Time period under Order VIII Rule 1 CPC for filing written statement is directory and not mandatory in nature

Jharkhand High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Shree Chandrashekhar, J., allowed a writ petition filed by the petitioner against the order of the trial judge, whereby his application for seeking extension for filing written statement beyond the statutory period was rejected.

The main issue that arose was whether the period of filing written statement can be extended beyond the time period which is prescribed under Order VIII Rule 1 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.

The Court observed that as per the judgment passed by the Supreme Court in the case of Rani Kusum v. Kanchan Devi, (2005) 6 SCC 705, the parties to a dispute are bound by the time frame provided under Order-VIII Rule 1 for filing written statement, however the Court is not bound by the same. The Court further cited the case of Kailash v. Nanhku, (2005) 4 SCC 480 and held that the provision under O.VIII R-1 is merely directory in nature and the Court can, in appropriate cases extend the time frame provided under this provision. It further held that the dispute revolved around a property admeasuring 22 acres and hence the petitioner had substantial interest in it. Further, the petitioner had provided sufficient reasons in his application seeking extension of time but without giving due consideration to those reasons, the trial court had rejected his application. The Court set aside the order of the trial judge and ordered that the written statement of the petitioner shall be taken on record. [Dukhi Mirdha v. Ramdas Mirdha,2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 1292, order dated 26-09-2018]

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