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When court should allow production of additional evidence at appellate stage?

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Civil Appeal No. 5609 of 2017 (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (C) No. 12336 of 2017

Decided On: 26.04.2017

Satyavati Ramprasad Ruia
Vs.
New India Assurance Co. Ltd.

Hon’ble Judges/Coram:
A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, JJ.
Citation: 2017(2) RCR(Rent)498

1. Issue notice. Since the Respondent appears on caveat and accepts notice, we proceed to dispose of the matter at this stage.

2. Leave granted.

3. The Appellant had sub-let the premises to the Respondent in the year 1984 for a period of 10 years. Thereafter, in the year 1989, the Respondent preferred an R.A.N. Application No. 79 of 1989 for fixation of standard rent. Since the Respondent failed to pay the contractual rent, the Appellant preferred an interim notice seeking payment of rent or deposit of the same. The interim was partly allowed, vide order dated 20.12.2003, directing notice the Respondent to deposit the arrears. Being aggrieved, the Respondent filed a writ petition before the High Court against the order dated 20.12.2013. The High Court directed the Trial Court to decide the application for fixation of standard rent within three months. The Appellant challenged the order dated 06.10.2005 before this Court. This Court disposed of the petition vide order dated 07.09.2006, by a consent order whereby the Respondent had agreed to deposit the entire amount of arrears with interest @ 15% per annum from August, 1992 to March, 2000. The Appellant was allowed to withdrawn 50% of the amount. The Trial Court was also directed to decide the application for fixation of standard rent within three months from the date of the order.

4. Pursuant thereto, the Trial Court disposed of the application and fixed the standard rent at Rs. 60,175/-. Thereafter, the Appellant preferred an application Under Order XLI, Rule 27 Code of Civil Procedure to amend the affidavit in reply filed in the revision application. The Court of Small Causes, vide order dated 20.08.2016, observed that the Appellant wanted to bring on record the letter dated 20.06.2007 received by one of the representatives of the Respondent with regard to the reason of filing the standard rent application by the Respondent. It was noticed that the Appellant had not adduced any evidence while the application was being decided and, thus, bringing this information on record would not serve the purpose. Being aggrieved by the order dated 20.08.2016 the Appellant filed a writ petition before the High Court. The High Court, vide impugned order, has disposed of the writ petition holding that there is no error in the view taken by the Court of Small Causes. Hence, the Appellant is before us by way of special leave petition.

5. In these circumstances, insofar as this appeal is concerned we are only concerned with the prayer of the Appellant to produce on record the document (Exhibit 34) as an additional document. The Appellant has stated that this document would reflect on the bona fide of the Respondent in filing the petition for fixation of standard rent which is a relevant consideration as per the judgment of the Bombay High Court itself in the case of Yeshbai Gangadhar Pathak v. Ganpat Irappa Jangam MANU/MH/0159/1975 : AIR 1975 Bom 20.

6. We find that the courts below have dismissed the application of the Appellant Under Order XLI, Rule 27 Code of Civil Procedure and refused to take the aforesaid document on record on the ground that the same is irrelevant for fixation of the quantum of standard rent. That may not be correct. In any case it can be examined at the stage of trial. At this stage some document is produced and we find that this document may have a bearing relevant for deciding the controversy between the parties and all the requisites of Order XLI, Rule 27 Code of Civil Procedure stand satisfied inasmuch as this document was not in the possession of the Appellant at the time of trial of the petition and came to the notice of the Appellant at the stage of the pendency of the revision petition.

7. The learned Counsel for the Respondent has argued that the authenticity of this document is not established. Again that would be a matter which will have to be examined during the trial.

8. We, thus, allow this appeal and set aside the orders of the Courts below as well application filed by the Appellant Under Order XLI, Rule 27 Code of Civil Procedure stands allowed. Needless to mention that the Respondent shall also be given an opportunity to lead the evidence in rebuttal.

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