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Filing a Written Statement within the Due Period – In The High Court Of Judicature At Madras

The Appellant and Respondent are provided with a specific period within which they are supposed to submit their written statements. The decision dated 13.07.2021 holds that the appellant-defendant has lost its rights to file a written statement. The Judgment of 01.10.2021 decreeing the suit brought by the plaintiff-non-appellant, respectively, are challenged in these appeals. This Judgment was pronounced on 10.01.2022 by the learned acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari in STRAIGHT LINE CINEMAS V. DREAM WARRIOR PICTURES.

Learned counsel for the appellant submits that the appellant-defendant appeared in Court through counsel after receiving notice of the lawsuit. However, the written statement could not be filed due to the current scenario. Despite the preceding, the appellant-right defendant’s to file a written report was terminated by an order dated July 13, 2021; the ruling has been contested.

In this case, we discovered that the period following the lawsuit’s filing was still affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which began in March 2020 and continued beyond due to the second Covid-19 spike.

Similar to this case, In Centaur Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. v. Stanford Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. [SLP No.17298 of 2021 dated 04.01.2021], the Apex Court did not interfere with the High Court’s Judgment extending the deadline for filing written statements. In light of the preceding, the order dated 13.07.2021, terminating the appellant-right defendant’s to file a written statement, as well as the final ruling of 01.10.2021, directing the learned Single Judge to determine the claim again after examining the written statement, must be set aside.

The learned acting Chief Justice pronounced that the relevant time frame for the case is between November 2020 and July 2021. The lockdown was enforced in March 2020, and the period after the Court excluded it for all reasons, including limitations. The preceding demonstrates one component to justify the expansion of restriction, and we conclude that the written statement cannot be closed only based on the rule. Instead, the limitation can be expanded in suitable instances. However, it would not be the case that extensions should be given in all circumstances. Instead, if no rationale is provided, the Court has the authority to refuse to extend the deadline for filing the written declaration.

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Reviewed by Rangasree

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