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Code of Civil Procedure, 1908: Section 26(2) and Order 6 Rules 15(4) and 17-Pleadings-Affidavit in support of-Effect of-Held: Has the effect of fixing additional responsibility on the deponent as to the truth of the facts stated in the pleadings-However, such an affidavit would not be evidence for the purpose of the trial-Further, on amendment of the pleadings, a fresh affidavit shall have to be filed in consonance thereof. Order 18 Rule 4(1) and proviso (as amended by Act 22 of 2002 w.e.f. 1.7.2002)-Examination-in-chief-To be on affidavit in every case-Validity of-Held: Requirement is valid-In the light of O.18 R. 4(1) proviso, there is no question of inadmissible documents being read into evidence-Further, in appropriate cases the trial Court can permit the examination-in-chief to be recorded in open Court. Order 18 Rule 4(2) and proviso (as amended by Act 22 of 2002 w.e.f. 1.7.2002) and Order 26 Rule 4-A (as inserted by Act 46 of 1999 w.e.f. 1.7.2002)-Witnesses-Cross-examination or re-examination of-By the Commissioner-Additional burden on the litigant-Validity-Held: The power is valid-However, in complex cases prayer for recording of evidence by the Commissioner may be declined by the Court-The fee payable to the Commissioner is likely to be less than the expenditure incurred towards attending Court on various dates and, thus, there would be no additional burden on the litigant. Order 18 Rule 4 (as amended by Act 22 of 2002 w.e.f. 1.7.2002)-Recording of evidence-By Commissioner-Original documents-Safe custody of-Held: Duties of Commissioner laid down-In this regard, High Courts directed to frame necessary rules, regulations or issue practice directions. Order 18 Rule 4(4)-Recording of evidence-By Commissioner-Demeanour of witnesses-Benefit of watching of-Held: Although the Court is deprived of the benefit of watching the demeanour of the witnesses yet the Court would have the benefit of the Commissioner’s observations in this regard-Hence, power of the Commissioner to record evidence valid. Order 18 Rule 4-Recording of evidence-By Commissioner-Empanelling of advocates for-On the basis of tests in the subjects of CPC and Evidence Act-Validity-Held: It is a good practice-However, High Courts to examine this aspect and decide to adopt or not such a procedure. Order 18 Rule 4-Recording of evidence-By Commissioner-Appelable cases-Power to appoint Commissioner-Held: In view of the overriding effect of O. 18 R. 19 (as inserted by Amendment Act 46 of 1999) the Court is empowered to appoint a Commissioner in appealable case as well. Order 18 Rule 4-Recording of evidence-By Commissioner-Hostile witness-Power of Commissioner to declare-Held: The discretion to declare a witness hostile has not been conferred on the Commissioner-Such a power can be exercised by the Commissioner after obtaining permission from the Court under S. 154 of the Evidence Act-Evidence Act, 1872, S. 154. Order 18 Rule 17-A-Deletion of-By Amendment Act 46 of 1999 w.e.f. 1.7.2002-Effect of-Production of evidence at a later stage-Held: Even before insertion of O. 18 R. 17-A, the Court had inherent power under S. 151 to permit parties to produce evidence not known to them earlier or which could not be produced in spite of due diligence-Therefore, deletion of O. 18 R. 17-A does not disentitle production of evidence at a later stage. Order 8 Rule 1 and proviso-Written statement-Upper limit for filing of-Maximum period of 90 days-Extension of-Permissibility-Held: The provision is directory-Court is empowered to grant further time after expiry of 90 days in accordance with O. 8 R. 10-However, such extension of time should be granted only in exceptionally hard cases and not in a routine manner. Order 6 Rule 17 proviso-Amendment of pleadings-“At any stage”-Power of Court-Curtailment of-Held: The provision to some extent curtails absolute discretion to allow amendment at any stage-If amendment is sought after commencement of trial it has to be shown that in spite of due diligence, such amendment could not have been sought earlier-The object is to prevent frivolous application which are filed to delay the trial-There is no illegality in the provision. Order 5 Rules 9(3) and 9-A-Service of summons-Through courier-Validity-Held: Provision valid and permissible-However, there is a danger of false reports of service-High Courts directed to issue expeditiously requisite guidelines to the trial Courts by framing appropriate rules, order, regulations or practice directions. Order 17 Rule 1(2)-Costs of adjournment-Mandatory or directory-Held: Awarding of costs is mandatory-However, the same should be realistic and as far as possible actual cost incurred by the other party should be awarded where the adjournment is found to be avoidable. Order 17 Rule 1(1) proviso-Number of adjournments-Upper limit of three adjournments-Validity of-Held: It cannot be said that though circumstances may be beyond the control of a party, further adjournment cannot be granted because of restriction of three adjournments-In some extreme cases (natural calamities or hospitalization) adjournments beyond three may be granted-Ultimately, it would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case-However, grant of adjournment is not a right of a party-The grant of adjournment by a Court has to be on the party showing special and extraordinary circumstances-It cannot be in routine-While granting adjournment legislative intent to restrict number of adjournments to be kept in mind. Order 18 Rule 2(4)-Deletion of-By Amendment Act 46 of 1999 w.e.f. 1.7.2002-Effect-Power of Court to call for any witness at any stage-Held: Is not affected by the deletion-Court has inherent power to call any witness at any stage suo moto or on the prayer of a party. Order 18 rule 2(3-A) to (3-D)-Written and oral arguments-Time limit-Fixing of-Held: Is fixed to save time of Court-The object is to help in administering fair and speedy justice. Order 7 Rule 14-Production of documents-“Plaintiff’s witnesses”-Held: The words “plaintiff’s witnesses” have been mentioned as a result of mistake committed by the legislature-The words ought to be “defendant’s witnesses”-Till the mistake is corrected by the legislature, the words “plaintiff’s witnesses” would be read as “defendant’s witnesses”. Order 9 Rule 5-Dismissal of suit after summons returned unserved-Plaintiff to apply for fresh summons within seven days-Mandatory or directory-Held: The period of seven days is clearly directory. Order 11 Rule 15-Inspection of documents-“At or before the settlement of issues”-Held: This stipulation is directory-It does not mean that the inspection cannot be allowed after the settlement of issues. Section 39(4) Order 21 Rules 3 and 48-Transfer of decree-Power of Court to execute decree outside its jurisdiction-Held: S. 39(4) does not dilute the provisions of O. 21 Rules 3 and 48, which allow such execution of decree subject to fulfilment of conditions mentioned therein. Section 64(2)-Private transfer of property-After attachment-Prohibition-Scope and validity of-Held: There is no ambiguity in S. 64(2). Sections 35, 35-A, 35-B and 95-Costs-Held: When Section 35(2) provides for cost to follow the event, it is implicit that the costs have to be those which are reasonably incurred by a successful party except in those cases where the Court in its discretion may direct otherwise by recording reasons therefor-The costs have to be actual reasonable costs like (i) cost of time spent by the successful party; (ii) incidental cost, if any; (iii) payment of Court fee; (iv) lawyer’s fee; and (v) typing and other costs in relation to the litigation-High Courts to examine these aspects and, wherever necessary, make requisite rules, regulations or practice direction so as to provide appropriate guidelines for the subordinate Courts to follow. Section 80-Notice-Two months’ period under-Object of-Held: Notice period of two months is provided for the Government to send a suitable reply-The object is to curtail delay-The practice of Government Officers giving evasive and vague replies deprecated-All concerned Governments, Central or State or other authorities directed to nominate, within three months, an Officer who should be made responsible to ensure that replies are sent within the period stipulated after due application of mind-Despite such nomination, in case of failure to send proper replies, Court should ordinarily award heavy cost against the Government and direct it to take appropriate action against the concerned Officer including recovery of costs from him. Section 115 (as amended by Act 46 of 1999 w.e.f. 1.7.2002)-Effect of-Power of revision-Held: The power of High Court under Arts. 226 and 227 remains untrammeled by the amendment in S. 115 and is available to be exercised subject to rules of self-discipline and practice which are well settled. Section 148-(as amended by Act 46 of 1999 w.e.f. 1.7.2002)-Enlargement of time-Upper limit of 30 days-Effect of-Held: Extension of time beyond 30 days can be permitted where sufficient cause exists or events are beyond the control of the party-However, S. 148 does not apply to cases to which Limitation Act is applicable-Limitation Act, 1963. Section 89 and Order 10 Rule 1-A (as amended by Act 46 of 1999 w.e.f. 1.7.2002)-Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)-Held: If there exists an element of a settlement which may be acceptable to the parties, they should be made to apply their minds so as to opt for one or the other of the four ADR methods mentioned in S. 89. Section 89 and Order 10 Rules 1-A to 1-C-Resolution of disputes by Lok Adalat-Applicability of ADR Rules-Held: Rules framed under Part X of CPC are applicable and not the Rules framed under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 or the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987-High Courts directed to examine Draft Civil Procedure ADR and Mediation Rules and finalise the same expeditiously-The Registrar Generals, the Central Government and the State/Union Territories shall file the progress reports in regard to the action taken within a period of four months-Legal Services Authority Act, 1987. Section 89(2)(a) [inserted by Act 46 of 1999 w.e.f. 1.7.2002]-Settlement of disputes outside the Court-Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996-Applicability of-To disputes referred to under S. 89(2)(a)-Held: Is applicable only after the stage of reference to arbitration or conciliation and not before the stage of reference-Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. Section 89(2)(a)-Settlement of disputes outside the Court-Legal Services Authority Act, 1987-Applicability of-To disputes referred to Lok Adalat under S. 89(2)(a)-Held: Is applicable only after the stage of reference to Lok Adalat and not before the stage of reference. Section 89(2)(d) and Order 10 Rule 1-C-Mediation-Compromise between the parties-Terms of-Fixation of-Held: If mediation succeeds Court to effect the compromise and pass a decree in accordance with the terms of settlement accepted by the parties-But the Court is not involved in the actual mediation/conciliation-However, where settlement is not arrived at the referring Court is not debarred from hearing the matter afresh. Section 89(2)-Settlement of disputes outside the Court-Nature of proceedings-Held: The four alternatives, namely, arbitration, conciliation, judicial settlement including settlement through Lok Adalat and mediation are meant to be actions of persons or institutions outside the Court and not before the Court. Section 89(2)(a) and (d)-Mediation and conciliation-Difference between-Held: In `conciliation’ there is a little more latitude and conciliator can suggest some terms of settlements too. Section 89(2)(a) and (d)-Panel of mediators/conciliators-Rules regarding-Held: Where parties are unable to reach a consensus on an agreed name, the Court may make a reference to panel of mediators/conciliators-High Courts and district Courts directed to take appropriate steps in preparation of the requisite panels. Section 89(2)(a) and (d)-Compulsory reference to mediation/conciliation-Commission under-Expenditure on-Held: The Central Government is directed to examine the suggestion that such expenditure be borne by the Government and, if it is agreed, it should request the Planning and Financial Commissions to make specific financial allocation for the judiciary-In case Central Government has any reservations, the same should be placed before Supreme Court within four months. Section 89-ADR rules-Applicability of-To disputes arising under the Family Courts Act-Held: The Family Court Act applies the CPC for all proceedings before it and, therefore, ADR rules made under CPC could be applied to supplement the rules made under the Family Court Act-Family Court Act, 1984. Section 89-Reference to ADR-Settlement of matter-Refund of Court fee-Held: State Governments directed to amend the laws on the lines of the amendment made in the Central Court Fee Act by Act 46 of 1999. Constitution of India, 1950: Article 247 Schedule VII List I-Courts subordinate to High Court-Funds for establishment of-Judicial impact assessment-Held: Financial memorandum to be attached to each bill indicating the budgetary requirement for meeting the expenses of the additional cases that may arise out of the new bill if it is passed by the legislature-Central Government directed to examine the above suggestion and submit a report to Supreme Court within four months. Article 21-Fair, speedy and inexpensive justice-Right to-Model Case Flow Management Rules-Adoption of-Held: High Courts directed to examine the said Rules and consider the question of adopting the said Rules with or without modification-The Registrar Generals, the Central Government and the State/Union Territories shall file the progress reports in regard to the action taken within a period of four months. Words & Phrases: “Conciliation” and “mediation”-Meaning of-In the context of Section 89(1)(b) and (d) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. The challenge made to the constitutional validity of amendments made to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 by Amendment Acts of 1999 and 2002 was rejected by this Court in Salem Advocates Bar Association, T.N. v. Union of India, [2003] 1 SCC 49, but it was noticed in that judgment that modalities have to be formulated for the manner in which Section 89 of the Code and, for that matter, the other provisions which have been introduced by way of amendments might have to be operated. For this purpose, a Committee was constituted so as to ensure that the amendments become effective and result in quicker dispensation of justice. It was further observed that the Committee might consider devising a model case management formula as well as rules and regulations which should be followed while taking recourse to the Alternate Dispute Resolution referred to in Section 89. =Disposing of the petition, the Court HELD: 1. The affidavit required to be filed under the amended Section 26(2) and Order VI Rule 15(4) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 has the effect of fixing additional responsibility on the deponent as to the truth of the facts stated in the pleadings. It is, however, made clear that such an affidavit would not be evidence for the purpose of the trial. Further, on amendment of the pleadings, a fresh affidavit shall have to be filed in consonance thereof. [951-e] 2.1. The Court has already been vested with the power to permit affidavits to be filed as evidence as provided in Order XIX Rules 1 and 2 of the Code. It has to be kept in view that the right of cross-examination and re-examination in open Court has not been disturbed by Order XVIII Rule 4 inserted by amendment. It is true that after the amendment cross-examination can be before a Commissioner but no exception can be taken in regard to the power of the legislature to amend the Code and provide for the examination-in-chief to be on affidavit or cross-examination before a Commissioner. The scope of Order XVIII Rule 4 had been examined and its validity upheld in Salem Advocates Bar Association’s case. There is also no question of inadmissible documents being read into evidence merely on account of such documents being given exhibit numbers in the affidavit filed by way of examination-in-chief. Further the trial Court in appropriate cases can permit the examination-in-chief to be recorded in the Court. The proviso to Order XVIII Rule 4(2) clearly suggests that the Court has to apply its mind to the facts of the case, nature of allegations, nature of evidence and importance of the particular witness for determining whether the witness shall be examined in Court or by the Commissioner appointed by it. The power under Order XVIII Rule 4(2) is required to be exercised with great circumspection having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case. It is not necessary to lay down hard and fast rules controlling the discretion of the Court to appoint a Commissioner to record cross-examination and re-examination of witnesses. The purpose would be served by noticing some illustrative cases which would serve as broad and general guidelines for the exercise of discretion. For instance, a case may involve complex question of title, complex question in partition or suits relating to partnership business or suits involving serious allegations of fraud, forgery, and serious disputes as to the execution of the Will etc. In such cases, as far as possible, the Court may prefer to itself record the cross-examination of the material witnesses. [951-g-h; 952-a-d] Salem Advocates Bar Association, T.N. v. Union of India, [2003] 1 SCC 49, relied on. 2.2. Although when evidence is recorded by the Commissioner, the Court would be deprived of the benefit of watching the demeanour of witnesses yet the will of the legislature, which has, by amending the Code, provided for recording evidence by the Commissioner for saving Court’s time taken for the said purpose, cannot be defeated merely on the ground that the Court would be deprived of watching the demeanour of the witnesses. Further, in some cases, which are complex in nature, the prayer for recording evidence by the Commissioner may be declined by the Court. In any case Order XVIII Rule 4, specifically provided that the Commissioner may record such remarks as it thinks material in respect of the demeanour of any witness while under examination. The Court would have the benefit of the observations if made by the Commissioner. [952-e, f, g] 3.1. In some States, advocates are being required to pass a test conducted by the High Court in the subjects of Civil Procedure Code and Evidence Act for the purpose of empanelling them on the panels of Commissioners. It is a good practice. However, it is for the High Courts to examine this aspect and decide to adopt or not such a procedure. [952-h] 3.2. Regarding the apprehension that the payment of fee to the Commissioner will add to the burden of the litigant, generally the expenses incurred towards the fee payable to the Commissioner is likely to be less than the expenditure incurred for attending the Courts on various dates for recording of evidence besides the harassment and inconvenience to attend the Court again and again for the same purpose and, therefore, in reality in most of the cases, there could be no additional burden. [953-a, b] 4. Order XVIII Rule 19 which was inserted by the Amendment Act of 1999 overrides Order XVIII Rule 5 which provides the Court to record evidence in all appealable cases. The Court is, therefore, empowered to appoint a Commissioner for recording of evidence in appealable cases as well. [953-e] 5.1. The discretion to declare a witness hostile has not been conferred on the Commissioner. The powers delegated to the Commissioner under Order XXVI Rules 16, 16-A, 17 and 18 do not include the discretion that is vested in Court under Section 154 of the Evidence Act, 1872, to declare a witness hostile. [954-b] 5.2. If a situation as to declaring a witness hostile arises before a Commission recording evidence, the concerned party shall have to obtain permission from the Court under Section 154 of the Evidence Act and it is only after grant of such permission that the Commissioner can allow a party to cross-examine his own witness. Having regard to the facts of the case, the Court may either grant such permission or even consider to withdraw the Commission so as to itself record the remaining evidence or impose heavy costs if it finds that permission was sought to delay the progress of the suit or harass the opposite party. [954-c-d] 6. Undoubtedly, the Commissioner has to take proper care of the original documents handed over to him either by Court or filed before him during recording of evidence. In this regard, the High Courts may frame necessary rules, regulations or issue practice directions so as to ensure safe and proper custody of the documents when the same are before the Commissioner. It is the duty and obligation of the Commissioners to keep the documents in safe custody and also not to give access of the record to one party in absence of the opposite party or his counsel. The Commissioners can be required to redeposit the documents with the Court in cases long adjournments are granted and for taking back the documents before the adjourned date. [954-e, f] 7. Even before insertion of Order XVIII Rule 17-A, the Court had inbuilt power to permit parties to produce evidence not known to them earlier or which could not be produced in spite of due diligence. Order XVIII Rule 17-A did not create any new rights but only clarified the position. Therefore, deletion of Order XVIII Rule 17-A does not disentitle production of evidence at a later stage. On a party satisfying the Court that after exercise of due diligence that evidence was not within his knowledge or could not be produced at the time the party was leading evidence, the Court may permit leading of such evidence at a later stage on such terms as may appear to be just. [955-a, b] Salem Advocates Bar Association, T.N. v. Union of India, [2003] 1 SCC 49, relied on. 8.1. The use of the word `shall’ in Order VIII Rule 1 by itself is not conclusive to determine whether the provision is mandatory or directory. The object which is required to be served by this provision and its design and context in which it is enacted has to be ascertained. The use of the word `shall’ is ordinarily indicative of the mandatory nature of the provision but having regard to the context in which is used or having regard to the intention of the legislation, the same can be construed as directory. The Rule in question has to advance the cause of justice and not to defeat it. The rules of procedure are made to advance the cause of justice and not to defeat it. Construction of the rule or procedure which promotes justice and prevents miscarriage has to be preferred. The rules or procedure are handmaid of justice and not its mistress. In the present context, the strict interpretation would defeat justice. [959-b-c] 8.2. In construing Order VIII Rule 1, support can also be had from Order VIII Rule 10 which provides that where any party from whom a written statement is required under Rule 1 or Rule 9, fails to present the same within the time permitted or fixed by the Court, the Court shall pronounce judgment against him, or make such other order in relation to the suit as it thinks fit. On failure to file written statement under this provision, the Court has been given the discretion either to pronounce judgment against the defendant or make such other order in relation to suit as it thinks fit. In the context of the provision, despite use of the word `shall’, the Court has been given the discretion to pronounce or not to pronounce the judgment against the defendant even if written statement is not filed and instead pass such order as it may think fit in relation to the suit. In construing the provision of Order VIII Rule 1 and Rule 10, the doctrine of harmonious construction is required to be applied. The effect would be that under Rule 10 of Order VIII, the Court in its discretion would have power to allow the defendant to file written statement even after expiry of period of 90 days provided in Order VIII Rule 1. There is no restriction in Order VIII Rule 10 that after expiry of ninety days, further time cannot be granted. The Court has wide power to `make such order in relation to the suit as it thinks fit’. Clearly, therefore, the provision of Order VIII Rule 1 providing for upper limit of 90 days to file written statement is directory. [957-d, g] 8.3. However, it is made clear that the order extending time to file the written statement cannot be made in routine. The time can be extended only in exceptionally hard cases. While extending time, it has to be borne in mind that the