Can extend time for filing written statements in civil proceedings: Punjab and Haryana High Court : The Tribune India

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Can extend time for filing written statements in civil proceedings: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Emphasising a flexible approach, the court noted that procedural laws are meant to facilitate justice rather than hinder it

Can extend time for filing written statements in civil proceedings: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Photo: Tribune file



Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, May 22

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that the statutory time limit for filing written statements in civil proceedings can be extended at the court’s discretion. Emphasising a flexible approach, the court noted that procedural laws are meant to facilitate justice rather than hinder it.

“The time limit provided under statute for filing of the written statement in civil proceedings can be extended by the court. Moreover, a hyper-technical approach is not to be adopted by the court as procedural laws are meant for imparting substantial justice and not to obstruct the judicial proceedings,” asserted Justice Sukhvinder Kaur.

The ruling clarifies that statutory deadlines are important, but not absolute. Courts have the inherent power to extend these deadlines to ensure fairness and justice in civil litigation. The decision came in a case where the petitioner failed to file a written statement despite having sufficient opportunities. The Bench noted that the statutory period of 90 days for filing the written statement had already elapsed.

During the hearing, the petitioner’s counsel explained that the delay was due to ongoing compromise talks, and the written statement was ready. The counsel argued that the delay was neither wilful nor intentional.

Considering the circumstances, the Bench observed that granting an effective opportunity to the petitioner to file his written statement would be in the interest of justice. The opposing party could be compensated with costs.

“Therefore, the trial court is directed to grant one effective opportunity to the petitioner to file his written statement subject to payment of costs of Rs 8,000 to be paid to respondents,” the Bench concluded.

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