-Report by Sejal Jethva
ZAFAR BADYARI VS. SANDEEP SINGH, in this matter, the appellant/defendant seeks to challenge the decision made by the learned, Tis Hazari Courts, Delhi, according to Order 43 Rule 1 read with Section 104 CPC.
The respondent/plaintiff had brought the underlying lawsuit, CS No.461/2021, following Order 37 CPC, to collect possession, licence fees, and damages of Rs.13,30,000. It was said in the lawsuit that the suit property, a shop on the ground level (apart from the mezzanine floor), had been licenced to the appellant for 11 months at a rate of Rs. 1,33,000 per month, minus additional costs. The dishonoured checks that the appellant had given to the respondent to cover the arrears were the basis for the lawsuit. The contested order states that on September 17, 2021, the appellant received summonses in the suit and was deemed to have been served. Due to the appellant’s refusal to present and/or submit a leave to defend under Rules 3 and 5 of Order 37 CPC, respectively, the trial court issued the ex-parte decree by using Rule 6 of Order 37. A finding of respondent serving of process had been made by the Trial Court.
Rather than using Order 37 Rule 4 as provided for in the CPC, an application was submitted for the setting aside of the ex-parte decree under Order 9 Rule 13 of the CPC. The impugned order makes it clear that the trial court did not suffer any harm as a result of this misunderstanding and treated the case exactly as if it had been submitted in accordance with Order 37 Rule 4 and made identical decisions as such. The appellant did not establish “exceptional circumstances,” as the trial court noted in the impugned ruling, and this suggests that the trial court decided the application in accordance with Rule 4 of Order 37 and not Order 9 and Rule 13.
The appellant attempted to make arguments regarding the case’s merits, but given that the maintainability of the case has been questioned, this Court will first address the maintainability problem because the merits of the case are not currently a factor that should be taken into account. The learned counsel for the appellant was unable to cite any CPC provisions under which the appeal would fall, but he argued that because the two provisions, which essentially deal with the court’s ability to overturn an ex-parte decree, are similar, the appeal may be deemed to be maintainable against the Order 37 Rule 4 order because it is maintainable against an Order 9 Rule 13 order.
The respondent’s knowledgeable attorney, Mr. Aaditya Vijay Kumar, raised a preliminary challenge to the appeal’s maintainability. He claimed that because the contested ruling was issued in accordance with Order 37 Rule 4 CPC, it is not subject to appeal under Order 43 Rule 1 CPC.
1. In order to speed up the resolution of commercial lawsuits, Order 37 CPC relates to the summary trial method. After being served, a defendant is obligated under sub-rule 2 to appear in court; otherwise, the averments in the plaint are deemed conceded, and the plaintiff is entitled to a decree. Within ten days of receiving the summons, the defendant must appear in court and submit a memo of appearance. The plaintiff must serve the defendant with a summons for judgment upon the defendant’s attendance, and the defendant must submit an application for leave to defend the action within ten days of receiving the summons. The Court then decides whether to grant unconditional leave to defend, conditional leave to defend with the conditions it may deem appropriate, or dismiss the leave to defend and pronounce the lawsuit.
2. A challenge to the order issued in accordance with CPC Order 37 Rule 4 is not admissible under Order 43 Rule 1. As a result, the appeal is denied and the respondent’s initial objection is upheld. The appellant is free to look for a legal remedy if one is available. It is made clear that this Court has not addressed the arguments made by either party about the case’s merits.
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