legislature has fixed the upper time limit of 90 days. The discretion of the Court to extend the time shall not be so frequently and routinely exercised so as to nullify the period fixed by Order VIII Rule 1. [957-h; 958-a] Raza Buland Sugar Co. Ltd. v. The Municipal Board, AIR (1965) SC 895, Sangram Singh v. Election Tribunal, AIR (1955) SC 425 and Topline Shoes Ltd. v. Corporation Bank, [2002] 6 SCC 33, relied on. 9.1. Section 39 of the Code does not authorize the Court to execute the decree outside its jurisdiction but it does not dilute the other provisions giving such power on compliance of conditions stipulated in those provisions. Thus, the provisions, such as, Order XXI Rule 3 or Order XXI Rule 48 which provide differently, would not be affected by Section 39(4) of the Code. [958-f] 9.2. The concept of registration has been introduced in Section 64(2) of the Code to prevent false and frivolous cases of contracts being set up with a view to defeating the attachments. If the contract is registered and there is subsequent attachment, any sale deed executed after attachment will be valid. If it is unregistered, the subsequent sale after attachment would not be valid. Such sale would not be protected. There is no ambiguity in Section 64(2). [959-a, b] 10. The proviso to Order VI Rule 17, to some extent, curtails absolute discretion to allow amendment at any stage. Now, if an application is filed after commencement of trial, it has to be shown that in spite of due diligence, such amendment could not have been sought earlier. The object is to prevent frivolous applications which are filed to delay the trial. There is no illegality in the provision. [959-d] 11. The problem in respect of service of summons has been one of the major causes of delay in the due progress of the case. It is common knowledge that the defendants have been avoiding to accept summons. There have been serious problems in process-serving agencies in various Courts. There can, thus, be no valid objection in giving opportunity to the plaintiff to serve the summons on the defendant or get it served through courier as provided in Order V Rule 9. There is, however, a danger of false reports of service. It is required to be adequately guarded. The Courts shall have to be very careful while dealing with a case where orders for deemed service are required to be made on the basis of endorsement of such service or refusal. The High Courts can make appropriate rules and regulations or issue practice directions to ensure that such provisions of service are not abused so as to obtain false endorsements. In this regard, the High Courts can consider making a provision for filing of affidavit setting out details of events at the time of refusal of service. For instance, it can be provided that the affidavit of person effecting service shall state as to who all were present at the time and also that the affidavit shall be in the language known to the deponent. It can also be provided that if the affidavit or any endorsement as to service is found to be false, the deponent can be summarily tried and punished for perjury and the courier company can be black-listed. The guidelines as to the relevant details to be given can be issued by the High Courts. The High Courts, it is hoped, would issue as expeditiously as possible, requisite guidelines to the trial Courts by framing appropriate rules, order, regulations or practice directions. [959-g, h; 960-a-d] 12.1. The awarding of cost under Order XVII Rule 1(2) has been made mandatory. Costs that can be awarded are of two types. First, cost occasioned by the adjournment and second such higher cost as the Court deems fit. The provision for costs and higher costs has been made because of practice having been developed to award only a nominal cost even then adjournment on payment of costs is granted. Ordinarily, where the costs or higher costs are awarded, the same should be realistic and as far as possible actual cost that had to be incurred by the other party shall be awarded where the adjournment is found to be avoided but is being granted on account of either negligence or casual approach of a party or is being sought to delay the progress of the case or on any such reason. [960-e; 961-c-d] 12.2. The provisos to Order XVII Rule 1 and Order XVII Rule 2 have to be read together. So read, Order XVII does not forbid grant of adjournment where the circumstances are beyond the control of the party. In such a case, there is no restriction on the number of adjournments to be granted. It cannot be said that even if the circumstances are beyond the control of a party, after having obtained third adjournment, no further adjournment would be granted. There may be cases beyond the control of a party despite the party having obtained three adjournments. For instance, a party may be suddenly hospitalized on account of some serious ailment or there may be serious accident or some act of God leading to devastation. It cannot be said that though circumstances may be beyond the control of a party, further adjournment cannot be granted because of restriction of three adjournments as provided in proviso to Order XVII Rule 1. In some extreme case, it may become necessary to grant adjournment despite the fact that three adjournments have already been granted (take the example of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Gujarat earthquake and riots, devastation on account of Tsunami). Ultimately, it would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, on the basis whereof the Court would decide to grant or refuse adjournment. [960-g-h; 961-a-c] 13.1. Further, to save the proviso to Order XVII Rule 1 from the vice of Article 14 of the Constitution it is necessary to read it down so as not to take away the discretion of the Court in the extreme hard cases as noted above. The limitation of three adjournments would not apply where adjournment is to be granted on account of circumstances beyond the control of a party. Even in cases which may not strictly come within the category of circumstances beyond the control of a party, the Court by resorting to the provision of higher cost which can also include punitive cost in the discretion of the Court, adjournment beyond three can be granted having regard to the injustice that may result on refusal thereof, with reference to peculiar facts of a case. [961-d, e, f] 13.2. However, grant of any adjournment let alone first, second or third adjournment is not a right of a party. The grant of adjournment by a Court has to be on a party showing special and extraordinary circumstances. It cannot be in routine. While considering the prayer for grant of adjournment, it is necessary to keep in mind the legislative intent to restrict grant of adjournments. [961-g] 14.1. The omission of Order XVIII Rule 2(4) by the 1999 amendment does not take away the Court’s inherent power to call for any witness at any stage either suo moto or on the prayer of a party invoking the inherent powers of the Court. [962-b] 14.2. The object of filing written arguments or fixing time limit of oral arguments as laid down in Order XVIII Rule 2 sub-rules (3-A) to (3-D) is with a view to saving time of the Court. The adherence to the requirement of these rules is likely to help in administering fair and speedy justice. [962-c] 15. In Order VII Rule 14(4) the words `plaintiff’s witnesses’ have been mentioned as a result of mistake seems to have been committed by the legislature. The words ought to be `defendant’s witnesses’. Till the legislature corrects the mistake, the words `plaintiff’s witnesses’ would be read as `defendant’s witnesses’ in Order VII Rule 14(4). [963-b] 16. Sections 35, 35-A and 95 of the Code deal with three different aspects of award of cost and compensation. Under Section 95 cost can be awarded up to Rs. 50,000 and under Section 35-A, the costs awardable are up to Rs. 3,000. The award of the cost of the suit is in the discretion of the Court. In Sections 35 and 35-B, there is no upper limit of amount of cost awardable. [963-c, d, e] 17. Judicial notice can be taken of the fact that many unscrupulous parties take advantage of the fact that either the costs are not awarded or nominal costs are awarded on the unsuccessful party. Unfortunately, it has become a practice to direct the parties to bear their own costs. In large number of cases, such an order is passed despite Section 35(2) of the Code. Such a practice also encourages filing of frivolous suits. It also leads to taking up of frivolous defences. Further, wherever costs are awarded, ordinarily the same are not realistic and are nominal. When Section 35(2) provides for cost to follow the event, it is implicit that the costs have to be those which are reasonably incurred by a successful party except in those cases where the Court in its discretion may direct otherwise by recording reasons therefor. The costs have to be actual reasonable costs including the cost of the time spent by the successful party, the transportation and lodging, if any, or any other incidental cost besides the payment of the Court fee, lawyer’s fee, typing and other cost in relation to the litigation. It is for the High Courts to examine these aspects and wherever necessary make requisite rules, regulations or practice direction so as to provide appropriate guidelines for the subordinate Courts to follow. [963-g, h; 964-a-b] 18.1. The two months’ period mentioned in Section 80(1) of the Code has been provided for so that the Government shall examine the claim put up in the notice and has sufficient time to send a suitable reply. The underlying object is to curtail the litigation. The object also is to curtail the area of dispute and controversy. Similar provisions also exist in various other legislations as well. Wherever the statutory provision requires the service of notice as a condition precedent for filing of suit and prescribed period therefor, it is not only necessary for the governments or departments or other statutory bodies to send a reply to such a notice but it is further necessary to properly deal with all material points and issues raised in the notice. The Governments, Government departments or statutory authorities are defendants in large number of suits pending in various Courts in the country. Judicial notice can be taken of the fact that in large number of cases either the notice is not replied or in a few cases where reply is sent, it is generally vague and evasive. The result is that the object underlying Section 80 of the Code and similar provisions gets defeated. It not only gives rise to avoidable litigation but also results in heavy expense and cost to the exchequer as well. Proper reply can result in reduction of litigation between State and the citizens. In case proper reply is sent either the claim in the notice may be admitted or area of controversy curtailed or the citizen may be satisfied on knowing the stand of the State. There is no accountability in the Government, Central or State or the statutory authorities in violating the spirit and object of Section 80. [964-d, e, f, g] 18.1. These provisions cast an implied duty on all concerned Governments and State and statutory authorities to send appropriate reply to such notices. Having regard to the existing state of affairs, it is directed that all concerned Governments, Central or State or other authorities, whenever any statute requires service of notice as a condition precedent for filing of suit or other proceedings against it, to nominate, within a period of three months, an Officer who shall be made responsible to ensure that replies to notices under Section 80 or similar provisions are sent within the period stipulated in a particular legislation. The replies shall be sent after due application of mind. Despites such nomination, if the Court finds that either the notice has not been replied or reply is evasive and vague and has been sent without proper application of mind, the Court shall ordinarily award heavy cost against the Government and direct it to take appropriate action against the concerned Officer including recovery of costs from him. [964-h; 965-a-c] 19. The power of the High Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution is always in addition to the revisional jurisdiction conferred on it. Curtailment of revisional jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 115 of the Code as amended by Amendment Act 46 of 1999 does not take away and could not have taken away the constitutional jurisdiction of the High Court. The power exists, untrammeled by the amendment in Section 115 and is available to be exercised subject to rules of self-discipline and practice which are well settled. [966-a, b] Surya Dev Rai v. Ram Chander Rai, [2003] 6 SCC 675, relied on. 20.1. The upper limit of 30 days fixed in Section 148 of the Code cannot take away the inherent power of the Court to pass orders as may be necessary for the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of process of Court. The rigid operation of the Section would lead to absurdity. Section 151 has, therefore, to be allowed to fully operate. Extension beyond the maximum of 30 days, thus, can be permitted if the act could not be performed within 30 days for the reasons beyond the control of the party. However, Section 148 does not apply to cases to which the Limitation Act, 1963 is applicable. [966-d, e] 20.2. There can be many cases where non-grant of extension beyond 30 days would amount to failure of justice. The object of the Code is not to promote failure of justice. Section 148, therefore, deserves to be read down to mean that where sufficient cause exists or events are beyond the control of a party, the Court would have inherent power to extend time beyond 30 days. [967-c] Mahanth Ram Das v. Ganga Das, AIR (1961) SC 882, relied on. 21.1. The period of seven days mentioned in Order IX Rule 5 is clearly directory. [967-d] 21.2. The stipulation in Rule 15 of Order XI confining the inspection of documents `at or before the settlement of issues’ instead of `at any time’ is also nothing but directory. It does not mean that the inspection cannot be allowed after the settlement of issues. [967-e] 22.1. The Committee has suggested that the Central Government has to provide substantial funds for establishing Courts which are subordinate to the High Court and the Planning Commission and the Finance Commission must make adequate provisions therefor. [968-f] 22.2. The Committee has also suggested that there must be `judicial impact assessment’, as done in the United States, whenever any legislation is introduced either in Parliament or State Legislatures. The financial memorandum attached to each Bill must estimate not only the budgetary requirement of other staff but also the budgetary requirement for meeting the expenses of the additional cases that may arise out of the new Bill when it is passed by the legislature. The said budget must mention the number of civil and criminal cases likely to be generated by the new Act, how many Courts are necessary, how many Judges and staff are necessary and what is the infrastructure necessary. So far in the last fifty years such a judicial impact assessment has never been made by any legislature or by Parliament in our country. [968-g, h; 969-a-b] 22.3. Having regard to the constitutional obligation to provide fair, quick and speedy justice, the Central Government is directed to examine the aforesaid suggestions and submit a report to this Court within four months. [969-c] 23. As can be seen from Section 89 of the Code, its first part uses the word `shall’ when it stipulates that the `Court shall formulate terms of settlement’. The use of the word `may’ in the later part of Section 89 only relates to the aspect of reformulating the terms of a possible settlement. The intention of the legislature behind enacting Section 89 is that where it appears to the Court that there exists an element of a settlement which may be acceptable to the parties, they, at the instance of the Court, shall be made to apply their minds so as to opt for one or the other of the four Alternative Dispute Resolution methods mentioned in the Section and if the parties do not agree, the Court shall refer them to one or the other of the said modes. Section 89 uses both the word `shall’ and `may’ whereas Order X Rule 1-A uses the word `shall’ but on harmonious reading of these provisions it becomes clear that the use of the word `may’ in Section 89 only governs the aspect of reformulation of the terms of a possible settlement and its reference to one of the ADR methods. There is no conflict. It is evident that what is referred to one of the ADR modes is the dispute which is summarized in the terms of settlement formulated or reformulated in terms of Section 89. [971-b-e] 24.1. The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 governs a case where arbitration is agreed upon before or pending a suit by all the parties. The 1996 Act, however, does not contemplate a situation as in Section 89 of the Code where the Court asks the parties to choose one or the other ADRs including Arbitration and the parties choose Arbitration as their option. Of course, the parties have to agree for Arbitration. Section 82 of the 1996 Act enables the High Court to make Rules consistent with this Act as to all proceedings before the Court under the 1996 Act. Section 84 enables the Central Government to make rules for carrying out the provisions of the Act. The procedure for option to Arbitration among the four ADRs is not contemplated by the 1996 Act and, therefore, Sections 82 or 84 has no applicability where the parties agree to go for arbitration under Section 89 of the Code. For the purposes of Section 89 and Order X, Rules 1-A, 1-B and 1-C, the relevant Section in Part X of the Code enable the High Court to frame rules. If reference is made to Arbitration under Section 89 of the Code, the 1996 Act would apply only from the stage after reference and not before the stage of reference when options under Section 89 are given by the Court and chosen by the parties. On the same analogy, the 1996 Act in relation to Conciliation would apply only after the stage of reference to Conciliation. The 1996 Act does not deal with a situation where after the suit is filed, the Court requires a party to choose one or the other ADRs including Conciliation. Thus, for Conciliation also rules can be made under Part X of the Code for the purposes of procedure for opting for `Conciliation’ and up to the stage of reference to `Conciliation’. Thus, there is no impediment in the ADR rules being framed in relation to Civil Court as contemplated in Section 89 up to the stage of reference to ADR. The 1996 Act comes into play only after the stage of reference up to the award. [971-f-h; 972-a-d] P. Anand Gajapathi Raju v. P.V.G. Raju, [2000] 4 SCC 539, relied on. 24.2. Applying the same analogy, the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 or the Rules framed thereunder by the State Governments cannot act as impediment in the High Court making rules under Part X of the Code covering the manner in which the option to Lok Adalat can be made being one of the modes provided in Section 89. The 1987 Act also does not deal with the aspect of exercising option to one of the four ADR methods mentioned in Section 89. Section 89 makes applicable the 1996 Act and the 1987 Act from the stage after the exercise of options and making of reference. [972-d-e] 25. It is evident that all the four alternatives, namely, Arbitration, Conciliation, judicial settlement including settlement through Lok Adalat and mediation are meant to be the actions of persons or institutions outside the Court and not before the Court. Order X, Rule 1-C speaks of the `Conciliation forum’ referring back the dispute to the Court. In fact, the Court is not involved in the actual mediation/conciliation. Section 89(2)(d) only means that when mediation succeeds and parties agree to the terms of settlement, the mediator will report to the Court and the Court, after giving notice and hearing the parties, `effect’ the compromise and pass a decree in accordance with the terms of settlement accepted by the parties. Further, there is no question of the Court which refers the matter to mediation/conciliation being debarred from hearing the matter where settlement is not arrived at. The Judge who makes the reference only considers the limited question as to whether there are reasonable grounds to expect that there will be settlement and on that ground he cannot be treated to be disqualified to try the suit afterwards if no settlement is arrived at between the parties. [972-f, g, h; 973-a-b] 26.1. The Central Government is directed to examine the suggestion that expenditure on compulsory reference to conciliation/mediation be borne by the Government and if it is agreed, it shall request the Planning Commission and the Finance Commission to make specific financial allocation for the judiciary for including the expenses involved for mediation/conciliation under Section 89 of the Code. In case, the Central Government has any reservations, the same shall be placed before this Court within four months. [973-d] 26.2. With a view to enabling the Court to refer the parties to conciliation/mediation, where the parties are unable to reach a consensus on an agreed name, there should be a panel of well trained conciliators/mediators to which it may be possible for the Court to make a reference. It would be necessary for the High Courts and district Courts to take appropriate steps in the direction of preparing the requite panels. [973-f, g] 27. The Family Courts Act, 1984 applies the Code for all proceedings before it. Therefore, ADR rules made under the Code can be applied to supplement the rules made under the Family Courts Act and provide for ADR insofar as conciliation/mediation is concerned. [973-h; 974-a] 28. There is a fine distinction between conciliation and mediation. In `conciliation’ there is a little more latitude and conciliator can suggest some terms of settlements too. [974-b] 29. When the parties come to a settlement upon a reference made by the Court for mediation, as suggested by the Committee there has to be some public record of the manner in which the suit is disposed of and, therefore the Court has to first record the settlement and pass a decree in terms thereof and if necessary proceed to execute it in accordance with law. It cannot be accepted that such a procedure would be unnecessary. If the settlement is not filed in the Court for the purpose of passing of a decree, there will be no public record of the settlement. It is, however, a different matter if the parties do not want the Court to record a settlement and pass a decree and feel that the settlement can be implemented even without a decree. In such an eventuality, nothing prevents them from informing the Court that the suit may be dismissed as the dispute has been settled between the parties outside the Court. [974-c, d] 30. Regarding the refund of the Court fee where the matter is settled by the reference to one of the modes provided in Section 89 of the Code, it is for the State Governments to amend the laws on the lines of the amendment made in the Central Court Fee Act by Act 46 of the 1999 Amendment to the Code. The State Governments can consider making similar amendments in the State Court Fee legislations. [974-e, f] 31.1. The draft ADR and Mediation Rules have been finalised by the Committee and now it is for the respective High Courts to take appropriate steps for making rules in exercise of the rule-making power subject to modifications, if any, which may be considered relevant. [974-f, g] 31.2. The High Courts can examine the Model Case Flow Management Rules, discuss the matter and consider the question of adopting or making case law management and model rules with or without modification, so that a step forward is taken to provide to the litigating public a fair, speedy and inexpensive justice. [995-b] 32. It is hoped that the High Courts in the country would be in a position to examine the aforesaid rules expeditiously and would be able to finalise the Rules within a period of four months. The Registrar Generals, the Central Government and the State/Union Territories shall file the progress reports in regard to the action taken within a period of four months. [1014-b, d] K. Parasaran (NP), C.S. Vaidyanathan (NP), Arun Mohan (NP) and K.V. Viswanathan with them for the Petitioner. T. Raja, for the Petitioner in W.P.(C) No. 496/02. P.N. Puri, for the Petitioner in W.P.(C) No. 570/02. Dev Datt Kamat for Attorney General, Shreekant N. Terdal, T.L.V.Iyer, Ms. Priya Puri and Sanjeev Sachdeva with him for B.C.I. Mrs. Kiran Suri, Himanshu Buttan and Mali Santosh for Intervenor in W.P.(C) No. 496/02.=2005 AIR 3353, 2005(1 )Suppl.SCR929 , 2005(6 )SCC344 , 2005(6 )SCALE26 , 2005(6 )JT486

