15 Oct 2022 3:50 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court has observed that the time for filing the written statement by the defendant under the Code of Civil Procedure, after issuance of summons, will commence from the date when the suit along with the documents is provided to the defendant. Justice C Hari Shankar said the service of summons in a suit has to be a meaningful service for it to constitute a starting point for...
The Delhi High Court has observed that the time for filing the written statement by the defendant under the Code of Civil Procedure, after issuance of summons, will commence from the date when the suit along with the documents is provided to the defendant.
Justice C Hari Shankar said the service of summons in a suit has to be a meaningful service for it to constitute a starting point for the time available for filing of a written statement.
The court thus dismissed a plea filed by one Rajesh Kathpal challenging an order dated June 6, passed by the District Judge (Commercial Court) in a civil suit filed by him. The trial court had rejected Kathpal's application filed under the proviso to Order V Rule 1 and the proviso to Order VIII Rule 1 of CPC.
The question in the matter was whether the written statement filed by the respondent (defendant in the suit) was filed within the time so as to allow it to be retained on record. The summons in the suit were issued on 29.07.2019.
The court noted that as per the petitioner's plea before trial court, the plaint along with the documents were supplied by the petitioner to the defendant "for the fifth time" on 13.03.2020.
It observed that there was no material on the record to indicate that at any time after issuance of summons but prior to 13.03.2020, the plaint along with all documents was ever supplied by the petitioner.
"The only endorsement of receipt of the plaint along with documents, by a counsel purportedly on behalf of the respondent, is on 15th July 2019. That endorsement, quite obviously, can be of no relevance in the present case, and of no use to the petitioner, as the time for filing written statement commences only after receipt of service of summons on the suit," the court said.
Noting that though, in the present case, the 30 days period for filing the written statement would have expired in April 2020, the court said the defendant became entitled to the benefit in terms of Supreme Court order in Re: Cognizance for Extension of Limitation Suo Motu. Justice Shankar also referred to other rulings holding that where the time period for filing pleadings expired after 15.03.2020, the time stood extended till February 28, 2022.
"So long as the pleadings were filed prior to 28th February 2022, therefore, they cannot be treated as belated and no occasion arose even for the respondent to tender any application for condoning the delay in filing the written statement," the court added.
Justice Shankar said since the written statement was filed prior to February 28, it was to be treated as having been filed within time, as per the Supreme Court decisions.
"In that view of the matter, no exception can be taken to the decision of the learned Commercial Court to reject the petitioner's application to strike off the written statement of the respondent from the record. This petition is accordingly completely devoid of merits and is dismissed in limine with no order as to costs," the court said.
Title: MR. RAJESH KATHPAL v. M/S SHUBH STEEL
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 973
Click Here To Read Order