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Service Through the Learned Local Commissioner and Its Implications on Order VIII Rule 1 of the CPC

The matter at hand revolves around the interpretation and application of Order VIII Rule 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), specifically in relation to the service of summons through a learned Local Commissioner.

The plaintiff in this case sought a judgment in their favor against the defendants under Order VIII Rule 10 of CPC, as amended by the Commercial Courts Act, 2015. The central question is whether service through the learned Local Commissioner can be equated with the service of summons for the purposes of Order VIII Rule 1 of the CPC.

Order VIII Rule 10 of CPC:
Order VIII Rule 10 of the CPC, as amended by the Commercial Courts Act, 2015, provides a legal mechanism for a party to obtain a judgment in their favor when the opposing party fails to present a written statement within the prescribed time or as fixed by the court. It is essential to understand that this rule applies specifically in cases where a written statement is required under Order VIII Rule 12 or Order VIII Rule 93.

The Plaintiff's Assertion:
The plaintiff argued that the Local Commissioner, appointed by the court to visit the premises of the defendants and execute the commission, had served copies of the relevant papers on the defendants by hand. Therefore, according to the plaintiff, the time for the defendants to file their written statement commenced from the day of this service by the Local Commissioner.

The Court's Observation:
The Court, in its evaluation, scrutinized the order dated 14 March 2023, which had appointed local commissioners to visit the defendants' premises and execute commissions therein. The court noted that this order did not explicitly direct the service of either the summons or the case papers by the learned local commissioners on the defendants. This omission was a pivotal point in the court's decision.

Service through a Local Commissioner: Not Envisaged in CPC:
The court emphasized that the CPC and the Original Side Rules of the court do not contemplate service through a learned Local Commissioner as a valid method of serving summons in a lawsuit. This lack of specific provision in the CPC or the court's rules leads to the conclusion that service through a Local Commissioner cannot be equated with the service of summons for the purpose of Order VIII Rule 1 of the CPC.

The Concluding Note:
In light of the court's observation and interpretation of the law, the application filed by the plaintiff under Order VIII Rule 10 of CPC was dismissed. The central argument hinged on whether service through the learned Local Commissioner could be considered valid service of summons, and the court ruled against it, citing the absence of statutory provision for such service.

This case underscores the importance of adhering to the prescribed methods of service as outlined in the CPC and local court rules. It serves as a reminder to litigants and legal practitioners that the rules and procedures laid down by law must be strictly followed to ensure that justice is served and due process is upheld.

Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: DGT Global Inc Vs DLT Labs Technology
Date of Judgement:29/08/2023
Case No. C.S Comm 143 of 2023
Neutral Citation No: 2023:DHC:6260
Name of Court: Delhi High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge: C Hari Shankar, H.J.

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

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

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