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Report No. 140

4.5. A case from Punjab and Haryana.-

A case form Punjab and Haryana1 is also relevant, the mode of service ordered by the court having been by post. In this case, the husband had obtained against the wife an ex parte decree for judicial separation under section 10 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 on the basis of a summons sent by registered post and stated to have been refused by the wife. The wife moved to set aside the ex parte decree. The trial court dismissed the wife's application to set aside the decree passed ex parte.

The trial court held that as the wife had refused to accept the summons (which seems to have been sent through post), she had been duly served by substituted service, by the publication of a notice in the newspapers. On appeal to the High Court, a single judge took the view that at times, a party can persuade a postman to make a false report (about refusal etc.). As regards substituted service, insertion of the notice of the date of hearing in an Urdu newspaper (as was done in this case) under Order V, rule 20, could be of no avail, as young Hindu ladies did not read Urdu newspapers. On an appeal under the letters patent, the appellate bench agreed with the single judge of the High Court, and expressed itself as under:-

"Once for valid reason, report of the postman is not considered reliable and is ruled out of consideration, then it would tantamount that there had not been any attempt to effect personal service on the respondent. In the absence of, an effort on the part of the matrimonial court to effect personal service of the petition upon the respondent wife, the substituted service would be of no avail, more so in view of the reasons given by the learned single Judge."

1. Mangat Rai v. Shanti Devi, 1983 HLR 437 (438), para. 4 (P&H) (Sandhawalia, C.J. and Tewatia, J.) .

Need to amend Order V, Rule 19A of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 - Relating to Service of Summons by Registered Post with a view to foreclose Back

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