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[Order 8 Rule 1A(3) CPC] Court Should Take A Lenient View While Considering Defendant's Application To Produce Additional Documents: SC [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
27 Oct 2020 1:45 PM GMT
[Order 8 Rule 1A(3) CPC] Court Should Take A Lenient View While Considering Defendants Application To Produce Additional Documents: SC [Read Judgment]
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The Supreme Court has observed that the courts should take a lenient view when an application is made by defendant for production of the document which he was not able to produce along with the written statement.The court was considering an appeal against a Madras High Court judgment which dismissed the revision petition filed by the defendants in a suit challenging the refusal to entertain...

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The Supreme Court has observed that the courts should take a lenient view when an application is made by defendant for production of the document which he was not able to produce along with the written statement.

The court was considering an appeal against a Madras High Court judgment which dismissed the revision petition filed by the defendants in a suit challenging the refusal to entertain an application under Order 8 Rule 1A(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure seeking leave of the court to produce additional documents. It was stated by defendants that they had recently traced these documents related to the suit property and that was why they could not produce them along with the written statement.

Referring to Rule 1A of Order 8 of C.P.C, the bench comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna noted that it mandates the defendant to produce the documents in his possession before the court and file the same along with his written statement. The court said:

"He must list out the documents which are in his possession or power as well as those which are not. In case the defendant does not file any document or copy thereof along with his written statement, such a document shall not be allowed to be received in evidence on behalf of the defendant at the hearing of the suit. However, this will not apply to a document produced for cross-examination of the plaintiff's witnesses or handed over to a witness merely to refresh his memory. Sub­rule (3) states that a document which is not produced at the time of filing of the written statement, shall not be received in evidence except with the leave of the court. Rule (1) of Order 13 of C.P.C. again makes it mandatory for the parties to produce their original documents before settlement of issues."

The court said that the sub rule (3) provides a second opportunity to the defendant to produce the documents which ought to have been produced in the court along with the written statement, with the leave of the court.

"The discretion conferred upon the court to grant such leave is to be exercised judiciously. While there is no straight jacket 5 formula, this leave can be granted by the court on a good cause being shown by the defendant....
...It is often said that procedure is the handmaid of justice. Procedural and technical hurdles shall not be allowed to come in the way of the court while doing substantial justice. If the procedural violation does not seriously cause prejudice to the adversary party, courts must lean towards doing substantial justice rather than relying upon procedural and technical violation. We should not forget the fact that litigation is nothing but a journey towards truth which is the foundation of justice and the court is required to take appropriate steps to thrash out the underlying truth in every dispute. Therefore, the court should take a lenient view when an application is made for production of the documents under sub­rule (3)."

The court said that, in the present case, the defendants have filed an application assigning cogent reasons for not producing the documents along with the written statement, and therefore the court ought to have granted leave.

Case: SUGANDHI (DEAD) vs. P. RAJKUMAR [CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3427 OF 2020]
Coram: Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna
Counsel: Adv Anand Padmanabhan, AOR Shashi Bhushan Kumar and AOR S. Mahendran

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