Kerala High Court

Kerala High Court: In an Original Petition challenging the order passed by Commercial Court rejecting application for acceptance of a Written Statement (WS) in a suit for recovery, C.S. Dias J. relied on the Supreme Court’s interpretation regarding amended provisions of Commercial Courts Act, 2015 and held the Commercial Court justified in rejecting the application for delay in filing WS beyond the stipulated period.

Respondent filed suit for recovery of money and petitioners could not file WS within the prescribed period due to relevant documents getting misplaced. The Commercial Court proceeded with the suit and rejected the petitioner’s application through the impugned order for acceptance of WS filed. Aggrieved by the said order, the present petition has been filed.

The Court observed the relevant facts that the plaint was instituted on 4-12-2021 and petitioners entered appearance on 13-1-2022. The interim application was filed before the Consumer Court to receive the WS after 1 year on 27-2-2023.

The Court pointed towards Section 16 of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 amending the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (CPC) regarding its application to commercial disputes in case of delay in filing the WS, allowed only within 120 days from the date of summons.

The Court referred to SCG Contracts (India) (P) Ltd. v. K.S. Chamankar Infrastructure (P) Ltd., (2019) 12 SCC 210 wherein, the Court held the amended provisions of Orders V and VIII of CPC mandatory. The Court also relied upon Raj Process Equipments and Systems Pvt. Ltd. v. Honest Derivatives Pvt. Ltd. wherein, the Court held that “if the suit is filed before the Civil Court and then transferred to the Commercial Court, then the amended provisions of Orders V and VIII of the Code are directory”.

Thus, the Court observed the undisputed fact that the WS was filed beyond the stipulated period. The Court held that the Commercial Court was justified in rejecting the application for acceptance of WS. The Court dismissed the present petition holding that there is no error in the impugned order warranting interference under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.

[Anil M.P. v. Capital Finserv Ltd., 2023 SCC OnLine Ker 1431, judgment dated 8-3-2023]

Judgment by: Justice C.S. Dias.

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioners: Advocate K.V. Sanosh, Advocate B.R. Muraleedharan, Advocate I.J. Augustine, Advocate K.V. Suresh, Advocate Neethu Nalinakshan;

For Respondents: Advocate Benny Joseph.

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