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Introduction 

Order IX of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) in India deals with dismissal of suits for default or for non-prosecution. It lays down the rules for the dismissal of a suit if the plaintiff fails to appear in court when the suit is called for hearing, or if the plaintiff does not take necessary steps to proceed with the suit within a reasonable time. It also provides for the restoration of suits that have been dismissed for default or non-prosecution.

The Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) in India was first enacted in 1859 and was based on the principles of the English Common Law system. The CPC has undergone several amendments since then, with the most recent amendment being in 2019. Order IX of the CPC, which deals with dismissal of suits for default or for non-prosecution, has undergone several changes over the years. The original Order IX in the 1859 CPC did not contain specific provisions for dismissal of suits for default or non-prosecution. However, in the 1908 CPC, specific provisions were added for the dismissal of suits for default or non-prosecution. These provisions were further amended in the 1976 CPC to include the restoration of suits that have been dismissed for default or non-prosecution.

In the 2002 amendment of CPC, a new provision (Rule 9A) was added that allows the court to dismiss the suit in default if the plaintiff fails to appear on the date of hearing, and also a new provision (Rule 9B) was added that allows the court to dismiss the suit for non-prosecution if the plaintiff fails to take necessary steps to proceed with the suit within a reasonable time. In 2019 amendment, the provision for dismissal for non-prosecution was further modified to provide that the court may dismiss a suit for non-prosecution only after giving the plaintiff an opportunity of being heard.

Overall, the historical development of Order IX of the CPC in India has led to a more comprehensive and fair set of rules for the dismissal of suits for default or non-prosecution, and also for the restoration of such suits.

Advantages of Order IX of CPC India

Order IX of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) in India has several advantages, including:

  • Efficiency: Order IX helps to ensure that cases are not prolonged unnecessarily by providing for the dismissal of suits that are not being prosecuted. This helps to keep the court's docket clear and allows for the efficient disposal of cases.
  • Fairness: Order IX provides for the dismissal of suits for default or non-prosecution, but also provides for the restoration of such suits. This allows for a fair and just resolution of disputes, as it ensures that cases are not dismissed without giving the plaintiff an opportunity to be heard.
  • Clarity: Order IX provides clear and specific rules for the dismissal of suits for default or non-prosecution, which helps to provide certainty and predictability in the court system.
  • Flexibility: Order IX allows for the court to have discretion to consider the circumstances of each case and to make decisions based on the specific facts and circumstances of the case, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Cost-Effective: As the cases are disposed off in a timely manner it helps to reduce the cost to litigant by avoiding unnecessary delay and expense.

In summary, Order IX of CPC in India provides a balance between the need to ensure that cases are not prolonged unnecessarily, while also providing for a fair and just resolution of disputes.

Drawbacks of Order IX of CPC India

Order IX of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) in India deals with the dismissal of a suit for non-appearance of the plaintiff. One of the main drawbacks of this order is that it can lead to a dismissal of a valid claim if the plaintiff is unable to attend court due to unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, it does not take into account any extenuating circumstances that may have prevented the plaintiff from appearing in court. It also doesn't provide any provision for condonation of delay in filing a review application. Another drawback is that it may lead to undue hardship for the plaintiff if their suit is dismissed, as they may have to refile the suit and go through the entire process again.

While Order IX of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) in India has several advantages, it also has some drawbacks. Some of these drawbacks include:

  • Complexity: The rules and procedures outlined in Order IX can be complex and difficult to understand, which can be challenging for litigants who are not familiar with the legal system.
  • Lack of Awareness: Many litigants may not be aware of the provisions of Order IX and may not know how to proceed when their case is dismissed for default or non-prosecution. This can lead to confusion and frustration for the litigants.
  • Discretion of the court: The provision of Order IX gives discretion to the court to dismiss the suit in default or for non-prosecution, which can lead to inconsistent application of the rules and can be viewed as arbitrary.
  • Burden on the court: The court may face a burden in deciding whether to dismiss a suit for default or non-prosecution. This can lead to delays in the disposal of cases and can also be a source of frustration for litigants.
  • Misuse: Some litigants may misuse the provision of Order IX by not appearing in court or not taking necessary steps to proceed with the suit, in order to delay the case or to put pressure on the opposing party.

In summary, while Order IX of CPC in India is designed to help ensure the efficient disposal of cases, it also has some drawbacks, including complexity, lack of awareness, discretion of the court and potential misuse.

Landmark cases of Order IX of CPC India

  • One landmark case related to Order IX of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) in India is "Sureshchandra N. Patel v. State of Gujarat" (1991), in which the Supreme Court of India clarified the provisions of Order IX, Rule 13 of the CPC and held that a suit can be dismissed for non-appearance of the plaintiff only if the defendant has appeared and has taken a specific plea of non-appearance of the plaintiff.
  • "Kishorilal Gupta v. Smt. Bimla Devi" (1994) in which the apex court held that the dismissal of a suit under Order IX, Rule 13 of the CPC is not a final order and the plaintiff can file an application under Order IX, Rule 9 to set aside the dismissal and the same can be considered by the court on merits.
  • "Chandra Kishore v. State of UP" (2000) in which the Supreme Court held that a court has the power to condone delay in filing an application under Order IX, Rule 9 of CPC and restore a suit dismissed for non-appearance of the plaintiff, if it is satisfied that the delay was not due to any want of due diligence on the part of the plaintiff.

Order IX of CPC India limitations 

Order IX of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) in India, which deals with the dismissal of a suit for non-appearance of the plaintiff, has several limitations. Some of the main limitations include:

  • Lack of flexibility: The order is rigid and does not provide any provision for considering extenuating circumstances that may have prevented the plaintiff from appearing in court.
  • Harsh consequences: The dismissal of a suit under Order IX, Rule 13 can lead to undue hardship for the plaintiff as they may have to refile the suit and go through the entire process again.
  • No provision for condonation of delay in review application: The Order IX doesn't provide any provision for condonation of delay in filing a review application, which may lead to unjust dismissal of a suit.
  • No provision for alternative dispute resolution: Order IX does not provide for any provision for alternative dispute resolution mechanism, which could be an effective way to resolve disputes without the need for a trial.
  • Lack of certainty: There is no certainty as to when the order will be passed and the court has discretion to pass the order at any stage of the proceedings.
  • Lack of transparency: There is no provision for providing a notice to the parties before passing the order, which may lead to surprise dismissal of the suit.
  • No provision for cost: The Order IX doesn't provide any provision for cost against the party responsible for non-appearance.
  • Limited scope of review: The scope of review of an order passed under Order IX is also limited, and the court has very little discretion to exercise in such cases

Conclusion 

Order IX of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) in India is important as it provides a mechanism for the dismissal of a suit if the plaintiff fails to appear in court. This helps to prevent undue delays in the legal process and ensures that cases are dealt with efficiently. It also serves as a deterrent for plaintiffs who may be inclined to delay proceedings or not take their cases seriously. Additionally, it also helps to clear up the court's docket by dismissing cases that are not being actively pursued.

However, IX should be applied judiciously and with proper discretion, as the dismissal of a suit can have serious consequences for the plaintiff. The courts should take into account extenuating circumstances and provide an opportunity to the plaintiff to explain their non-appearance before dismissing the suit. Order IX is an important provision of the CPC that helps to keep the legal process moving efficiently, but it is also necessary to balance this with the rights of the plaintiff and the principles of natural justice.
 


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