Calcutta High Court | The Single Judge bench of Arindam Mukherjee,* J., held that time limit for filing written statement can be extended depending upon facts of the case and accepted the written statement of the defendant which was verified and affirmed on 120th day of such service of Writ of Summons.
In the instant matter, the plaintiff filed a suit in the Commercial Division in response to which the defendant filed an application for rejection of the plaint after receiving the Writ of Summons. The petitioner approached this Court as the time period of 120 days since serving of the Writ of Summons was completed.
As per the plaintiff the Writ of Summons was served on 18-01-2023 and relied upon the tracking data of the official website of the postal authorities to further their argument. On the other hand, the defendant contended that Writ of Summons has been served on 03-02-2023. The defendant further contended that even if the date of service of the Writ of Summons is taken to be 18-01-2023, the written statement has been verified and affirmed on 18-05-2023 which is on the 120th day of such service.
The time period to file the written statement as per the provisions of Or. 8 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 read with the provision of S. 16 of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 is 30 days extendable up to a maximum of 120 days from the date of receipt of the Writ of Summons.
Observation and Verdict
The Court observed that as per SCG Contracts India (P) Ltd. v. K. S. Chamankar Infrastructure (P) Ltd., (2019) 12 SCC 210, after expiry of 120 days the defendant forfeits its right to file the written statement but the Supreme Court in Prakash Corporates v. Dee Vee Projects Ltd., (2022) 5 SCC 112, held that depending upon the facts of the case there can be departure from this particular point of view.
The Court observed that the defendant has verified and affirmed their written statements on 120th day of the receiving of the Writ of Summons and therefore, allowed for the written statements of the defendant to be filed.
[Pratishtha Commercial (P) Ltd. v. Orissa State Cooperative Milk Producer’s Federation Ltd., 2023 SCC OnLine Cal 1404, Order dated 19-05-2023]
*Judgment by Justice Arindam Mukherjee
Advocates who appeared in this case:
Mr. Pranit Bag and Mr. Anurag Modi, Counsel for the Plaintiff;
Mr. Nemani Srinivas and Mr. Bishajib Ghosh, Counsel for the Defendant.