SC: Declaring abatement of appeal not estopped by permitting prosecution

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 7th May 2019, in the matter of Hemareddi (D) Through Lrs. V. Ramachandra Yallappa Hosmaniand Ors. pronounced that a court is not estopped by a permission to prosecute if subsequently it holds that the appeal has abated as a whole by virtue of Order XXII Rule 3 of CPC.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

Procedure is the hand maiden of justice, the technicalities of law should not be allowed toprevail over the demands of justice and obstacles in the path of the Court considering a case on merit should not ordinarily become insuperable. On the other hand, if the so called procedural requirement is drawn from a wholesome principle of substantive law to advance the cause of justice, the same may not be overlooked. (Para 7)

Order XXII Rule 3 is applicable also to appeals filed under Order 41. (Para 8)

Order XXII Rule 3 declares that where one of two or more plaintiffs dies and the right to sue does not survive to the surviving plaintiff or plaintiffs alone inter alia the Court on an application can substitute the legal representatives of the deceased plaintiff and proceed with the suit. Sub-rule (2) provides that if it is not so done, the suit shall abate as far as the deceased plaintiff is concerned. Order XXII Rule (3) therefore is applicable when either a suit or an appeal is filed by more than one plaintiffs or appellants as the case maybe. This is no doubt apart from it applying when there is a sole plaintiff or sole appellant. In such a situation, on the death of one of the plaintiffs or appellants and the right to sue does not survive to the remaining plaintiff/plaintiffs or appellant/appellants alone, then the LRs of the deceased party can come on record. Should he not do so, ordinarily, the proceeding will abate as far as the deceased party is concerned. (Para 8)

Order XXII Rule 3 provides for the converse of Order XXII Rule 4. That is to say Order XXII Rule 3 deals with a case where one or more plaintiffs or appellants or the sole plaintiff or sole appellant dies during the pendency of the suit or appeal. Order XXII Rule 4 on the other hand deals with a case where one or more of the defendants in the suits or sole defendant or the respondents or sole defendant in the appeal dies. In both these cases it must be noticed that it is a condition precedent for the provisions to apply that the right to sue does not survive to the remaining plaintiffs/ appellants (Order XXII Rule 3) or the remaining one or two appellants and right to sue does not survive against the defendant or defendants in the suit or respondents in the appeal alone or the sole defendant or surviving defendants dies and the right to sue survives.(Para 13)

Order XXII Rule 2 deals with a situation where there are more than one plaintiffs and defendants and any of them dies and the right to sue survives to the surviving plaintiff or plaintiffs alone or against the surviving defendant or defendants alone, the suit or the appeal shall be proceeded against at the instance of the surviving plaintiff or plaintiffs/appellant or appellants or against surviving defendant or defendants in the suit/respondents in the appeal. (Para 13)

An order permitting a co-appellant to prosecute an appeal which abated as whole due to Order XXII Rule 3, cannot tide over the legal obstacle posed by inconsistent decree which emerges as a result of failure to substitute legal representative of the other late co-appellant and the abating of the appeal filed by such appellant. Therefore such order permitting the co-appellant to prosecute would not arise as an estoppel against an order being passed holding that the appeal has abated as a whole.(This inference has been drawn on the basis of Para 22)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_07-May-2019

-Tushar Kaushik

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *