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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Civil Procedure Code 1908 lays down the procedure which governs the civil function of the court. 
  • Order VIII of CPC specifically talks about what are written statements, counterclaims and setoff. Along with these it also describes how new facts should be pleaded, what are specific denial and evasive denial.
  • Rule 1 Order VIII of CPC states the definition of written statement which is filed by the defendant as a response to the plaint which contains all the allegations made against the defendant. 

INTRODUCTION 

The procedural legislation that establishes the requirements for how our country's civil courts should operate is known as the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. It establishes the guidelines for civil actions. The 158 sections of the Code primarily include substantive legislation, and the 51 orders that compose the actual procedural elements are also included. 

The Code of Civil Procedure's Order VIII covers written statements, set off, and counterclaims. A written declaration is a crucial component of a civil lawsuit. The defendant must provide a written statement in response when a lawsuit is started with a plaint. Order VIII contains a number of regulations that specify how, when, and what happens if a written statement is not filed.

Written statement can be filed by the defendant or it can be filed through their agent but cannot be filed by the non-party to the suit or the dispute. When there are multiple defendants then a common or one written statement can be filed and signed by all the defendants. The common written statement can also be verified by one of the defendants who is particular with the facts.  

RULES ELABORATING WRITTEN STATEMENT 

  • Rule 1 Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 "Written statement"

The defendant must produce a written statement of argument at or prior to the first sitting or within the time frame the court may grant.

In accordance with rule 8A, the defendant must specify any materials that he uses to support his case, his request for a set-off, or his counterclaim.

As long as the defendant produces the document in court while presenting the written statement and delivers the original document or a duplicate of it, that needs to be filed along with the written statement in cases where the defendant asserts a set-off or a counterclaim based on records in his possession or control.

In case when a WS is not filed before the court then a list needs to be presented in the first hearing. If any submitted documents are not in the possession of the defendant then this should be specified and the original holder needs to be mentioned. When there is no filing of the WS and any list then defendant shall be given allowance for the extension. 

Any document cannot be used as evidence unless it is mentioned in the list referred in the

Rule 1. While cross-questing and refreshing the memory of the witness these non-listed documents becomes the exception as they are produced while the proceeding is going on. 

When court is granting leave then the reasons for the same should be recorded and defendants should also produce satisfactory excuse for the non-entry of the documents before the court.

In the case of “Mohammed Yusuf v. Faij Mohammad and Ors. (2009)

After three years, the defendant submitted a written declaration asking for the delay to be excused. The request was turned down. The defendant's writ appeal challenging the denial was accepted by the Allahabad High Court. The High Court must not have intervened, the Supreme Court said, because the record did not appear to contain any injustice or error. The Court ruled that an extension of time far beyond initial thirty days is not given automatically. The court must use caution when granting the extension and determine if there are strong enough justifications for it. The extension must not be given to anyone without consideration since it would be unfair.

  • Rule 2 Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 "Special plea of new facts"

The defendant is required to raise in his pleading all challenges that demonstrate that the lawsuit cannot be maintained or that the payment is illegal or unenforceable under the law, as well as any grounds for defence that, if elevated, would be inclined to surprise the other party or raise issues of fact unrelated to the plaint, such as, for example, fraud, limitations, releases, payments, performances, or facts demonstrating illegality.

  • Rule 3 Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “Specific denial”

In the written statement, the defendant must carefully address each factual accusation of which he does not concede the truth, with the exception of damages, and cannot simply dispute the plaintiff's claims on a general basis.

  • Rule 4 Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “Evasive denial”

When a defendant challenges a factual accusation in the plaint, he must do so directly and without evasion. As a result, if it is claimed that he got a specific amount of money, it is not enough for him to say that he didn't get it; instead, he must say that he didn't receive all of it, or else specify how much he did receive. Furthermore, just denying an accusation in light of the facts surrounding it will not be enough.

  • Rule 5 Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 "Specific denial"

In the absence of a particular denial, a required inference, or a statement to the contrary in the defendant's pleading, every factual accusation in the plaint shall be deemed to be acknowledged, with the exception of claims made against individuals with disabilities. With the caveat that the Court may, in its discretion, demand that any truth that has been allowed be proven in another manner.

Except where a person with impairment is involved, it is legal for the court to grant judgement based only on the facts stated in the plaint when the defendant has not given a pleading. However, the court reserves the right to, at its discretion, demand proof of any such truth.

The Court must give proper consideration to the possibility that the defendant might have or has hired a pleader when deciding how to use its discretion. When a judgement is made pursuant to this rule, a decree must be created in compliance with that decision and bear the date that the judgement was made.

  • Rule 10 Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “procedure to be followed when the party is unable to deliver the written statement before the court"

If a party who is required to provide a written statement by Rule 1 or Rule 9 does not do so within the time allotted or set by the Court, even as trial may be, the Court shall go forward with the judgement against that party or make any other order regarding the suit that it deems appropriate. Upon the assertion of such judgement, a decree shall be drafted.

In the case of delay in filing the written statement the court may exempt the prty and accept the written statement on the bases of satisfactory grounds however the court will not entertain and will reject the application. 

In case of “Christian Broadcasting Network Inc. v. CBN News (P) Ltd. (2018)” 

The Delhi High Court ruled that if the defendant doesn't provide a written statement, the court may use Order VIII Rule 10 of the CPC. The plaintiff in this case worked in the broadcasting industry and discovered the defendant's YouTube channel, "CBN NEWS," which was the exact same as the plaintiff's trademark. The defendant was sent a cease-and-desist notice, but to no effect. The plaintiff then started a lawsuit. The defendant had neglected to submit a written declaration. The court granted the plaintiff's request for a temporary injunction.

RULES ELBORATING SET-OFF AND COUNTER CLAIM 

  • Rule 6 Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “Particulars of set-off"

When a defendant seeks to offset the plaintiff's demand in a lawsuit for the monetary recovery with an amount of money that is known to be lawfully reclaimable from the plaintiff but does not exceed the pecuniary limits of the court's jurisdiction and both parties are the same as they were in the plaintiff's lawsuit, the defendant may do so at the first proceeding of the lawsuit but not thereafter unless the court grants permission.

To enable the Court to render a final judgement in regards of both the original claim and the set-off, the written statement should also be given the same impact as a plaint in a cross-suit. However, this shall not hinder any pleader's legal claim on the sum decreed in regard of the costs due to him as a result of the decree.

A written statement in response to a set-off claim is subject to the same regulations as a written statement by a defendant.

  • Rule 6A Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “defendant producing counter- claim"

In addition to his ability to assert a set-off under Rule 6, a defendant in a lawsuit may assert any right or claim pertaining to a cause of action incurring to the defendant against the plaintiff either prior to or following the filing of the lawsuit, but prior to the respondent has presented his defence or prior to the deadline for providing his defence has passed, as a countersuit against the plaintiff's claim, whether or not such a counterclaim resembles a damages claim. Given that such a counterclaim must not exceed the monetary threshold for the Court's jurisdiction.

In order for the Court to provide a final decision in the same matter, both on the initial claim and on the counter-claim, such counter-claim must have the exact effect as a cross-suit. Within the time frame that may be set by the Court, the plaintiff is free to submit a written statement in response to the defendant's counterclaim. The counterclaim shall be construed as a plaint and be subject to the laws governing plaints.

  • Rule 6B Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “commencement of the counter claim"

Any defendant who wishes to rely on a basis for a right of counterclaim must expressly say in his written statement that he does so by means of counterclaim.

  • Rule 6C Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “Exclusion of counter-claim"

If a defendant files a counterclaim and the plaintiff argues that the claim thereby raised should not be resolved through a counterclaim but rather in a separate lawsuit, the plaintiff could, at any time prio to the counterclaim's issues have been resolved, ask the court to bar the counterclaim, and the court may, after perceiving the application, pass the order it deems appropriate.

  • Rule 6E Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “No reply to the counterclaim"

If the plaintiff fails to respond to the defendant's counterclaim, the court may rule against the plaintiff in respect to the counterclaim brought against him or may issue the appropriate order in connection to the counterclaim.

  • Rule 6F Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “relief given to the defendant in case of success of counter-claim"

Any balance owed to the plaintiff or defendant, as the case may be once a set-off or counterclaim has been proven as a defence to the plaintiff's claim, may be awarded by the court to the party entitled to it.

  • Rule 6G Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “applicability of the rules to the written statement"

A written statement submitted in response to a counterclaim must follow the same guidelines as a written statement made by a defendant.

  • Rule 7 Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “separate grounds as for defence or set-off"

When the defendant raises many unique defences, set-offs, or counterclaims based on separate and distinct facts, each one must be explained, to the extent possible, clearly and independently.

  • Rule 8 Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “New Grounds of defence"

The defendant or plaintiff, as the case may be, may assert in his written statement any defence that has materialised since the filing of the lawsuit or the submission of a written statement asserting a set-off or counterclaim.

  • Rule 8A Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “producing documents for the claimed relief"

When a defendant rests his defence on a document that is in his custody or control, he must submit the document in court together with his written statement and deliver the original document or a duplicate of it so that it may be filed alongside the written statement.

Without the permission of the Court, a document that the defendant is required by this rule to provide in Court but has not done so may not be admitted into evidence on his behalf during the hearing of the lawsuit.

Nothing in this rule shall be construed to apply to papers presented, for the purpose of the cross-examination of the plaintiff's witnesses, or in support of any defence the plaintiff may establish after the plaint has been filed or used for refreshing the memory of witness. 

  • Rule 9 Order VIII of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 “subsequent pleadings"

The Court might at any time demand a written statement or additional written statement from any party and fix a period for presenting the same. However, no pleading after the written statement of a defendant may be displayed, other than as a defence to a set-off or counterclaim, without the Court's permission and on the terms the Court deems appropriate.

EFFECT OF DISCONTINUANCE OF THE SUIT

Rule 6D talks about the when the suit is discontinued but still the counter-claim be pursued. If the plaintiff's lawsuit is postponed, dropped, or dismissed in any situation where the defendant asserts a counterclaim, the counterclaim may still be pursued.

CONCLUSION 

Order 8 of CPC covers the procedural aspect in filing the documents from the defendants or the respondent’s side. The necessary documents along with the respective annexures need to be filed before the court for the proceeding process of the lawsuit. This particular order also focuses on the absence or the non-submission of such documents then what all steps can be taken by the court 
 


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