Tag Archives: civil procedure code

Substantial Question of Law

In Santosh Hazari v. Purushottam Tiwari, (2001) 3 SCC 179, the Hon’ble Supreme Court considered what the phrase “substantial question of law” means as under:

       “The phrase is not defined in the CivilProcedure Code. The word “substantial”, as qualifying question of law, means of having substance, essential, real, of sound worth, important or considerable.It is to be understood as something in contradistinction with technical, of no substances or consequence, or academic merely.”

       A full bench of the Hon’ble Madras HighCourt in Rimmalapudi Subba Rao v. Noony Veeraju, AIR 1951 Mad 969 observed as under:

       “When a question of law is fairly arguable, where there is room for difference of opinion or where the court thought it necessary to deal with that question at some length and discuss an alternative view, then the question would be a substantial question of law. On the other hand, if the question was practically covered by decision of highest court or if general principles to be applied in determining the question are well settled and the only question was of applying those principles to the particular fact of case, it could not be a substantial question of law.”

       It was further observed in Santosh Hazari v. Purushottam Tiwari, (2001) 3 SCC 179 as under:

       “A point of law which admits of no two opinions may be a proposition of law but cannot be a substantial question of law. To be substantial, a question of law must be debatable, not previously settled by law of the land or a binding precedent, and must have a material bearing on the decision of the case, if answered either way, in so far as the rights of the parties before it are concerned. To be a question of law involving in the case there must be first a foundation for it laid in the pleadings and the question should emerge from  the substantial findings of fact arrived at by court of facts and it must be necessary to decide that question of law for a just and proper decision of the case. An entirely new point raised for the first time before the High Court is not a question involved in the case unless it goes to the root of the matter. I twill, therefore, depend on the facts and circumstances of each case whether a question of law is a substantial one and involved in the case, or not; the paramount overall consideration being the need for striking a judicious balance between the indispensable obligation to do justice at all stages and impelling necessity of avoiding prolongation in the life of any lis.” Ajay Kumar Jaiswal v. Sanjay Kumar Jaiswal, 2018 (130) ALR408.

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Term “Interlocutory Order” – Meaning of

In Mohan Lal Magan Lal Thacker v. State of Gujarat, AIR 1968 SC 733 it was held as under:

“The term interlocutory order is a term of well known legal significance and does not present any serious difficulty. It has been used in various statutes including the Code of Civil Procedure, Letters Patent of the High Courts and other like Statutes. In Webster’s New World Dictionary “interlocutory” has been defined as an order other than final decision. Decided cases have laid down that interlocutory orders to be appealable must be those which decide the right and liabilities of the parties concerning a particular aspect. The term interlocutory order in Section 397 (2) of the CRPC has been used in a restricted sense and not in any broad or artistic sense. It merely denotes orders of a purely interim or temporary nature which do not decide or touch the important rights or the liabilities of the parties. Any order which substantially affects the rights of the accused, or decides certain rights of the parties cannot be said to be an interlocutory order so as to bar a revision to the High Court against that order. Yogish Arora v. Smt. Jennette Yogish Arora, 2018 (129) ALR 339.

 

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Jurisdiction of First Appellate Court – To accept additional evidence

