Filing of Written Statement- Statutory Period u/Order VIII Rule 1 CPC is Directory and not mandatory

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October 31, 2018

Filing of Written Statement- In this case, the High Court of Jharkhand in view of precedents has reiterated the law that the statutory period for filing of written statement by the Defendant as enumerated under Order VIII Rule 1 of CPC is directory and not mandatory in nature.

Case name: Dukhi Mirdha vs Ramdas Mirdha

Brief facts of the case: The petitioner, who was defendant in the Title Suit is aggrieved by the impugned order, whereby his application for accepting his written-statement has been rejected on the ground that the written statement was not filed by him within the statutory period as enumerated under Order VIII Rule 1 of Code of Civil Procedure.

According to Order-VIII Rule 1 CPC within 30 days of service of summons the defendant shall file his written-statement of defence. By the Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2002 this period of 30 days has been extended to 90 days by incorporating a proviso to Rule 1.

The Petitioner in the case contended that he is a handicapped person suffering from various diseases and that is the reason why his written-statement of defence could not be prepared and filed within the statutory period.

Bench’s Verdict

  • The Jharkhand High Court while arriving at its decision made reference to judgments of the Supreme Court wherein it has been settled that the statutory period provided under Order-VIII Rule 1 CPC is binding on the parties but not on the Court (Rani Kusum v. Kanchan Devi & ors.[1]).
  • Reference was also made to the case of Kailash v. Nankhu & ors.[2], wherein it has been held by the Apex Court that the provision under Order-VIII Rule 1 CPC is directory and not mandatory. In appropriate cases on an application by the defendant the trial court for the reasons to be recorded can permit a defendant to put his defence even beyond the statutory period as provided under Order-VIII Rule 1 CPC.

In view of the aforesaid, the High Court set aside the impugned order rejecting Petitioner’s Written Statement and directed that the written-statement filed by the Petitioner shall be taken on record.

The entire case can be accessed here.

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[1] (2005) 6 SCC 705

[2] (2005) 4 SCC 480