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The Judgment Affirms The Necessity Of Serving Summons Along With The Copy Of The Plaint As Per Order V Rule 2, While Dismissing The Petitioner's Case Based On Factual Determinations.

Gourob D ,
  23 September 2023       Share Bookmark

Court :
Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
SPECIAL LEAVE TO APPEAL [C] NO. 5383/2020

Case-title:

NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY LTD.v. NATIONAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTION INDIA LTD. & ORS.

Date of Order:

12th SEPTEMPER 2023

Bench:

HON’BLE JUSTICE ANIRUDDHA BOSE & HON'BLE JUSTICE BELA M. TRIVEDI

Parties:

PETITIONER - NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY LTD.

 RESPONDENT - M/S NATIONAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTION INDIA LTD. & ORS.

SUBJECT:

The case's focus is on determining the deadline for submitting a written statement in a lawsuit filed in the Commercial Division of the Delhi High Court's original side. The crucial question in this case is when the deadline for submitting a written statement starts, and it involves thinking about how the summons and a copy of the plaint are served.

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS:

  1. Order V Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure: This provision was a central point of contention in the case. It deals with the service of summons and the requirement for serving the summons along with the copy of the plaint.

OVERVIEW:

This case relates to the determination of the beginning day for the limitation period to submit a written statement in a lawsuit initially filed in the Commercial Division of the Delhi High Court. The method and timing of serving the summons and delivering a copy of the plaintiff's claim are the case's main points of contention.

  1. On September 12, 2023, the case was presented to the court for a hearing.
  2. Hon'ble Mr. Justice Aniruddha Bose and Hon'ble Ms. Justice Bela M. Trivedi served as the case's two judges.
  3. Several solicitors from each side, including those for the petitioner and the respondent, were present in court.
  4. The petitioner's argument focused on how the limitation period for submitting a written statement in the case was calculated.
  5. There were two ways to deliver the summons:
  1. On June 19, 2017, a bailiff served the first mode. A copy of the plaint (the entire paper-book) had been provided during this service, it was noted.
  2. On August 22, 2017, the second method was through speed post. iii. The petitioner argued that two pages that were later made available on October 27, 2017, were missing from the paper-book they received via this method.
  1. The petitioner's main defence was that the summons had to be served with a copy of the plaint in accordance with Order V Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
  2. The court agreed with the petitioner's position on this issue of law, highlighting the fact that service in accordance with Order V Rule 2 should also include serving the summons and a copy of the plaint.
  3. The incomplete service of the plaint had previously been disbelieved by the High Court's order, and the court noted that this issue was essentially a question of fact.
  4. The court consequently dismissed the current petition, effectively upholding the High Court's judgement.
  1. The court also resolved any outstanding applications associated with the casee.

ISSUES RAISED:

Whether, in the context of a suit instituted in the original side of the Delhi High Court, Commercial Division, the computation of the starting day for the limitation period for filing a written statement is contingent upon service of summons along with the copy of the plaint, as mandated by Order V Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure?

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE PETITIONER:

  1. The petitioner in the case was represented by several legal representatives:
  1. Mr. Preetesh Kapur, Sr. Adv.
  2. Mr. Amit Kumar Singh, AOR
  3. Ms. K Enatoli Sema, Adv.
  4. Ms. Chubalemla Chang, Adv.
  5. Mr. Prang Newmai, Adv.
  1. The petitioner's main defence was that Order V Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure requires the summons to be served alongside a copy of the plaint in order to be properly interpreted. They argued that this rule implies that the summons should be served along with the plaintiff's claim in its entirety.
  2. The petitioner asserted that the second method of summons service—speed post—conducted on August 22, 2017, was insufficient. They claimed that two pages that were later made available on October 27, 2017, were not included in the paperbook they obtained using this method. The petitioner claims that this incomplete service affected how the limitation period was determined.
  3. According to the petitioner, the written statement was filed after the legally permitted extension of time if the date of the first service by the bailiff (June 19, 2017) was used as the starting point for calculating the deadline for filing one. In a similar vein, they claimed that the written statement would have been filed after the allowed amount of time had passed even if the second service by speed post (August 22, 2017) were taken as the starting point.
  4. The petitioner emphasised the importance of properly serving the summons and a copy of the plaint, arguing that doing so was necessary to follow the necessary procedural requirements.
  5. The petitioner's arguments centred on how the law should be interpreted, in particular Order V Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and how it should be applied to the summons' service and the determination of the statute of limitations for submitting a written statement in the case. Additionally, they cited the allegedly flawed service of the plaintiff's claim and its implications for the timely filing of the written statement.

JUDGEMENT ANALYSIS:

  1. The determination of the first day of the limitation period to file a written statement in a lawsuit before the Commercial Division of the Delhi High Court was the primary issue in this case. The main point of contention concerned the appropriate procedure and window for serving the summons and a copy of the plaintiff's claim.
  2. The petitioner claimed that Order V Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure required the summons to be served together with a copy of the plaint in order to be properly served. They argued that the determining factor of the limitation period had been impacted by incomplete service.
  3. The petitioner's legal interpretation of Order V Rule 2 and the requirement to serve the summons along with a copy of the plaint were both accepted by the court. The High Court had previously dismissed the petitioner's claim of incomplete service, the court noted, and this matter was regarded as a matter of fact.
  4. In the end, the court rejected the petitioner's case and upheld the High Court's judgement. The verdict emphasised how crucial it is to serve the summons and a copy of the plaint properly and in accordance with all applicable legal requirements.

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, the court in this case upheld the petitioner's legal argument that Order V Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure requires that summonses be served with a copy of the plaint. The High Court's factual finding of incomplete service, however, was not reevaluated by the court. The court accordingly dismissed the petitioner's case and upheld the High Court's ruling. This conclusion emphasises how crucial it is to follow the law's regulations regarding the service of summons and copies of complaints.

 
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