Under Indian Laws especially under Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (“CPC“) there are questions which may not have a definite answer. One such question is when does the pleading under CPC can be deemed to have been complete? Does filing of subsequent pleading after filing of Written Statement be permissible?
Now this question may not have a definite answer but as per Order VIII Rule 9 it can be stated that the pleadings are complete after the Defendant files its written statement. However, the said rule permits the parties to file a subsequent pleading with the leave of the Court.
Order VIII Rule 9 of CPC
“Subsequent Pleading – No pleading subsequent to the written statement of a defendant other than by way of defence to set-off or counter-claim shall be presented except by the leave of the Court and upon such terms as the Court thinks fit; but the Court may at any time require a written statement or additionally written statement from any parties and fix a time of not more than thirty days for presenting the same.
From the plain reading of the aforesaid rule it is clear that it is the discretion of the Court to accept subsequent pleadings after filling of the written statement and therefore there can be pleadings that may be filed after the written statement is filed by the defendant.
The term replication does not find its place in CPC, however, through various judgements it is observed that in certain cases with the leave of the Court, Plaintiff has been permitted to file a rejoinder to the written statement filled by the defendant, such a rejoinder filled by the Plaintiff is termed as “replication”.
- Sunil and Vasanth Architects and Consulting Engineers and Anr Vs Tata Ceramics Ltd. (AIR 1999 Ker 88)
Wherein it was held as follows:
“Thus, the Plaintiff is allowed to file a replication, provided he gets leave of the Court. In this case the Court has granted leave. The application filed for leave shows that the replication was necessitated because certain incorrect statements were made in the written statement.”
- Veerasekhara Varmarayar Vs Amirthavalliammal & Ors. (AIR 1975 Mad51)
Wherein it was observed as follows:
” 7. As far as first point is concerned, undoubtedly the appellant has appended a list to the written statement wherein he has given the details of the debts alleged to be due by the family. Equally it is true that the Plaintiffs could have filed a rejoinder challenging the truth and binding nature of the of these debts. But law does not compel them to file such a rejoinder. At the same time, once the appellant had pleaded the existence and the binding nature of these debts, it was for him to establish the same and it could not be contended that the plaintiffs must be deemed to have admitted the same simply because they had not filed a rejoinder.
- M.L. Gupta Vs Kripal Singh [98(2002) DLT683
Wherein it was observed as follows:
” 28. It is clear from this rule that the replication cannot be filed by the Plaintiff, except by way of defence to a set-off , as matter of right, But with the leave of the leave of the Court it can be presented. Once the Court required a party to file the replication or allowed the plaintiff to present it then the replication will become part of the pleading. Head note ‘subsequent pleadings’ and the opening words ‘No Pleading’ used in this provision clearly bring the replication filed after the written statement within the purview of the word ‘pleading’……”
In view of the aforesaid scenario it is clear that as per CPC the pleadings are generally completed after the Defendant files his Written Statement (in cases where there is no set-off or counter-claim). It is further clear that there is no mandatory provision which compels the Plaintiff to file a replication/rejoinder to such Written Statement filed by the Defendant. Be that as it may so, if the Plaintiff chooses to file a replication to the written statement filled by the Defendant, the Plaintiff can be permitted to do so, upon satisfying the court that such replication is necessary in the respective matter and only after taking leave of the court such replication can be filed. In the event such replication is filed by the Plaintiff the same shall be construed to part of the pleadings.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.