In the realm of legal interpretation, one of the fundamental principles guiding
the judicial process is the resolution of conflicts between special laws and
general laws. It is a well-established doctrine that when a special law and a
general law appear to be at odds, the special law must prevail. This principle
holds true as a means of ensuring clarity, consistency, and specificity in legal
matters. One such instance where this principle becomes pertinent is in the
interplay between the Delhi High Court Rules (DHC Rules) and the Code of Civil
Procedure (CPC) in India. This article aims to explore the precedence of the DHC
Rules over the CPC in certain circumstances, with a focus on Rule 3 of Chapter
VII of the DHC Rules, 2018, and its effect on the filing of written statements
in civil litigation.
The Doctrine of Special Law Prevailing Over General Law:
The doctrine that a special law prevails over a general law is firmly rooted in
the principles of legal interpretation. This doctrine ensures that when two laws
seemingly conflict, the specific provisions of the special law take precedence
over the general provisions of the overarching law. The rationale behind this
principle is to provide clarity and precision in legal matters, preventing
conflicts and ambiguities in the application of different laws.
Delhi High Court Rules Vs. CPC: An Overview:
In the context of India's legal landscape, the Delhi High Court Rules (DHC
Rules) serve as specialized procedural guidelines for cases within the
jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court. On the other hand, the Code of Civil
Procedure (CPC) is a general law that governs civil proceedings across India.
Rule 3 of Chapter VII of the DHC Rules, 2018, deals with the procedure for
filing an affidavit of admission/denial of documents along with the written
statement. The rule stipulates that such an affidavit must be filed
simultaneously with the written statement, failing which the written statement
will not be accepted for recording.
The Conflict: Rule 3 of DHC Rules vs. CPC:
The conflict arises when the provisions of Rule 3 of Chapter VII of the DHC
Rules, 2018, come into apparent contradiction with the provisions of Order XI of
the CPC as amended by the Commercial Courts Act. Order XI of the CPC deals with
the discovery and inspection of documents in civil suits. The Commercial Courts
Act amended Order XI of the CPC, introducing certain changes to the procedure
for disclosure of documents.
Resolution: Special Law Prevails:
In the specific context of Rule 3 of DHC Rules, 2018, and Order XI of the CPC as
amended, it is imperative to apply the doctrine of special law prevailing over
general law. This means that the provisions of Rule 3 of DHC Rules, which
explicitly require the filing of an affidavit of admission/denial of documents
along with the written statement, must be given precedence over the amended
provisions of Order XI of the CPC.
The Effect on filing of Written Statements without affidavit of admission
As a direct consequence of this prioritization of the DHC Rules, it becomes
evident that the affidavit of admission/denial of documents is a mandatory
requirement for filing a written statement in cases under the jurisdiction of
the Delhi High Court. Failure to comply with this requirement would result in
the written statement not being accepted for recording.
The Concluding Note:
In the realm of legal interpretation and conflict resolution between special
laws and general laws, the principle of the special law prevailing holds true.
Delhi High Court Rules, being a specialized set of procedural guidelines, must
take precedence over the general provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure. This
principle finds application in Rule 3 of Chapter VII of the DHC Rules, 2018,
which requires the filing of an affidavit of admission/denial of documents along
with the written statement.
The Case Law Discussed:
Case Title: ITD Cementation India Limited Vs Indian Corporation Limited
Date of Judgement:06/10/2023
Case No. CS (COMM) 844/2017
Neutral Citation No:N.A.
Name of Hon'ble Court: High Court of Delhi
Name of Hon'ble Judge: Mini Pushkarna, JJ
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
Email: [email protected]
, Ph no: 9990389539