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A litigant ought not to suffer due to the mistake by the counsel: Delhi High Court

Though, this Court is usually not inclined to allow evidence at the stage of final arguments, considering the fact that the documents in the case at hand were already on record with an application, and it only appears to have been a mistake by the counsel for the Defendant, this Court is of the opinion that a litigant ought not to suffer due to the same as held by the hon’ble High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by Justice Prathiba M. Singh in the case of Ashok Kumar Sharma V. Sushil Chander Sharma & Ors (C.R.P. 272/2019 & CM APPL. 51182/2019)

The brief background is that a civil suit for possession and recovery of arrears of mesne profits and damages, was filed by Mrs. Shakuntala Devi – wife of Late Mr. Rajinder Pal Sharma against the Defendant – Mr. Ashok Kumar Sharma. Mr. Rajinder Pal Sharma and Mr. Ashok Kumar Sharma are brothers. The Defendant examined three witnesses including an official from the Army Base Workshop, Delhi Cantt., to bring on record documents relating to the appointment, salary and pension of Mr. Rajinder Pal Sharma and Late Mr. Jaswant Rai Sharma. Thereafter, the matter was fixed for final arguments. Around the time when submissions were being heard, it appears that the Defendant realized that some documents which were on record had not been exhibited through the evidence of DW-4, who was the witness from the Army. DW-5 was also examined, however, ld. counsel for the Defendant did not confront the documents to the official from the Army, and completely missed out the fact that the application for placing on record additional documents was yet to be adjudicated, and the same continued to remain pending. It was during the final hearing then that the application was pressed before the Trial Court and the Trial Court primarily held that the Defendant had adequate opportunity to place his evidence on record, and thus at this belated stage, he cannot be permitted to lead evidence.

Upon the perusal of the facts and arguments by the respective sides, the Hon’ble Court held, “The Plaintiff is a senior citizen who undoubtedly wishes for expeditious disposal. Thus, having perused the record and the application along with the documents thereto, this Court is inclined to only allow two pages of the documents i.e., page nos. 317 and 318, which is a letter dated 12th April, 2008, issued by the Army Base Workshop attaching therewith the details of the basic pay of Mr. Rajinder Pal Sharma in a chart form, to be permitted to be proved. The petition is disposed of in the above terms. All pending applications are also disposed of.”

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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