks to rely upon even at this stage. Though in the decision Nishant Hannan, this Court was dealing with unimpeachable documents, however the fact remains that under Order VII Rule 14 CPC read with Section 151 of CPC, the Plaintiff can file additional documents with the leave of the Court, when the Plaintiffs evidence is going on. Provision under Order VII Rule 14 of CPC is essentially to assist parties and the Court in adjudication of the dispute. Consequently, the Appeal is disposed of setting aside the impugned order passed by Joint Registrar.

Relevant

Nishant Hannan & Ors. v. South Delhi Municipal Corporation

Tags : Additional documents Filing Court Leave

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