Report No. 77
5.6. Laxity in filing written statements.-
The main reason for the omission of the defendants in many States to file the written statement on the first date of hearing has been the laxity in following the provisions of Order VIII, rule 1, C.P.C. The Commission was told that the practice prevailing in some States is that on the first date of hearing the defendant merely puts in appearance along with his counsel whom he engages just on that date and gets a date. He thereafter goes back to his village with a view to secure documents which may form the basis of his defence.
It seems that it is because of the prevalence of the general impression that written statements are not to be filed on the first date of hearing, that there is non-compliance with the requirements of the Code of Civil Procedure. This results in repeated trips by the defendant from his village to the district or Taluka head-quarters where the court holds its sittings. The repeated trips also put unnecessary financial burden upon the parties.
All this can be obviated if the provisions of the Code are enforced by the court and an impression comes to prevail that it is necessary to file the written statement on the first date of hearing. The effect of that would be that as soon as service is effected upon the defendant, he would immediately start moving in the matter and try to secure necessary documents before the date of hearing. lf, however the time-lag between service of the defendant and the first date of hearing is too short, that may be a good ground for giving him another date for filing written statement.