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Bar To Take On Record Additional Document Is Not Absolute In Commercial Suits

In a recent landmark judgment reported as 2021 SCC Online SC 734 Sudhir Kumar Vs Vinay Kumar GB, the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India addressed the issue of taking additional documents on record.

The central question before the court was whether the provisions of the Commercial Courts Act impose an absolute bar on admitting additional judgments as evidence.

The judgment not only delves into the specific case at hand but also provides guidance on the interpretation and scope of the relevant provisions of the Commercial Courts Act.

In light of this judgment, the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi , while exercising the revisionary jurisdiction, has examined and interpreted the scope of the commercial court to take on record additional documents.

The Subject Matter Petition:
Subject Matter Petition was filed by the Petitioner under Article 227 of Constitution of India.

The Contesting Parties:
Petitioner was the Plaintiff while Respondent was Defendant in subject matter Suit.

The Order Impugned:
The Petitioner assailed the impugned Judgment dated 02.08.2022 passed by the LD. where by the LD. Trial Court refused to take on record the additional documents filed by the Petitioner.

The Reasons Given By The Petitioner For Taking On Record Additional Documents:
The Petitioner explained that the additional documents could not be filed at the earlier occasion as the same were located in a different premises under lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the technical staff not being available to retrieve the same, making them inaccessible until after the filing of the suit. Because of the adore said reasons, the Petitioner explained that the subject matter additional documents could not be filed.

The Judgement In This Petition.
The Present Petition was allowed and additional documents of the Petitioner were ordered to be taken on record.

The Reasoning:
Considering the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is imperative for this Court to adopt a flexible approach rather than a strict interpretation as has been done by the Ld. Trial Court in the present case.

The provision of Order XI Rule 1(5) of Commercial Court Act 2015 does establish strict boundaries. However, given the circumstances, the explanation provided by the Petitioner justifies the delayed submission of additional document.

What law presupposes is that a "dual requirement" on the plaintiff, mandating both the disclosure and filing of documents along with the plaint.

This requirement explicitly prohibits the plaintiff from relying on documents that were not disclosed along with the plaint.

Hence if a document falls within the plaintiff's power, possession, control, or custody, it must not only be disclosed but also filed along with the plaint.

However in the case at hand, the Ld. Trial Court proceeded under the assumption that the Petitioner did not make any disclosure regarding the additional documents.

This assumption disregards the relevance of the reason for non-filing, as the focus is solely on the absence of disclosure by the Petitioner.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge that the lawsuit is still in its early stages, with issues yet to be framed, and the Petitioner's interim injunction application pending adjudication.

The principle that "procedure is the handmaid of justice" should guide our deliberations. While the purpose of Order XI of the CPC is to expedite commercial proceedings, it should not be interpreted in a way that obstructs the pursuit of justice or allows one party to win based solely on technical grounds before a thorough trial.

The Court ought to have allowed the filing of additional documents in cases where issues had not yet been framed. More over the additional documents are also relevant to determine the issue of prior as disputed in the Suit.

While dealing with the scope of Supervisory Jurisdiction under Article 227 of Constitution of India, the Court observed that supervisory role aims to ensure the correct application of the law, uphold justice, and prevent any miscarriage of justice.

In the given case, it was evident that the Trial Court's perspective contains a clear error, which provides appropriate situation to exercise its supervisory jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.

Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: Vijay Kumar Varshneya Vs Long Last Power Products Limited and another
Date of Judgment: 03.07.2023
Case No: CM M IPD 1 of 2023
Neutral Citation No: 2023:DHC:4356
Name of Hon'ble Court: Hon'ble High Court of Delhi
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Sanjeev Narula , H.J.

Information contained herein is being shared in the public Interest. The same should not be treated as substitute for legal advice as it is subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception, interpretation and presentation of the facts and law involved herein.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman, IP Adjutor
Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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