Sheikh Noorul Hassan vs Nahakpam Indrajit Singh 2024 INSC 391 – RP Act- Election Petition – Rejoinder

Representation of Peoples Act, 1951; Section 87(1) -Code of Civil Procedure, 1908; Order VIII Rule 9 – High Court, acting as an Election Tribunal, subject to the provisions of the 1951 Act and the rules made thereunder, is vested with all such powers as are vested in a civil court under the CPC. Therefore, in exercise of its powers under Order VIII Rule 9 of the CPC, it is empowered to grant leave to an election petitioner to file a replication- However, such leave is not to be granted mechanically. The Court before granting leave must consider the averments made in the plaint/election petition, the written statement and the replication. Upon consideration thereof, if the Court feels that to ensure a fair and effective trial of the issues already raised, the plaintiff/election petitioner must get opportunity to explain/clarify the facts newly raised or pleaded in the written statement, it may grant leave upon such terms as it deems fit. Further, while considering grant of leave, the Court must bear in mind that,— (a) a replication is not needed to merely traverse facts pleaded in the written statement; (b) a replication is not a substitute for an amendment; and (c) a new cause of action or plea inconsistent with the plea taken in original petition/plaint is not to be permitted in the replication. (Para 20-21)

Code of Civil Procedure, 1908; Order VI Rule 1 and Order VIII Rule 9 – Replication, though not a pleading as per Rule 1 of Order VI, is permissible with the leave of the Court under Order VIII Rule 9 of the CPC, which gives a right to file a reply in defence to set-off or counter-claim set up in the written statement. However, if filing of replication is allowed by the Court, it can be utilised for the purposes of culling out issues. But mere non-filing of a replication would not mean that there has been admission of the facts pleaded in the written statement (see K. Laxmanan v. Thekkayil Padmini (2009) 1 SCC 354. (Para 16)

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