Delhi High Court: Pratibha M. Singh, J. dismissed a petition filed against the order whereby the objections filed on behalf of the petitioner under Section 47 CPC (questions to be determined by the Court executing decree) were rejected.

The respondent herein filed a suit against the petitioner under Section 13 read with 27 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 seeking a decree of divorce as well as the return of stridhan. The trial judge granted the decree of divorce and directed the petitioner to return the stridhan as claimed by the respondent. The decree came for execution and notice was issued to the petitioner. He filed objections under Section 47 CPC. The said objections were signed by his Advocate. The affidavit supporting the objections was also signed by the Advocate. The trial court rejected the objections on the ground that the petitioner had neither signed the objections nor filed an affidavit in support thereof.

The High Court observed that the objections under Section 47 CPC constitute pleadings. Court stated that, “Under the provisions of CPC and under the Delhi High Court Rules, pleadings ought to be signed by the client and cannot be signed merely by the counsel. Further, the objections ought to be either verified or be accompanied with the affidavit of the client. Even in the rules applicable to the Executing Court and the Family Court, the pleadings have to be signed and verified by the client and not just by the counsel. This is clear from a reading of Order VI Rule 14, Order VI Rule 15, CPC and Rule 4, Part C, Chapter 1, Practice in the Trial of Civil Suits, Instructions to Civil Courts in Delhi (Vol. I of High Court Rules and Orders).

The Court stated that, pleadings have to be verified by the parties. Pleaders are entitled to sign the same but not in substitution of the clients. The signatures of the Pleader would be only in addition to that of the client.

The Court also noted a settled position that advocates, who act on behalf of their clients, cannot verify the pleadings on behalf of their clients. This is clear from a perusal of the Bar Council of India Rules, which prohibit an advocate from accepting a brief in which he has reason to believe that he will be a witness. “Under certain circumstances, giving of evidence could be directed in proceedings under Section 47 CPC. Accordingly, if an advocate signs the affidavit in support of the objections, then the advocate may be called for cross-examination as a witness, and such a situation would be in clear violation of the Bar Council of India Rules.”

In such view of the matter, Court did not find any infirmity in the impugned order, and resultantly the appeal was dismissed.[Shyamji Mehrotra v. Shipra Mehrotra, CM(M) 1315 of 2019, decided on 04-09-2019]

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