CASE NO.:

The Indian Constitution preamble

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Writ Petition (civil) 496 of 2002

PETITIONER:
Salem Advocate Bar Association,Tamil Nadu

RESPONDENT:
Union of India

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/08/2005

BENCH:
Y.K.Sabharwal, D.M.Dharmadikhari & Tarun Chatterjee

JUDGMENT:
J U D G M E N T
[With Writ Petition (Civil) No.570 of 2002]
Y.K. Sabharwal, J.

The challenge made to the constitutional validity of amendments
made to the Code of Civil Procedure (for short, ‘the Code’) by Amendment
Acts of 1999 and 2002 was rejected by this Court {Salem Advocates Bar
Association, T.N. v. Union of India [(2003) 1 SCC 49]}, but it was
noticed in the judgment that modalities have to be formulated for the
manner in which Section 89 of the Code and, for that matter, the other
provisions which have been introduced by way of amendments, may have
to be operated. For this purpose, a Committee headed by a former Judge
of this Court and Chairman, Law Commission of India (Justice M.
Jagannadha Rao) was constituted so as to ensure that the amendments
become effective and result in quicker dispensation of justice. It was
further observed that the Committee may consider devising a model case
management formula as well as rules and regulations which should be
followed while taking recourse to the Alternate Disputes Resolution (ADR)
referred to in Section 89. It was also observed that the model rules, with or
without modification, which are formulated may be adopted by the High
Courts concerned for giving effect to Section 89(2)(d) of the Code.
Further, it was observed that if any difficulties are felt in the working of the
amendments, the same can be placed before the Committee which would
consider the same and make necessary suggestions in its report. The
Committee has filed the report.
The report is in three parts. Report 1 contains the consideration of
the various grievances relating to amendments to the Code and the
recommendations of the Committee. Report 2 contains the consideration
of various points raised in connection with draft rules for ADR and
mediation as envisaged by Section 89 of the Code read with Order X Rule
1A, 1B and 1C. It also contains model Rules. Report 3 contains a
conceptual appraisal of case management. It also contains the model
rules of case management.
First, we will consider Report 1 which deals with the amendments
made to the Code.
Report No.1
Amendment inserting sub-section (2) to Section 26 and Rule
15(4) to Order VI Rule 15.

Prior to insertion of aforesaid provisions, there was no requirement
of filing affidavit with the pleadings. These provisions now require the
plaint to be accompanied by an affidavit as provided in Section 26(2) and
the person verifying the pleadings to furnish an affidavit in support of the
pleading [Order VI Rule 15(4)]. It was sought to be contended that the
requirement of filing an affidavit is illegal and unnecessary in view of the
existing requirement of verification of the pleadings. We are unable to
agree. The affidavit required to be filed under amended Section 26(2) and
Order VI Rule 15(4) of the Code has the effect of fixing additional
responsibility on the deponent as to the truth of the facts stated in the
pleadings. It is, however, made clear that such an affidavit would not be
evidence for the purpose of the trial. Further, on amendment of the
pleadings, a fresh affidavit shall have to be filed in consonance thereof.
Amendment of Order XVIII Rule 4
The amendment provides that in every case, the examination-in-
chief of a witness shall be on affidavit. The Court has already been vested
with power to permit affidavits to be filed as evidence as provided in Order
XIX Rules 1 and 2 of the Code. It has to be kept in view that the right of
cross-examination and re-examination in open court has not been
disturbed by Order XVIII Rule 4 inserted by amendment. It is true that
after the amendment cross-examination can be before a Commissioner but
we feel that no exception can be taken in regard to the power of the
legislature to amend the Code and provide for the examination-in-chief to
be on affidavit or cross-examination before a Commissioner. The scope of
Order XVIII Rule 4 has been examined and its validity upheld in Salem
Advocates Bar Association’s case. There is also no question of
inadmissible documents being read into evidence merely on account of
such documents being given exhibit numbers in the affidavit filed by way of
examination-in-chief. Further, in Salem Advocates Bar Association’s
case, it has been held that the trial court in appropriate cases can permit
the examination-in-chief to be recorded in the Court. Proviso to sub-rule
(2) of Rule 4 of Order XVIII clearly suggests that the court has to apply its
mind to the facts of the case, nature of allegations, nature of evidence and
importance of the particular witness for determining whether the witness
shall be examined in court or by the Commissioner appointed by it. The
power under Order XVIII Rule 4(2) is required to be exercised with great
circumspection having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case.
It is not necessary to lay down hard and fast rules controlling the discretion
of the court to appoint Commissioner to record cross-examination and re-
examination of witnesses. The purpose would be served by noticing some
illustrative cases which would serve as broad and general guidelines for
the exercise of discretion. For instance, a case may involve complex
question of title, complex question in partition or suits relating to
partnership business or suits involving serious allegations of fraud, forgery,
serious disputes as to the execution of the will etc. In such cases, as far
as possible, the court may prefer to itself record the cross-examination of
the material witnesses. Another contention raised is that when evidence is
recorded by the Commissioner, the Court would be deprived of the benefit
of watching the demeanour of witness. That may be so but, In our view,
the will of the legislature, which has by amending the Code provided for
recording evidence by the Commissioner for saving Court’s time taken for
the said purpose, cannot be defeated merely on the ground that the Court
would be deprived of watching the demeanour of the witnesses. Further,
as noticed above, in some cases, which are complex in nature, the prayer
for recording evidence by the Commissioner may be declined by the Court.
It may also be noted that Order XVIII Rule 4, specifically provides that the
Commissioner may record such remarks as it thinks material in respect of
the demeanour of any witness while under examination. The Court would
have the benefit of the observations if made by the Commissioner.
The report notices that in some States, advocates are being required
to pass a test conducted by the High Court in the subjects of Civil
Procedure Code and Evidence Act for the purpose of empanelling them on
the panels of Commissioners. It is a good practice. We would, however,
leave it to the High Courts to examine this aspect and decide to adopt or
not such a procedure. Regarding the apprehension that the payment of
fee to the Commissioner will add to the burden of the litigant, we feel that
generally the expenses incurred towards the fee payable to the
Commissioner is likely to be less than expenditure incurred for attending
the Courts on various dates for recording evidence besides the
harassment and inconvenience to attend the Court again and again for the
same purpose and, therefore, in reality in most of the cases, there could be
no additional burden.
Amendment to Order XVIII Rule 5(a) and (b) was made in 1976
whereby it was provided that in all appealable cases evidence shall be
recorded by the Court. Order XVIII Rule 4 was amended by Amendment
Act of 1999 and again by Amendment Act of 2002. Order XVIII Rule 4(3)
enables the commissioners to record evidence in all type of cases
including appealable cases. The contention urged is that there is conflict
between these provisions.
To examine the contention, it is also necessary to keep in view
Order XVIII Rule 19 which was inserted by Amendment Act of 1999. It
reads as under:
“Power to get statements recorded on
commission.Notwithstanding anything
contained in these rules, the Court may, instead
of examining witnesses in open Court, direct their
statements to be recorded on commission under
rule 4A of the Order XXVI.”

The aforesaid provision contains a non-obstante clause. It overrides
Order XVIII Rule 5 which provides the court to record evidence in all
appealable cases. The Court is, therefore, empowered to appoint a
Commissioner for recording of evidence in appealable cases as well.
Further, Order XXVI Rule 4-A inserted by Amendment Act of 1999
provides that notwithstanding anything contained in the Rules, any court
may in the interest of justice or for the expeditious disposal of the case or
for any other reason, issue Commission in any suit for the examination of
any person resident within the local limits of the court’s jurisdiction. Order
XVIII Rule 19 and Order XXVI Rule 4-A, in our view, would override Order
XVIII Rule 5(a) and (b). There is, thus, no conflict.
The next question that has been raised is about the power of the
Commissioner to declare a witness hostile. Order XVIII Rule 4(4) requires
that any objection raised during the recording of evidence before the
Commissioner shall be recorded by him and decided by the Court at the
stage of arguments. Order XVIII Rule 4(8) stipulates that the provisions of
Rules 16, 16-A, 17 and 18 of Order XXVI, in so far as they are applicable,
shall apply to the issue, execution and return of such commission
thereunder. The discretion to declare a witness hostile has not been
conferred on the Commissioner. Under Section 154 of the Evidence Act, it
is the Court which has to grant permission, in its discretion, to a person
who calls a witness, to put any question to that witness which might be put
in cross-examination by the adverse party. The powers delegated to the
Commissioner under Order XXVI Rules 16, 16-A, 17 and 18 do not include
the discretion that is vested in Court under Section 154 of the Evidence Act
to declare a witness hostile.
If a situation as to declaring a witness hostile arises before a
Commission recording evidence, the concerned party shall have to obtain
permission from the Court under Section 154 of the Evidence Act and it is
only after grant of such permission that the Commissioner can allow a
party to cross-examine his own witness. Having regard to the facts of the
case, the Court may either grant such permission or even consider to
withdraw the commission so as to itself record remaining evidence or
impose heavy costs if it finds that permission was sought to delay the
progress of the suit or harass the opposite party.
Another aspect is about proper care to be taken by the Commission
of the original documents. Undoubtedly, the Commission has to take
proper care of the original documents handed over to him either by Court
or filed before him during recording of evidence. In this regard, the High
Courts may frame necessary rules, regulations or issue practice directions
so as to ensure safe and proper custody of the documents when the same
are before the Commissioner. It is the duty and obligation of the
Commissioners to keep the documents in safe custody and also not to give
access of the record to one party in absence of the opposite party or his
counsel. The Commissioners can be required to redeposit the documents
with the Court in case long adjournments are granted and for taking back
the documents before the adjourned date.
Additional Evidence
In Salem Advocates Bar Association’s case, it has been clarified
that on deletion of Order XVIII Rule 17-A which provided for leading of
additional evidence, the law existing before the introduction of the
amendment, i.e., 1st July, 2002, would stand restored. The Rule was
deleted by Amendment Act of 2002. Even before insertion of Order XVIII
Rule 17-A, the Court had inbuilt power to permit parties to produce
evidence not known to them earlier or which could not be produced in spite
of due diligence. Order XVIII Rule 17-A did not create any new right but
only clarified the position. Therefore, deletion of Order XVIII Rule 17-A
does not disentitle production of evidence at a later stage. On a party
satisfying the Court that after exercise of due diligence that evidence was
not within his knowledge or could not be produced at the time the party
was leading evidence, the Court may permit leading of such evidence at a
later stage on such terms as may appear to be just.
Order VIII Rule 1
Order VIII Rule 1, as amended by Act 46 of 1999 provides that the
defendant shall within 30 days from the date of service of summons on
him, present a written statement of his defence. The rigour of this
provision was reduced by Amendment Act 22 of 2002 which enables the
Court to extend time for filing written statement, on recording sufficient
reasons therefor, but the extension can be maximum for 90 days.
The question is whether the Court has any power or jurisdiction to
extend the period beyond 90 days. The maximum period of 90 days to file
written statement has been provided but the consequences on failure to
file written statement within the said period have not been provided for in
Order VIII Rule 1. The point for consideration is whether the provision
providing for maximum period of ninety days is mandatory and, therefore,
the Court is altogether powerless to extend the time even in an
exceptionally hard case.
It has been common practice for the parties to take long
adjournments for filing written statements. The legislature with a view to
curb this practice and to avoid unnecessary delay and adjournments, has
provided for the maximum period within which the written statement is
required to be filed. The mandatory or directory nature of Order VIII Rule 1
shall have to be determined by having regard to the object sought to be
achieved by the amendment. It is, thus, necessary to find out the intention
of the legislature. The consequences which may follow and whether the
same were intended by the legislature have also to be kept in view.
In Raza Buland Sugar Co. Ltd., Rampur v. The Municipal Board,
Rampur [AIR 1965 SC 895], a Constitution Bench of this Court held that
the question whether a particular provision is mandatory or directory
cannot be resolved by laying down any general rule and it would depend
upon the facts of each case and for that purpose the object of the statute in
making out the provision is the determining factor. The purpose for which
the provision has been made and its nature, the intention of the legislature
in making the provision, the serious general inconvenience or injustice to
persons resulting from whether the provision is read one way or the other,
the relation of the particular provision to other provisions dealing with the
same subject and other considerations which may arise on the facts of a
particular case including the language of the provision, have all to be taken
into account in arriving at the conclusion whether a particular provision is
mandatory or directory.
In Sangram Singh v. Election Tribunal Kotah & Anr. [AIR 1955
SC 425], considering the provisions of the Code dealing with the trial of the
suits, it was opined that:
“Now a code of procedure must be regarded as
such. It is procedure, something designed to
facilitate justice and further its ends: not a Penal
enactment for punishment and penalties; not a
thing designed to trip people up. Too technical
construction of sections that leaves no room for
reasonable elasticity of interpretation should
therefore be guarded against (provided always
that justice is done to both sides) lest the very
means designed for the furtherance of justice be
used to frustrate it.

Next, there must be ever present to the mind the
fact that our laws of procedure are grounded on a
principle of natural justice which requires that
men should not be condemned unheard, that
decisions should not be reached behind their
backs, that proceedings that affect their lives and
property should not continue in their absence and
that they should not be precluded from
participating in them. Of course, there must be
exceptions and where they are clearly defined
they must be given effect to. But taken by and
large, and subject to that proviso, our laws of
procedure should be construed, wherever that is
reasonably possible, in the light of that principle. “

