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Title: VijayPrakashJarathvTejPrakashJarath
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SupremeCourtofIndia

1March2016

Vijay Prakash Jarath


v
Tej Prakash Jarath
CaseNo:CivilAppealNos.23082309of2016(ArisingOutofS.L.P.(C)Nos.85368537of2008)with
CivilAppealNo.2310of2016(ArisingOutofS.L.P.(C)No.32118of2009)

Bench:JagdishSinghKhehar,C.Nagappan

Citation:2016IndlawSC206,AIR2016SC1304,2016(115)ALR865,2016(3)Bom.C.R.38,2016
(2) CTC 442, JT 2016 (3) SC 157, 2016 (3) Law Herald (P&H) 2079, 2016 (1) OLR 1094, 2016 (2)
RCR(Civil)392,2016(131)RD707,2016(3)RLW2314,2016(3)SCALE211,2016(1)WLN(SC)231

Summary : Civil Procedure Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, O. 8 r. 6A Counter claim Legality
Respondent filed suit on 9111992 Further, appellants filed written statements on 11111992
Further, issues came to be framed on 18101993 Further, after framing of issues, appellants filed
counterclaimon1761996i.e.almosttwoandhalfyearsafterframingofissuesTrialCourtvideorder
dt.28101996 accepted counterclaim Further, HC relying on earlier decision held that counterclaim
filedbyappellantsbeforeTrialcourt,wasnotlegallyacceptableWhetherimpugnedorderpassedbyHC
againstpetitionerisjustifiedandinaccordancewithlaw

Held,asperO.8,r.6AofCPC,causeofactioninrespectofwhichcounterclaimcanbefiled,shouldaccrue
beforedefendanthasdeliveredhisdefence,namely,beforedefendanthasfiledwrittenstatement.SCheld
thatinpresentcase,causeofactionforwhichcounterclaimwasfiledinarosebeforerespondentfiledsuit.
Hence,appellantswerewellwithintheirrighttofilecounterclaim.SCheldthatafterissueswereframed
on18101993,counterclaimwasfiledbypetitioneralmosttwoandhalfyearsafterframingofissues.
Hence, SC held that there was no justification for HC to have declined petitioner from filing his counter
claimon1761996,speciallybecause,itisnotmatterofdispute,thatcauseofaction,onbasisofwhich
counter claim was filed by petitioner accrued before their written statement was filed on 11111992.
Further,respondentevidencewasstillbeingrecordedbyTrialCourt,whencounterclaimwasfiled.Further,
it was not shown that any prejudice would be caused to respondent before Trial Court, if counterclaim
wastobeadjudicatedupon,alongwithmainsuit.Hence,impugnedorderpassedbyHCagainstappellants
issetaside.Appealallowed.

Ratio When cause of action, on basis of which counter claim was filed by party accrued before their
writtenstatement,Courtisnotjustifiedtoholdthatfilingofcounterclaimisillegal.

TheJudgmentwasdeliveredby:JagdishSinghKhehar,J.

CivilAppealNos.23082309of2016(ArisingoutofSLP(C)Nos.85368537of2008)

1.TherespondentbeforethisCourtTejPrakashJarathfiledSuitNo.608of1992on09.11.1992.In
theaforesaidsuit,defendantsNos.3and4OmPrakashJarath(thefatheroftheplaintiffinthesuit)
and Vijay Prakash Jarath (the elder brother of the plaintiff) respectively, filed written statements on
11.11.1992. Thereupon, issues came to be framed on 18.10.1993. After the framing of the issues,
thepetitionersbeforethisCourt(i.e.defendantNos.3and4intheoriginalsuit),filedacounterclaim
on17.06.1996i.e.almosttwoandahalfyearsaftertheframingoftheissues.

