A.K. AGGARWAL Vs. SHANTI DEVI
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
Referred Judgements :-
PLYMOUTH MUTUAL CO-OP. SOCIETY V. TRADERS PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION
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ARUN KUMAR,J. -
(1.)THIS petition is directed against an order passed by the Addl. Rent Controller on 25th March, 1995 allowing the applications of the respondent landlady under Order 11, Rule 1 and Order 11, Rule 12 CPC. The petitioners have challenged the said order by way of present petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India. It is worth noticing that the petitioners had earlier approached this Court by making a similar grievance and this Court had vide its judgment dated 13th September, 1994 rejected the petitions filed by the present petitioners.
(2.)THE respondent-landlord filed an eviction petition on the grounds contained in clauses (b), (d) and (h) of the proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 14 of the Delhi Rent Control Act alleging amongst other things that the tenants had acquired or been allotted another residential accommodation bearing No. 89, Sunder Nagar, New Delhi and that neither the tenant/respondent No. 1 nor any member of his family was residing in the tenanted premises for the last more than six months prior to the filing of the eviction petition. The eviction petition was filed on 9th March, 1979. The petition is at the stage of evidence. The landlord's evidence is yet to be completed. After this Court laid down the procedure to be followed with respect to the applications of a landlady under Order XI CPC vide judgment dated 13th September, 1994, the Addl. Rent Controller passed the order which is the subject matter of the present petition. I cannot help getting an impression that the tenant is trying to avoid answering the interrogatories which were allowed to be served on him for one reason or the other and in the process, the proceedings in the main eviction petition are being delayed which suits the object of the tenants.
The learned counsel for the petitioners submits that the Addl. Rent Controller has no power to order service of interrogatories or to direct the other party to answer interrogatories in view of Section 36 of the Delhi Rent Control Act. Section 36 refers to the powers of the Controller. Amongst the various powers enumerated therein, there is a reference to "requiring the discoveries and production of documents." This is contained in clause (b) of sub-section (2) of Section 36 of the Act. I am unable to agree with the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners that reference to discovery and production of documents in the said provision of Section 36 has to be restricted to discoveries and production of documents alone and the same does not cover the power to require the other party to answer interrogatories. Order XI CPC has the heading "DISCOVERY AND INSPECTION". Rule 1 of Order 11 has the hearing "discovery by interrogatories." This shows that discovery can be by way of answer to interrogatories as also by way of affidavit qua documents sought to be discovered. Thus, I find no merit in the argument that the Controller has no power to direct answer by way of interrogatories. Secondly, the learned counsel for the petitioners urged that the interrogatories sought to be answered by the petitioners as contained in the questionnaire are irrelevant and beyond pleadings. I am unable to accept this contention. I have been taken through the pleadings in the eviction petition as also the questions framed by way of interrogatories to be answered by the petitioners. Having perused the same, I am unable to accept the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners that the questions are irrelevant and beyond pleadings.
(3.)THE counsel for the petitioners submitted that the respondent-landlord has availed various opportunities and she cannot avail of the provisions of Order XI CPC to supplement her case. I am unable to accept this argument. Order XI of the Code of Civil Procedure contains salutary provisions which are intended to curtail evidence thereby expediting trial of a suit and as such their provisions are very useful. They have to be liberally used and parties have to be encouraged to use them in the course of trial. The provision of Order XI CPC, do not deserve a technical or truncated approach. Ultimately the use of these provisions saves time of the Court and costs of litigation to the parties. Jessel M.R. In Attorney General Gaskill (1882) 20 Ch. D 519 said:
"Now, one of the great objects of interrogatories when properly administered has always been to save evidence that is to diminish the burden of proof which was otherwise on the plaintiff. Their object is not merely to discover facts which will inform the plaintiff as to evidence to be obtained, but also to save the expense of proving a part of the case." Cotton C.J. said: "Interrogatories are not limited to giving the plaintiff a knowledge of that which he does not already know, but include the getting an admission of anything which he has to prove on any issue which is raised between him and the defendant."
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