Dr. Arijit Pasayat, J. -
Challenge in this appeal is to the
order passed by a learned Single Judge of the Delhi High Court
dismissing the First Appeal No. 681/2003 and upholding the order passed
by learned Additional District Judge in Suit No.54 of 2001.
Detailed reference to the factual
aspects would be unnecessary except noting the vital aspects.
Suit No.54/2001 was filed in the
Court of District Judge, Delhi. The same was for possession, recovery of
damages and mesne profit and rent @ Rs.70,664/- p.m. i.e. On 26.2.2002
the learned Additional District Judge framed issues and the case was
adjourned to 13.5.2002 for the evidence of the plaintiff. On 13.5.2002
the Presiding Officer was on leave and the case was adjourned to
29.5.2002 for the plaintiff's evidence. On 29.5.2002 none appeared for
the defendant and the matter was adjourned to be taken up on 31.5.2002
for final arguments and the matter was directed to be placed for orders
after lunch. Finally, the suit was decreed. The appeal filed by the
defendants was dismissed.
Learned counsel for the appellants
submitted that the course adopted by the trial Court has no sanctity in
law. The matter was listed on 13.5.2002 for plaintiff's evidence and was
subsequently adjourned to 29.5.2002. Even if the defendants were not
present the order could have been at the most to set the defendants ex
parte and another date should have been fixed. Interestingly, the matter
was taken up that very day and a long judgment running into several
pages was delivered.
It was submitted that the reason for
non-appearance was indicated to be wrong noting of the date by learned
counsel appearing for the defendants. The High Court did not discuss any
of the pleas and the submissions and by a cryptic order dismissed the
Learned counsel for the respondent
on the other hand submitted that the appellants have not come with clean
hands, and they have given a wrong and distorted picture.
We find that the High Court has
disposed of the First Appeal practically by a non-reasoned order. It did
not even consider the plea of the defendants as to why there was
non-appearance. Be that as it may, the course adopted by the trial Court
appears to be unusual. Therefore, we deem it proper to remit the matter
to the trial Court for fresh adjudication. Since the matter is pending
the trial Court shall dispose of the matter within three months from the
date of receipt of our order.
It is also proper that the
appellants should pay cost to the respondent. Even if the reason for
non-appearance is accepted to be correct, the plaintiff was certainly
prejudiced. Merely because the learned counsel appearing for the
defendants did not take proper care and caution that cannot be a ground
to loose sight of the prejudice caused to the plaintiff-respondent. The
same has to be meted out by costs which we fix at Rs.20,000/-. The
amount shall be paid within 10 days from today. A receipt shall be filed
before the trial Court immediately thereafter so that our directions for
disposal within three months can be duly complied with.
Parties are permitted to place copy
of our order before the trial Court so that necessary directions can be
The appeal is disposed of.
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