1. The challenge in this C.R.P. at the instance of petitioners/defendants is to the order dated 03.10.2018 in I.A.No.835/2018 in O.S.No.13/2009 passed by the learned II Additional District Judge, East Godavari at Amalapuram dismissing the petition filed by the defendants under Order VIII Rule 1(3) read with Section 151 CPC seeking to receive as many as 20 documents during the evidence of defendants.
2. The respondent/plaintiff filed suit for recovery of Rs.30.00 lakhs from the petitioners/defendants said to be invested by him for construction of a bridge. The defendants are contesting the suit inter alia contending that the Government have terminated the contract with the plaintiff by following due procedure as he failed to comply with the terms and conditions and therefore, the suit is liable to be dismissed.
3. While so, it appears when the suit was coming up for the evidence of DW1, the defendants filed I.A.No.835/2018 seeking to receive 20 documents enclosed to the petition. In the affidavit filed in support of the petition, it was averred that the enclosed documents were necessary and vital for better adjudication of the suit and those documents could not be filed in the Court earlier as they were in the custody of Superintending Engineer, R & B Department, Kakinada. The plaintiff filed counter and vehemently opposed the petition. The trial Court after hearing both parties dismissed the petition.
Hence, the C.R.P.
4. Heard the learned Government Pleader for Arbitration representing the petitioners, and Sri T.V.S.Prabhakar, learned counsel for the respondent.
5. Upon hearing both sides and on a close scrutiny of the impugned order, it must be said that there are no valid grounds to allow the C.R.P. The laches on the part of the petitioners/defendants are multiple and compounding stage by stage which distanced them from seeking the relief.
(a) When succinctly arrayed, firstly, except the Annexure 13 notice dated 06.05.2008, the defendants have not referred about the existence and importance of other documents which they now seek to produce as evidence on their behalf.
(b) Secondly, in addition to the non-referring of documents, they were not produced along with written statement in due compliance of the mandate under Order VIII Rule 1A CPC, which ordains that where a defendant bases his defence upon a document or relies upon any document in his possession or power, he shall enter such document in a list and shall produce it in Court when written statement is presented by him and shall, at the same time, deliver the document and a copy thereof to be filed with the written statement. When any such document is not in his possession or power, he shall, wherever possible state in whose possession or power it is.
(c) Thirdly, when the respondent/plaintiff issued a notice to the defendants under Order XII Rule 8 CPC to produce all the documents that are now referred in their petition, curiously the defendants instead of producing those documents filed an objection dated 28.11.2014 into the Court stating that the plaintiff was not entitled to seek production of those documents. If really they considered the documents were crucial and having immense evidentiary value to adjudicate the suit, they ought to have availed the opportunity to produce the documents at that stage itself.
(d) Fourthly, the plaintiff submitted an application under the Right to Information Act to the defendants to furnish information regarding the documents now sought to be produced. However, there was no response from the defendants with regard to those documents.
(e) Fifthly, earlier the defendants filed I.A.No.1924/2014 with a similar prayer to receive some documents which were not referred to in the written statement and the said petition was dismissed by the trial Court. Aggrieved, the defendants filed C.R.P. No.1889/2015 and said petition was also dismissed by this Court with the following observation:
"In the entire affidavit, there was no explanation as to how the necessity had arisen subsequent to filing of objections after serving notice under Order XII Rule 8 of CPC i.e., Form No.12 in Appendix (C). In the absence of any explanation, mere filing a petition along with the documents making allegations, if accepted, it would render the purpose of incorporating Order VIII Rule 1(a) of CPC redundant. It is clear from the record that the petitioners/defendants did not prosecute the proceedings diligently, being giant (sic) as fair litigants before the trial Court but exhibited sheer negligence without visualizing the consequences of objections to the notice served under Order XII Rule (8) of CPC. Therefore, the explanation whatever submitted by the petitioners is not satisfactory to permit them to file those documents by granting leave and though they are crucial documents, the petitioners withhold them for different reasons. Therefore, at this stage, on mere asking the Court for leave, this Court cannot grant leave without explaining cause much less sufficient cause for failure of the petitioners/defendants to file those documents along with Written Statement, as required under Order VIII Rule 1 (a) of CPC. Therefore, the trial Court rightly declined to grant leave to the petitioners under Order VIII Rule (1) (a) of CPC. Hence, I find no ground to set aside the Order dt.29.01.215 since it is supported by satisfactory reasoning."
(f) Sixthly, above all, in the instant I.A.No.835/2018, except stating in a most flippant, nonchalant and prevaricative ground that the documents were in the custody of Superintending Engineer, R & B Department, Kakinada, the defendants have not submitted a plausible excuse to consider their application. It must be noted, the so called Superintending Engineer in whose custody the documents were stated to be lying, is not a third-p
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arty, but defendant No.2 in the suit and therefore, there cannot be a slightest excuse for the defendants from not securing the documents from him and produce at the relevant point of time. This Court is constrained to hold that the pleaded excuse is nothing but truancy from the avowed responsibility. Therefore, I find neither merits in the case of the petitioners nor there is jurisdictional error on the part of the trial Court requiring indulgence of this Court under Article 227 of the Constitution. 6. Accordingly, this Civil Revision Petition is dismissed. No costs. As a sequel, interlocutory applications pending, if any, shall stand closed.