Application for filing additional evidence at appellate stage: A plea to be considered by the courts cautiously

Jharkhand High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Shree Chandrashekhar, J., allowed a writ petition filed against the order of the Appellate Court whereby his application under Order XLI Rule 27 was rejected.

The main issue that arose before the Court was whether the Appellate Court was justified in rejecting the appellant’s application for filing additional documents under Order XLI Rule 27 of CPC.

The High Court observed that ordinarily in the appellate stage, additional documents should not be allowed, however, there are exceptions to this rule. Such an application for taking on record additional evidence at the appellate stage can be entertained in cases where it can be proved that the party did not get the opportunity to file the same documents at the lower stage. It can also be entertained in cases where it can be proved that in the absence of those additional pieces of evidence justice would not be served. Further, Rule 27(1)(b) empowers the court to admit additional evidence in the appellate stage for any other substantial cause which the court may deem fit. The Court referred to the case of Union of India v. Ibrahim Uddin, (2012) 8 SCC 148 and observed that in cases in which on the face of the records it is apparent that a party to the suit was grossly negligent and fails to establish due diligence on his part and in cases where the application for taking additional evidence is found frivolous, a decision on the application under Order XLI Rule 27 CPC should be taken by the Appellate Court at the end of the final hearings in the appeal.

The Court held that the appellate court had given findings on merits of the lease-deeds which were sought to be brought on record by the petitioner and hence the Appellate Court had prejudged the matter without taking lease deeds on record. The Court set aside the impugned order and restored the application of petitioner under Order XLI Rule 27 of the CPC to its original file. [Uma Shankar Singh v. State of Jharkhand,2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 1263, order dated 12-09-2018]

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