14 Oct 2022 5:10 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has observed that the leniency shown by it in taking belated written statements on record cannot mean that the procedure and time limits prescribed in the Code of Civil Procedure are completely forgotten. "Ordinarily, the court exhibits leniency in the matter of taking belated written statements on record, so as to ensure that parties have full rights to prosecute...
The Delhi High Court has observed that the leniency shown by it in taking belated written statements on record cannot mean that the procedure and time limits prescribed in the Code of Civil Procedure are completely forgotten.
"Ordinarily, the court exhibits leniency in the matter of taking belated written statements on record, so as to ensure that parties have full rights to prosecute their respective cases. At the same time, the leniency shown by the court cannot extend to a point where the procedure prescribed in the CPC and the time limits envisaged in that regard are completely forgotten," Justice C Hari Shankar observed.
The court thus dismissed a plea challenging two orders passed by Additional District Judge in a civil suit Instituted by the respondent (plaintiff) against the petitioner (defendant).
After summons were issued in the suit, the petitioner entered appearance through his counsel as one of the defendants, on 15th March 2019. However, no written statement in response to the suit was filed by him till 9th December 2021.
Accordingly, the ADJ, vide order dated 9th December 2021, closed his right to file a written statement and proceeded against the defendants ex-parte.
The petitioner had then moved an application under Order IX Rule 7 challenging the decision to proceed against him ex- parte and for granting the right to file written statement. The said application was also dismissed by the ADJ vide order dated 23rd April 2022.
In appeal before the High Court, it was argued on behalf of the petitioner that the written statement could not be filed in time owing to the change in petitioner's counsel in March 2021. It was also informed that the newly engaged counsel got married in December 2021.
"That still provides no explanation for the delay between 20th November 2019 and 9th December 2021, even if one were to ignore the period prior to 20th November 2019," the court said.
It was observed that the application filed by the petitioner under Order IX Rule 7 of the CPC failed to explain the delay between 20th November 2019 and 9th December 2019 in filing a written statement in response to the suit.
"The petitioner can hardly be allowed to take a stand that he is continuously changing counsel and that, on that basis, seek endless extensions of time to enable him to comply with the provisions of the CPC. Nor, given the fact that the petitioner is represented by counsel in India, can the fact that the petitioner resides in Dubai be a ground to interfere with the impugned order," it added.
Upholding the impugned orders, the court clarified that the petitioner would be at liberty to continue to participate in the proceedings.
Title: VINEET ANAND THROUGH SPA HOLDER v. KIRAN ANAND AND SONS HUF THROUGH KARTA & ANR.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 964
Click Here To Read Order