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Judgement Upon Admission: A Perspective

There are a saying in Latin which goes as follows Interest Republicae Et Finis Litum, which means that it is in the interest of the country that litigation should come to an end. This saying is of particular significance in a country like India which there is 1 judge for one hundred thousand person, and the judiciary is plagued with pendency. Judicial delay is a slur on the rule of law, and it also affects the business sentiment in the country, as long winded dispute redressal mechanisms make investors weary.

It is in times like these that Order 12 Rule 6 of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 assume seminal importance as it enables the Court to pronounce judgement upon admission at any stage of the suit, in pleading or de-hors pleading without determination of any other question in the proceedings. This article will Endeavour to explain how Courts have interpreted this particular provision of CPC.

Uttam Singh Duggal Vs United Bank Of India [1]:

In this case the Petitioner had entered into a contract to build hostels for the University of Baghdad in Iraq, and for this purpose they had taken from the Respondents. When they failed to repay the sum, recovery suit was preferred against the Appellant. In a Board Meeting of the Appellants a resolution was passed in which the appellants accepted their liability to pay the owed sum of money towards the Respondents.

The Respondents preferred an application for judgement upon admissions based on this admission, which was decreed by the Calcutta High Court. The Appellants preferred an appeal from this decision and argued that the said admission being not made in the pleading did not pass the requisite muster under Order 12 and it was therefore not an unequivocal admission. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and held the admission of liability made in the Board Meeting to be an admission and confirmed the decree for money.

Rajeev Srivastava Vs Sanjiv Tuli[2]:

Respondent had leased property to Appellants for a fixed period of stay. After expiry of the period when the Appellant did not vacate, a Suit for Possession was filed to which a Written Statement was filed. After issues were framed under Order 14, statements of both parties were recorded under Order 10 of the CPC.

The Appellant-Plaintiff admitted therein that the rent of the properties was more than 3,500(taking it outside the purview of The Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958), that the lease had expired by efflux of time and that was a landlord- tenant relationship. On the basis of these admissions the Plaintiff-Respondent preferred an application under Order 12 Rule 6 and the suit was decreed by the Trial Court.

In appeal the Delhi High Court declined to interfere with the order of the Trial Court and opined that since the rent was more than 3,500, there was a landlord-tenant relationship and it was acknowledged that the lease had expired by way of efflux of time and that it was envisaged under Order 12 Rule 6 that admission could be made de-hors the admission, there is no question for interference with the order of the Trial Court, and the suit was decreed.

M/S Anjaneya Bisanpur Agro Industries Vs Dilawar Singh Rajawat[3]):

Petitioner had leased out his premises to the said Respondent, against whom he filed a Suit for eviction when on expiry of the period of the lease he did not vacate, a suit for eviction was filed. In the Written Statement it was admitted that there was landlord-tenant relationship, the lease was over by expiry of the time period and rent was above 3,500.

It was on these admissions that application for judgement on admission was made. In the reply to the application the Respondents disputed the ownerships of the plaintiffs and claimed ownership by way of adverse possession, and due to this the Trial Court declined to give judgement on admission. In appeal the Delhi High Court reversed the decision of the Trial Court and opined that Plaintiff cannot be denied relief on the basis of clever drafting. The Delhi High Court said there was no mention of adverse possession in the Written Statement and therefore it could not be made into an issue, and hence the Suit was decreed on the basis of admissions made.

In the above mentioned cases we see that the Courts will not hesitate to grant decree on admission if such admissions are unequivocal, whether made in pleadings or otherwise. Let us see the cases when the Court declines to give judgement on admissions.

Himani Alloys Vs Tata Steel Ltd[4]:

The Respondent filed a suit to the extent of 20 crores in regard to the supply of steel. Tata Steel filed an application for judgement upon admission to on the basis of a Minutes of Meeting wherein Appellant has said to have remarked some amount of dues are to be paid to the Respondent, subject to verification. The Single Bench of the Calcutta High Court did not consider this to be unequivocal admissions and declined to give judgement on admission.

The Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court reversed the decision and granted the decree on the basis of these admissions. The Supreme Court of India reversed the judgement of the Division Bench and said If a buyer says that on a particular date, that a sum of money X is due to the credit of supplier, it cannot be treated as admission. The Minutes of Meeting details are tentative in nature and do not qualify as admissions under the auspices of Order 12 Rule 6 of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

Hari Steel And General Indistries Vs Daljit Singh & Ors[5]:

Respondent-Plaintiffs filed a Suit for Specific Performance of Agreement to Sell dated 3.05.2005 respect of Property in Mathura Road. It was their case that they entered into Agreement to Sell, and paid an amount of 5 crores to the Respondents, partly by cash for the said property. It was on this basis that they filed suit for specific performance for enforcement of the Agreement to Sell. In the Written Statement they contended that the Respondents have forged part of the agreement to sell.

They also pleaded that the agreement had not been finalized, as some parts of the agreement were still blank. The Trial Court framed issues as t whether the Plaintiff was ready and willing and whether some parts of the Agreement to Sell were forged.

Respondents filed application under Order 12 Rule 6 on the basis that Appellants in their bail application had asserted that they were ready and willing to perform their obligations in respect of the Agreement to Sell. The Delhi High Court considered this to be an unequivocal admission and decreed the suit for specific performance.

In appeal the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Delhi High Court and held that due to the serios factual disputes put forth by the Respondent , such as the agreements being falsified it could not be said that these were unequivocal admissions. The Court also said that the relief under the Specific Relief Act is discretionary and readiness and willingness on the part of the Plaintiff has to be proved, and in this case there is no unequivocal admission.

Conclusion
It can thus be concluded that Judgement upon admission is a valuable tool in the hands of the litigant, and if the admissions are unambiguous and unequivocal Court shall pass decree. This provision of Law if successfully used can be used to nip litigation in the bud and obtain speedy relief . The important thing to remember is that such admissions must be unequivocal, otherwise they will not satisfy the requirements of Order 12 Rule 6, and court will not decree the suit.

End-Notes:
  1. AIR 2000 7 SCC
  2. AIR 2005 Delhi 319
  3. (2011) 7 SCR
  4. S.L.P(C) NO. 31176 of 2018

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