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2.Thetrialcourt,videitsorderdated28.10.1996,acceptedtheaforesaidcounterclaim.Theabove
order dated 28.10.1996, came to be assailed by the respondentplaintiffTej Prakash Jarath through
Civil Miscellaneous Writ Petition No.1266 of 2001, before the High Court of Uttarakhand at Nainital
(hereinafterreferredtoas'theHighCourt').TheHighCourtrelyinguponthejudgmentofthisCourtin
Rohit Singh & ors. vs. State of Bihar (Now State of Jharkhand) & Ors., (2006) 12 SCC 734 2006
Indlaw SC 1007, concluded, that the counterclaim filed by the petitionerdefendant Nos.3 and 4
before the trial court, was not legally acceptable. The order passed by the High Court dated
02.01.2008, recording the above conclusion, has been assailed through the instant special leave
petitions.

3.Leavegranted.

4.Beforeadvertingtothemeritsofthecontroversy,wewouldfirstendeavourtodealwiththeissues
as to whether the High Court correctly applied the judgment rendered by this Court in Rohit Singh'
case2006IndlawSC1007(supra),tothecontroversyinhand.Inordertoappreciatetheconclusions
drawn by this Court in Rohit Singh's case 2006IndlawSC1007 (supra), the following observations
(relatingtothefactsandconclusions)recordedthereinneedtobetakenintoconsideration:

"17.WeshallfirstconsiderwhethertherewasacounterclaiminthesuitintermsofOrder8Rule6A
oftheCodeinthiscase.ThesuitwasfiledagainsttheDivisionalForestOfficerandtheStateofBihar
as Defendants 1 and 2 on 26.2.1996 by Respondent No.6 herein. After the written statement was
filedbythedefendants,issueswereframedandthesuitwenttotrial.On3.6.1996and6.6.1996the
evidence on the side of the plaintiff was concluded. On 14.6.1996 the evidence on the side of the
defendants was completed. On 24.6.1996 arguments were concluded. Judgment was reserved.
25.6.1996wasfixedasthedateforpronouncingthejudgment.Thejudgmentwasnotpronounced
anditappearsthattheJudgewassubsequentlytransferred.Therefore,on20.8.1996argumentswere
againheardbythesuccessorJudgeandjudgmentwasreserved.27.8.1996wasfixedasthedatefor
judgment. Apparently, it was not pronounced. It is thereafter that Defendants 3 to 17 filed an
applicationon11.9.1996forinterventioninthesuit.Wehavealreadyreferredtotheallegationsin
thatapplicationforimpleadingfiled.Weonlynoticeagainthattheyclaimedtobeinpossessionofthe
property and that their presence before the court was necessary in order to enable the court to
effectually and completely adjudicate upon and settle all the questions involved in the suit. On
19.9.1996theapplicationforinterventionwasallowed.On30.9.1996awrittenstatementwasfiled
byDefendants3to12.Wehavealreadysummarisedthepleasraisedtherein.

18.Afterthis,thewitnessesoftheplaintiffwererecalledandpermittedtobecrossexaminedbythese
Defendants.Thatwason5.10.1996.Againthewitnessesfordefendants1and2,wererecalledand
theywerepermittedtobecrossexaminedonbehalfofthesedefendants.Theevidenceonthesideof
Defendants3to17wasletin.Itcommencedon24.2.1997andwasclosedon30.1.1997.Thereafter,
arguments were heard again and the arguments on the side of the defendants including that of
Defendants3to17wereconcludedon4.3.1997.Thesuitwasadjournedforargumentsonthesideof
theplaintiff.On5.3.1997,thesuitwasdismissedfordefaultoftheplaintiff.Itwasthenrestoredon
29.5.1998.Itwasthereafteron5.6.1998,thatDefendants3to17filedanapplicationforamending
thewrittenstatement.Theamendmentwasallowedon20.7.1998.Therewasnoordertreatingthe
amendedwrittenstatementasacounterclaimordirectingeithertheplaintifforDefendants1and2
tofileawrittenstatementorananswerthereto.Defendants3to17hadquestionedthepecuniary
jurisdictionofthetrialcourtintheirwrittenstatement.Thatpleawaspermittedtobewithdrawnon
4.2.1999. It is clear that after the evidence was closed, there was no occasion for impleading the

