Wednesday, 1 November 2017

When court can take note of subsequent events occurred during pendency of suit?

Ordinarily, rights of the parties stand crystallised on the date of institution of the suit. However, the court has power to take note of the subsequent events and mould the relief accordingly. Power of the court to take note of subsequent events came up for consideration in a number of decisions. In Om Prakash Gupta v. Ranbir B. Goyal MANU/SC/0035/2002 : (2002) 2 SCC 256, this Court held as under:

11. The ordinary Rule of civil law is that the rights of the parties stand crystallised on the date of the institution of the suit and, therefore, the decree in a suit should accord with the rights of the parties as they stood at the commencement of the lis. However, the Court has power to take note of subsequent events and mould the relief accordingly subject to the following conditions being satisfied: (i) that the relief, as claimed originally has, by reason of subsequent events, become inappropriate or cannot be granted; (ii) that taking note of such subsequent event or changed circumstances would shorten litigation and enable complete justice being done to the parties; and (iii) that such subsequent event is brought to the notice of the court promptly and in accordance with the Rules of procedural law so that the opposite party is not taken by surprise. In Pasupuleti Venkateswarlu v. Motor & General Traders MANU/SC/0415/1975 : (1975) 1 SCC 770 this Court held that a fact arising after the lis, coming to the notice of the court and having a fundamental impact on the right to relief or the manner of moulding it and brought diligently to the notice of the court cannot be blinked at. The court may in such cases bend the Rules of procedure if no specific provision of law or Rule of fair play is violated for it would promote substantial justice provided that there is absence of other disentitling factors or just circumstances. The Court speaking through Krishna Iyer, J. affirmed the proposition that the court can, so long as the litigation pends, take note of updated facts to promote substantial justice. However, the Court cautioned: (i) the event should be one as would stultify or render inept the decretal remedy, (ii) Rules of procedure may be bent if no specific provision or fair play is violated and there is no other special circumstance repelling resort to that course in law or justice, (iii) such cognizance of subsequent events and developments should be cautious, and (iv) the Rules of fairness to both sides should be scrupulously obeyed.
Om Prakash Gupta's case was referred with approval in Ram Kumar Barnwal v. Ram Lakhan (Dead) MANU/SC/7670/2007 : (2007) 5 SCC 660.

Civil Appeal No. 1008 of 2017 (Arising out of Special Leave Petition (C) No. 19117 of 2013)

Decided On: 07.02.2017

 Nidhi Vs. Ram Kripal Sharma (D) thr. L.Rs.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Dipak Misra and R. Banumathi, JJ.
Citation: (2017) 5 SCC 640.
Read full judgment here : Click here
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