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Expert evidence is merely an opinion: Delhi High Court

The court is not bound by the evidentiary value of a particular evidence. Such expert evidence simply adds to support the conclusion arrived at by the judges. The court is not precluded from making a comparison of its own, if so required, to come to a conclusion. This was held by Hon’ble Justice Asha Menon in the case of Ashok Kumar Malhotra Vs. Sunil Tuli [CM (M) 462/2020, CM APPL.23147/2020 (by the petitioner u/S 151 CPC for ad-interim ex-parte stay)] on the 10th of August before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi At New Delhi.

The brief facts of the case are, the respondent had filed the suit for possession, permanent injunction and recovery of arrears of rent and mesne profits/damages against the petitioner. The trial was at the stage of defendant’s evidence, the respondent having led his evidence, when the petitioner moved an application seeking comparison of the signatures on a receipt dated 4th September, 2005 with the admitted contemporaneous signatures of the respondent. That application was allowed vide orders of the learned Trial Court dated 22nd December, 2018. The defendant’s evidence was closed on 22nd March, 2019 and the FSL report was waited for on 27th April, 2019. The FSL report was inconclusive and sought more documents for comparison. The application under Section 151 CPC moved for re-opening defendant’s evidence was dismissed as was the request for directions to the respondent to submit more documents for effective comparison. This was dismissed by the trial court. Aggrieved by this, the petitioner has filed the present petition.

The counsel for the petitioner submits that the learned Trial Court had discussed the entire merits of the defence raised by him due to which the petitioner has been greatly prejudiced. Particularly, as he had filed CS No.358/2020 for specific performance, in which the present respondent has already been proceeded ex parte. It is claimed that the petitioner had been educated up to the 6th/7th class and was beguiled into signing papers, which are now being claimed to be registered Lease Deeds. The petitioner has been in possession uninterruptedly since 2005 and had paid Rs.3 lakhs out of a consideration of Rs.4 lakhs for the suit property. In the circumstances, the petitioner should be allowed to examine the witness. The counsel for the respondent however submitted that, there were three registered Lease Deeds which established that he was the landlord and the petitioner the tenant, in the suit premises. In contrast, on the basis of an unregistered receipt, the petitioner was claiming ownership of the premises. The respondent had submitted contemporaneous documents dating to 2005, which the expert did not find to be sufficient for comparison. That was not the fault of the respondent. Learned counsel submitted that there were no other documents of that period available with him. The learned Trial Court rightly rejected the applications and the present petition was also liable to be dismissed.

The learned court heard the submissions of both the parties and observed that “The learned Trial Court was right in observing that expert evidence is merely an opinion. The court is not precluded from making a comparison of its own, if so required, to come to a conclusion. Therefore, while it is true that the learned Trial Court could have refrained from commenting on the evidentiary value of the receipt, the same appears to be apropos to the arguments submitted before it. Nevertheless, it is apparent that it has not taken a final view, as the impugned order records that the evidentiary value of the receipt would be seen as per law and the evidence already recorded.” The petition was dismissed on the grounds of no merit.

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