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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Or. VIII, rule 1 C.P.C.- filing of written statement - time fixed in C.P.C - is only directory not mandatory - extention of time beyond the prescribed period - can be granted on sufficient cause - Rejection of the application is set aside - time granted on costs of Rs. 50,000/- = SANDEEP THAPAR ...APPELLANT VERSUS SME TECHNOLOGIES PRIVATE LIMITED ...RESPONDENTS = Published in judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41128

     Or. VIII, rule 1 C.P.C.- filing of written statement - time fixed in C.P.C - is only directory not mandatory - extention of time beyond the prescribed period - can be granted on sufficient cause - Rejection of the application is set aside - time granted on costs of Rs. 50,000/- =
 The application of the appellant for seeking extension  in
           time for filing the written statement has been rejected with the
           observation that that Order VIII Rule 1 CPC is mandatory and the
           Court cannot permit filing of a written statement beyond the  30
           days from the date of service of summons.  At  best,  the  Court
           has power to permit a period of further 60 days from the date of
           service of summons  upon  the  defendant  to  file  the  written
           statement. But this has to be done for reasons to be recorded in
           writing.  Since the appellant herein has filed  the  application
           beyond the period of 30 days + 60 days, it was  not  permissible
           for the Court  to  allow  the  appellant  to  file  the  written
           statement.  

  The purpose of  providing  the  time  schedule  for
                 filing the written statement under Order VIII,  Rule  1  of
                 CPC is to expedite and not to  scuttle  the  hearing.   The
                 provision spells out a disability  on  the  defendant.   It
                 does not impose an embargo on the power  of  the  Court  to
                 extend the time.  Though, the language of  the  proviso  to
                 Rule 1 of Order VIII of the  CPC  is  couched  in  negative
                 form, it does not specify any  penal  consequences  flowing
                 from the non-compliance.  The provision being in the domain
                 of the Procedural Law, it has to be held directory and  not
                 mandatory. The power of the Court to extend time for filing
                 the written statement beyond the time schedule provided  by
                 Order VIII, Rule 1 of the CPC is not completely taken away.


                 (v)     Though Order VIII, Rule 1 of the CPC is a  part  of
                 Procedural Law and hence directory,  keeping  in  view  the
                 need for expeditious trial of civil causes which  persuaded
                 the Parliament to enact the provision in its present  form,
                 it  is  held that ordinarily the


                  time schedule contained in the provision is to be  followed
                 as a rule and  departure  therefrom  would  be  by  way  of
                 exception.  A prayer for extension  of  time  made  by  the
                 defendant shall not be granted just as a matter of  routine
                 and merely for asking, more so when the period of  90  days
                 has expired.  Extension of time may be allowed by way of an
                 exception, for reasons to be assigned by the defendant  and
                 also be placed on record in writing, howsoever briefly,  by
                 the Court on its being satisfied.  Extension of time may be
                 allowed if it was needed to be given for the  circumstances
                 which are exceptional, occasioned  by  reasons  beyond  the
                 control of the  defendant  and  grave  injustice  would  be
                 occasioned if the time was  not  extended.   Costs  may  be
                 imposed and  affidavit  or  documents  in  support  of  the
                 grounds pleaded by the defendant for extension of time  may
                 be demanded, depending on the facts and circumstances of  a
                 given case.”




           8.    We are satisfied that in the circumstances of  this  case,
           the High Court ought to have permitted  the  appellant  to  file
           written statement, beyond the period prescribed  in  Order  VIII
           rule 1, given the facts and circumstances of this case.


                                                                      ...6/-












                                     :6:


           9.    In  view  of  the  above,  the  appeal  is  allowed.   The
           appellant is permitted to file the written  statement  within  a
           period of two weeks from today on payment of Rs.50,000/- (Rupees
           fifty thousand) as cost.
                                                 

   REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA


                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                         CIVIL APPEAL NO. 65 OF 2014
       [Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.5951 of 2011]


           SANDEEP THAPAR                         ...APPELLANT


                                 VERSUS


           SME TECHNOLOGIES PRIVATE
           LIMITED                                ...RESPONDENTS


                                    ORDER


           1.    Leave granted.
           2.    This appeal has been  filed  impugning  the  judgment  and
           order dated 12th November,  2010  in  FAO(OS)  NO.607  of  2010,
           whereby the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court dismissed the
           appeal filed by the appellant in I.A.  NO.13902  of  2008  filed
           under Order VIII rule 1 praying for extension of time for filing
           written statement by the defendant  i.e.  the  appellant  herein
           till I.A. No. 11803 of 2008 filed  under  Order  I  rule  10  to
           implead Mr. Sharad Maheshwari as plaintiff.  The  aforesaid  Mr.
           Sharad Maheshwari is the  Managing  Director  of  the  plaintiff
           Company who is privy to the entire cause of action of  the  suit
           filed for recovery of  Rs.39.90  lakhs  based  on  alleged  oral
           agreement/understanding.   The   applications   filed   by   the
           appellant were dismissed by the learned Single Judge of the High
           Court on 3rd August, 2010.
                                                                      ...2/-




                                     :2:
           3.    The aforesaid order was  challenged  before  the  Division
           Bench. The Division Bench after  hearing  the  counsel  for  the
           parties has observed that the learned single judge has correctly
           held that it is not necessary to implead Mr.  Sharad  Maheshwari
           as the plaintiff as the company being a legal entity is entitled
           to  file  a  suit  in  its  own  name  through   an   authorized
           representative.   It  is  also  observed  that  it  is  for  the
           plaintiff to prove its case during the  trial.   Therefore,  non
           impleadment of Mr. Sharad Maheshwari will have consequences only
           for the plaintiff and not for the appellant.  The  plea  of  the
           appellant that since Mr. Sharad Maheshwari  had  not  filed  his
           affidavit, despite the  entire  suit  being  based  on  an  oral
           agreement  alleged  to  have  been  entered  into  between   the
           appellant and Mr. Maheshwari, in case the appellant was to  file
           his written statement that would disclose his defence, has  been
           rejected by the Division Bench.


