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Procedure to be followed by court when application for delivery of interrogatories under Order XI Rule 1 of the CPC is filed

Procedure to be followed by court when application for delivery of interrogatories under Order XI Rule 1 of the CPC is filed

Tara Batra Vs Punam A Kumar

Delhi HC


CM(M) No. 925/2019

About/from the judgment:

When examined in the light of parameters laid down in the aforesaid judgments, clearly, the Trial Court has misdirected itself in rejecting the application filed by the petitioner under Order XI Rule 1 of the CPC. While deciding the said application under Order XI Rule 1 of the CPC, the Trial Court had to only consider whether answer to the said interrogatories would have some bearing on the issues involved in the case and whether the same could be necessary for fair adjudication of the dispute. The very object of the interrogatories is to know the case of the opposite party and to, therefore, shorten the trial and limit the scope of the cross-examination. The Courts should be liberal and should not be hyper-technical in allowing the use of interrogatories in a suit. Interrogatories also enable a party to obtain an admission from the opponent, which reduces the scope of trial and the cost of litigation for the parties. Once the Court comes to the conclusion that the interrogatories are relevant for proper adjudication of the case, the interrogatories are served upon the other party and the said other party has to answer the interrogatories on affidavit or objections can be raised on the ground that the said interrogatories are scandalous in nature or are not relevant or not bona fide for the purposes of the suit or on the ground of privilege. The objections on the grounds above have to be taken on affidavit. It is at that stage that the Court has to consider which of the questions in the interrogatories the party should be compelled to answer. {Para 24}

25. In the present case, the approach followed by the Trial Court in dismissing the application filed by the petitioner was completely flawed. No exercise has been undertaken to determine whether the interrogatories sought to be delivered on the respondents are relevant or necessary for fair and proper adjudication of the case. This Court is of the view that the interrogatories sought to be served by the petitioner on respondents no. 1 and 2 were germane for adjudication of the suit. Seeing the nature of relief sought in the suit viz. rendition of account with regard to the various fixed deposits made by late Mrs. Veena Paintal in the name of the petitioner, the information/documents sought by the petitioner with regard to such deposits were relevant for the issues to be decided in the suit. The information sought by way of interrogatories with regard to procedure to be followed by the bank for change in the nature of account or adding a nominee to the FDR is also very relevant in the light of the allegations in the plaint that the said fixed deposit was illegally tampered with and the name of respondent no. 1 was wrongly added.

26. The only basis provided by the Trial Court for not allowing the application of the petitioner was that the interrogatories could be put in cross-examination. The learned Trial Court failed to appreciate that the cross-examination may not be necessary in light of the answers given to the interrogatories. It is not the case of the respondents that any of the interrogatories are scandalous in nature or are irrelevant. When the aforesaid tests of ‘relevancy’ and ‘expediency’ are applied to the facts of the case, there is no doubt in the mind of the Court that interrogatories as sought to be raised in the present case should have been allowed and would have helped in reducing the time taken in trial.

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