The Supreme Court was recently faced with a 40 year old partition suit which had only reached the issue stage so far.
The Appeal, filed by Mr. Ram Niranjan Kajaria, concerned a suit which had been instituted in 1978. While a Written Statement had been filed by the Respondent, Mr. Sheo Prakash Kajaria in August, 1979, an application for its amendment was filed in the year 2004. This was, however, rejected by Calcutta High Court.
While upholding the High Court's denial, the Supreme Court had then permitted the Respondent to explain and clarify the admissions made in the original Written Statement. The Respondent had, however, proceeded to substantially make the same pleas that were taken in the amended written statement.
The Petitioner had now contended that the liberty given by the Supreme Court to clarify statements had been "grossly misused" by the Respondents, as they reintroduced everything that was already rejected by the Courts. He had, in fact, submitted to the Court a chart in which he traced a comparison between the two submissions.
The Bench comprising Justice R.F. Nariman and Justice Navin Sinha began with lamenting the delay that has plagued the case, observing, "The present appeal is a very unfortunate proceeding which has not taken off the ground. Thanks to litigation which has twice come up to this Court."
It then agreed with the Petitioner's contentions and opined, "On a perusal of the aforesaid Chart, we are satisfied that Respondent No.1 has, in fact, misused the liberty given by this Court and has substantially reintroduced the amendments made in the first amendment application, which detract from and/or resile from admissions made in the original written statement."
The Court, therefore, disposed of the Appeal with a direction to the High Court to hear the suit on a day to day basis and endeavor to dispose it of within one year. It further imposed costs of Rs. 50,000 on the Respondents, directing them to pay it to the Appellant within two weeks.