26 September 2020

Delay in filing written statement can not be condoned if defendant found at laxity or gross negligence in filing the same

The Court below was expected to consider the application at Exhibit-32 on the basis of its contents, in the backdrop of the aforesaid facts indicating deliberate delay on the part of the respondent and by applying the position of law as laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court and this Court in the context of Order VIII Rule 1 of the Civil Procedure Code, particularly pertaining to the responsibility on the part of the defendant to act in a diligent manner and in any case to explain before the Court with cogent reasons for delay in filing the written statement. A perusal of the impugned order shows that no such effort was made by the Court below and in a cryptic and casual manner the application at Exhibit- 32 stood allowed.[Para No.13]

Delay in filing written statement can not be condoned if defendant found at laxity or gross negligence in filing the same
    The learned counsel for the petitioners is justified in relying upon the judgment of this Court in the case of Parasmal Daulatram Jain Vs. Rameshwar Rathanlal Karwa (supra), wherein this Court has reiterated the position of law concerning the approach to be adopted by the Courts while considering permission to the defendant to file written statement beyond the stipulated period of time. This Court placed reliance on the judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, wherein it has been categorically stated that even if the relevant provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure in this regard can be said to be directory and not mandatory, the Courts cannot permit laxity or gross negligence on the part of the defendant to be condoned while granting permission to file written statement. In the facts of the present case, this Court is of the opinion that if the impugned order passed by the Court below is upheld, it would amount to giving premium to the respondent, not only for laxity and gross negligence, but to tactics adopted by her to somehow delay the proceedings in the suit for eviction filed by the petitioners. Although, it is expected that Courts decide disputes between parties by giving opportunity to the contesting party to place their respective versions on merits, there are situations where the Courts ought not to show misplaced indulgence to litigants like the respondent herein by adopting a liberal approach.[Para No.14]

Bombay High Court

Gunwantiben Kishorchandra Shah
Manjulaben Indukumar Ghiya

Decided on 24/09/2020

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