Order XV – Disposal of the Suit at the First Hearing

Rule 1: Parties not at issue

Where at the first hearing of a suit it appears that the parties are not at issue on any question of law or of fact, the Court may at once pronounce judgment.


Rule 2: One of several defendants not at issue

(1) Where there are more defendants than one, and any one of the defendants is not at issue with the plaintiff on any question of law or of fact, the Court may at once pronounce judgment for or against such defendant and the suit shall proceed only against the other defendants.

(2) Whenever a judgment is pronounced under this rule, a decree shall be drawn up in accordance with such judgment and the decree shall bear the date on which the judgment was pronounced.


Rule 3: Parties at issue

(1) Where the parties are at issue on some question of law or of fact, and issues have been framed by the Court as hereinbefore provided, if the Court is satisfied that no further argument or evidence than the parties can at once adduce is required upon such of the issues as may be sufficient for the decision of the suit, and that no injustice will result from proceeding with the suit forthwith, the Court may proceed to determine such issues, and, if the finding thereon is sufficient for the decision, may pronounce judgment accordingly, whether the summons has been issued for the settlement of issues only or for the final disposal of the suit:

Provided that, where the summons has been issued for the settlement of issues only, the parties or their pleaders are present and none of them objects.

(2) Where the finding is not sufficient for the decision, the Court shall postpone the further hearing of the suit, and shall fix a day for the production of such further evidence, or for such further argument as the case requires.


Rule 4: Failure to produce evidence

Where the summons has been issued for the final disposal of the suit and either party fails without sufficient cause to produce the evidence on which he relies, the Court may at once pronounce judgment, or may, if it thinks fit, after framing and recording issues, adjourn the suit for the production of such evidence as may be necessary for its decision upon such issues.”.


IMPORTANT CASE LAWS

1. Preliminary Issue:

Veershaiv Co-operative Bank Ltd. v. Arvind Daulu Patil, (2005) 4 Mah LJ 268 : “It is obvious that the court is entitled to decide a preliminary issue and if the finding thereon is sufficient for the decision, it may be pronounced accordingly. In other words, it is then not necessary for the trial Court to pronounce on other issues. This is clearly a salutary provision intended to save the time of the court.”


2. Discretion of Court for parties in issue:

Manguesh Devasthan of Priol v. Krishna Gawade, (2015) 1 Mah LJ 285 : “…..there is discretion conferred upon the Civil Court to pronounce a judgment at once at the first hearing itself when it is satisfied that parties are not at issue on any question of law or fact. But, it is to be noted that this is a discretion which has to be exercised by the trial Court in a reasonable manner by not only taking into account the fact that the parties are not at issue but also the surrounding facts and circumstances of the case. This is necessary because in a given case, even though the parties are not at issue, the plaint itself may not disclose any cause of action and even when it discloses the cause of action, the reliefs claimed in the plaint being of such a nature that they cannot be granted by the Court at once………”


CONNECTED SECTIONS

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