The Supreme Court, on Friday, highlighted the need for a case management system, in order to improve the justice delivery aspect of ease of doing business.
"“Ease of business” and “enforcement of contract” are the two new buzzwords and rightly so. For ease of doing business insofar as justice delivery is concerned, it is time to introspect and introduce case management programmes to streamline the system so that suits and appeals can be decided more efficiently. The present appeal exemplifies the need for case management system," the Bench comprising Justice M.B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta observed.
The Court's observations came on an Appeal on a suit filed in 1987 for specific performance of an agreement to sell. The buyer had filed the suit contending that the seller had failed to obtain a ‘no objection certificate’ from the appropriate authority, as well as several permissions and clearances. However, during the pendency of the suit, the sellers transferred the land in dispute to third parties.
The Trial Court had ruled against the buyer, noting that he had failed to deposit the balance consideration amount and observing that this showed that he wasn't willing to perform his part of the agreement. The High Court had, however, set aside the Trial Court's verdict, opining that it was, in fact, the sellers who were not willing to execute the sale deed.
Considering the Appeal, at the outset, the Court lamented the long delay in setting the dispute at rest, observing, "A disturbing feature of the appeal is that even about 31 years later, the parties are not quite sure about the fate of the agreement to sell entered into in 1986. The period is extremely long and such a lapse of time for the enforcement (or otherwise) of a contract is good reason to re-think the procedures."
It then set aside the High Court's verdict, opining, "On the facts placed before us, we are satisfied that the Trial Judge was right in coming to the conclusion that Rakesh Kumar [buyer] was not in a position to pay the balance consideration to Kalawati and the other vendors, and by necessary implication, it must be held that he was neither ready nor willing to perform his part of the agreement."