Report No. 163
Q.16. Order 8, rule 1 (Written statement by defendant): Clause 18(i) of the Bill
Order 8, rule 1 of the Code (as it stands at present) requires the defendant to present his written statement at the first hearing or "within such time as the court may permit". The Bill proposes to provide that the time permitted by the court shall not be beyond thirty days from the date of service of summons on the defendant. The question is, whether an inflexible limit of 30 days should be categorically provided by the law. It is to be kept in mind that when a summons is received by the defendant, who is now to prepare his defence, such defence usually involves the following steps
(i) getting ready the necessary documents;
(ii) engaging a lawyer and giving him instructions;
(iii) allowing the lawyer some time, to go through the material;
(iv) drafting (and getting typed) the written statement; and
(v) physically filing it in court.
Steps at (iii) and (iv) above are not within the control of the defendant personally. Further, if the case is a complex one, the lawyer will take some time to study the legal defences (if any), that may be available.
Having regard to these considerations, a proposal depriving the court of its present discretion in regard to the time limit for filing the written statement may not be a very desirable step. Sometimes, in order to keep to the (proposed) time limit, the defendant's lawyer may be induced to include in the written statement all conceivable defences -sound and unsound - thus leading to delay in disposal and to the framing of unnecessary issues.