(1.)- Certain premises situated in the township of Gurgaon, Haryana were held by the respondents on tenancy from the appellants under the Deed of Lease dated 1-4-1996. The rent of the tenancy premises, payable with effect from 1-4-1996, was Rs. 63,087.50 per month, in addition to maintenance charges of Rs. 40,000/- per month. On 27-3-1998, the appellants filed a suit for recovery of rent and ejectment of the respondents alleging the respondents to be in arrears with effect from 1-5-1996. On 2-5-1998 the defendants/respondents and their counsel failed to appear in the trial Court and, therefore, the trial Court directed the suit to proceed ex-parte against the defendants. On 29-5-1998 the defendants moved an application under Order 9, Rule 7 of the CPC praying for setting aside of the ex-parte order on the ground that their counsel was prevented from appearing in the Court on account of having met with an accident. On 9-9-1999 the trial Court allowed the defendants' application recording the finding that the counsel for the defendants had good and sufficient cause for previous non-appearance in the Court and that the non-appearance of defendants and their counsel on 2-5-1998 was not intentional but due to unavoidable circumstances. However, purporting to exercise the power conferred by Order 9, Rule 7 of the CPC to put the defendants, on terms, the trial Court directed as under:-
"It is pertinent to mention here that since defendants are enjoying the property, it will be reasonable to direct them to deposit monthly lease amount in the Court at the time of filing written statement. If ultimately it is found that case of the plaintiffs is false and that of the defendants is true, defendants will be entitled to claim back that amount from the plaintiffs. On this condition I set aside the ex-parte order dated 2-5-98 on the condition that the defendants will deposit monthly lease amount on 16-2-99 for filing the written statement and for payment."
(2.)The defendants feeling aggrieved by the order of the trial Court to the extent to which it placed the defendants on terms in the manner reflected in the order of the trial Court extracted and reproduced hereinabove, preferred an appeal in the High Court. In its order dated 14-10-1999, which is impugned herein, the High Court formed an opinion that the condition imposed by the trial Court on the defendants while setting aside the ex-parte order was too onerous and in view of such opinion formed by the High Court, the condition imposed by the trial Court was directed to be set aside. At the same time taking care of the hardship that was likely to result to the plaintiffs (respondents in the High Court), the High Court directed the trial Court to proceed to dispose of the suit as early as possible and latest by 31-3-2000.
(3.)The plaintiffs filed the present petition seeking special leave to appeal. On 28-2-2000, while allowing the leave to the appellants, it was directed that the impugned order of the High Court dated 14th October, 1999 should remain stayed. However, the Court added that the stay will not in any way effect the direction of the High Court regarding the disposal of the suit by 31st March, 2000. The result of the interim order was that the order of the trial Court dated 9-1-99 putting the defendants on terms came into operation and as the defendants failed to comply with the condition imposed by the trial Court, the trial Court in terms of the interim order passed by this Court decided the suit on 31-3-2000 passing a decree for recovery of rent in arrears as also for recovery of possession as prayed for by the plaintiffs. However, it appears that prior to 28-2-2000 the date of the passing of the interim order by this Court, and armed with the order of the High Court, the defendants had filed their written statement. The trial had proceeded and on behalf of the plaintiffs four witnesses (P.W. 5 to P.W. 8) were examined which were also cross-examined on behalf of the defendants, by the time this Court passed the order dated 28-2-2000. Earlier, while the proceedings had remained ex-parte, four witnesses, namely, PW 1 to PW 4 were examined on behalf of the plaintiffs and they were not cross-examined by the defendants. There is yet another important event which has taken place during the pendency of this appeal. Subsequent to the passing of the decree by the trial Court the same was put to execution. On 1st November, 2000, the plaintiff-appellants have taken possession over the property with police aid, as directed by the executing Court.