In Topline Shoes Ltd. v. Corporation Bank [(2002) 6 SCC 33], the
question for consideration was whether the State Consumer Disputes
Redressal Commission could grant time to the respondent to file reply
beyond total period of 45 days in view of Section 13(2) of the Consumer
Protection Act, 1986. It was held that the intention to provide time frame to
file reply is really made to expedite the hearing of such matters and avoid
unnecessary adjournments. It was noticed that no penal consequences
had been prescribed if the reply is not filed in the prescribed time. The
provision was held to be directory. It was observed that the provision is
more by way of procedure to achieve the object of speedy disposal of the
case.
The use of the word ‘shall’ in Order VIII Rule 1 by itself is not
conclusive to determine whether the provision is mandatory or directory.
We have to ascertain the object which is required to be served by this
provision and its design and context in which it is enacted. The use of the
word ‘shall’ is ordinarily indicative of mandatory nature of the provision but
having regard to the context in which it is used or having regard to the
intention of the legislation, the same can be construed as directory. The
rule in question has to advance the cause of justice and not to defeat it.
The rules of procedure are made to advance the cause of justice and not
to defeat it. Construction of the rule or procedure which promotes justice
and prevents miscarriage has to be preferred. The rules or procedure are
handmaid of justice and not its mistress. In the present context, the strict
interpretation would defeat justice.
In construing this provision, support can also be had from Order VIII
Rule 10 which provides that where any party from whom a written
statement is required under Rule 1 or Rule 9, fails to present the same
within the time permitted or fixed by the Court, the Court shall pronounce
judgment against him, or make such other order in relation to the suit as it
thinks fit. On failure to file written statement under this provision, the Court
has been given the discretion either to pronounce judgment against the
defendant or make such other order in relation to suit as it thinks fit. In the
context of the provision, despite use of the word ‘shall’, the court has been
given the discretion to pronounce or not to pronounce the judgment
against the defendant even if written statement is not filed and instead
pass such order as it may think fit in relation to the suit. In construing the
provision of Order VIII Rule 1 and Rule 10, the doctrine of harmonious
construction is required to be applied. The effect would be that under Rule
10 of Order VIII, the court in its discretion would have power to allow the
defendant to file written statement even after expiry of period of 90 days
provided in Order VIII Rule 1. There is no restriction in Order VIII Rule 10
that after expiry of ninety days, further time cannot be granted. The Court
has wide power to ‘make such order in relation to the suit as it thinks fit’.
Clearly, therefore, the provision of Order VIII Rule 1 providing for upper
limit of 90 days to file written statement is directory. Having said so, we
wish to make it clear that the order extending time to file written statement
cannot be made in routine. The time can be extended only in exceptionally
hard cases. While extending time, it has to be borne in mind that the
legislature has fixed the upper time limit of 90 days. The discretion of the
Court to extend the time shall not be so frequently and routinely exercised
so as to nullify the period fixed by Order VIII Rule 1.
Section 39
Section 39(1) of the Code provides that the Court which passed a
decree may, on the application of the decree-holder send it for execution to
another court of competent jurisdiction. By Act 22 of 2002, Section 39(4)
has been inserted providing that nothing in the section shall be deemed to
authorise the Court which passed a decree to execute such decree against
any person or property outside the local limits of its jurisdiction. The
question is whether this newly added provision prohibits the executing
court from executing a decree against a person or property outside its
jurisdiction and whether this provision overrides Order XXI Rule 3 and
Order XXI Rule 48 or whether these provisions continue to be an exception
to Section 39(4) as was the legal position before the amendment.
Order XXI Rule 3 provides that where immoveable property forms
one estate or tenure situate within the local limits of the jurisdiction of two
or more courts, any one of such courts may attach and sell the entire
estate or tenure. Likewise, under Order XXI Rule 48, attachment of salary
of a Government servant, Railway servant or servant of local authority can
be made by the court whether the judgment-debtor or the disbursing officer
is or is not within the local limits of the court’s jurisdiction.
Section 39 does not authorise the Court to execute the decree
outside its jurisdiction but it does not dilute the other provisions giving such
power on compliance of conditions stipulated in those provisions. Thus,
the provisions, such as, Order XXI Rule 3 or Order XXI Rule 48 which
provide differently, would not be effected by Section 39(4) of the Code.
Section 64(2)
Section 64(2) in the Code has been inserted by Amendment Act 22
of 2002. Section 64, as it originally stood, has been renumbered as
Section 64(1). Section 64(1), inter alia, provides that where an attachment
has been made, any private transfer or delivery of property attached or of
any interest therein contrary to such attachment shall be void as against all
claims enforceable under the attachment. Sub-section (2) protects the
aforesaid acts if made in pursuance of any contract for such transfer or
delivery entered into and registered before the attachment. The concept of
registration has been introduced to prevent false and frivolous cases of
contracts being set up with a view to defeat the attachments. If the
contract is registered and there is subsequent attachment, any sale deed
executed after attachment will be valid. If it is unregistered, the
subsequent sale after attachment would not be valid. Such sale would not
be protected. There is no ambiguity in sub-section (2) of Section 64.
Order VI Rule 17
Order VI Rule 17 of the Code deals with amendment of pleadings.
By Amendment Act 46 of 1999, this provision was deleted. It has again
been restored by Amendment Act 22 of 2002 but with an added proviso to
prevent application for amendment being allowed after the trial has
commenced, unless court comes to the conclusion that in spite of due
diligence, the party could not have raised the matter before the
commencement of trial. The proviso, to some extent, curtails absolute
discretion to allow amendment at any stage. Now, if application is filed
after commencement of trial, it has to be shown that in spite of due
diligence, such amendment could not have been sought earlier. The
object is to prevent frivolous applications which are filed to delay the trial.
There is no illegality in the provision.
Service through Courier
Order V Rule 9, inter alia, permits service of summons by party or
through courier. Order V Rule 9(3) and Order V Rule 9-A permit service of
summons by courier or by the plaintiff. Order V Rule 9(5) requires the
court to declare that the summons had been duly served on the defendant
on the contingencies mentioned in the provision. It is in the nature of
deemed service. The apprehension expressed is that service outside the
normal procedure is likely to lead to false reports of service and passing of
ex parte decrees. It is further urged that courier’s report about defendant’s
refusal to accept service is also likely to lead to serious malpractice and
abuse.
While considering the submissions of learned counsel, it has to be
borne in mind that problem in respect of service of summons has been one
of the major causes of delay in the due progress of the case. It is common
knowledge that the defendants have been avoiding to accept summons.
There have been serious problems in process serving agencies in various
courts. There can, thus, be no valid objection in giving opportunity to the
plaintiff to serve the summons on the defendant or get it served through
courier. There is, however, danger of false reports of service. It is
required to be adequately guarded. The courts shall have to be very
careful while dealing with a case where orders for deemed service are
required to be made on the basis of endorsement of such service or
refusal. The High Courts can make appropriate rules and regulations or
issue practice directions to ensure that such provisions of service are not
abused so as to obtain false endorsements. In this regard, the High
Courts can consider making a provision for filing of affidavit setting out
details of events at the time of refusal of service. For instance, it can be
provided that the affidavit of person effecting service shall state as to who
all were present at that time and also that the affidavit shall be in the
language known to the deponent. It can also be provided that if affidavit or
any endorsement as to service is found to be false, the deponent can be
summarily tried and punished for perjury and the courier company can be
black-listed. The guidelines as to the relevant details to be given can be
issued by the High Courts. The High Courts, it is hoped, would issue as
expeditiously as possible, requisite guidelines to the trial courts by framing
appropriate rules, order, regulations or practice directions.
Adjournments
Order XVII of the Code relates to grant of adjournments. Two
amendments have been made therein. One that adjournment shall not be
granted to a party more than three times during hearing of the suit. The
other relates to cost of adjournment. The awarding of cost has been made
mandatory. Costs that can be awarded are of two types. First, cost
occasioned by the adjournment and second such higher cost as the court
deems fit.
While examining the scope of proviso to Order XVII Rule 1 that more
than three adjournments shall not be granted, it is to be kept in view that
proviso to Order XVII Rule 2 incorporating clauses (a) to (e) by Act 104 of
1976 has been retained. Clause (b) stipulates that no adjournment shall
be granted at the request of a party, except where the circumstances are
beyond the control of that party. The proviso to Order XVII Rule 1 and
Order XVII Rule 2 have to be read together. So read, Order XVII does not
forbid grant of adjournment where the circumstances are beyond the
control of the party. In such a case, there is no restriction on number of
adjournments to be granted. It cannot be said that even if the
circumstances are beyond the control of a party, after having obtained third
adjournment, no further adjournment would be granted. There may be
cases beyond the control of a party despite the party having obtained three
adjournments. For instance, a party may be suddenly hospitalized on
account of some serious ailment or there may be serious accident or some
act of God leading to devastation. It cannot be said that though
circumstances may be beyond the control of a party, further adjournment
cannot be granted because of restriction of three adjournments as
provided in proviso to Order XVII Rule 1.
In some extreme cases, it may become necessary to grant
adjournment despite the fact that three adjournments have already been
granted (Take the example of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Gujarat earthquake
and riots, devastation on account of Tsunami). Ultimately, it would depend
upon the facts and circumstances of each case, on the basis whereof the
Court would decide to grant or refuse adjournment. The provision for costs
and higher costs has been made because of practice having been
developed to award only a nominal cost even when adjournment on
payment of costs is granted. Ordinarily, where the costs or higher costs
are awarded, the same should be realistic and as far as possible actual
cost that had to be incurred by the other party shall be awarded where the
adjournment is found to be avoidable but is being granted on account of
either negligence or casual approach of a party or is being sought to delay
the progress of the case or on any such reason. Further, to save proviso
to Order XVII Rule 1 from the vice of Article 14 of the Constitution of India,
it is necessary to read it down so as not to take away the discretion of the
Court in the extreme hard cases noted above. The limitation of three
adjournments would not apply where adjournment is to be granted on
account of circumstances which are beyond the control of a party. Even in
cases which may not strictly come within the category of circumstances
beyond the control of a party, the Court by resorting to the provision of
higher cost which can also include punitive cost in the discretion of the
Court, adjournment beyond three can be granted having regard to the
injustice that may result on refusal thereof, with reference to peculiar facts
of a case. We may, however, add that grant of any adjournment let alone
first, second or third adjournment is not a right of a party. The grant of
adjournment by a court has to be on a party showing special and extra-
ordinary circumstances. It cannot be in routine. While considering prayer
for grant of adjournment, it is necessary to keep in mind the legislative
intent to restrict grant of adjournments.
Order XVIII Rule 2
Order XVIII Rule 2(4) which was inserted by Act 104 of 1976 has
been omitted by Act 46 of 1999. Under the said Rule, the Court could
direct or permit any party, to examine any party or any witness at any
stage. The effect of deletion is the restoration of the status quo ante. This
means that law that was prevalent prior to 1976 amendment, would
govern. The principles as noticed hereinbefore in regard to deletion of
Order XVIII Rule 17(a) would apply to the deletion of this provision as well.
Even prior to insertion of Order XVIII Rule 2(4), such a permission could be
granted by the Court in its discretion. The provision was inserted in 1976
by way of caution. The omission of Order XVIII Rule 2(4) by 1999
amendment does not take away Court’s inherent power to call for any
witness at any stage either suo moto or on the prayer of a party invoking
the inherent powers of the Court.
In Order XVIII Rule 2 sub-rules (3A) to 3(D) have been inserted by
Act 22 of 2002. The object of filing written arguments or fixing time limit of
oral arguments is with a view to save time of court. The adherence to the
requirement of these rules is likely to help in administering fair and speedy
justice.

Order VII Rule 14
Order VII Rule 14 deals with production of documents which are the
basis of the suit or the documents in plaintiff’s possession or power.
These documents are to be entered in the list of documents and produced
in the Court with plaint. Order VII Rule 14(3) requires leave of Court to be
obtained for production of the documents later. Order VII Rule 14(4) reads
as under:
“Nothing in this rule shall apply to document
produced for the cross examination of the
plaintiff’s witnesses, or, handed over to a witness
merely to refresh his memory.”
In the aforesaid Rule, it is evident that the words ‘plaintiff’s
witnesses’ have been mentioned as a result of mistake seems to have
been committed by the legislature. The words ought to be ‘defendant’s
witnesses’. There is a similar provision in Order VIII Rule 1A(4) which
applies to a defendant. It reads as under:
“Nothing in this rule shall apply to documents 
(a) produced for the cross-examination of the
plaintiff’s witnesses, or
(b) handed over to a witness merely to refresh
his memory.”
Order VII relates to the production of documents by the plaintiff
whereas Order VIII relates to production of documents by the defendant.
Under Order VIII Rule 1A(4) a document not produced by defendant can
be confronted to the plaintiff’s witness during cross-examination. Similarly,
the plaintiff can also confront the defendant’s witness with a document
during cross-examination. By mistake, instead of ‘defendant’s witnesses’,
the words ‘plaintiff’s witnesses’ have been mentioned in Order VII Rule (4).
To avoid any confusion, we direct that till the legislature corrects the
mistake, the words ‘plaintiff’s witnesses, would be read as ‘defendant’s
witnesses’ in Order VII Rule 4. We, however, hope that the mistake would
be expeditiously corrected by the legislature.
Costs
Section 35 of the Code deals with the award of cost and Section 35A
with award of compensatory costs in respect of false or vexatious claims or
defences. Section 95 deals with grant of compensation for obtaining
arrest, attachment or injunction on insufficient grounds. These three
sections deal with three different aspects of award of cost and
compensation. Under Section 95 cost can be awarded upto Rs.50,000/-
and under Section 35A, the costs awardable are upto Rs.3,000/-. Section
35B provides for award of cost for causing delay where a party fails to take
the step which he was required by or under the Code to take or obtains an
adjournment for taking such step or for producing evidence or on any other
ground. In circumstances mentioned in Section 35-B an order may be
made requiring the defaulting party to pay to other party such costs as
would, in the opinion of the court, be reasonably sufficient to reimburse the
other party in respect of the expenses incurred by him in attending the
court on that date, and payment of such costs, on the date next following
the date of such order, shall be a condition precedent to the further
prosecution of the suit or the defence. Section 35 postulates that the cost
shall follow the event and if not, reasons thereof shall be stated. The
award of the cost of the suit is in the discretion of the Court. In Sections 35
and 35B, there is no upper limit of amount of cost awardable.
Judicial notice can be taken of the fact that many unscrupulous
parties take advantage of the fact that either the costs are not awarded or
nominal costs are awarded on the unsuccessful party. Unfortunately, it
has become a practice to direct parties to bear their own costs. In large
number of cases, such an order is passed despite Section 35(2) of the
Code. Such a practice also encourages filing of frivolous suits. It also
leads to taking up of frivolous defences. Further wherever costs are
awarded, ordinarily the same are not realistic and are nominal. When
Section 35(2) provides for cost to follow the event, it is implicit that the
costs have to be those which are reasonably incurred by a successful
party except in those cases where the Court in its discretion may direct
otherwise by recording reasons thereof. The costs have to be actual
reasonable costs including the cost of the time spent by the successful
party, the transportation and lodging, if any, or any other incidental cost
besides the payment of the court fee, lawyer’s fee, typing and other cost in
relation to the litigation. It is for the High Courts to examine these aspects
and wherever necessary make requisite rules, regulations or practice
direction so as to provide appropriate guidelines for the subordinate courts
to follow.
Section 80
Section 80(1) of the Code requires prior notice of two months to be
served on the Government as a condition for filing a suit except when there
is urgency for interim order in which case the Court may not insist on the
rigid rule of prior notice. The two months period has been provided for so
that the Government shall examine the claim put up in the notice and has
sufficient time to send a suitable reply. The underlying object is to curtail
the litigation. The object also is to curtail the area of dispute and
controversy. Similar provisions also exist in various other legislations as
well. Wherever the statutory provision requires service of notice as a
condition precedent for filing of suit and prescribed period therefore, it is
not only necessary for the governments or departments or other statutory
bodies to send a reply to such a notice but it is further necessary to
properly deal with all material points and issues raised in the notice. The
Governments, Government departments or statutory authorities are
defendants in large number of suits pending in various courts in the
country. Judicial notice can be taken of the fact that in large number of
cases either the notice is not replied or in few cases where reply is sent, it
is generally vague and evasive. The result is that the object underlying
Section 80 of the Code and similar provisions gets defeated. It not only
gives rise to avoidable litigation but also results in heavy expense and cost
to the exchequer as well. Proper reply can result in reduction of litigation
between State and the citizens. In case proper reply is sent either the
claim in the notice may be admitted or area of controversy curtailed or the
citizen may be satisfied on knowing the stand of the State. There is no
accountability in the Government, Central or State or the statutory
authorities in violating the spirit and object of Section 80.
These provisions cast an implied duty on all concerned governments
and States and statutory authorities to send appropriate reply to such
notices. Having regard to the existing state of affairs, we direct all
concerned governments, Central or State or other authorities, whenever
any statute requires service of notice as a condition precedent for filing of
suit or other proceedings against it, to nominate, within a period of three
months, an officer who shall be made responsible to ensure that replies to
notices under Section 80 or similar provisions are sent within the period
stipulated in a particular legislation. The replies shall be sent after due
application of mind. Despite such nomination, if the Court finds that either
the notice has not been replied or reply is evasive and vague and has
been sent without proper application of mind, the Court shall ordinarily
award heavy cost against the Government and direct it to take appropriate
action against the concerned Officer including recovery of costs from him.
Section 115 of the Code vests power of revision in the High Court
over courts subordinate to it. Proviso to Section 115(1) of the Code before
the amendment by Act 46 of 1999 read as under :
“Provided that the High Court shall not, under this
section vary or reverse any order made, or may
order deciding an issue, in the course of a suit or
other proceeding except where 
(a) the order, if it had been made in favour of
the party applying for revision, would have
finally disposed of the suit or other
proceeding; or
(b) the order, if allowed to stand, would
occasion a failure of justice or cause
irreparable injury to the party against whom
it was made.”
Now, the aforesaid proviso has been substituted by the following
proviso. :
“Provided that the High Court shall not, under this
section, vary or reverse any order made, or any
order deciding an issue, in the course of a suit or
other proceeding, except where the order, if it had
been made in favour of the party applying for
revision, would have finally disposed of the suit or
other proceedings.”
The aforesaid clause (b) stands omitted. The question is about the
constitutional powers of the High Courts under Article 227 on account of
omission made in Section 115 of the Code. The question stands settled by
a decision of this Court in Surya Dev Rai v. Ram Chander Rai & Ors.
[2003 (6) SCC 675] holding that the power of the High Court under Articles
226 and 227 of the Constitution is always in addition to the revisional
jurisdiction conferred on it. Curtailment of revisional jurisdiction of the High
Court under Section 115 of the Code does not take away and could not
have taken away the constitutional jurisdiction of the High Court. The
power exists, untrammeled by the amendment in Section 115 and is
available to be exercised subject to rules of self-discipline and practice
which are as well settled.
Section 148
The amendment made in Section 148 affects the power of the Court
to enlarge time that may have been fixed or granted by the Court for the
doing of any act prescribed or allowed by the Code. The amendment
provides that the period shall not exceed 30 days in total. Before
amendment, there was no such restriction of time. Whether the Court has
no inherent power to extend the time beyond 30 days is the question. We
have no doubt that the upper limit fixed in Section 148 cannot take away
the inherent power of the Court to pass orders as may be necessary for
the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of process of Court. The rigid
operation of the section would lead to absurdity. Section 151 has,
therefore, to be allowed to fully operate. Extension beyond maximum of 30
days, thus, can be permitted if the act could not be performed within 30
days for the reasons beyond the control of the party. We are not dealing
with a case where time for doing an act has been prescribed under the
provisions of the Limitation Act which cannot be extended either under
Section 148 or Section 151. We are dealing with a case where the time is
fixed or granted by the Court for performance of an act prescribed or
allowed by the Court.
In Mahanth Ram Das v. Ganga Das [AIR 1961 SC 882], this Court
considered a case where an order was passed by the Court that if the
Court fee was not paid by a particular day, the suit shall stand dismissed.
It was a self-operating order leading to dismissal of the suit. The party’s
application filed under Sections 148 and 151 of the Code for extension of
time was dismissed. Allowing the appeal, it was observed:
“How undesirable it is to fix time peremptorily for
a future happening which leaves the Court
powerless to deal with events that might arise in
between, it is not necessary to decide in this
appeal. These orders turn out, often enough to
be inexpedient. Such procedural orders, though
peremptory (conditional decree apart), are, in
essence, in terrorem, so that dilatory litigants
might put themselves in order and avoid delay.
They do not, however, completely estop a Court
from taking note of events and circumstances
which happen within the time fixed. For example,
it cannot be said that, if the appellant had started
with the full money ordered to be paid and came
well in time, but was set upon and robbed by
thieves the day previous, he could not ask for
extension of time or that the Court was powerless
to extend it. Such orders are not like the law of
the Medes and the Persians.”
There can be many cases where non-grant of extension beyond 30
days would amount to failure of justice. The object of the Code is not to
promote failure of justice. Section 148, therefore, deserves to be read
down to mean that where sufficient cause exists or events are beyond the
control of a party, the Court would have inherent power to extend time
beyond 30 days.
Order IX Rule 5
The period of seven days mentioned in Order IX Rule 5 is clearly
directory.
Order XI Rule 15
The stipulation in Rule 15 of Order XI confining the inspection of
documents ‘at or before the settlement of issues’ instead of ‘at any time’ is
also nothing but directory. It does not mean that the inspection cannot be
allowed after the settlement of issues.
Judicial Impact Assessment
The Committee has taken note of para 7.8.2 of Volume I of the
Report of the National Commission to Review the Working of the
Constitution which reads as follows :
“7.8.2 Government of India should not throw the
entire burden of establishing the subordinate
courts and maintaining the subordinate judiciary
on the State Governments. There is a concurrent
obligation on the Union Government to meet the
expenditure for subordinate courts. Therefore,
the Planning Commission and the Finance
Commission must allocate sufficient funds from
national resources to meet the demands of the
State Judiciary in each of the States.”