As far as the principles governing the jurisdiction of the First Appellate Court to take/accept the additional evidence on record under Order XLI, Rule 27, CPC, the guidelines had been issued by the Apex Court in Union of India v. Ibrahim Uddin, (2012) 8 SCC 148 as under:
1. The general principle is that the Appellate court should not travel outside the record of the Lower Court and cannot take any evidence in appeal.
2. The powers under Order XLI, Rule 27 CPC given to the first appellate court to take additional evidence is in the nature of exception and has to be exercised in exceptional circumstances with due care and caution.
3. The Appellate court may permit additional evidence only and only if the conditions laid down in the said rule are found to exist. The parties are not entitled, as of right, to the admission of such evidence.
4. The matter is entirely within the jurisdiction of the court and is to be used sparingly as the discretion provided therein circumscribed by the limitations specified in the rule.
5. The court shall not ordinarily allow new evidence to be adduced in order to enable a party to raise a new point in appeal. Similarly, where a party on whom the onus of proving a certain issue lies fails to discharge the same, would not be entitled to a fresh opportunity to adduce evidence as in such a case the court can pronounce judgment against him and does not require any additional evidence to enable it to pronounce its judgment in appeal.
6. Under Order XLI, Rule 27, CPC, the power given to the appellate court to allow a document to be produced or a witness to be examined, is limited to those cases where it is found necessary to obtain such evidence for enabling it to pronounce judgment. It does not entitle the Appellate Court to allow a party to remove lacuna in the evidence or supplement the evidence adduced by one party.
7. In the absence of satisfactory reasons for the non production of the evidence in the trial court, additional evidence could not be admitted in appeal as a party guilty of remissness in the lower court is not entitles to the indulgence of being allowed to give further evidence under this rule. Thus a party who had ample opportunity to produce certain evidence in the lower court but failed to do so or chose not to do so, cannot have it admitted in appeal.
8. The inadvertence of the party or his inability to understand the legal issue involved or the wrong advice of the pleader or the negligence of the pleader or that the party did not realize the importance of the document does not constitute a “substantial cause” within the meaning of this rule. Mere fact that certain evidence is important, is not in itself a sufficient ground for admitting that evidence in appeal.
9. The words “for any other substantial cause” must be read with the word “requires” in the beginning of the sentence, meaning thereby the rule that the appellate court requires additional evidence for any substantial cause, will apply in such a case where it is felt by the appellate court that the evidence had been so imperfectly taken by the trial court that it cannot pass a satisfactory judgment.
10. Wherever the appellate court admits additional evidence, it should record its reasons for doing so, as per sub rule (2) of Rule 27 of Order XLI, CPC. The requirement in the said sub rule is with a view to put a check against too easy reception of evidence at a later stage of the litigation and further that the statement of reasons inspires confidence of the litigant and disarm objection. The omission to record the reasons must, therefore, be treated as a serious defect. However, the said provision is only directory and not mandatory, if the admission of such evidence can be justified under the rule.
11. The reasons so required, are not necessarily to be recorded in a separate order and may be embodied in the judgment of the Appellate Court.
12. Mere reference to the peculiar circumstance of the case or mere statement that the evidence is necessary to pronounce judgment or that the additional evidence is required to be admitted in the interest of justice, or there is no reason to reject the prayer for admission of the additional evidence, is not enough compliance with the requirement as to recording of reasons.
13. Where the additional evidence sought to be adduced removes the cloud of doubt over the case and the evidence has a direct and important bearing on the main issue in the suit and interest of justice clearly renders it imperative that it may be allowed to be permitted on record, such application may be allowed. Smt. Sendal (deceased) v. Smt. Hamida, 2018 (138) RD 535.

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Industrial Dispute – Principle of Res Judicata

The provisions of the Civil Procedure Code are not applicable to Industrial Disputes Act. It does not mean that the principle of res judicata will not be applicable to cases involving industrial dispute. On the principle of res judicata, the Apex Court in the case of Bharat Barrel and Drum Manufcaturing Company Pvt. Ltd. v. Bharat Barrel Employees Union, (1987) 2 SCC 591 has held that a question which is once decided can never be re-agitated and the exceptions are classes of cases like disputes regarding wage structure, service conditions etc. which arise as circumstances change and new situations arise which may not be barred by the rule of res judicata. The principle object of the Labour Legislation is to bring a quietus to the dispute. The question as to whether a person was or was not an employee of the Management on the particular date is one which cannot be re-agitated in a subsequent case, if it has already been decided by the Industrial Tribunal of competent jurisdiction in an earlier case. Rajiv Gandhi ONGC (CON) Workers Welfare Association v. Government of India, 2016 (150) FLR 499.

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Impleadment of necessary party – Principles of

Order I Rule 10 of the CPC reads as under:

10. Suit in name of wrong plaintiff.— (1) Where a suit has been instituted in the name of the wrong person as plaintiff or where it is doubtful whether it has been instituted in the name of the right plaintiff, the Court may at any stage of the suit, if satisfied that the suit has been instituted through a bona fide mistake, and that it is necessary for the determination of the real matter in dispute so to do, order any other person to be substituted or added as plaintiff upon such terms as the Court thinks just.

(2) Court may strike out or add parties.—The Court may at any stage of the proceedings, either upon or without the application of either party, and on such terms as may appear to the Court to be just, order that the name of any party improperly joined, whether as plaintiff or defendant, be struck out, and that the name of any person who ought to have been joined, whether as plaintiff or defendant, or whose presence before the Court may be necessary in order to enable the Court effectually and completely to adjudicate upon and settle all the questions involved in the suit, be added.

