15 July 2019


Judgments

High Court of Delhi

Avnija Ahluwalia v. Bikramjit Ahluwalia & Ors.

MANU/DE/3320/2016

14.12.2016

Civil

Court shall pronounce judgment where a party failed to present written statement within time permitted or fixed by Court

Plaintiff has filed present appeal impugning an order passed by d Joint Registrar whereby applications filed by Defendants for seeking permission to file written statements were allowed. Appellant submitted that, pendency of an application under Order VII Rule 11 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) cannot be the ground for not filing written statement. Further, impugned order was patently erroneous and in complete disregard of provisions of Order VIII Rule 1 of CPC which required Defendants to file written statement within 30 days from date of service of summons.

Contention that this Court had, by order dated 21st April, 2016, closed right of Defendants to file a written statement could not be accepted. Court had expressed the view that, filing of an application under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC did not extend time for filing written statement. However, there was no specific order rejecting Defendants' request to file a written statement. Applications seeking to place written statement on record were filed subsequent to order dated 21st April, 2016.

Admittedly, Defendants had prayed for an alternate relief for being permitted to file a written statement. However, that plea was not entertained and notice was issued limited to question of imposition of costs. However, said order cannot be read to mean that Defendants were prevented from approaching Court for filing written statement. Filing of an application under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC does not automatically absolve Defendants of their obligation to file a written statement within time as specified.

Rules 1, 9 and 10 of Order VIII of CPC indicate that, Court shall pronounce a judgment where a party has failed to present written statement "within time permitted or fixed by Court". Expression "time permitted" must be read to be the time as permitted under the law, that is, under Order VIII Rule 1 or Rule 9 of CPC. It is not necessary for Court to specifically fix time for filing written statement before passing judgment in terms of Order VIII Rule 10. In present case, admittedly, no written statement was filed and, therefore, Order VIII Rule 9 of CPC would have no application.

Record of proceedings indicates that, matter was listed on several occasions for hearing application under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC. Record further indicates that hearings have been adjourned on several occasions at instance of plaintiff. Present suit has been filed, seeking a decree of partition, rendition of accounts and it would be expedient to consider defence raised by Defendants. Although, there has been inordinate delay in filing of written statement, it would not be in interest of justice, to shut out Defendants from filing written statement. Accordingly, the High Court disposed off the appeal by directing Respondents to pay costs.

Relevant

Nunhems India Pvt. Ltd v. Prabhakar Hybrid Seeds: 2013 (197) DLT 393, Transport Corporation of India L v Reserve Bank of India and Anr.: 2015 (152) DRJ 285 and Vinay Singh v Rinku Gupta: 2010 SCC OnLine Del 3238)

Tags : Written Statement Filing Time period

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