Defendants must file written statement within 120 days

Seat determines which court can regulate proceedings

In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court considered whether a written statement can be filed by a defendant after 120 days, the maximum time period provided under the amended provisions of order VIII, rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC). The Supreme Court observed that the proviso added to CPC by Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 (act), is mandatory, and that a defendant will forfeit the right to file a written statement if it is not filed within 120 days from the date of the service of summons in the suit.

In the SCG Contracts India Pvt Ltd v KS Chamankar Infrastructure Pvt Ltd case, the Supreme Court appeal was filed against the judgment of Delhi High Court allowing a written statement filed by the defendants even though 120 days had elapsed from the date of service of summons.

In allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court observed that the added proviso to the CPC is mandatory. The following proviso was added to order VIII rule 1 to the CPC by the act and was made applicable to commercial disputes of a specified value with effect from 23 October 2015, the day on which the act came into force along with certain amendments to the CPC.

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