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Report No. 27

21. Delay before trial.-"Delay before trial" may be considered with reference to the following items-(i) service of summonses and other processes, (ii) filing of written statements, (iii) filing of documents, and (iv) issues. Each of these items may be dealt with separately.

22. Service of summons-process fee and forms.-Delay under the first item can be further sub-divided under two heads-(i) delay in payment of process fee and preparation of process, and (ii) delay in the actual service of summonses. Process fee must be paid when the plaint is filed. As recommended in the Fourteenth Report1, a rule should be made by the High Courts requiring the parties or their pleaders to file with the plaint printed forms of process legibly filled in, leaving only the date of appearance of the defendant and the date of issue of process blank. Such a rule has been made in several States. The printed forms of summonses should be available free of cost or on a small payment in the Nazir's office.

1. 14th Report, Vol. I.

23. Service of summons-procedure for.-Order V, rule 20A provides for the service of summons by registered post either in lieu of or in addition to the normal manner of service where for any reason whatsoever the summons is unserved. We have, after taking into account the recommendation in the Fourteenth Report1, proposed a rule2 whereunder a summons by post may be issued simultaneously with the summons in the ordinary manner. The Court can then act on whichever return shows effective service.

1. 14th Report, Vol. I.

2. See Appendix I, Order 5, rule 19A.

24. Service by the police.-We have considered the suggestion made in a leading law journal1 that summonses be served through the agency of the Police. But, in our view, this is not a practicable suggestion. The police force in this country is not adequate even to discharge its ordinary duty of maintaining law and order. It will not be possible to so enlarge the police force as to enable it to discharge the additional burden that is proposed to be imposed on it. Apart from the inadequacy of the police force, since the police will not be under the control of civil courts, it will not be a suitable agency for the service of summons in civil cases. It is also not proper or desirable to associate the police with the execution of civil processes. We are not aware of any Commonwealth country utilizing the services of the police for the purpose.

1. 68 Calcutta Weekly Notes, Editorial Notes xxxii (13-4-964).

25. Filing of written statement.-We have not carried out the suggestion made in the Fourteenth Report1, that instead of a separate order requiring the defendant to file a written statement the summons by which the plaint is served on the defendant should itself require him to file a written statement within a specified time. We think that no useful purpose will be served by making this provision. Written statements are rarely filed at the first hearing, and in practice, not much time will be saved if this proposal is accepted. Moreover, under the Code, the filing of a written statement is not compulsory. We are, however, recommending a clarification in the law as to the effect of failure to file a written statement1.

1. 14th Report, Vol. I.

2. Appendix 1, Order 8, rule 10.

Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 Back

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