Evasive Denial in Pleadings – Is Treated to Be An Admission of Truth

The rules of pleading incorporated in the C.P.C. equally apply to the proceedings before the family Courts also by virtue of Section 10 of the Family Courts Act, 1984. The general principle flowing from Order VIII Rules 3 and 5 of the C.P.C. that a defendant who proposes to deny the truth of an allegation against him/her ought to do it either specifically or necessary implication in lieu of mere general or evasive denial, applies to the family courts also. Evasive denial in the pleadings of a defendant is treated by law to be an admission of the truth of allegations made against him, unless the court in its discretion is of the opinion that the undenied fact must, nonetheless, be proved otherwise than by such deemed admission. In other words, the courts have necessary discretion to take exception to such admissions and to look for independent evidence instead of fully relying on them. The exceptional cases for such exercise of discretion ordinarily relate to decisions involving issues as to status, relationship of parties and also matters of which court cannot possibly draw inference as to the truth having regard to their evidentiality. In this context, Section 23(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act in its application to matrimonial courts dealing with cases arising under the said Act is also very relevant. The aforesaid Section mandates that in the proceedings under the Act whether defended or not, the courts are to arrive at just decisions based only on total satisfaction drawn from the entirety of materials on record apart from the deemed admission flowing from the evasive denial referable to Order VIII Rule 5 of the C.P.C. by following the guidelines mentioned in Section 23(1). This Section does not permit passing of a decree for divorce on the ground of cruelty when the wronged spouse is proved to have condoned the cruelty of the offending spouse. So also, when the spouse sues for dissolution of marriage after taking advantage of his or her own wrong or disability also, the said provision empowers the court to refuse the relief sought notwithstanding that the truth of the allegation was not denied specifically or by necessary implication. Santhosh Kumar S. v. Jayasree Damodran, Mat. Appeal No. 547 of 2013. (Kerala)

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