CPC Case Brief – Rajesh Bhatia v. G. Parimala (discovery and documents)

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Relevant provision: Rules 1 to 11 of order 11 which deals with discovery of facts, whereas rules 12 to 20 deal with discovery, production and inspection of documents. Rules in the domain of the order 11 under the caption “discovery and inspection”, the provisions deals with two aspects mainly, discovery by interrogatories and discovered by documents.

Facts:  The plaintiffs filed the suit for recovery of an amount of Rs. 3,83,0007- from the defendants 1 and 2. The case of the plaintiffs was that on the request of the first defendant the plaintiffs handed over the original sale deed dated 30-08-1993 and the fixed deposit receipts worth Rs. 3,83,0007- to her and her husband C.S. Sudhir Kumar. Plaintiffs used to receive interest amount of Rs. 3,5007- from the second defendant-bank on the above fixed deposits till May, 2001. However, without any reason whatsoever the second defendant-bank stopped suddenly from the month of June 2001 the payment of interest. On enquiry, the plaintiffs came to know that these fixed deposit receipts were given to the bank on hypothecation by the first defendant, who availed credit facilities and bank guarantee. When the bank guarantee was revoked by Andhra Bank, the second defendant-bank closed the above said F.D. Rs. prematurely without giving any notice to the plaintiffs and adjusted the amounts covered by those receipts against the revocation of bank guarantee taken by the first defendant. Questioning the high-handed act of both the defendants, the plaintiffs filed the suit for realization of the amounts covered by the fixed deposits.

Crux of the case : Plaintiff filed suit for recovery of amount and direct defendant to submit income tax returns and other documents – Judge dismissed petition partly insofar as the income tax returns are concerned and directed the first defendant to produce the bank statements – Hence, this Petition – Held, if documents were public documents and were in custody and possession of public servants who were only empowered to grant certified copies – It should be endeavor of party who required them to obtain certified copies in first instance – The Petitioner could not produce those documents since they were in custody of Court – Insofar as income tax returns of were concerned, there had been a prohibition contained in Income Tax Act for producing those documents by the Department – The proper procedure was to be to issue notice to defendant to file income tax returns – If he failed, plaintiffs could either lead secondary evidence by obtaining the certified copies from Department – Therefore, it was not case of any discovery as regards existence of documents and need to inspect those documents so as to shorten litigation – It was a matter where trial process was on and had been going on – Hence, application under said order could not be allowed – Petition allowed.

Ratio of the case : If documents are public documents and are in custody and possession of public servants then it can be obtained by applying certified copy to the Authority.

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