(3) No person shall be added as a plaintiff suing without a next friend or as the next friend of a plaintiff under any disability without his consent.

(4) Where defendant added, plaint to be amended.—Where a defendant is added, the plaint shall, unless the Court otherwise directs, be amended in such manner as may be necessary, and amended copies of the summons and of the plaint shall be served on the new defendant and, if the Court thinks fit, on the original defendant.

(5) Subject to the provisions of the Indian Limitation Act, 1877 (15 of 1877), Section 22, the proceedings as against any person added as defendant shall be deemed to have begun only on the service of the summons.

Necessary Party and Proper Party

A necessary party is one without whom no order can be made effectively. A proper party is one in whose absence an effective order can be made but whose presence is necessary for a complete and final decision on the question involved in the proceeding. The addition of parties is generally not a question of initial jurisdiction of the court but of a judicial discretion which has to be exercised in view of all the facts and circumstances of a particular case.

A necessary party is a person who ought to have joined as a party and in whose absence no effective decree could be passed at all by the court. If a necessary party is not impleaded, the suit itself is liable to be dismissed. A proper party is a party who, though not a necessary party, is a person whose presence would enable the court to completely, effectively and adequately adjudicate upon all matters in dispute in the suit, though he need not be a person in favour of or against whom the decree is to be made. If a person is not found to be a proper or necessary party, the court has no jurisdiction to implead him, against the wishes of the plaintiff.

Principles governing disposal of an application for impleadment:

The broad principles are:

  1. The court can, at any stage of the proceedings, either on an application made by the parties or otherwise, direct impleadment of any person as party, who ought to have joined as plaintiff or defendant or whose presence before the court is necessary for effective and complete adjudication of the issues involved in the suit.
  2. A necessary party is the person who ought to be joined as party to the suit and in whose absence an effective decree cannot be passed by the court.
  3. A proper party is a person whose presence would enable the court to completely, effectively and properly adjudicate upon all matters and issues, though he may not be a person in favour of or against whom a decree is to be made.
  4. If a person is not found to be a proper or necessary party, the does not have the jurisdiction to order his impleadment against the wishes of the plaintiff.
  5. In a suit for specific performance, the court can order impleadment of a purchaser whose conduct is above board and who files application for being joined as party within time of his acquiring knowledge about the pending litigation. Vidur Impex and Traders Pvt. Ltd. V. Tosh Apartments Pvt. Ltd., (2012) 8 SCC 384.

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Amendment of Pleadings – Factors to be considered (Order VI Rule 17 – CPC)

In Revajeetu Builders & Developers v. Narayanaswamy & Sons, (2009) 10 SCC 84, the scope of amendment of pleadings was considered and it was held thus:

“On critically analyzing both the English and Indian Cases, some basic principles emerge which ought to be taken into consideration while allowing or rejecting the application for amendment:

(1)    Whether the amendment sought is imperative for proper and effective adjudication of the case;

(2)    Whether the application for amendment is bona fide or mala fide;

(3)    The amendment should not cause such prejudice to the other side which cannot be compensated adequately in terms of money;

(4)    Refusing amendment would in fact lead to injustice or lead to multiple litigation;

(5)    Whether the proposed amendment Constitutionally or fundamentally changes the nature and character of the case; and

(6)    As a general rule, the court should decline amendments if a fresh suit on the amended claims would be barred by limitation on the date of application.

These are some of the important factors which may be kept in mind while dealing with the application filed under Order 6 Rule 17. These are only illustrative and not exhaustive.”

In a recent Judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court – Rameshkumar Agarwal v. Rjamala Exports Private Limited and Others, (2012) 5 SCC 337, it was held thus:

“It is clear that while deciding the application for amendment ordinarily the Court must not refuse bona fide, legitimate, honest and necessary amendments and should never permit mala fide and dishonest amendments. The purpose and object or Order 6 Rule 17 of the Code is to allow either party to alter or amend his pleadings in such manner and on such terms as may be just. Amendment cannot be claimed as a matter of right and under all circumstances, but the courts while deciding such prayers should not adopt a hypertechnical approach. Liberal approach should be the general rule, particularly in cases where the other side can be compensated with costs. Normally amendments are allowed in the pleadings to avoid multiplicity of litigations.

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