           4.    The High Court was of the opinion that even if Mr.  Sharad
           Maheshwari  is  impleaded  and  had  filed  an  affidavit,   the
           averments in the plaint could not have been changed.   In  other
           words,  the  character
                                                                      ...3/-




                                     :3:


           of the plaint, the pleadings contained therein  and  the  relief
           claimed would remain the same.


           5.    The application of the appellant for seeking extension  in
           time for filing the written statement has been rejected with the
           observation that that Order VIII Rule 1 CPC is mandatory and the
           Court cannot permit filing of a written statement beyond the  30
           days from the date of service of summons.  At  best,  the  Court
           has power to permit a period of further 60 days from the date of
           service of summons  upon  the  defendant  to  file  the  written
           statement. But this has to be done for reasons to be recorded in
           writing.  Since the appellant herein has filed  the  application
           beyond the period of 30 days + 60 days, it was  not  permissible
           for the Court  to  allow  the  appellant  to  file  the  written
           statement.


           6.    Learned counsel  for  the  appellant  has  submitted  that
           undoubtedly the  limit  under  Order  VIII  rule  1  has  to  be
           observed, but in exceptional circumstances in  order  to  ensure
           that the injustice is not done, the Court will have the power to
           permit the defendant to file the written statement.
                                                                      ...4/-




                                     :4:
           7.    We have considered the  submission  made  by  the  learned
           counsel.  In our opinion, the submission  made  by  the  learned
           counsel is well founded in view of the observations made by this
           Court in
Kailash versus Nanhku and others reported in  (2005)  4  SCC 480],
wherein this Court has observed as follows:
                 46.     We sum up and  briefly  state  our  conclusions  as
                 under:-


                 (i)     ....


                 (ii)    ....


                 (iii)   ....


                 (iv)    The purpose of  providing  the  time  schedule  for
                 filing the written statement under Order VIII,  Rule  1  of
                 CPC is to expedite and not to  scuttle  the  hearing.   The
                 provision spells out a disability  on  the  defendant.   It
                 does not impose an embargo on the power  of  the  Court  to
                 extend the time.  Though, the language of  the  proviso  to
                 Rule 1 of Order VIII of the  CPC  is  couched  in  negative
                 form, it does not specify any  penal  consequences  flowing
                 from the non-compliance.  The provision being in the domain
                 of the Procedural Law, it has to be held directory and  not
                 mandatory. The power of the Court to extend time for filing
                 the written statement beyond the time schedule provided  by
                 Order VIII, Rule 1 of the CPC is not completely taken away.


                 (v)     Though Order VIII, Rule 1 of the CPC is a  part  of
                 Procedural Law and hence directory,  keeping  in  view  the
                 need for expeditious trial of civil causes which  persuaded
                 the Parliament to enact the provision in its present  form,
                 it  is  held that ordinarily the


                                                                      ...5/-














                                     :5:




                 time schedule contained in the provision is to be  followed
                 as a rule and  departure  therefrom  would  be  by  way  of
                 exception.  A prayer for extension  of  time  made  by  the
                 defendant shall not be granted just as a matter of  routine
                 and merely for asking, more so when the period of  90  days
                 has expired.  Extension of time may be allowed by way of an
                 exception, for reasons to be assigned by the defendant  and
                 also be placed on record in writing, howsoever briefly,  by
                 the Court on its being satisfied.  Extension of time may be
                 allowed if it was needed to be given for the  circumstances
                 which are exceptional, occasioned  by  reasons  beyond  the
                 control of the  defendant  and  grave  injustice  would  be
                 occasioned if the time was  not  extended.   Costs  may  be
                 imposed and  affidavit  or  documents  in  support  of  the
                 grounds pleaded by the defendant for extension of time  may
                 be demanded, depending on the facts and circumstances of  a
                 given case.”




           8.    We are satisfied that in the circumstances of  this  case,
           the High Court ought to have permitted  the  appellant  to  file
           written statement, beyond the period prescribed  in  Order  VIII
           rule 1, given the facts and circumstances of this case.


                                                                      ...6/-












                                     :6:


           9.    In  view  of  the  above,  the  appeal  is  allowed.   The
           appellant is permitted to file the written  statement  within  a
           period of two weeks from today on payment of Rs.50,000/- (Rupees
           fifty thousand) as cost.






                                                     ....................,J.
                                                     (SURINDER SINGH NIJJAR)




                                          ...............................,J.
                                          (FAKKIR MOHAMED IBRAHIM KALIFULLA)
           NEW DELHI
           JANUARY 02, 2014

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