The Committee has further noticed that :
“33.3 As pointed out by the Constitution Review
Commission, the laws which are being
administered by the Courts which are subordinate
to the High Court are laws which have been made
by,
(a) parliament on subjects which fall under the
Entries in List I and List III of Schedule 7 to
the Constitution, or
(b) State legislatures on subjects which fall
under the Entries in List II and List III of
Schedule 7 to the Constitution.
But, the bulk of the cases (civil, criminal) in the
subordinate Courts concern the Law of Contract,
Transfer of Property Act, Sale of Goods Act,
Negotiable Instruments Act, Indian Penal Code,
Code of Civil Procedure, Code of Criminal
Procedure etc., which are all Central Laws made
under List III. In addition, the subordinate Courts
adjudicate cases (in civil, criminal) arising under
Central Laws made under List I.
33.4 The central Government has, therefore, to
bear a substantial portion of the expenditure on
subordinate Courts which are now being
established/maintained by the States. (The
Central Government has only recently given
monies for the fast track courts but these courts
are a small fraction of the required number).
33.5 Under Article 247, Central Government
could establish Courts for the purpose of
administering Central Laws in List I. Except a few
Tribunals, no such Courts have been established
commensurate with the number of cases arising
out of subjects in List I.”
The Committee has suggested that the Central Government has to
provide substantial funds for establishing courts which are subordinate to
the High Court and the Planning Commission and the Finance must make
adequate provisions therefore, noticing that it has been so recommended
by the Constitution Review Committee.
The Committee has also suggested that :
“Further, there must be ‘judicial impact
assessment’, as done in the United States,
whenever any legislation is introduced either in
Parliament or in the State Legislatures. The
financial memorandum attached to each Bill must
estimate not only the budgetary requirement of
other staff but also the budgetary requirement for
meeting the expenses of the additional cases that
may arise out of the new Bill when it is passed by
the legislature. The said budget must mention
the number of civil and criminal cases likely to be
generated by the new Act, how many Courts are
necessary, how many Judges and staff are
necessary and what is the infrastructure
necessary. So far in the last fifty years such a
judicial impact assessment has never been made
by any legislature or by Parliament in our
country.”

Having regard to the constitutional obligation to provide fair, quick
and speedy justice, we direct the Central Government to examine the
aforesaid suggestions and submit a report on this Court within four
months.
Report No.2
We will now take up Report No.2 dealing with model Alternative
Dispute Resolution and Mediation Rules.
Part X of the Code (Sections 121 to 131) contains provisions in
respect of the Rules. Sections 122 and 125 enable the High Courts to
make Rules. Section 128 deals with matters for which rules may provide.
It, inter alia, states that the rules which are not inconsistent with the
provisions in the body of the Code, but, subject thereto, may provide for
any matters relating to the procedure of Civil Courts.
The question for consideration is about framing of the rules for the
purposes of Section 89 and Order X Rules 1A, 1B and 1C. These
provisions read as under:
“89.Settlement of disputes outside the Court
(1) Where it appears to the Court that there exist
elements of a settlement which may be
acceptable to the parties, the Court shall
formulate the terms of settlement and given them
to the parties for their observations and after
receiving the observations of the parties, the
Court may reformulate the terms of a possible
settlement and refer the same for
(a) arbitration;
(b) conciliation;
(c) judicial settlement including
settlement through Lok Adalat; or
(d) mediation.
(2) Where a dispute has been referred
(a) for arbitration or conciliation, the provisions
of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
(26 of 1996) shall apply as if the
proceedings for arbitration or conciliation
were referred for settlement under the
provisions of that Act;
(b) to Lok Adalat, the Court shall refer the
same to the Lok Adalat in accordance with
the provisions of sub-section (1) of section
20 of the Legal Services Authority Act,
1987 (39 of 1987) and all other provisions
of that Act shall apply in respect of the
dispute so referred to the Lok Adalat;
(c) for judicial settlement, the Court shall refer
the same to a suitable institution or person
and such institution or person shall be
deemed to be a Lok Adalat and all the
provisions of the Legal Services Authority
Act, 1987 (39 of 1987) shall apply as if the
dispute were referred to a Lok Adalat under
the provisions of that Act;
(d) for mediation, the Court shall effect a
compromise between the parties and shall
follow such procedure as may be
prescribed.

1A. Direction of the court to opt for any
one mode of alternative dispute
resolution.After recording the admissions
and denials, the Court shall direct the
parties to the suit to opt either mode of the
settlement outside the Court as specified in
sub-section (1) of section 89. On the
option of the parties, the Court shall fix the
date of appearance before such forum or
authority as may be opted by the parties.
1B. Appearance before the conciliatory
forum or authorityWhere a suit is referred
under rule 1A, the parties shall appear
before such forum or authority for
conciliation of the suit.
1C. Appearance before the Court
consequent to the failure of efforts of
conciliationWhere a suit is referred under
rule 1A and the presiding officer of
conciliation forum or authority is satisfied
that it would not be proper in the interest of
justice to proceed with the matter further,
then, it shall refer the matter again to the
Court and direct the parties to appear
before the Court on the date fixed by it.”

