Failure of petitioner to ‘stand on his own legs’ gives rise to adverse inference

Punjab and Haryana High Court: On failure of the plaintiff to appear in the witness box and produce the record, a Single Judge Bench comprising of Anil Kshetrapal, J. dismissed his claim for recovery of money from the defendants by setting aside the judgment and order of the Courts below which allowed the claim of the plaintiff.

The plaintiff submitted that he placed an order with the defendants for the purchase of steel ingots and he gave an advance of Rs 2,00,000 for the same. The petitioner alleged that the said material had not been supplied to them. They, therefore, claimed recovery of the amount with interest. The defendants submitted that they had supplied the ingots to the plaintiff and they produced invoice and receipts of the same in evidence. However, the courts below decreed the suit in favour of the plaintiff. The defendants filed the instant appeals against the decision of the courts below.

After considering the entire record, the High Court observed that, “It is well settled that the plaintiff has to stand on his own legs.” The plaintiff was required to appear in the witness box and produce the record in their possession that would prove that the defendants did not supply the ingots for which an advance was paid by the plaintiff. However, the plaintiff failed to do so, which gave rise to an adverse inference against their claim. On the other hand, the material produced by the defendants proved that they had supplied ingots to the petitioner which was duly received by them. The Court held that in the instant case, the plaintiff failed to stand on their own legs. Therefore, the appeal filed by the defendants were allowed and the judgment of the courts below decreeing the suit of the petitioner were set aside. [Garg Concast Ltd. v. Satnam Singh, 2018 SCC OnLine P&H 570, order dated 1-3-2018]

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