The Supreme Court of India observed on 19/10/2021 that the 90 days period for writing a written statement is directory in nature under Order VIII Rule 1 of the Civil procedure code for Civil Suits but in Commercial Suits Period for filing of written statement under Order VIII Rule of Civil procedure code is mandatory in the commercial courts under Commercial Courts Act 2005.

This observation was given by the court in a suit which was filled wherein in a suit for specific performance of the contract the written statement by defendant was not filled beyond the specified time under Order VIII Rule 1 of CPC. He also failed to file any application for the reason why he was not able to file written statement within time. After 8 months he filed an application giving reasons why he failed to file written statement where he stated that it was due to mistake and oversight which the trial court found not satisfactory explanation and rejected the application. The HC upheld the observation of trial court and said mistake cannot be a circumstance beyond the control of petitioner so the delay cannot be explained in this situation.

The suit in SC was heard by Justice Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian. The SC observed that the HC completely misdirected itself as it did not take written statement on record in view of the landmark judgements of Court in the cases of Salem Advocate Bar Association, TN  Vs UOI (2005) and in Kailash Vs Nanhku & others (2005). So the SC allowed the appeal. Then the bench of the Supreme Court remitted the suit to trial court to decide after taking consideration of written statement filled.

Written statement in civil suits:

In the case of Kailash Vs Nankhu the court observed that the reason for providing time schedule in Order VIII Rule 1 of CPC is to expedite the hearing not to scuttle it and as this provision is in the domain of procedural law it has to be directory in nature it can’t be mandatory. The court can extend time limit of 90 days but the extension can only given as an exception.

In Commercial suits:

In case of SCG Contracts india pvt ltd Vs K.S. Chamankar infrastructure pvt. Ltd. the SC said the proviso is mandatory and no written statement shall be allowed to be filed after expiry of 120 days and the mandatory timeline for filling of the written statement is not applicable to the non-commercial suit.

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