Delhi High Court in the cases of Gulf DTH FZ LLC v Dish TV India Ltd & Ors and Oku Tech Private Limited v Sangeet Agarwal & Ors has emphasized the legislature’s intent to curb a party from prolonging the suit proceedings by holding that the courts do not have the power to arbitrarily and discretionally extend the time lines for filing a written statement as laid down by the provisions of order V rule 1 and order VIII rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC), as amended by the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 (Commercial Courts Act).
In both these cases, the defendants had crossed the outer limit of 120 days to file their written statements. In view of this, the court had passed an order stating that the statutory period for filing a written statement had expired as per the provisions of the CPC as amended by the Commercial Courts Act. In the first case, the defendant filed an application asking the court to recall the order disallowing it to file its written statement and in the second, an application for condonation of delay was filed by the defendant.
In the Gulf DTH case, Delhi High Court disregarded the defendant’s contentions that the suit had been filed before the notification of the Commercial Courts Act and that the suit was not renumbered as a commercial suit, and further that the defendant had filed an application under order VII rules 10 and 11 of the CPC, pending which the written statement was not required to have been filed.