The Supreme Court observed that the power to pass judgment on admissions under Order XII Rule 6 of Code of Civil Procedure is discretionary and cannot be claimed as a matter of right.
The said power is discretionary which should be only exercised when specific, clear and categorical admission of facts and documents are on record, otherwise the Court can refuse to invoke the power of Order XII Rule 6, the bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari observed.
In this case, the plaintiff- landlord filed a suit of recovery of possession, arrears of rent, mesne profit, Pendent Lite, and interest against the tenant-defendant. The Trial Court relying upon the admissions made in the written statement, passed the judgment and decree allowing the application under Order XII Rule 6 of CPC for delivery of possession with respect to the Suit Property in favor of the Plaintiff. The High Court dismissed the appeal filed by the defendant- tenant.
Before the Apex Court, the appellant- tenant contended that the trial Court should have refrained from exercising its jurisdiction by decreeing the suit of Respondent/Plaintiff under Order XII Rule 6 keeping in mind that the judgment on admission is judgment without trial which permanently denies any remedy to the Appellant on merits. On the other hand, the respondent- landlord contended that the admissions in pleadings or in proceedings of Court at the time of hearing of the case stand on higher footing and are admissible in evidence as per Section 58 of the Evidence Act, 1872.
Order XII of CPC
Referring to provisions in Order XII of CPC, the bench noted as follows:
- Any party to a suit may give notice, by his pleading, or otherwise in writing that he admits the truth of whole or any part of the case to other party.
- As per Rule 2 of Order XII notice to admit the documents may be given by either party to the other party within the specified time for admission of a document and in case of refusal or admission of the document after the notice, the cost of proving such document shall be borne by the party who neglects or refuse, which shall be based on the discretion of the Court.
- Rule 2A enables the deemed admission if after notice the document has not been denied. The said notice is required to be given in Form No.9 of Appendix 'C' of CPC.
- Rule 3A confers overriding powers to the Court, that even in absence of a notice to admit a document under Rule 2, the Court may record such admission on its own motion or by calling upon a party. The Court also have a power to record whether the party admits or refuses or neglect to admit such document.
- Rule 4 of Order XII relates to notice to admit the facts. Any party may by a notice in writing at any time not later than 9 days before the day fixed for the hearing, call upon any other party to admit for the purposes of suit only, any specific fact or facts, mentioned in such notice that is required to be answered within a specified time or within such further time as directed by the Court in case of refusal or neglect to admit the same, the cost of proving such fact or facts be paid by the parties as directed. By adding a proviso, it was made clear that the admission, if any, made in a proceeding would be relating to the same proceeding not for any other proceedings. The notice under Rule 4 is required to be given in Form No.10 of Appendix 'C' of CPC as prescribed in Rule 5.
- Rule 6 confers discretionary power to a Court who 'may' at any stage of the suit or suits on the application of any party or in its own motion and without waiting for determination of any other question between the parties makes such order or gives such judgment as it may think fit having regard to such admission.
Power is discretionary which should be only exercised when specific, clear and categorical admission of facts and documents are on record
The bench, referring to S.M. Asif v. Virendar Kumar Bajaj – (2015) 9 SCC 287, observed:
"Thus, legislative intent is clear by using the word 'may' and 'as it may think fit' to the nature of admission. The said power is discretionary which should be only exercised when specific, clear and categorical admission of facts and documents are on record, otherwise the Court can refuse to invoke the power of Order XII Rule 6. The said provision has been brought with intent that if admission of facts raised by one side is admitted by other, and the Court is satisfied to the nature of admission, then the parties are not compelled for fullfledged trial and the judgment and order can be directed without taking any evidence. Therefore, to save the time and money of the Court and respective parties, the said provision has been brought in the statute. As per above discussion, it is clear that to pass a judgment on admission, the Court if thinks fit may pass an order at any stage of the suit. In case the judgment is pronounced by the Court a decree be drawn accordingly and parties to the case is not required to go for trial.
Perusing the written statement, the bench found that the defense as taken by the Appellant/Defendant is plausible or not is a matter of trial which may be appreciated by the Court after granting opportunity to lead evidence by the respective parties.
"There may be admission with respect to tenancy as per lease agreements but the defense as taken is also required to be looked into by the Court and there is need to decide justiciability of defense by the fullfledged trial. In our view, for the purpose of Order XII Rule 6, the said admission is not clear and categorical, so as to exercise a discretion by the Court without dealing with the defense as taken by Defendant", the bench said while it remitted the case back to Trial Court.
Karan Kapoor vs Madhuri Kumar | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 567 | CA 4545 OF 2022 | 6 July 2022
Coram: Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari
Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 ; Order XII Rule 6 - The power to pass judgment on admissions is discretionary and cannot be claimed as a matter of right - The said power should be only exercised when specific, clear and categorical admission of facts and documents are on record, otherwise the Court can refuse to invoke it - Referred to S.M. Asif v. Virendar Kumar Bajaj – (2015) 9 SCC 287. (Para 16-18)