Some doubt as to a possible conflict has been expressed in view of
use of the word ‘may’ in Section 89 when it stipulates that ‘the Court may
reformulate the terms of a possible settlement and refer the same for’ and
use of the word ‘shall’ in Order X, Rule 1A when it states that ‘the Court
shall direct the parties to the suit to opt either mode of settlements outside
the Court as specified in sub-section (1) of Section 89′.
As can be seen from Section 89, its first part uses the word ‘shall’
when it stipulates that the ‘court shall formulate terms of settlement’. The
use of the word ‘may’ in later part of Section 89 only relates to the aspect
of reformulating the terms of a possible settlement. The intention of the
legislature behind enacting Section 89 is that where it appears to the Court
that there exists element of a settlement which may be acceptable to the
parties, they, at the instance of the court, shall be made to apply their mind
so as to opt for one or the other of the four ADR methods mentioned in the
Section and if the parties do not agree, the court shall refer them to one or
other of the said modes. Section 89 uses both the word ‘shall’ and ‘may’
whereas Order X, Rule 1A uses the word ‘shall’ but on harmonious reading
of these provisions it becomes clear that the use of the word ‘may’ in
Section 89 only governs the aspect of reformulation of the terms of a
possible settlement and its reference to one of ADR methods. There is no
conflict. It is evident that what is referred to one of the ADR modes is the
dispute which is summarized in the terms of settlement formulated or
reformulated in terms of Section 89.
One of the modes to which the dispute can be referred is
‘Arbitration’. Section 89 (2) provides that where a dispute has been
referred for Arbitration or Conciliation, the provisions of the Arbitration and
Conciliation Act, 1996 (for short ‘1996 Act’) shall apply as if the
proceedings for Arbitration or Conciliation were referred for settlement
under the provisions of 1996 Act. Section 8 of the 1996 Act deals with the
power to refer parties to Arbitration where there is arbitration agreement.
As held in P.Anand Gajapathi Raju and Others v. P.V.G.Raju (Dead)
and Others [(2000) 4 SCC 539], 1996 Act governs a case where
arbitration is agreed upon before or pending a suit by all the parties. The
1996 Act, however, does not contemplate a situation as in Section 89 of
the Code where the Court asks the parties to choose one or other ADRs
including Arbitration and the parties choose Arbitration as their option. Of
course, the parties have to agree for Arbitration. Section 82 of 1996 Act
enables the High Court to make Rules consistent with this Act as to all
proceedings before the Court under 1996 Act. Section 84 enables the
Central Government to make rules for carrying out the provisions of the
Act. The procedure for option to Arbitration among four ADRs is not
contemplated by the 1996 Act and, therefore, Section 82 or 84 has no
applicability where parties agree to go for arbitration under Section 89 of
the Code. As already noticed, for the purposes of Section 89 and Order X,
Rule 1A, 1B and 1C, the relevant Sections in Part X of the Code enable
the High Court to frame rules. If reference is made to Arbitration under
Section 89 of the Code, 1996 Act would apply only from the stage after
reference and not before the stage of reference when options under
Section 89 are given by the Court and chosen by the parties. On the
same analogy, 1996 Act in relation to Conciliation would apply only after
the stage of reference to Conciliation. The 1996 Act does not deal with a
situation where after suit is filed, the court requires a party to choose one
or other ADRs including Conciliation. Thus, for Conciliation also rules can
be made under Part X of the Code for purposes of procedure for opting for
‘Conciliation’ and upto the stage of reference to Conciliation. Thus, there
is no impediment in the ADR rules being framed in relation to Civil Court as
contemplated in Section 89 upto the stage of reference to ADR. The 1996
Act comes into play only after the stage of reference upto the award.
Applying the same analogy, the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 (for
short ‘1987 Act’) or the Rules framed thereunder by the State
Governments cannot act as impediment in the High Court making rules
under Part X of the Code covering the manner in which option to Lok
Adalat can be made being one of the modes provided in Section 89. The
1987 Act also does not deal with the aspect of exercising option to one of
four ADR methods mentioned in Section 89. Section 89 makes applicable
1996 Act and 1987 Act from the stage after exercise of options and making
of reference.
A doubt has been expressed in relation to clause (d) of Section 89
(2) of the Code on the question as to finalisation of the terms of the
compromise. The question is whether the terms of compromise are to be
finalised by or before the mediator or by or before the court. It is evident
that all the four alternatives, namely, Arbitration, Conciliation, judicial
settlement including settlement through Lok Adalat and mediation are
meant to be the action of persons or institutions outside the Court and not
before the Court. Order X, Rule 1C speaks of the ‘Conciliation forum’
referring back the dispute to the Court. In fact, the court is not involved in
the actual mediation/conciliation. Clause (d) of Section 89(2) only means
that when mediation succeeds and parties agree to the terms of
settlement, the mediator will report to the court and the court, after giving
notice and hearing the parties, ‘effect’ the compromise and pass a decree
in accordance with the terms of settlement accepted by the parties.
Further, in this view, there is no question of the Court which refers the
matter to mediation/conciliation being debarred from hearing the matter
where settlement is not arrived at. The Judge who makes the reference
only considers the limited question as to whether there are reasonable
grounds to expect that there will be settlement and on that ground he
cannot be treated to be disqualified to try the suit afterwards if no
settlement is arrived at between the parties.
The question also is about the payment made and expenses to be
incurred where the court compulsorily refers a matter for
conciliation/mediation. Considering large number of responses received
by the Committee to the draft rules it has suggested that in the event of
such compulsory reference to conciliation/mediation procedures if
expenditure on conciliation/mediation is borne by the government, it may
encourage parties to come forward and make attempts at
conciliation/mediation. On the other hand, if the parties feel that they have
to incur extra expenditure for resorting to such ADR modes, it is likely to
act as a deterrent for adopting these methods. The suggestion is laudable.
The Central Government is directed to examine it and if agreed, it shall
request the Planning Commission and Finance Commission to make
specific financial allocation for the judiciary for including the expenses
involved for mediation/conciliation under Section 89 of the Code. In case,
Central Government has any reservations, the same shall be placed
before the court within four months. In such event, the government shall
consider provisionally releasing adequate funds for these purposes also
having regard to what we have earlier noticed about many statutes that are
being administered and litigations pending in the Courts in various States
are central legislations concerning the subjects in List I and List III of
Schedule VII to the Constitution of India.
With a view to enable the Court to refer the parties to
conciliation/mediation, where parties are unable to reach a consensus on
an agreed name, there should be a panel of well trained
conciliators/mediators to which it may be possible for the Court to make a
reference. It would be necessary for the High Courts and district courts to
take appropriate steps in the direction of preparing the requisite panels.
A doubt was expressed about the applicability of ADR rules for
dispute arising under the Family Courts Act since that Act also
contemplates rules to be made. It is, however, to be borne in mind that the
Family Courts Act applies the Code for all proceedings before it. In this
view, ADR rules made under the Code can be applied to supplement the
rules made under the Family Courts Act and provide for ADR insofar as
conciliation/mediation is concerned.
It seems clear from the report that while drafting the model rules,
after examining the mediation rules in various countries, a fine distinction is
tried to be maintained between conciliation and mediation, accepting the
views expressed by British author Mr.Brown in his work on India that in
‘conciliation’ there is little more latitude and conciliator can suggest some
terms of settlements too.
When the parties come to a settlement upon a reference made by
the Court for mediation, as suggested by the Committee that there has to
be some public record of the manner in which the suit is disposed of and,
therefore, the Court has to first record the settlement and pass a decree in
terms thereof and if necessary proceed to execute it in accordance with
law. It cannot be accepted that such a procedure would be unnecessary.
If the settlement is not filed in the Court for the purpose of passing of a
decree, there will be no public record of the settlement. It is, however, a
different matter if the parties do not want the court to record a settlement
and pass a decree and feel that the settlement can be implemented even
without decree. In such eventuality, nothing prevents them in informing the
Court that the suit may be dismissed as a dispute has been settled
between the parties outside the Court.
Regarding refund of the court fee where the matter is settled by the
reference to one of the modes provided in Section 89 of the Act, it is for the
State Governments to amend the laws on the lines of amendment made in
Central Court Fee Act by 1999 Amendment to the Code. The State
Governments can consider making similar amendments in the State Court
Fee legislations.
The draft rules have been finalised by the Committee. Prior to
finalisation, the same were circulated to the High Courts, subordinate
courts, the Bar Council of India, State Bar Councils and the Bar
Associations, seeking their responses. Now, it is for the respective High
Courts to take appropriate steps for making rules in exercise of rule
making power subject to modifications, if any, which may be considered
relevant.
The draft Civil Procedure-Alternative Dispute Resolution and
Mediation Rules as framed by the Committee read as under:
“Civil Procedure ADR and Mediation Rules
(These Rules are the final Rules framed by the
Committee, in modification of the Draft Rules
circulated earlier, after considering the responses
to the Consultation paper)
Civil Procedure Alternative Dispute Resolution
and Mediation Rules, 2003
In exercise of the rule making power under
Part X of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of
1908) and clause (d) of sub-section (2) of Section
89 of the said Code, the High Court of
.., is hereby issuing the following
Rules:
Part I
Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules
Rule 1: Title
These Rules in Part I shall be called the
‘Civil Procedure  Alternative Dispute Resolution
Rules 2003′.
Rule 2: Procedure for directing parties to opt
for alternative modes of settlement
(a) The Court shall, after recording admissions
and denials at the first hearing of the suit
under Rule 1 of Order X, and where it
appears to the Court that there exist
elements of a settlement which may be
acceptable to the parties, formulate the
terms of settlement and give them to the
parties for their observations under sub-
section (1) of Section 89, and the parties
shall submit to the Court their responses
within thirty days of the first hearing.
(b) At the next hearing, which shall be not later
than thirty days of the receipt of responses,
the Court may reformulate the terms of a
possible settlement and shall direct the
parties to opt for one of the modes of
settlement of disputes outside the Court as
specified in clauses (a) to (d) of sub-section
(1) of Section 89 read with Rule 1A of
Order X, in the manner stated hereunder,
Provided that the Court, in the
exercise of such power, shall not refer any
dispute to arbitration or to judicial
settlement by a person or institution without
the written consent of all the parties to the
suit.
Rule 3: Persons authorized to take decision
for the Union of India, State
Governments and others:
(1) For the purpose of Rule 2, the Union of
India or the Government of a State or
Union Territory, all local authorities, all
Public Sector Undertakings, all statutory
corporations and all public authorities shall
nominate a person or persons or group of
persons who are authorized to take a final
decision as to the mode of Alternative
Dispute Resolution in which it proposes to
opt in the event of direction by the Court
under Section 89 and such nomination
shall be communicated to the High Court
within the period of three months from the
date of commencement of these Rules and
the High Court shall notify all the
subordinate courts in this behalf as soon as
such nomination is received from such
Government or authorities.
(2) Where such person or persons or group of
persons have not been nominated as
aforesaid, such party as referred to in
clause (1) shall, if it is a plaintiff, file along
with the plaint or if it is a defendant file,
along with or before the filing of the written
statement, a memo into the Court,
nominating a person or persons or group of
persons who is or are authorized to take a
final decision as to the mode of alternative
dispute resolution, which the party prefers
to adopt in the event of the Court directing
the party to opt for one or other mode of
Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Rule 4: Court to give guidance to parties
while giving direction to opt
(a) Before directing the parties to exercise
option under clause (b) of Rule 2, the Court
shall give such guidance as it deems fit to
the parties, by drawing their attention to the
relevant factors which parties will have to
take into account, before they exercise their
option as to the particular mode of
settlement, namely :
(i) that it will be to the advantage of the
parties, so far as time and expense
are concerned, to opt for one or other
of these modes of settlement
referred to in section 89 rather than
seek a trial on the disputes arising in
the suit;
(ii) that, where there is no relationship
between the parties which requires to
be preserved, it may be in the
interest of the parties to seek
reference of the matter of arbitration
as envisaged in clause (a) of sub-
section (1) of section 89.
(iii) that, where there is a relationship
between the parties which requires to
be preserved, it may be in the
interest of parties to seek reference
of the matter to conciliation or
mediation, as envisaged in clauses
(b) or (d) of sub-section (1) of section
89.
Explanation : Disputes arising in
matrimonial, maintenance and child
custody matters shall, among
others, be treated as cases where a
relationship between the parties
has to be preserved.
(iv) that, where parties are interested in a
final settlement which may lead to a
compromise, it will be in the interests
of the parties to seek reference of the
matter to Lok Adalat or to judicial
settlement as envisaged in clause (c)
of sub-section (1) of section 89.
(v) the difference between the different
modes of settlement, namely,
arbitration, conciliation, mediation
and judicial settlement as explained
below :
Settlement by ‘Arbitration’ means the
process by which an arbitrator
appointed by parties or by the Court,
as the case may be, adjudicates the
disputes between the parties to the
suit and passes an award by the
application of the provisions of the
Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
(26 of 1996), in so far as they refer to
arbitration.
Settlement by ‘Conciliation’ means
the process by which a conciliator
who is appointed by parties or by the
Court, as the case may be,
conciliates the disputes between the
parties to the suit by the application
of the provisions of the Arbitration
and Conciliation Act, 1996 (26 of
1996) in so far as they relate to
conciliation, and in particular, in
exercise of his powers under
sections 67 and 73 of that Act, by
making proposals for a settlement of
the dispute and by formulating or
reformulating the terms of a possible
settlement; and has a greater role
than a mediator.
Settlement by ‘Mediation’ means the
process by which a mediator
appointed by parties or by the Court,
as the case may be, mediates the
dispute between the parties to the
suit by the application of the
provisions of the Mediation Rules,
2003 in Part II, and in particular, by
facilitating discussion between
parties directly or by communicating
with each other through the mediator,
by assisting parties in identifying
issues, reducing misunderstandings,
clarifying priorities, exploring areas of
compromise, generating options in
an attempt to solve the dispute and
emphasizing that it is the parties own
responsibility for making decisions
which affect them.
Settlement in Lok Adalat means
settlement by Lok Adalat as
contemplated by the Legal Services
Authority Act, 1987.
‘Judicial settlement’ means a final
settlement by way of compromise
entered into before a suitable
institution or person to which the
Court has referred the dispute and
which institution or person are
deemed to be the Lok Adalats under
the provisions of the Legal Service
Authority Act, 1987 (39 of 1987) and
where after such reference, the
provisions of the said Act apply as if
the dispute was referred to a Lok
Adalat under the provisions of that
Act.
Rule 5 : Procedure for reference by the Court
to the different modes of settlement :
(a) Where all parties to the suit decide to
exercise their option and to agree for
settlement by arbitration, they shall apply to
the Court, within thirty days of the direction
of the Court under clause (b) of Rule 2 and
the Court shall, within thirty days of the said
application, refer the matter to arbitration
and thereafter the provisions of the
Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (26 of
1996) which are applicable after the stage
of making of the reference to arbitration
under that Act, shall apply as if the
proceedings were referred for settlement by
way of arbitration under the provisions of
that Act;
(b) Where all the parties to the suit decide to
exercise their option and to agree for
settlement by the Lok Adalat or where one
of the parties applies for reference to Lok
Adalat, the procedure envisaged under the
Legal Services Act, 1987 and in particular
by section 20 of that Act, shall apply.
(c) Where all the parties to the suit decide to
exercise their option and to agree for
judicial settlement, they shall apply to the
Court within thirty days of the direction
under clause (b) of Rule 2 and then the
Court shall, within thirty days of the
application, refer the matter to a suitable
institution or person and such institution or
person shall be deemed to be a Lok Adalat
and thereafter the provisions of the Legal
Services Authority Act, 1987 (39 of 1987)
which are applicable after the stage of
making of the reference to Lok Adalat
under that Act, shall apply as if the
proceedings were referred for settlement
under the provisions of that Act;
(d) Where none of the parties are willing to
agree to opt or agree to refer the dispute to
arbitration, or Lok Adalat, or to judicial
settlement, within thirty days of the
direction of the Court under clause (b) of
Rule 2, they shall consider if they could
agree for reference to conciliation or
mediation, within the same period.
(e)(i) Where all the parties opt and agree for
conciliation, they shall apply to the Court,
within thirty days of the direction under
clause (b) of Rule 2 and the Court shall,
within thirty days of the application refer the
matter to conciliation and thereafter the
provisions of the Arbitration and
Conciliation Act, 1996 (26 of 1996) which
are applicable after the stage of making of
the reference to conciliation under that Act,
shall apply, as if the proceedings were
referred for settlement by way of
conciliation under the provisions of that Act;
(ii) Where all the parties opt and agree for
mediation, they shall apply to the Court,
within thirty days of the direction under
clause (b) of Rule 2 and the Court shall,
within thirty days of the application, refer
the matter to mediation and then the
Mediation Rules, 2003 in Part II shall apply.
(f) Where under clause (d), all the parties are
not able to opt and agree for conciliation or
mediation, one or more parties may apply
to the Court within thirty days of the
direction under clause (b) of Rule 2,
seeking settlement through conciliation or
mediation, as the case may be, and in that
event, the Court shall, within a further
period of thirty days issue notice to the
other parties to respond to the application,
and
(i) in case all the parties agree for
conciliation, the Court shall refer the
matter to conciliation and thereafter,
the provisions of the Arbitration and
Conciliation Act, 1996 which are
applicable after the stage of making
of the reference to conciliation under
that Act, shall apply.
(ii) in case all the parties agree for
mediation, the Court shall refer the
matter to mediation in accordance
with the Civil Procedure  Mediation
Rules, 2003 in Part II shall apply.
(iii) in case all the parties do not agree
and where it appears to the Court
that there exist elements of a
settlement which may be acceptable
to the parties and that there is a
relationship between the parties
which has to be preserved, the Court
shall refer the matter to conciliation
or mediation, as the case may be. In
case the dispute is referred to
Conciliation, the provisions of the
Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
which are applicable after the stage
of making of the reference to
Conciliation under that Act shall and
in case the dispute is referred to
mediation, the provisions of the Civil
Procedure-Mediation Rules, 2003,
shall apply.
(g)(i) Where none of the parties apply for
reference either to arbitration, or Lok
Adalat, or judicial settlement, or for
conciliation or mediation, within thirty days
of the direction under clause (b) of Rule 2,
the Court shall, within a further period of
thirty days, issue notices to the parties or
their representatives fixing the matter for
hearing on the question of making a
reference either to conciliation or
mediation.
(ii) After hearing the parties or their
representatives on the day so fixed the
Court shall, if there exist elements of a
settlement which may be acceptable to the
parties and there is a relationship between
the parties which has to be preserved, refer
the matter to conciliation or mediation. In
case the dispute is referred to Conciliation,
the provisions of the Arbitration and
Conciliation Act, 1996 which are applicable
after the stage of making of the reference
to Conciliation under that Act shall and in
case the dispute is referred to mediation,
the provisions of the Civil Procedure 
Mediation Rules, 2003, shall apply.
(h)(i) No next friend or guardian for the suit shall,
without the leave of the Court, expressly
recorded in the proceedings of the Court,
opt for any one of the modes of alternative
dispute resolution nor shall enter into any
settlement on behalf of a minor or person
under disability with reference to the suit in
which he acts as mere friend or guardian.
(ii) Where an application is made to the Court
for leave to enter into a settlement initiated
into in the alternative dispute resolution
proceedings on behalf of a minor or other
person under disability and such minor or
other person under disability is represented
by Counsel or pleader, the counsel or
pleader shall file a certificate along with the
said application to the effect that the
settlement is, in his opinion, for the benefit
of the minor or other person under
disability. The decree of the Court based
on the settlement to which the minor or
other person under disability is a party,
shall refer to the sanction of the Court
thereto and shall set out the terms of the
settlement.
Rule 6 : Referral to the Court and appearance
before the Court upon failure of
attempts to settle disputes by
conciliation or judicial settlement or
mediation :
(1) Where a suit has been referred for
settlement for conciliation, mediation or
judicial settlement and has not been settled
or where it is felt that it would not be proper
in the interests of justice to proceed further
with the matter, the suit shall be referred
back again to the Court with a direction to
the parties to appear before the Court on a
specific date.
(2) Upon the reference of the matter back to
the Court under sub-rule (1) or under sub-
section (5) of section 20 of the Legal
Services Authority Act, 1987, the Court
shall proceed with the suit in accordance
with law.
Rule 7 : Training in alternative methods of
resolution of disputes, and
preparation of manual :
(a) The High Court shall take steps to have
training courses conducted in places where
the High Court and the District Courts or
Courts of equal status are located, by
requesting bodies recognized by the High
Court or the Universities imparting legal
education or retired Faculty Members or
other persons who, according to the High
Court are well versed in the techniques of
alternative methods of resolution of dispute,
to conduct training courses for lawyers and
judicial officers.
(b)(i) The High Court shall nominate a committee
of judges, faculty members including retired
persons belonging to the above categories,
senior members of the Bar, other members
of the Bar specially qualified in the
techniques of alternative dispute resolution,
for the purpose referred to in clause (a) and
for the purpose of preparing a detailed
manual of procedure for alternative dispute
resolution to be used by the Courts in the
State as well as by the arbitrators, or
authority or person in the case of judicial
settlement or conciliators or mediators.
(ii) The said manual shall describe the various
methods of alternative dispute resolution,
the manner in which any one of the said
methods is to be opted for, the suitability of
any particular method for any particular
type of dispute and shall specifically deal
with the role of the above persons in
disputes which are commercial or domestic
in nature or which relate to matrimonial,
maintenance and child custody matters.
(c) The High Court and the District Courts shall
periodically conduct seminars and
workshops on the subject of alternative
dispute resolution procedures throughout
the State or States over which the High
Court has jurisdiction with a view to bring
awareness of such procedures and to
impart training to lawyers and judicial
officers.
(d) Persons who have experience in the matter
of alternative dispute resolution
procedures, and in particular in regard to
conciliation and mediation, shall be given
preference in the matter of empanelment
for purposes of conciliation or mediation.
Rule 8 : Applicability to other proceedings :
The provisions of these Rules may be
applied to proceedings before the Courts,
including Family Courts constituted under
the Family Courts Act (66 of 1984), while
dealing with matrimonial, maintenance and
child custody disputes, wherever
necessary, in addition to the rules framed
under the Family Courts Act, (66 of 1984).
PART II
CIVIL PROCEDURE MEDIATION RULES
Rule 1 : Title :
These Rules in Part II shall be called the
Civil Procedure Mediation Rules, 2003.
Rule 2 : Appointment of mediator :
(a) Parties to a suit may all agree on the name
of the sole mediator for mediating between
them.
(b) Where, there are two sets of parties and
are unable to agree on a sole mediator,
each set of parties shall nominate a
mediator.
(c) Where parties agree on a sole mediator
under clause (a) or where parties nominate
more than one mediator under clause (b),
the mediator need not necessarily be from
the panel of mediators referred to in Rule 3
nor bear the qualifications referred to in
Rule 4 but should not be a person who
suffers from the disqualifications referred to
in Rule 5.
(d) Where there are more than two sets of
parties having diverse interests, each set
shall nominate a person on its behalf and
the said nominees shall select the sole
mediator and failing unanimity in that
behalf, the Court shall appoint a sole
mediator.
Rule 3 : Panel of mediators :
(a) The High Court shall, for the purpose of
appointing mediators between parties in
suits filed on its original side, prepare a
panel of mediators and publish the same
on its Notice Board, within thirty days of the
coming into force of these Rules, with copy
to the Bar Association attached to the
original side of the High Court.
(b)(i) The Courts of the Principal District and
Sessions Judge in each District or the
Courts of the Principal Judge of the City
Civil Court or Courts of equal status shall,
for the purposes of appointing mediators to
mediate between parties in suits filed on
their original side, prepare a panel of
mediators, within a period of sixty days of
the commencement of these Rules, after
obtaining the approval of the High Court to
the names included in the panel, and shall
publish the same on their respective Notice
Board.
(ii) Copies of the said panels referred to in
clause (i) shall be forwarded to all the
Courts of equivalent jurisdiction or Courts
subordinate to the Courts referred to in
sub-clause (i) and to the Bar associations
attached to each of the Courts :
(c) The consent of the persons whose names
are included in the panel shall be obtained
before empanelling them.
(d) The panel of names shall contain a detailed
Annexure giving details of the qualifications
of the mediators and their professional or
technical experience in different fields.
Rule 4 : Qualifications of persons to be
empanelled under Rule 3 :
The following persons shall be treated as
qualified and eligible for being enlisted in
the panel of mediators under Rule 3,
namely :
(a) (i) Retired Judges of the Supreme
Court of India;
(ii) Retired Judges of the High Court;
(iii) Retired District and Sessions Judges
or retired Judges of the City Civil
Court or Courts of equivalent status.
(b) Legal practitioners with at least fifteen
years standing at the Bar at the level of
the Supreme Court or the High Court; or
the District Courts or Courts of equivalent
status.
(c) Experts or other professionals with at least
fifteen years standing; or retired senior
bureaucrats or retired senior executives;
(d) Institutions which are themselves experts in
mediation and have been recognized as
such by the High Court, provided the
names of its members are approved by the
High Court initially or whenever there is
change in membership.
Rule 5 : Disqualifications of persons :
The following persons shall be
deemed to be disqualified for being
empanelled as mediators :
(i) any person who has been adjudged as
insolvent or is declared of unsound mind.
(ii) or any person against whom criminal
charges involving moral turpitude are
framed by a criminal court and are pending,
or
(iii) any person who has been convicted by a
criminal court for any offence involving
moral turpitude;
(iv) any person against whom disciplinary
proceedings or charges relating to moral
turpitude have been initiated by the
appropriate disciplinary authority which are
pending or have resulted in a punishment.
(v) any person who is interested or connected
with the subject-matter of dispute or is
related to any one of the parties or to those
who represent them, unless such objection
is waived by all the parties in writing.
(vi) any legal practitioner who has or is
appearing for any of the parties in the suit
or in any other suit or proceedings.
(vii) such other categories of persons as may
be notified by the High Court.
Rule 6 : Venue for conducting mediation :
The mediator shall conduct the mediation
at one or other of the following places:
(i) Venue of the Lok Adalar or permanent Lok
Adalat.
(ii) Any place identified by the District Judge
within the Court precincts for the purpose of
conducting mediation.
(iii) Any place identified by the Bar Association
or State Bar Council for the purpose of
mediation, within the premises of the Bar
Association or State Bar Council, as the
case may be.
(iv) Any other place as may be agreed upon by
the parties subject to the approval of the
Court.
Rule 7: Preference:
The Court shall, while nominating any
person from the panel of mediators referred to in
Rule 3, consider his suitability for resolving the
particular class of dispute involved in the suit and
shall give preference to those who have proven
record of successful mediation or who have
special qualification or experience in mediation.
Rule 8: Duty of mediator to disclose certain
facts :
(a) When a person is approached in
connection with his possible appointment
as a mediator, the person shall disclose in
writing to the parties, any circumstances
likely to give rise to a justifiable doubt as to
his independence or impartiality.
(b) Every mediator shall, from the time of his
appointment and throughout the
continuance of the mediation proceedings,
without delay, disclose to the parties in
writing, about the existence of any of the
circumstances referred to in clause (a).
Rule 9 : Cancellation of appointment :
Upon information furnished by the mediator
under Rule 8 or upon any other information
received from the parties or other persons, if the
Court, in which the suit is filed, is satisfied, after
conducting such inquiry as it deems fit, and after
giving a hearing to the mediator, that the said
information has raised a justifiable doubt as to the
mediator’s independence or impartiality, it shall
cancel the appointment by a reasoned order and
replace him by another mediator.
Rule 10 : Removal or deletion from panel :
A person whose name is placed in the
panel referred to in Rule 3 may be removed or his
name be deleted from the said panel, by the
Court which empanelled him, if :
(i) he resigns or withdraws his name from the
panel for any reason;
(ii) he is declared insolvent or is declared of
unsound mind;
(iii) he is a person against whom criminal
charges involving moral turpitude are
framed by a criminal court and are pending;
(iv) he is a person who has been convicted by
a criminal court for any offence involving
moral turpitude;
(v) he is a person against whom disciplinary
proceedings on charges relating to moral
turpitude have been initiated by appropriate
disciplinary authority which are pending or
have resulted in a punishment;
(vi) he exhibits or displays conduct, during the
continuance of the mediation proceedings,
which is unbecoming of a mediator;
(vii) the Court which empanelled, upon receipt
of information, if it is satisfied, after
conducting such inquiry as it deem fit, is of
the view, that it is not possible or desirable
to continue the name of that person in the
panel,
Provided that, before removing or
deleting his name, under clause (vi) and
(vii), the Court shall hear the mediator
whose name is proposed to be removed or
deleted from the panel and shall pass a
reasoned order.
Rule 11 : Procedure of mediation :
(a) The parties may agree on the procedure to
be followed by the mediator in the conduct
of the mediation proceedings.
(b) Where the parties do not agree on any
particular procedure to be followed by the
mediator, the mediator shall follow the
procedure hereinafter mentioned, namely :
(i) he shall fix, in consultation with the
parties, a time schedule, the dates
and the time of each mediation
session, where all parties have to be
present;
(ii) he shall hold the mediation
conference in accordance with the
provisions of Rule 6;
(iii) he may conduct joint or separate
meetings with the parties;
(iv) each party shall, ten days before a
session, provide to the mediator a
brief memorandum setting forth the
issues, which according to it, need to
be resolved, and its position in
respect to those issues and all
information reasonably required for
the mediator to understand the issue;
such memoranda shall also be
mutually exchanged between the
parties;
(v) each party shall furnish to the
mediator, copies of pleadings or
documents or such other information
as may be required by him in
connection with the issues to be
resolved.
Provided that where the mediator is
of the opinion that he should look into
any original document, the Court
may permit him to look into the
original document before such officer
of the Court and on such date or time
as the Court may fix.
(vi) each party shall furnish to the
mediator such other information as
may be required by him in
connection with the issues to be
resolved.
(c) Where there is more than one mediator, the
mediator nominated by each party shall first
confer with the party that nominated him
and shall thereafter interact with the other
mediators, with a view to resolving the
disputes.
Rule 12 : Mediator not bound by Evidence Act,
1872 or Code of Civil Procedure,
1908 :
The mediator shall not be bound by the
Code of Civil Procedure 1908 or the Evidence
Act, 1872, but shall be guided by principles of
fairness and justice, have regard to the rights and
obligations of the parties, usages of trade, if any,
and the nature of the dispute.
Rule 13 : Non-attendance of parties at
sessions or meetings on due dates :
(a) The parties shall be present personally or
may be represented by their counsel or
power of attorney holders at the meetings
or sessions notified by the mediator.
(b) If a party fails to attend a session or a
meeting notified by the mediator, other
parties or the mediator can apply to the
Court in which the suit is filed, to issue
appropriate directions to that party to attend
before the mediator and if the Court finds
that a party is absenting himself before the
mediator without sufficient reason, the
Court may take action against the said
party by imposition of costs.
(c) The parties not resident in India, may be
represented by their counsel or power of
attorney holders at the sessions or
meetings.
Rule 14 : Administrative assistance :
In order to facilitate the conduct of
mediation proceedings, the parties, or the
mediator with the consent of the parties, may
arrange for administrative assistance by a
suitable institution or person.
Rule 15 : Offer of settlement by parties :
(a) Any party to the suit may, ‘without
prejudice’, offer a settlement to the other
party at any stage of the proceedings, with
notice to the mediator.
(b) Any party to the suit may make a, ‘with
prejudice’ offer, to the other party at any
stage of the proceedings, with notice to the
mediator.
Rule 16 : Role of mediator :
The mediator shall attempt to facilitate
voluntary resolution of the dispute by the parties,
and communicate the view of each party to the
other, assist them in identifying issues, reducing
misunderstandings, clarifying priorities, exploring
areas of compromise and generating options in
an attempt to solve the dispute, emphasizing that
it is the responsibility of the parties to take
decision which effect them; he shall not impose
any terms of settlement on the parties.
Rule 17 : Parties alone responsible for taking
decision :
The parties must understand that the
mediator only facilitates in arriving at a decision to
resolve disputes and that he will not and cannot
impose any settlement nor does the mediator give
any warranty that the mediation will result in a
settlement. The mediator shall not impose any
decision on the parties.
Rule 18 : Time limit for completion of mediation :
On the expiry of sixty days from the date
fixed for the first appearance of the parties before
the mediator, the mediation shall stand
terminated, unless the Court, which referred the
matter, either suo moto, or upon request by the
mediator or any of the parties, and upon hearing
all the parties, is of the view that extension of time
is necessary or may be useful; but such extension
shall not be beyond a further period of thirty days.
Rule 19 : Parties to act in good faith :
While no one can be compelled to commit
to settle his case in advance of mediation, all
parties shall commit to participate in the
proceedings in good faith with the intention to
settle the dispute, if possible.
Rule 20 : Confidentiality, disclosure and
inadmissibility of information :
(1) When a mediator receives confidential
information concerning the dispute from
any party, he shall disclose the substance
of that information to the other party, if
permitted in writing by the first party.
(2) when a party gives information to the
mediator subject to a specific condition that
it be kept confidential, the mediator shall
not disclose that information to the other
party, nor shall the mediator voluntarily
divulge any information regarding the
documents or what is conveyed to him
orally as to what transpired during the
mediation.
(3) Receipt or perusal, or preparation of
records, reports or other documents by the
mediator, or receipt of information orally by
the mediator while serving in that capacity,
shall be confidential and the mediator shall
not be compelled to divulge information
regarding the documents nor in regard to
the oral information nor as to what
transpired during the mediation.
(4) Parties shall maintain confidentiality in
respect of events that transpired during
mediation and shall not rely on or introduce
the said information in any other
proceedings as to :
(a) views expressed by a party in the
course of the mediation proceedings;
(b) documents obtained during the
mediation which were expressly
required to be treated as confidential
or other notes, drafts or information
given by parties or mediators;
(c) proposals made or views expressed
by the mediator;
(d) admission made by a party in the
course of mediation proceedings;
(e) the fact that a party had or had not
indicated willingness to accept a
proposal;
(5) There shall be no stenographic or audio or
video recording of the mediation
proceedings.
Rule 21 : Privacy
Mediation sessions and meetings are
private; only the concerned parties or their
counsel or power of attorney holders can attend.
Other persons may attend only with the
permission of the parties or with the consent of
the mediator.
Rule 22 : Immunity :
No mediator shall be held liable for
anything bona fide done or omitted to be done by
him during the mediation proceedings for civil or
criminal action nor shall he be summoned by any
party to the suit to appear in a Court of law to
testify in regard to information received by him or
action taken by him or in respect of drafts or
records prepared by him or shown to him during
the mediation proceedings.
Rule 23 : Communication between mediator
and the Court :
(a) In order to preserve the confidence of
parties in the Court and the neutrality of the
mediator, there should be no
communication between the mediator and
the Court, except as stated in clauses (b)
and (c) of this Rule.
(b) If any communication between the mediator
and the Court is necessary, it shall be in
writing and copies of the same shall be
given to the parties or their counsel or
power of attorney.
(c) Communication between the mediator and
the Court shall be limited to communication
by the mediator :
(i) with the Court about the failure of
party to attend;
(ii) with the Court with the consent of the
parties;
(iii) regarding his assessment that the
case is not suited for settlement
through mediation;
(iv) that the parties have settled the
dispute or disputes.
Rule 24 : Settlement Agreement :
(1) Where an agreement is reached between
the parties in regard to all the issues in the
suit or some of the issues, the same shall
be reduced to writing and signed by the
parties or their power of attorney holder. If
any counsel have represented the parties,
they shall attest the signature of their
respective clients.
(2) The agreement of the parties so signed and
attested shall be submitted to the mediator
who shall, with a covering letter signed by
him, forward the same to the Court in which
the suit is pending.
(3) Where no agreement is arrived at between
the parties, before the time limit stated in
Rule 18 or where, the mediator is of the
view that no settlement is possible, he shall
report the same to the said Court in writing.
Rule 25 : Court to fix a date for recording
settlement and passing decree :
(1) Within seven days of the receipt of any
settlement, the Court shall issue notice to
the parties fixing a day for recording the
settlement, such date not being beyond a
further period of fourteen days from the
date of receipt of settlement, and the Court
shall record the settlement, if it is not
collusive.
(2) The Court shall then pass a decree in
accordance with the settlement so
recorded, if the settlement disposes of all
the issues in the suit.
(3) If the settlement disposes of only certain
issues arising in the suit, the Court shall
record the settlement on the date fixed for
recording the settlement and (i) if the
issues are servable from other issues and if
a decree could be passed to the extent of
the settlement covered by those issues, the
Court may pass a decree straightaway in
accordance with the settlement on those
issues without waiting for a decision of the
Court on the other issues which are not
settled.
(ii) if the issues are not servable, the Court
shall wait for a decision of the Court on the
other issues which are not settled.
Rule 26 : Fee of mediator and costs :
(1) At the time of referring the disputes to
mediation, the Court shall, after consulting
the mediator and the parties, fix the fee of
the mediator.,
(2) As far as possible a consolidated sum may
be fixed rather than for each session or
meeting.
(3) Where there are two mediators as in clause
(b) of Rule 2, the Court shall fix the fee
payable to the mediators which shall be
shared equally by the two sets of parties.
(4) The expense of the mediation including the
fee of the mediator, costs of administrative
assistance, and other ancillary expenses
concerned, shall be borne equally by the
various contesting parties or as may be
otherwise directed by the Court.
(5) Each party shall bear the costs for
production of witnesses on his side
including experts, or for production of
documents.
(6) The mediator may, before the
commencement of mediation, direct the
parties to deposit equal sums, tentatively,
to the extent of 40% of the probable costs
of the mediation, as referred to in clauses
(1), (3) and (4). The remaining 60% shall
be deposited with the mediator, after the
conclusion of mediation. For the amount of
cost paid to the mediator, he shall issue the
necessary receipts and a statement of
account shall be filed, by the mediator in
the Court.
(7) The expense of mediation including fee, if
not paid by the parties, the Court shall, on
the application of the mediator or parties,
direct the concerned parties to pay, and if
they do not pay, the Court shall recover the
said amounts as if there was a decree for
the said amount.
(8) Where a party is entitled to legal aid under
section 12 of the Legal Services Authority
Act, 1987, the amount of fee payable to the
mediator and costs shall be paid by the
concerned Legal Services Authority under
that Act.
Rule 27 : Ethics to be followed by mediator :
The mediator shall :
(1) follow and observe these Rules strictly and
with due diligence;
(2) not carry on any activity or conduct which
could reasonably be considered as conduct
unbecoming of a mediator;
(3) uphold the integrity and fairness of the
mediation process;
(4) ensure that the parties involved in the
mediation and fairly informed and have an
adequate understanding of the procedural
aspects of the process;
(5) satisfy himself/herself that he/she is
qualified to undertake and complete the
assignment in a professional manner;
(6) disclose any interest or relationship likely to
affect impartiality or which might seek an
appearance of partiality or bias;
(7) avoid, while communicating with the
parties, any impropriety or appearance of
impropriety;
(8) be faithful to the relationship of trust and
confidentiality imposed in the office of
mediator;
(9) conduct all proceedings related to the
resolutions of a dispute, in accordance with
the applicable law;
(10) recognize that mediation is based on
principles of self-determination by the
parties and that mediation process relies
upon the ability of parties to reach a
voluntary, undisclosed agreement;
(11) maintain the reasonable expectations of the
parties as to confidentiality;
(12) refrain from promises or guarantees of
results.
Rule 28 : Transitory provisions :
Until a panel of arbitrators is prepared by
the High Court and the District Court, the Courts
referred to in Rule 3, may nominate a mediator of
their choice if the mediator belongs to the various
classes of persons referred to in Rule 4 and is
duly qualified and is not disqualified, taking into
account the suitability of the mediator for
resolving the particular dispute.”