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interveners. Even assuming that they were properly impleaded, after they had filed their written
statement,thesuithadgoneforfurthertrialandfurtherevidenceincludingthatoftheinterveners
had been taken, the evidence again closed and even arguments on the side of the interveners had
beenconcluded.Thesuititselfwasdismissedfordefaultonlybecauseonbehalfoftheplaintiffthere
wasafailuretoaddressarguments.Butthesuitwassubsequentlyrestored.Atthatstagenocounter
claimcouldbeentertainedattheinstanceoftheinterveners.Acounterclaim,nodoubt,couldbefiled
evenafterthewrittenstatementisfiled,butthatdoesnotmeanthatacounterclaimcanberaised
after issues are framed and the evidence is closed. Therefore, the entertaining of the socalled
counterclaimofDefendants3to17bythetrialcourt,aftertheframingofissuesfortrial,wasclearly
illegalandwithoutjurisdiction.Onthatshortgroundthesocalledcounterclaim,filedbyDefendants3
to17hastobeheldtobenotmaintainable.

19.Ascanbeseen,whatDefendants3to17did,wastomerelyamendtheirwrittenstatementby
adding a sentence to para 16 of the written statement they originally filed. In para 16 it was only
pleadedthatthosedefendantswereclaimingtobeinpeacefulpossessionofthesuitlandseversince
thetimeoftheirpredecessors.Theywantedtoaddthattheyhadclaimedacquisitionoftitlebasedon
longanduninterruptedpossessionandtheycraveleavetogettheirtitledeclaredinthesuitforwhich
adeclaratorycourtfeeispaid.Itmaybenotedthatnotevenaprayerwassoughttobeaddedseeking
adeclarationoftheirtitleasisthenormalpractice.Itis,therefore,clearthatongoingthroughthe
originalwrittenstatementandtheamendmentintroduced,thattherewasnocounterclaiminterms
ofOrder8Rule6AoftheCodeinthecaseonhand,whichjustifiesatrialofthatcounterclaimeven
assuming that such a counterclaim was maintainable even if no relief was claimed against the
plaintiffinthesuitbutitwasdirectedonlyagainstthecodefendantsinthesuit.Thecounterclaimso
calledisliabletoberejectedonthatgroundaswell."

(emphasisisours)

5.Thefactualpositionintherelieduponjudgment,isnotsimilartothefactualpositionofthecasein
hand.Inthepresentcase,aftertheissueshadbeenframed,theplaintiff'sevidencehadcommenced
toberecorded.Thoughthesamehadnotyetbeenconcluded.InRohitSingh'case2006IndlawSC
1007(supra),ontheotherhand,notonlywereissuesframed,andtheevidenceoftherivalparties,
includingthedefendantrecorded.Furthermore,onseveraloccasions,argumentswereheardforthe
ultimate disposal of the suit. And more than once, the judgment was also reserved, but then, on
account of transfer of the Judge, and for other reasons, evident from the extract recorded
hereinabove, judgment could not be pronounced. It is in the aforesaid situation, that the counter
claimfiledbythedefendants,atsuchabelatedstage,wasconsideredtobe,notsustainableinlaw.We
are, therefore, satisfied in holding, that the judgment rendered in Rohit Singh's case is clearly not
applicabletothefactsandcircumstancesofthiscase.

6. Furthermore, learned counsel for the appellants had contended, on the basis of observations
recorded in para 18 (extracted above) in Rohit Singh's case 2006 Indlaw SC 1007 (supra), that
counter claim would not be permissible after framing of the issues, and after the evidence is
concluded.Eveniftheaboveparameterisappliedtothefactsofthepresentcase,itisapparent,that
the judgment rendered in Rohit Singh's case 2006 Indlaw SC 1007 (supra) would not lead to the
findingsrecordedbytheHighCourtintheimpugnedorder,forthesimplereason,thatinRohitSingh's
case,evidencefrombothsideswasconcluded,andevenargumentshadbeenheard,whereas,inthe
presentcase,eventhoughevidenceonbehalfoftherespondentplaintiffhascommenced,ithasnot
yetconcluded.Theevidenceonbehalfofthedefendantsisyettocommence.

