SADHU SINGH GHUMAN Vs. FOOD CORPORATION OF INDIA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PUNJAB & HARYANA)
(M/S) Sadhu Singh Ghuman
Food Corporation of India and Others
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K. Jagannatha Shetty, J. -
(1.)Special leave granted.
(2.)Food Corporation of India filed a suit for recovery of Rs. 2 lacs against the appellant and respondents 2 to 7 on the basis of an agreement between the parties. After service of notice, the appellant entered appearance on December 10, 1984. On January 4, 1985, the appellant filed an application stating as follows:
"That the photostat copy of the original agreement and other documents which have been produced by the plaintiff in their evidence are not visible and clear, and it is very difficult for the defendants to inspect and give the written statement.
3. That it is very essential to get the original documents produced in the Court which are in possession of the plaintiff so that the defendants may file the written statement.
4. It is, therefore, respectfully prayed that the plaintiff may kindly be ordered to produce the original agreement and other documents which has been filed with the plaint."
(3.)On January 21, 1985, the appellant moved the Court under S. 34 of the Arbitration Act for stay of the proceeding of the suit on the ground that there exists an arbitration clause in the suit agreement covering the matter in dispute. The Food Corporation of India contended that the appellant had taken steps in the proceedings of the suit since an adjournment was taken for filing written statement. It was, however, admitted the existence of the arbitration agreement covering the matter in dispute in the suit. The trial Court accepted the request of the appellant and stayed the suit inter alia observing:
".......This application did not contain any prayer for adjournment of the case for filing the written statement. The prayer contained in this application was that the plaintiff be directed to produce the 'original agreement and other documents so that the defendants may file the written statement .... ..... In the present case, the prayer of the defendants that the plaintiff be directed to file the original agreement and other documents in the Court before they could file the written statement cannot be said to be a step in the proceedings because it was not a prayer for adjournment of the case for filing written statement."
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