Report No.3
Report No.3 deals with the Case Flow Management and Model
Rules. The case management policy can yield remarkable results in
achieving more disposal of the cases. Its mandate is for the Judge or an
officer of the court to set a time-table and monitor a case from its initiation
to its disposal. The Committee on survey of the progress made in other
countries has come to a conclusion that the case management system has
yielded exceedingly good results.
Model Case Flow Management Rules have been separately dealt
with for trial courts and first appellate subordinate courts and for High
Courts. These draft Rules extensively deal with the various stages of the
litigation. The High Courts can examine these Rules, discuss the matter
and consider the question of adopting or making case law management
and model rules with or without modification, so that a step forward is
taken to provide to the litigating public a fair, speedy and inexpensive
justice.
The Model Case Flow Management Rules read as under:
“MODEL CASE FLOW MANAGEMENT RULES
(A) Model Case Management Rules for Trial
Courts and First Appellate Subordinate
Courts
I. Division of Civil Suits and Appeals into
Tracks
II. Original Suits
1. Fixation of time limits while issuing
notice
2. Service of Summons/notice and
completion of pleadings
3. Calling of Cases (Hajri or Call Work
or Roll Call)
4. Procedure on the grant of interim
orders
5. Referral to Alternate Dispute
Resolution
6. Procedure on the failure of Alternate
Dispute Resolution
7. Referral to Commissioner for
recordal of evidence
8. Costs
9. Proceedings for Perjury
10. Adjournments
11. miscellaneous Applications.
III. First Appeals to Subordinate Courts
1. Service of Notice of Appeal
2. Essential Documents to be filed with
the Memorandum of Appeal
3. Fixation of time limits in interlocutory
matters
4. Steps for completion of all formalities
(Call Work Hajri)
5. Procedure on grant of interim-orders
6. Filing of Written submissions
7. Costs
IV. Application/Petition under Special Acts
V. Criminal Trial and Criminal Appeals to
Subordinate Courts
(a) Criminal Trials
(b) Criminal Appeals
VI. Notice under section 80 of Code of Civil
Procedure
VII. Note
(B) Model Case Flow Management Rules in
High Court
I. Division of Cases into Tracks
II. Writ of Habeas Corpus
III. Mode of Advance Service
IV. First Appeals to High Court
V. Appeals to Division Bench
VI. Second Appeals.
VII. Civil Revisions
VIII. Criminal Appeals
IX. Note.
..High Court Rules, 2003
In exercise of the power conferred by Part X of
the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, (5 of 1908) and
.. High Court Act,  and all other powers
enabling, the . High Court hereby makes the
following Rules, in regard to case flow
management in the subordinate courts.
(A) Model Rules for Trial Courts and First
Appellate Subordinate Courts
I. Division of Civil Suits and Appeals into
Tracks
1. Based on the nature of dispute, the
quantum of evidence to be recorded and the time
likely to be taken for the completion of suit, the
suits shall be channeled into different tracks.
Track I may include suits for maintenance,
divorce and child custody and visitation rights,
grant of letters of administration and succession
certificate and simple suits for rent or for eviction
(upon notice under Section 106 of Transfer of
Property Act). Track 2 may consist of money
suits and suits based solely on negotiable
instruments. Track 3 may include suits
concerning partition and like property disputes,
trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual
property matters. Track 4 may relate to other
matters. All efforts shall be taken to complete the
suits in track 1 within a period of 9 months, track
2 within 12 months and suits in track 3 and 4
within 24 months.
This categorization is illustrative and it will
be for the High Court to make appropriate
categorization. It will be for the judge concerned
to make an appropriate assessment as to which
track any case can be assigned.
2. Once in a month, the registry/administrative
staff of each Court will prepare a report as to the
stage and progress of cases which are proposed
to be listed in next month and place the report
before the Court. When the matters are listed on
each day, the judge concerned may take such
decision as he may deem fit in the presence of
counsel/parties in regard to each case for
removing any obstacles in service of summons,
completion of pleadings etc. with a view to make
the case ready for disposal.
3. The judge referred to in clause (2) above,
may shift a case from one track to another,
depending upon the complexity and other
circumstances of the case.
4. Where computerization is available, the
monthly data will be fed into the computer in such
a manner that the judge referred to in clause (2)
above, will be able to ascertain the position and
the stage of every case in every track from the
computer screen. Over a period, all cases
pending in his Court will be covered. Where
computerization is not available, the monitoring
must be done manually.
5. The judge referred to in clause (2) above,
shall monitor and control the flow or progress of
every case, either from the computer or from the
register or data placed before him in the above
manner or in some other manner he may
innovate.
II. Original Suit :
1. Fixation of time limits while issuing
notice :
(a) Wherever notice is issued in a suit, the
notice should indicate that the Code
prescribes a maximum of 30 days for filing
written statement (which for special
reasons may be extended upto 90 days)
and, therefore, the defendants may prepare
the written statement expeditiously and that
the matter will be listed for that purpose on
the expiry of eight weeks from the date of
issue of notice (so that it can be a definite
date). After the written statement is filed,
the replication (if any, proposed and
permitted), should be filed within six weeks
of receipt of the written statement. If there
are more than one defendant, each one of
the defendant should comply with this
requirement within the time-limit.
(b) The notice referred to in clause (a) shall be
accompanied by a complete copy of the
plaint and all its annexure/enclosures and
copies of the interlocutory applications, if
any.
(c) If interlocutory applications are filed along
with the plaint, and if an ex-parte interim
order is not passed and the Court is
desirous of hearing the respondent, it may,
while sending the notice along with the
plaint, fix an earlier date for the hearing of
the application (than the date for filing
written statement) depending upon the
urgency for interim relief.
2. Service of Summons/notice and
completion of pleadings :
(a) Summons may be served as indicated in
clause (3) of Rule 9 of Order V.
(b) In the case of service of summons by the
plaintiff or a courier where a return is filed
that the defendant has refused notice, the
return will be accompanied by an
undertaking that the plaintiff or the courier,
as the case may be, is aware that if the
return is found to be false, he can be
punished for perjury or summarily dealt with
for contempt of Court for abuse of the
provisions of the Code. Where the plaintiff
comes forward with a return of ‘refusal’, the
provisions of Order 9A Rule (4) will be
followed by re-issue of summons through
Court.
(c) If it has not been possible to effect service
of summons under Rule 9 of Order V, the
provisions of Rule 17 of Order V shall apply
and the plaintiff shall within 7 days from the
date of its inability to serve the summons,
to request the Court to permit substituted
service. The dates for filing the written
statement and replication, if any, shall
accordingly stand extended.
3. Calling of Cases (Hajri or Call Work or
Roll Call) :
The present practice of the Court-master or
Bench-clerk calling all the cases listed on a
particular day at the beginning of the day in order
to confirm whether counsel are ready, whether
parties are present or whether various steps in
the suit or proceeding has been taken, is
consuming a lot of time of the Court, sometimes
almost two hours of the best part of the day when
the judge is fresh. After such work, the Court is
left with very limited time to deal with cases listed
before it. Formal listing should be first before a
nominated senior officer of the registry, one or
two days before the listing in Court. He may give
dates in routine matters for compliance with
earlier orders of Court. Cases will be listed
before Court only where an order of the Court is
necessary or where an order prescribing the
consequences of default or where a peremptory
order or an order as to costs is required to be
passed on the judicial side. Cases which have to
be adjourned as a matter of routine for taking
steps in the suit or proceeding should not be
unnecessarily listed before Court. Where
parties/counsel are not attending before the
Court-officer or are defiant or negligent, their
cases may be placed before the Court. Listing of
cases on any day before a Court should be based
on a reasonable estimate of time and number of
cases that can be disposed of by the Court in a
particular day. The Courts shall, therefore,
dispense with the practice of calling all the cases
listed adjourned to any particular day. Cases will
be first listed before a nominated senior officer of
the Court, nominated for the purpose.
4. Procedure on the grant of interim
orders:
(a) If an interim order is granted at the first
hearing by the Court, the defendants would
have the option of moving appropriate
applications for vacating the interim order
even before the returnable date indicated in
the notice and if such an application is filed,
it shall be listed as soon as possible even
before the returnable date.
(b) If the Court passes an ad-interim ex-parte
order in an interlocutory application, and
the reply by the defendants is filed, and if,
thereafter, the plaintiff fails to file the
rejoinder (if any) without good reason for
the delay, the Court has to consider
whether the stay or interim order passed by
the Court should be vacated and shall list
the case with that purpose. This is meant
to prevent parties taking adjournment with
a view to have undue benefit of the ad
interim orders. The plaintiff may, if he so
chooses, also waive his right to file a
rejoinder. A communication of option by
the plaintiff not to file a rejoinder, made to
the registry will be deemed to be the
completion of pleadings in the interlocutory
application.
5. Referral to Alternate Dispute Resolution:
(In the hearing before the Court, after
completion of pleadings, time limit for discovery
and inspection, and admission and denials, of
documents shall be fixed, preferably restricted to
4 weeks each)
After the completion of admission and
denial of documents by the parties, the suit shall
be listed before the Court (for examination of
parties under Order X of the Civil Procedure
Code. A joint statement of admitted facts shall be
filed before the said date.) The Court shall
thereafter, follow the procedure prescribed under
the Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation
Rules, 2002.
6. Procedure on the failure of Alternate
Dispute Resolution :
On the filing of report by the Mediator under
the Mediation Rules that efforts at Mediation have
failed, or a report by the Conciliator under the
provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act,
1996, or a report of no settlement in the Lok
Adalat under the provisions of the Legal Services
Authority Act, 1987 the suit shall be listed before
the registry within a period of 14 days. At the said
hearing before the registry, all the parties shall
submit the draft issues proposed by them. The
suit shall be listed before the Court within 14 days
thereafter for framing of issues.
When the suit is listed after failure of the
attempts at conciliation, arbitration or Lok Adalat,
the Judge may merely inquire whether it is still
possible for the parties to resolve the dispute.
This should invariably be done by the Judge at
the first hearing when the matter comes back on
failure of conciliation, mediation or Lok Adalt.
If the parties are not keen about settlement,
the Court shall frame the issues and direct the
plaintiff to start examining his witnesses. The
procedure of each witness filing his examination-
in-chief and being examined in cross or re-
examination will continue, one after the other.
After completion of evidence on the plaintiff’s
side, the defendants shall lead evidence likewise,
witness after witness, the chief examination of
each witness being by affidavit and the witness
being then cross-examined or re-examined. The
parties shall keep he affidavit in chief-examination
ready whenever the witness’s examination is
taken up. As far as possible, evidence must be
taken up day by day as stated in clause (a) of
proviso to Rule 2 of Order XVII. The parties shall
also indicate the likely duration for the evidence to
be completed, and for the arguments to be
thereafter heard. The Judge shall ascertain the
availability of time of the Court and will list the
matter for trial on a date when the trial can go on
from day to day and conclude the evidence. The
possibility of further negotiation and settlement
should be kept open and if such a settlement
takes place, it should be open to the parties to
move the registry for getting the matter listed at
an earlier date for disposal.
7. Referral to Commissioner for recordal of
evidence :
(a) The High Court shall conduct an
examination on the subjects of the Code of
Civil Procedure and Evidence Act. Only
those advocates who have passed an
examination conducted by the High Court
on the subjects of ‘Code of Civil Procedure’
and Evidence Act, – shall be appointed as
Commissioners for recording evidence.
They shall be ranked according to the
marks secured by them.
(b) It is not necessary that in every case the
Court should appoint a Commissioner for
recording evidence. Only if the recording of
evidence is likely to take a long time, or
there are any other special grounds, should
the Court consider appointing a
Commissioner for recording the evidence.
The Court should direct that the matter be
listed for arguments fifteen days after the
Commissioner files his report with the
evidence.
The Court may initially fix a specific period
for the completion of the recording of the
evidence by the Commissioner and direct
the matter to be listed on the date of expiry
of the period, so that Court may know
whether the parties are co-operating with
the Commissioner and whether the
recording of evidence is getting
unnecessarily prolonged.
(c) Commissioners should file an undertaking
in Court upon their appointment that they
will keep the records handed over to them
and those that may be filed before them,
safe and shall not allow any party to inspect
them in the absence of the opposite
party/counsel. If there is delay of more
than one month in the dates fixed for
recording evidence, it is advisable for them
to return the file to the Court and take it
back on the eve of the adjourned date.
8. Costs :
So far as awarding of costs at the time of
judgment is concerned, awarding of costs must
be treated generally as mandatory in as much as
the liberal attitude of the Courts in directing the
parties to bear their own costs had led parties to
file a number of frivolous cases in the Courts or to
raise frivolous and unnecessary issues. Costs
should invariably follow the event. Where a party
succeeds ultimately on one issue or point but
loses on number of other issues or points which
were unnecessarily raised, costs must be
appropriately apportioned. Special reasons must
be assigned if costs are not being awarded.
Costs should be assessed according to rules in
force. If any of the parties has unreasonably
protracted the proceedings, the Judge should
consider exercising discretion to impose
exemplary costs after taking into account the
expense incurred for the purpose of attendance
on the adjourned dates.
9. Proceedings for Perjury :
If the Trial Judge, while delivering the
judgment, is of the view that any of the parties or
witnesses have willfully and deliberately uttered
blatant falsehoods, he shall consider (at least in
some grave cases) whether it is a fit case where
prosecution should be initiated for perjury and
order prosecution accordingly.
10. Adjournments :
The amendments to the Code have
restricted the number of adjournments to three in
the course of hearing of the suit, on reasonable
cause being shown. When a suit is listed before
a Court and any party seeks adjournment, the
Court shall have to verify whether the party is
seeking adjournment due to circumstances
beyond the control of the party, as required by
clause (b) of proviso to Rule 2 of Order XVII. The
Court shall impose costs as specified in Rule 2 of
Order XVII.
11. Miscellaneous Applications :
The proceedings in a suit shall not be
stayed merely because of the filing of
Miscellaneous Application in the course of suit
unless the Court in its discretion expressly thinks
it necessary to stay the proceedings in the suit.
III. First Appeals to Subordinate Courts
1. Service of Notice of Appeal :
First Appeals being appeals on question of
fact and law, Courts are generally inclined to
admit the appeal and it is only in exceptional
cases that the appeal is rejected at the admission
stage under Rule 11 of Order XLI. In view of the
amended CPC, a copy of the memorandum of
appeal is required to be filed in the subordinate
Court. It has been clarified by the Supreme Court
that the requirement of filing a copy of appeal
memorandum in the sub-ordinate Court does not
mean that appeal memorandum cannot be filed in
the Appellate Court immediately for obtaining
interim orders.
Advance notice should simultaneously be
given by the counsel for the party who is
proposing to file the appeal, to the counsel for the
opposite party who appeared in the sub-ordinate
Court so as to enable the respondents to appear
if they so choose, even at the first hearing stage.
2. Essential Documents to be filed with the
Memorandum of Appeal :
The Appellant shall, as far as possible, file,
along with the appeal, copies of essential
documents marked in the suit, for the purpose of
enabling the appellate Court to understand the
points raised or for purpose of passing interim
orders.
3. Fixation of time limits in interlocutory
matters :
Whenever notice is issued by the appellate
Court in interlocutory matters, the notice should
indicate the date by which the reply should be
filed. The rejoinder, if any, should be filed within
four weeks of receipt of the reply. If there are
more parties than one who are Respondents,
each one of the Respondent should comply with
this requirement within the time limit and the
rejoinder may be filed within four weeks from the
receipt of the last reply.
4. Steps for completion of all formalities/
(Call Work) (Hajri) :
The appeal shall be listed before the
registry for completion of all formalities necessary
before the appeal is taken up for final hearing.
The procedure indicated above of listing the case
before a senior officer of the appellate Court
registry for giving dates in routine matters must
be followed to reduce the ‘call work’ (Hajri) and
only where judicial orders are necessary, such
cases should be listed before Court.
5. Procedure on grant of interim-orders :
If an interim order is granted at the first
hearing by the Court, the Respondents would
have the option of moving appropriate
applications for vacating the interim order even
before the returnable date indicated in the notice
and if such an application is filed, it shall be listed
as soon as possible even before the returnable
date.
If the Court passes an ad-interim ex-parte
order, and if the reply is filed by the Respondents
and if, without good reason, the appellant fails to
file the rejoinder, Court shall consider whether it is
a fit case for vacating the stay or interim order
and list the case for that purpose. This is
intended to see that those who have obtained ad
interim orders do not procrastinate in filing replies.
The appellant may also waive his right to file the
rejoinder. Such choice shall be conveyed to the
registry on or before the date fixed for filing of
rejoinder. Such communication of option by the
applicant to the registry will be deemed to be
completion of pleadings.
6. Filing of Written submissions :
Both the appellants and the respondents
shall be required to submit their written
submissions two weeks before the
commencement of the arguments in the appeal.
The cause-list should indicate if written
submissions have been filed or not. Wherever
they have not been filed, the Court must insist on
their being filed within a particular period to be
fixed by the Court and each party must serve a
copy thereof on the opposite side before the date
of commencement of arguments. There is no
question of parties filing replies to each other’s
written submissions.
The Court may consider having a Caution
List/Alternative List to take care of eventualities
when a case does not go on before a court, and
those cases may be listed before a court where,
for any reason, the scheduled cases are not
taken up for hearing.

