Manipur HC: Courts shall Examine Conducts of Parties while Deciding Restoration Applications

Judge Gavel Law Insider

Mitali Palnitkar

Published On: February 24, 2022 at 16:32 IST

The Manipur High Court held that the Courts shall examine conduct of parties all through to ascertain whether a singular stray instance or a chronic phenomenon was the reason for their non-appearance.

Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar denied relief to the Petitioners and observed that a Defendant cannot be made to suffer the rigours of Litigation and be penalized over decades, despite the Plaintiff’s carelessness in prosecuting the Case.

In 2006, the Plaintiffs (Petitioners herein) filed a Suit and sought declaration of their title in relation to the Suit schedule homestead land, for cancellation of mutation, and permanent injunction to restrain Defendants from dispossessing the Plaintiffs or causing injury in relation to the land.

The Trial Court rejected the temporary Injunction Application in June 2008. It framed issues in August 2008. Thereafter, the Trial did not commence. The Suit was dismissed twice for non-prosecution but was restored on payment of costs. The Suit got dismissed for default for the third time.

In 2014, all miscellaneous applications were dismissed by the Civil Judge. The Petitioners assailed the Order and filed a Civil Revision Petition (CRP). Two other Plaintiffs assailed another Order through a separate Civil Revision Petition. Both the Civil Revision Petitions were tagged in this matter.

The Petitioners’ Counsel argued that the Trial Court should not have had a hyper-technical approach and should have been lenient while dealing with the miscellaneous cases.

He contended that the Petitioners shall not be punished for the mistake of their Counsel of not being present on time before the Trial Court.

He relied on the Supreme Court decision in GP Srivastava v RK Raizada & Ors (2000), wherein the scope of ‘Sufficient cause’ was considered. He cited Supreme Court observation in Smt Lachi Tewari & Ors v Director of Land Records & Ors (1984) to emphasize that the Petitioners shall not be victimized for their Counsel’s fault.

He further relied on Supreme Court Judgments in N Balaji v Virendra Singh & Ors (2005) and Collector, Land Acquisition, Anantnag & Anr v Mst Katiji & Ors (1987) to support his contention.

The Court observed technical lapses and defects in the miscellaneous Cases that reflect poorly upon Bona Fides of Applicants and their Counsel. It stated that the Applicants cannot “Blithely blame” their Counsel for delay and pray that they shall not be penalized.

Also, the Petitioners failed to show ‘Sufficient cause’ for the delay and no grounds were made for interference with the Trial Court Order. Therefore, the Civil Revision Petitions were dismissed as being devoid of merit.

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