Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Whether trial court can defer to decide prayer to de-exhibit document till final hearing of suit?

 In considered opinion of this Court, it is for the trial Court, which has an opportunity to go through the pleadings, frame issues and thereafter record the evidence of the witnesses, to know and decide whether the said document will be essential for adjudication of the issues framed by it. This document admittedly cannot be called as totally "irrelevant" or completely in-admissible, on any of the grounds, like insufficient stamp or otherwise. The document is relevant and ultimately what evidentiary value to be given to this document, will be considered by the trial Court, only at the time of final hearing, after having regard to the entire evidence on record, including the cross-examination of this witness to the fact that he does not understand the Sanskrit language, the fact that he is not the author of the said document, the document is in loose sheets and not signed by the witness. All these aspects will be considered by the trial Court at the time of final hearing, only after at this stage this document is admitted in evidence. At this stage, it cannot be said that the documents like these Granthas are, for the decision of this suit, totally irrelevant or inadmissible in evidence and therefore, the trial Court should not have admitted the same in evidence or the trial Court has committed an error in rejecting the objection raised by learned counsel for the Petitioners. This is too premature a stage to contend that this document be de-exhibited.

33. Once it is held that the document is essential and will be helpful to the trial Court also in arriving at its proper conclusion for proper adjudication of the case, then it follows that such document cannot be de-exhibited at this stage. However, again at the costs of repetition, this Court is reiterating that, so far as evidentiary value of this document, the trial Court will be considering the same at the proper stage after having regard to the entirety of the facts and evidence before it. Otherwise also, for its own adjudication, the trial Court would have to rely upon this Grantha as it ultimately pertains to the "Shastriya Bath" or what is called as a matter of religious beliefs, faiths and practices. Therefore, keeping in mind the larger picture also, it cannot be said that the trial Court has committed any irregularity or error, much less illegality, so as to warrant interference in the impugned order of the trial Court, in writ jurisdiction, the scope of which is very limited, only to ensure that the trial Court has acted within its jurisdiction. No jurisdictional error is pointed out in the impugned order passed by the trial Court. Therefore, so far as the Writ Petition No. 3258 of 2018 is concerned, it needs to be dismissed and, accordingly, stands dismissed.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY

Writ Petition No. 3588 of 2018 and Writ Petition (ST.) No. 7520 of 2018

Decided On: 20.04.2018

Bipin Jaysukhlal Mehta Vs.  Jayantibhai Talakchand Shah and Ors.


Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Dr. Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, J.

Citation: 2019(1) MHLJ 690.
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