CPC Case Brief – Raj Sarogi v. American Express (discovery of documents)

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Facts:  During the pendency of the suit filed by the appellant against the respondent, an application was filed by the appellant under Order 11 Rules 12 and 14 read with Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure praying that the defendant be called upon to make discovery on oath of documents in sub-para (i), (ii) and (iii) of para 3 of the application and produce the same in Court and on production the appellant be given inspection and copies thereof. The appellant/plaintiff in the application asserted that the documents were relevant for proper and effective adjudication of the questions involved in the suit and will reduce the controversy between the parties. Document the discovery of which is asked;

Photocopy of the lease deed dated 2nd August, 1996 between the defendant and Mrs. Kamla Vachani and Ms. Madhavi Vachani with respect to the property bearing No. S-51A, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi.

Photocopy of the Supplementary Agreement dated 8th August, 1996 between the defendant and Mrs. Kamla Vachani and Ms. Madhavi Vachani relating to property bearing No. S-51A, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi.

The application came up for consideration before learned Single Judge and he disposed of the application.

Issue: Whether the application filed by the appellant fulfils the conditions laid down by the order 11 i.e. whether the documents, the discovery of which is requested are necessary for the fair disposal and for saving costs, whether these documents are relevant or not?

Held: The high court found that the single leaned judge did not consider the question that whether the discovery was or was not necessary at that stage of the suit or whether the documents, the production of which was sought were or were not relevant. The court held that as and when the application under Rule 12 of Order 11 CPC is filed seeking discovery of documents, the Court is required to exercise discretion, as envisaged in the said Rule, which does not alter the principle relating to the production of documents but gives the Court a discretion to refuse to direct discovery of documents when there is no reasonable prospects of its being of any user or to limit the nature and extent of the discovery. The discretion undoubtedly vested in the Court must be exercised judicially to further the primary object of the Rules for production and discovery of documents

Consequently, the impugned order is set aside with direction that the application be decided afresh in accordance with law. Needless to add that while deciding the application afresh, it will be open for the respondents to urge all the points raised in their reply to oppose the prayer made by the appellant including the one, which were noticed by learned Single Judge in the impugned order.

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