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7. Despite the conclusions recorded by us hereinabove, it is relevant to record, that it was also the
contentionofthelearnedcounselfortherespondentplaintiff,thatthedecisionrenderedbythisCourt
inRohitSingh'scase,hasbeenreiteratedinBollepandaP.Poonacha&Anrvs.K.M.Madapa,(2008)13
SCC1792008IndlawSC397, and a perusal of the above judgment, would lead to the conclusion,
that in the factual analysis, the conclusions drawn by the High Court were justified. Our pointed
attention was drawn to the conclusions recorded in paragraph 15 of the above judgment, which is
extractedhereunder:

"15.AbelatedcounterclaimmustbediscouragedbythisCourt.SeeRameshChandArdawatiyaVs.
Anil Panjwani [(2003) 7 SCC 350] 2003 Indlaw SC 1808. We are, however, not unmindful of the
decisionsofthisCourtwhereadefendanthasbeenallowedtoamendhiswrittenstatementsoasto
enablehimtoelaboratehisdefenceortotakeadditionalpleasinsupportofhiscase.TheCourtinsuch
matters has a wide discretion. It must, however, subserve the ultimate cause of justice. It may be
truethatfurtherlitigationshouldbeendeavouredtobeavoided.Itmayalsobetruethatjoinderof
severalcausesofactioninasuitispermissible.TheCourt,must,however,exercisethediscretionary
jurisdictioninajudiciousmanner.Whileconsideringthatsubservanceofjusticeistheultimategoal,
the statutory limitation shall not be overstepped. Grant of relief will depend upon the factual
background involved in each case. The Court, while undoubtedly would take into consideration the
questionsofseriousinjusticeorirreparableloss,butneverthelessshouldbearinmindthataprovision
foramendmentofpleadingsarenotavailableasamatterofrightunderallcircumstances.Onecause
ofactioncannotbeallowedtobesubstitutedbyanother.Ordinarily,effectofanadmissionmadein
earlierpleadingsshallnotbepermittedtobetakenaway.SeeStateofA.PVs.M/s.PioneerBuilders,
A.P.[(2006)9SCALE520]2006IndlawSC523andSteelAuthorityofIndiaLtd.Vs.UnionofIndia
[2006(9)SCALE597]2006IndlawSC525andHimmatSinghVs.I.C.I.IndiaLtd.[2008(2)SCALE
152]2008IndlawSC129."

(emphasisisours)

Having perused the conclusions drawn in paragraph 15, extracted above, we are satisfied, that the
samearewhollyinapplicabletothefactsandcircumstancesofthiscase,andthat,thedecisionofthe
High Court could not have been legitimately based on the conclusions recorded in paragraph 15,
extractedabove.

8.Itisinthesecircumstances,thatweadverttoOrderVIIIRule6AoftheCodeofCivilProcedure,
whichisbeingreproducedbelow:

"6A.Counterclaimbydefendant(1)Adefendantinasuitmay,inadditiontohisrightofpleadinga
setoff under rule 6, set up, by way of counterclaim against the claim of the plaintiff, any right or
claim in respect of a cause of action accruing to the defendant against the plaintiff either before or
afterthefilingofthesuitbutbeforethedefendanthasdeliveredhisdefenceorbeforethetimelimited
for delivering his defence has expired, whether such counterclaim is in the nature of a claim for
damagesornot:

ProvidedthatsuchcounterclaimshallnotexceedthepecuniarylimitsofthejurisdictionoftheCourt.

(2) Such counterclaim shall have the same effect as a crosssuit so as to enable the Court to
pronounceafinaljudgmentinthesamesuit,bothontheoriginalclaimandonthecounterclaim.

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(3) The plaintiff shall be at liberty to file a written statement in answer to the counterclaim of the
defendantwithinsuchperiodasmaybefixedbytheCourt.

(4)Thecounterclaimshallbetreatedasaplaintandgovernedbytherulesapplicabletoplaints."

