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Judgments of Supreme Court of India and High Courts

Ravinder vs Rekha And Another on 4 February, 2020

Civil Revision No.289 of 2020 1

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT
CHANDIGARH

Civil Revision No.289 of 2020
Date of Decision:4.2.2020

Ravinder …Petitioner

Versus

Smt.Rekha and another …Respondents

CORAM: HON’BLE MR.JUSTICE RAJIV NARAIN RAINA

Present: Mr.Jai Vir Yadav, Advocate for the petitioner

****

RAJIV NARAIN RAINA, J. (ORAL):

1. The petitioner has approached this Court with a prayer for

setting aside the order dated 31.10.2019 passed by the Principal District

Judge, Family Court, Gurugram, whereby application under Order VIII Rule

1 CPC filed by the petitioner has been dismissed.

2. Heard learned counsel for the petitioner.

3. Technically speaking Mr.Jai Vir Yadav, Advocate may be right

in submitting that the respondents took more than the maximum time to file

their written statement set in Order VIII Rule 1 CPC, and, therefore, the

Family Court ought not to have entertained the replies presented beyond 30

+90 [120] days. But I think a somewhat liberal approach deserves to the

adopted in matrimonial matters which are neither commercial nor non-

commercial matters though Order VIII Rule 1 CPC makes no such

distinction.

4. There appear to be causes for the delay. As meanwhile in the

divorce litigation by the petitioning husband against his wife and a named

co-respondent, as time was spent involving transfer of the case from the

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Civil Revision No.289 of 2020 2

Family Court at Narnaul to the Family Court at Gurugram by order of this

Court in TA-899 of 2018, decided on 30.11.2018. Having regard to that and

other factors discussed infra, this court finds that the Principal District

Judge, Family Court, Gurugram, by its order dated 31.10.2019 has done

substantial justice by permitting respondent No.1-wife to present her written

statement and simultaneously rejecting the application filed by the co-

respondent under Order VII Rule 11 CPC and he too has also been

permitted to file his written statement.

5. In coming to this liberal conclusion the learned Family Court

relied upon the decision of the Supreme Court in M/s SCG Contracts India

Pvt. Limited v/s K.S.Chamankar Infrasturctures Pvt.Ltd. and others, 2019(2)

RCR (Civil) 249. Though reliance on the ruling was not appropriate in

applying the ratio as the Supreme Court dealt with commercial matters

holding that the provisions of Order VIII Rule 1 CPC have to be stringently

applied but family matters are not commercial litigation. Their Lordships of

the Supreme Court were dealing with a case arising out of the Commercial

Courts Act.

6. In a subsequent and recent judgment, the Supreme Court has

drawn a distinction between commercial and non-commercial matters.

However, in non-commercial matters, a strict view under Order VIII Rule 1

CPC may not be necessarily taken. This ruling is in case”Desh Raj vs.

Balkishan (D) through proposed LR Ms. Rohini” decided on 20.1.2020, in

Civil Appeal No.433 of 2020, wherein a three Judge Bench Bench presided

over by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India have taken a lenient view in non-

commercial cases carving out limited exceptions by “unique circumstances”

without laying down the discretion exercised by the Supreme Court in the

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Civil Revision No.289 of 2020 3

case as a precedent. The Supreme Court permitted written statements to be

accepted in a non-commercial matter beyond the limit placed in Order VIII

Rule 1 CPC. It has been observed the Court has to guard against ‘routine

condonations’ and a ‘cavalier attitude’ towards the process of law in the

matter of filing written statements of defence because it affects the

administration of justice. The philosophy in these judgements is to prevent a

vital delay, cost escalations and to avoid chaos.

7. Accordingly, I find no cogent reason to disapprove the

approach of the learned Family Court, Gurugram in allowing respondents to

file their written statements. It is inherent in an application under Order VII

Rule 11 CPC that till it is not decided party is excused from putting in its

written statement. This slows down the progress of a suit. Seen from these

aspects, the order does substantial justice in a matrimonial matter, where the

third viewpoint deserves to be introduced as against commercial and non-

commercial matters, such as matrimonial disputes, guardianship petitions

etc. Section 10 of the Family Court Act, 1984 (for short, “the Act”),

provides that the procedure in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

“generally” applies to proceedings before the Family Courts. The word

“generally” in Section 10 of the Act suggests to my mind and indicates that

a slightly liberal approach can be adopted in such matters so that

matrimonial divorce actions are determined after full-fledged contest

between the parties so that no dispute remains. If the right to file a written

statement is closed it would facilitate divorce, in this case asked for by the

husband, though his ground for divorce is grave, if proved. The ground is so

grave that it should not go without biparte or triparte contest, unless

respondent surrenders to the pleadings in the divorce petition. Here the

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Civil Revision No.289 of 2020 4

respondents have come forward. They should be allowed the test by trial.

8. As a result of the discussion, the petition is dismissed but with

the direction that the Family Court, Gurugram, will draw up a schedule of

dates [See direction (J) in Ramrameshwar Devi v. Nirmala Devi, (2011) 8

SCC 249] for the speedy disposal of the case by notifying both the parties of

the time lines in which they have to do acts and things to help in the

conclusion of the case and by making parties stick to the schedule without

parties seeking unwarranted adjournments.

9. Accordingly, the learned Family Court, Gurugram, will draw up

a schedule of dates and compel parties to adhere to it. Toward this end two

months’ time will be given to the petitioner-husband to produce his

evidence, which is the span of time asked for specifically by Mr. Yadav on

his client’s behalf. On closure of petitioner’s evidence, a period of four

months’ will be granted to the respondents to produce their evidence and the

learned Family Court, Gurugram, shall conclude the case within six months

thereafter including rebuttal, if any, that is, preferably within a period of one

year from the first effective date when parties put in appearance with this

order on the board of of the Family Court. If for any reason beyond control

and in the judicial discretion of the Family Court, the time lines are

exceeded, it is not required to ask for extension of time from this Court but

would record the reason for delay and proceed with the matter till

conclusion.

10. With these observations and directions, the petition stands

disposed of.

February 4, 2020 (RAJIV NARAIN RAINA)
neenu JUDGE

Whether speaking/reasoned Yes
Whether reportable- Yes/No

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