7. Costs :
Awarding of costs must be treated
generally as mandatory in as much as it is the
liberal attitude if the Courts in not awarding costs
that has led to frivolous points being raised in
appeals or frivolous appeals being filed in the
courts. Costs should invariably follow the event
and reasons must be assigned by the appellate
Court for not awarding costs. If any of the parties
have unreasonably protracted the proceedings,
the Judge shall have the discretion to impose
exemplary costs after taking into account the
costs that may have been imposed at the time of
adjournments.
IV. Application/Petition under Special Acts
This chapter deals with
applications/petitions filed under Special Acts like
the Industrial Disputes Act, Hindu Marriage Act,
Indian Succession Act etc.
The Practise directions in regard to Original
Suits should mutatis mutandis apply in respect of
such applications/petitions.
V. Criminal Trials and Criminal Appeals to
Subordinate Courts
(a) Criminal Trials
1. Criminal Trials should be classified based
on offence, sentence and whether the accused is
on bail or in jail. Capital punishment, rape and
cases involving sexual offences or dowry deaths
should be kept in Track I. Other cases where the
accused is not granted bail and is in jail, should
be kept in Track II. Cases which affect a large
number of persons such as cases of mass
cheating, economic offences, illicit liquor tragedy
and food adulteration cases, etc. should be kept
in Track III. Offences which are tried by special
courts such as POTA, TADA, NDPS, Prevention
of Corruption Act, etc. should be kept in Track IV.
Track V  all other offences.
The endeavour should be to complete
Track I cases within a period of nine months,
Track II and Track III cases within twelve months
and Track IV within fifteen months.
2. The High Court may classify criminal
appeals pending before it into different tracks on
the same lines mentioned above.
(b) Criminal Appeals
3. Wherever an appeal is filed by a person in
jail, and also when appeals are filed by State, as
far as possible, the memorandum appeal may be
accompanied by important documents, if any,
having a bearing on the question of bail.
4. In respect of appeals filed against
acquittals, steps for appointment of amicus curie
or State Legal Aid counsel in respect of the
accused who do not have a lawyer of their own
should be undertaken by the registry/(State Legal
Services Authority) immediately after completion
of four weeks of service of notice. It shall be
presumed that in such an event the accused is
not in a position to appoint counsel.
5. Advance notice should simultaneously be
given by the counsel for the party who is
proposing to file the appeal, to the counsel for the
opposite party in the subordinate Court, so as to
enable the other party to appear if they so choose
even at the first hearing stage.
VI. Notice issued under S.80 of Code of
Civil Procedure :
Every public authority shall appoint an
officer responsible to take appropriate action on a
notice issued under S.80 of the Code of Civil
Procedure. Every such officer shall take
appropriate action on receipt of such notice. If
the Court finds that the concerned officer, on
receipt of the notice, failed to take necessary
action or was negligent in taking the necessary
steps, the Court shall hold such officer
responsible and recommend appropriate
disciplinary action by the concerned authority.
VII. Note
Whenever there is any inconsistency
between these rules and the provisions of either
the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 or the Code of
Criminal Procedure 1973 or the High Courts Act
or any other Statutes, the provisions of such
Codes and Statutes shall prevail.
(B) Model Case Flow Management Rules in
High Court
..High Court Rules, 2003
In exercise of the power conferred by
Article 225 of the Constitution of India, and
Chapter X of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5
of 1908) and Section .. of the .. High Court
Act and all other powers enabling it, the  High
Court hereby makes the following Rules :
I. Division of Cases into different tracks :
1. Writ Petitions : The High Court shall, at the
stage of admission or issuing notice before
admission categorise the Writ Petitions other than
Writ of Habeas Corpus, into three categories
depending on the urgency with which the matter
should be dealt with : the Fast Track, the Normal
Track and the Slow Track. The petitions in the
Fast Track shall invariably be disposed of within a
period not exceeding six months while the
petitions in the Normal Track should not take
longer than a year. The petitions in the Slow
Track, subject to the pendency of other cases in
the Court, should ordinarily be disposed of within
a period of two years.
Where an interim order of stay or injunction
is granted in respect of liability to tax or demolition
or eviction from public premises etc. shall be put
on the fast track. Similarly, all matters involving
tenders would also be put on the Fast Track.
These matters cannot brook delays in disposal.
2. Senior officers of the High Court,
nominated for the purpose, shall at intervals of
every month, monitor the stage of each case
likely to come up for hearing before each Bench
(Division Bench or Single Judge) during that
month which have been allocated to the different
tracks. The details shall be placed before the
Chief Justice or Committee nominated for that
purpose as well as the concerned Judge dealing
with cases.
3. The Judge or Judges referred to in Clause
(2) above may shift the case from one track to
another, depending upon the complexity,
(urgency) and other circumstances of the case.
4. Where computerization is available, data
will be fed into the computer in such a manner
that the court or judge or judges, referred to in
Clause (2) above will be able to ascertain the
position and stage of every case in every track
from the computer screen.
5. Whenever the roster changes, the judge
concerned who is dealing with final matters shall
keep himself informed about the stage of the
cases in various tracks listed before him during
every week, with a view to see that the cases are
taken up early.
6. Other matters : The High Court shall also
divide Civil Appeals and other matters in the High
Court into different tracks on the lines indicated in
sub-clauses (2) to (5) above and the said clauses
shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to the civil appeals
filed in the High Court. The High Court shall
make a subject-wise division of the
appeals/revision application for allocation into
different tracks.
(Division of criminal petitions and appeals into
different tracks is dealt with separately under the
heading ‘criminal petitions and appeals’.)
II. Writ of Habeas Corpus :
Notices in respect of Writ of Habeas
Corpus where the person is in custody under
orders of a State Government or Central
Government shall invariably be issued by the
Court at the first listing and shall be made
returnable within 48 hours. State Government or
Central Government may file a brief return
enclosing the relevant documents to justify the
detention. The matter shall be listed after notice
on the fourth working day after issuance of notice,
and the Court shall consider whether a more
detailed return to the Writ is necessary, and, if so
required, shall give further time of a week and
three days’ time for filing a rejoinder. A Writ of
Habeas Corpus shall invariably be disposed of
within a period of fifteen days. It shall have
preference over and above fast-track cases.
III. Mode of Advance Service :
The Court rules will provide for mode of
service of notice on the standing counsel for
Respondents wherever available, against whom,
interim orders are sought. Such advance service
shall generally relate to Governments or public
sector undertakings who have Standing Counsel.
FIRST APPEALS TO HIGH COURT
1. Service of Notice of Appeal :
First Appeals being appeals on questions
of fact and law, Courts are generally inclined to
admit the appeal and it is only in exceptional
cases that the appeal is rejected under Order XLI
Rule 11 at the admission stage. In view of the
amended CPC, a copy of the appeal is required
to be filed in the Trial Court. It has been clarified
by the Supreme Court that the requirement of
filing of appeal in the Trial Court does not mean
that the party cannot file the appeal in the
appellate Court (High Court) immediately for
obtaining interim orders.
In addition to the process for normal
service as per the Code of Civil Procedure,
advance notice should simultaneously be given
by the counsel for the party who is proposing to
file the appeal, to the counsel for the opposite
party in the Trial Court itself so as to enable them
to inform the parties to appear if they so choose
even at the first hearing stage.
2. Filing of Documents :
The Appellant shall, on the appeal being
admitted, file all the essential papers within such
period as may be fixed by the High Court for the
purpose the High Court understanding the scope
of the dispute and for the purpose of passing
interlocutory orders.
3. Printing or typing of Paper Book :
Printing and preparation of paper-books by
the High Court should be done away with. After
service of notice is effected, counsel for both
sides should agree on the list of documents and
evidence to be printed or typed and the same
shall be made ready by the parties within the time
to be fixed by the Court. Thereafter the paper
book shall be got ready. It must be assured that
the paper books are ready at lease six months in
advance before the appeal is taken up for
arguments. (Cause lists must specify if paper
books have been filed or not).
4. Filing of Written Submissions and time
for oral arguments :
Both the appellants and the respondents shall be
required to submit their written submissions with
all the relevant pages as per the Court paper-
book marked therein within a month of
preparation of such paper-books, referred to in
para 3 above.
Cause list may indicate if written
submissions have been filed. If not, the Court
must direct that they be filed immediately.
After the written submissions are filed, (with
due service of copy to the other side) the matter
should be listed before the Registrar/Master for
the parties to indicate the time that will be taken
for arguments in the appeal. Alternatively, such
matters may be listed before a judge in chambers
for deciding the time duration and thereafter to fix
a date of hearing on a clear date when the
requisite extent of time will be available.
In the event that the matter is likely to take
a day or more, the High Court may consider
having a Caution List/Alternative List to meet
eventualities where a case gets adjourned due to
unavoidable reasons or does not go on before a
court, and those cases may be listed before a
court where, for one reason or another, the
scheduled cases are not taken up for hearing.
5. Court may explore possibility of
settlement :
At the first hearing of a First Appeal when
both parties appear, the Court shall find out if
there is a possibility of a settlement. If the parties
are agreeable even at that stage for mediation or
conciliation, the High Court could make a
reference to mediation or conciliation for the said
purpose.
If necessary, the process contemplated by
Section 89 of CPC may be resorted to by the
Appellate Court so, however, that the hearing of
the appeal is not unnecessarily delayed.
Whichever is the ADR process adopted, the Court
should fix a date for a report on the ADR two
months from the date of reference.
V. Appeals to Division Bench from
judgment of Single Judge of High Court
[Letter Patent Appeals (LPA) or similar
appeals under High Courts Acts] :
An appeal to a Division Bench from
judgment of a Single Judge may lie in the
following cases :
(1) Appeals from interlocutory orders of the
Single Judge in original jurisdiction matters
including writs; (2) appeals from final
judgments of a Single Judge in original
jurisdiction; (3) other appeals permitted by
any law to a Division Bench.
Appeals against interlocutory orders falling
under category (1) above should be invariably
filed after advance notice to the opposite counsel
(who has appeared before the Single Judge) so
that both the sides will be represented at the very
first hearing of the appeals. If both parties appear
at the first hearing, there is no need to serve the
opposite side by normal process and at least in
some cases, the appeals against interlocutory
orders can be disposed of even at the first
hearing. If, for any reason, this is not practicable,
such appeals against interim orders should be
disposed of within a period of a month.
In cases referred to above, necessary
documents should be kept ready by the counsel
to enable the Court to dispose of the appeal
against interlocutory matter at the first hearing
itself.
In all Appeals against interim orders in the
High Court, in writs and civil matters, the Court
should endeavour to set down and observe a
strict time limit in regard to oral arguments. In
case of Original Side appeals/LPAs arising out of
final orders in a Writ Petition or arising out of civil
suits filed in the High Court, a flexible time
schedule may be followed.
The practice direction in regard to First
Appeal should mutatis mutandis apply in respect
of LPAs/Original Side appeals against final
judgments of the Single Judge.
Writ Appeals/Letters Patent Appeals arising
from orders of the Single Judge in a Writ Petition
should be filed with simultaneous service on the
counsel for the opposite party who had appeared
before the Single Judge or on service of the
opposite party.
Writ Appeals against interim orders of the
Single Judge should invariably be disposed of
early and, at any rate, within a period of thirty
days from the first hearing. Before Writ Appeals
against final orders in Writ Petitions are heard,
brief written submissions must be filed by both
parties within such time as may be fixed by the
Court.
VI. Second Appeals :
Even at the stage of admission, the
questions of law with a brief synopsis and written
submissions on each of the propositions should
be filed so as to enable the Court to consider
whether there is a substantial question of law.
Wherever the Court is inclined to entertain the
appeal, apart from normal procedure for service
as per rules, advance notice shall be given to the
counsel who had appeared in the first appeal
letter Court. The notice should require the
respondents to file their written submissions
within a period of eight weeks from service of
notice. Efforts should be made to complete the
hearing of the Second Appeals within a period of
six months.
VII. Civil Revision :
A revision petition may be filed under
Section 115 of the Code or under any special
statute. In some High Courts, petitions under
Article 227 of the Constitution of India are
registered as civil revision petitions. The practise
direction in regard to LPAs and First Appeals to
the High Courts, should mutatis mutandis apply in
respect of revision petitions.
VIII. Criminal Appeals :
Criminal Appeals should be classified
based on offence, sentence and whether the
accused is on bail or in jail. Capital punishment
cases, rape, sexual offences, dowry death cases
should be kept in Track I. Other cases where the
accused is not granted bail and is in jail, should
be kept in Track II. Cases which affect a large
number of persons such as cases of mass
cheating, economic offences, illicit liquor tragedy,
food adulteration cases, offences of sensitive
nature should be kept in Track III. Offences
which are tried by special courts such as POTA,
TADA, NDPS, Prevention of Corruption Act, etc.
should be kept in Track IV. Track V  all other
offences.
The endeavour should be to complete
Track I cases within a period of six months, Track
II cases within nine months, Track III within a
year, Track IV and Track V within fifteen months.
Wherever an appeal is filed by a person in
jail, and also when appeals are filed by State, the
complete paper-books including the evidence,
should be filed by the State within such period as
may be fixed by Court.
In appeals against acquittals, steps for
appointment of amicus curie or State Legal Aid
counsel in respect of the accused who do not
have a lawyer of their own should be undertaken
by the Registry/(State Legal Services Committee)
immediately after completion of four weeks of
service of notice. It shall be presumed that in
such an event the accused is not in a position to
appoint counsel, and within two weeks thereafter
counsel shall be appointed and shall be furnished
all the papers.
IX. Note
Wherever there is any inconsistency
between these rules and the provisions of either
the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 or the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1973 or the High Court Act,
or any other statute, the provisions of such Codes
and statute, the provisions of such Codes and
statutes shall prevail.”

Before concluding, we wish to place on record our sincere gratitude
and appreciation for the members of the Committee, in particular Hon’ble
Mr.Justice M. Jagannadha Rao, Chairman of the Committee and Law
Commission of India who as usual has taken great pains in examining the
whole issue in detail and going into depth of it and has filed the three
Reports above referred which we hope will go a long way in dispensation
of effective and meaningful administration of justice to the litigating public.
We hope that the High Courts in the country would be in a position to
examine the aforesaid rules expeditiously and would be able to finalise the
Rules within a period of four months.
Further, we place on record our deep appreciation for very useful
assistance rendered by Senior Advocates Mr.K.Parasaran and Mr.Arun
Mohan who on request from this court readily agreed to render assistance
as Amicus Curie. We also record our appreciation for useful assistance
rendered by Mr.Gulam Vahnavati, learned Solicitor General on behalf of
Union of India and the Attorney General of India and Mr.T.L.V. Iyer, Senior
Advocate on behalf of Bar Council of India.
A copy of this judgment shall be sent to all the High Courts through
Registrar Generals, Central Government through Cabinet Secretary and
State Governments/Union Territories through Chief Secretaries so that
expeditious follow up action can be taken by all concerned. The Registrar
Generals, Central Government and State/Union Territories shall file the
progress report in regard to the action taken within a period of four months.

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