AperusalofSubclause(1)ofSection6AofOrderVIII,leavesnoroomforanydoubt,thatthecause
of action in respect of which a counter claim can be filed, should accrue before the defendant has
delivered his defence, namely, before the defendant has filed a written statement. The instant
determination of ours is supported by the conclusions drawn in Bollepanda P. Poonacha & Anr vs.
K.M.Madapa2008IndlawSC397(supra),whereinthisCourtobservedasunder:

"11. The provision of Order 8 Rule 6A must be considered having regard to the aforementioned
provisions.Arighttofilecounterclaimisanadditionalright.Itmaybefiledinrespectofanyrightor
claim,thecauseofactiontherefor,however,mustaccrueeitherbeforeorafterthefilingofthesuit
butbeforethedefendanthasraisedhisdefence.Therespondentinhisapplicationforamendmentof
written statement categorically raised the plea that the appellants had tresspassed on the lands in
questioninthesummerof1998.Causeofactionforfilingthecounterclaiminteraliawassaidtohave
arisen at that time. It was so explicitly stated in the said application. The said application, in our
opinion, was, thus, clearly not maintainable. The decision of Ryaz Ahmed (supra) is based on the
decisionofthisCourtinBaldevSinghVs.ManoharSingh[(2006)6SCC498]2006IndlawSC648."

(emphasisisours)

Itisnotamatterofdisputeinthepresentcase,thatcauseofactionforwhichthecounterclaimwas
filed in the present case, arose before the respondentplaintiff filed the suit (out of which these
petitions/appealshavearisen).ItisthereforeapparentthattheappellantsbeforethisCourtwerewell
withintheirrighttofilethecounterclaim.

9.Itisquiteapparentfromthefactualpositionnoticedhereinabove,thataftertheissueswereframed
on 18.10.1993, the counter claim was filed by the appellants before this Court (i.e. by defendant
Nos.3and4beforethetrialcourt)almosttwoandahalfyearsaftertheframingoftheissues.Having
given our thoughtful consideration to the provisions relating to the filing of counter claim, we are
satisfied,thattherewasnojustificationwhatsoeverfortheHighCourttohavedeclined,theappellant
beforethisCourtfromfilinghiscounterclaimon17.06.1996,speciallybecause,itisnotamatterof
dispute,thatthecauseofaction,onthebasisofwhichthecounterclaimwasfiledbydefendantNos.3
and 4, accrued before their written statement was filed on 11.11.1992. In the present case, the
respondentplaintiff'sevidencewasstillbeingrecordedbythetrialcourt,whenthecounterclaimwas
filed.Ithasalsonotbeenshowntous,thatanyprejudicewouldbecausedtotherespondentplaintiff
beforethetrialcourt,ifthecounterclaimwastobeadjudicatedupon,alongwiththemainsuit.We
are of the view, that no serious injustice or irreparable loss (as expressed in paragraph 15 of
BollepandaP.Pooncha'scase),wouldbesufferedbytherespondentplaintiffinthiscase.

10.Forthereasonsrecordedhereinabove,wesetasidetheimpugnedorderpassedbytheHighCourt
dated02.01.2008,andrestoretheorderpassedbythetrialcourtdated28.10.1996.

11.Theappealsareallowedintheaboveterms.

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12.Needlesstomention,thatitshallbeopentotherespondentplaintifftoraiseallpleasopentohim
throughthewrittenstatementwhichisfiledbytherespondentplaintiff,tothecounterclaim.

CivilAppealNo.2310of2016(ArisingoutofSLP(C)No.32118of2009)

13.Leavegranted.

14. Learned counsel for the parties are agreed, that the controversy raised in the instant appeal, is
akin to the one adjudicated upon by this Court in Vijay Prakash Jarath vs. Tej Prakash Jarath (Civil
Appeal Nos.23082309 of 2016, arising out of SLP(C)Nos.85368537 of 2008, decided by us on
01.03.2016.TheinstantappealisaccordinglyallowedintermsofthedecisionrenderedbythisCourt
inVijayPrakashJarathvs.TejPrakashJarathdecidedon01.03.2016.

Appealallowed

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