Order XII Rule 6 CPC | Tech US News

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The Calcutta High Court recently while hearing an application under Order XII Rule 6 of the Code of Civil Procedure (“CPC”) for declaration of judgment on admissions made, held that an admission of fact made by pleadings or otherwise whether oral or it must be unequivocal, independent and unconditional in writing, so that it justifies the exercise of judicial discretion in making a decision solely on the basis of such recognition.

The instant proceedings arose out of a suit filed by the plaintiffs claiming a reduced amount of Rs. 16,01,89,691 along with interest against respondent no. 8, pursuant to which the plaintiffs have filed the present application under Rule 6 of Order XII based on the admission of the said defendant in the minutes of the meeting dated 1 October 2020. Counsel for the defendant no. 8 successfully argued that the confession of defendant no. 8 was neither unconditional nor unequivocal, as the aforementioned minutes contain a mutual agreement, which contains inseparable and mutual obligations of the parties to resolve all unresolved disputes through out-of-court settlement, whereby defendant no. 8 agreed to pay the amount due and payable claimed by the plaintiffs in the instant suit after withdrawal of such suit.

Dismissal of the claim on the merits, Judicial Chamber dated Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya laid down two broad statutory prerequisites governing the exercise of judicial discretion in passing judgment solely on admissions under Article XII Rule 6 CPC, namely: first of allthe reception must be able to stand on its own and maintain an independent life and form when separated from the context or circumstances from which it arises, the second timesuch recognition must be unequivocal, independent and unconditional, since the statutory prerequisites for the enforcement of recognition by judgment in accordance with Article 6 of Order XII would not be satisfied if the recognition on the basis of which the judgment sought to be declared fulfilled the above-mentioned prerequisites only , if it were evaluated in connection with other aspects of the recognition itself.

The court decided:

The legal presumption of Article 6 of Order XII of the Code of Civil Procedure of 1908 – “Judgment of Confession” – is that a party who admits facts in an application or otherwise, orally or in writing, will be reserved for the application of the other party or the court on its own initiative . An admission so made may be converted into an order or judgment of the court in its discretion and shall be limited solely to such admission. A prerequisite for a party’s confession to be adjudicated is that the confession must be able to stand on its own and retain its life and form even when taken out of context. In other words, the admission relied upon by the party seeking to enforce it against the party who admitted must not be weakened when it is taken out of the surrounding circumstances. The recognition by which judgments are pronounced must be unequivocal, independent and unconditional. It cannot be an admission that meets the stated conditions only in conjunction with other conditions that are closely related to the admission. Since Order XII Rule 6 empowers the Court to pass judgments on recognition without waiting for the decision of other issues between the parties, the recognition must remain true to the spirit in which it was used in the Code..”

When deciding, the court found that the confession of defendant no. 8 was conditioned by the plaintiff’s withdrawal of the lawsuit, as can be seen from the minutes of the meeting, and as a result, such recognition by the defendant no. 8 was not unequivocal, unconditional, separate or independent of the conditions attached to it, as mutually decided by the parties at the said meeting. The court further held that the plaintiffs who had reneged on their promise to withdraw their suit would not be free to seek enforcement of promises favorable to them and the same, if allowed, would amount to rewriting the minutes of the meeting in the manner inconsistent with the terms mutually agreed upon by the contracting parties.

Interpreting the legislative objective behind Order XII Rule 6 CPC in relation to the precondition of maintaining the admission independently and separately from any other condition interwoven with the admission within the factual matrix of the instant proceedings, the Court observed that the admission of respondent no. . 8 for the payment of outstanding debts to the plaintiff would become deflated if it were not linked to the corresponding obligation of the plaintiff to withdraw the claim, and it should further be taken into account that in the absence of such withdrawal of the claim, the recognition becomes a conditional and one-half reciprocal promise.

While the court referred to Shin Satellite Public Co. Ltd. v. Jain Studios Ltd., (2006) 2 SCC 628 and BOI Finance Ltd. against the guardian; (1997)10 SCC 488 in so far as it points out the position of law on the power of courts to separate the trivial or technical parts of an acknowledgment from the main or essential parts which are legal and enforceable and Uttam Singh Dugal & Co. Ltd. v. Union Bank of India(2000) 7 SCC 120 to observe that a court may grant a decree on admitted claims in circumstances where it would be impossible for a clearly admitted party to succeed in a claim under Rule 6 of Order XII, but the court was more inclined to accept the judgment of the court v Birendra Nath Mallick v. Brahma Brata Roy; 1950 CWN 439 on the point of law that a plaintiff could not seek a declaration of judgment on admissions which are implicitly divorced from the conditions attached to her taking advantage of one part of the admission and rejecting the other.

Accordingly, the court ordered the execution of defendant’s confession no. 8 in conjunction with the conditions attached to it, which the court considered to be the essence of the minutes of the meeting, and in accordance with the conditions mutually agreed upon by the parties.

Cover: Square Four Assets Management & Reconstruction Co. P. Ltd & Ors. v. Orient Beverages Ltd. & Ors, CS 144 of 2016

The date: 03.11.2022

Click here to read/download the order

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