The written statement can be considered as the answer to the plaint. It is filed by the defendant or his agent who has the power of attorney. The plaint and written statements are part of civil litigation. In a case where there is more than one defendant, each defendant can submit a different written statement or one. The written statement filed by one defendant is not binding for other defendants. In this article along with a team of essay experts from Write My Paper Hub, we will discuss all the provisions and rules of Order VIII of the Civil Procedure Code.
Meaning of written statement
A written statement is the statement of the defendant in his defence in which he either admits the claims or denies the facts alleged by plant leaf in his plaint. The defendant can State New facts of the case and legal objections against the claim asked by the plaintiff.
Order VIII Rule 1 of the civil procedure code provides that, after the service of summons, the defendant should file the written statement within 30 days. But in case if the defendant fails to submit it before 30 days, Then he can file his statement within 90 days as the Court allows him to do so.
Characteristics of the written statement
- The defendant has to appear in court on the date mentioned in the summons.
- Before the date of appearing in the court, the defendant needs to file the written statement in the court.
- The statement should deny or accept the allegations imposed on him. Any allegations which are not answered by the defendant are deemed to be accepted by the defendant.
- The statement must contain the verification of the defendant by stating that the content written in the statement is true and correct as per the knowledge of the defendant.
- If the defendant fails to submit the written statement before 30 days, he can seek the court to extend the time, in that case, the court may extend the time period upto 90 days.
Rules related to the Written statement
All the rules related to the written statements are given under Order VIII or the civil procedure code. So let’s know about every rule:
Order VIII Rule 1
Order VIII Rule 1 provides that, when the defendant received the summons by which he came to know that a lawsuit has been filed against him:
- he has to file the written statement within 30 days from the date when he received the summon.
- if the defendant fails to submit it within 30 days, the court may extend this time up to 90 days
- The court will record the legitimate reason of the defendant for the delay.
- The time period cannot be extended more than 90 days.
- The judge can charge some cost if the defendant fails to file the statement within 30 days.
- If the defendant fails to file the written statement within 120 days from the date of the service of summons (30+90), the court shall forfeit the defendant’s right to submit the written statement.
- After the expiry of 120 days, the court shall pronounce the judgement.
Order VIII Rule 1A
This rule talks about the protection and production of the document the defendant relies upon. According to this rule, the document which is the base of the defence given by the defendant should be delivered to the court on the date of filing the written statement and by attaching the duplicate copy of this document.
The document can be related to the set-off or counter-claim.
If the document is not in his possession, then the defendant has to state this in whose possession it is.
If the defendant fails to produce such document at the time of filing statement, the court will not allow him to submit that document as proof in the lawsuit, without the leave of the court.
Order VIII Rule 2
Order VIII Rule 2 is related to the new facts which should be pleaded. The rule says that the defendant must have raised the important facts related to the case which shows that the suit is not maintainable, or the transaction which is in the issue is made by a void or voidable contract etc. These facts will help the defendant to win the case because these facts can be related to the limitation and fraud etc.
Order VIII Rule 3
Order VIII Rule 3 says that the denial made by the defendant in a written statement must be specific, not general except in the case of damages.
Order VIII Rule 3A
If the defendant is accepting any fact, he can provide the general answer but if he is denying any fact then he must have given the reason behind that why he is denying the particular fact. This rule also deals in case if the defendant challenges the jurisdiction of the court for that lawsuit. He must have provided the specific grounds for that.
Order VIII Rule 4
Evasive Denial- when the defendant is making the denial of any fact, the denial must be clear and easy to understand. For example, if the plaint has alleged that the defendant had received a particular amount, and if the defendant wants to deny this fact, he must have denied that he did not receive that sum or any part. Also, if he received the sum but not a particular amount which is alleged, then he must have written how much amount he received.
Order VIII Rule 5
- It talks about specific denial that the defendant must have to deny specifically. If the defendant does not take necessary implications or just give the statement that the fact stated in the plaint is not admitted, it will be considered as the defendant has admitted the facts given in the plaint. This rule does not apply to disabled people.
- The rule clearly says that the person must have given the specific reason that why he is denying the fact given into the plaint. He cannot just say that I AM NOT ADMITTING THIS FACT. He must be specific on this answer.
- The rule also provides that if the defendant fails to submit his written statement in the court on time, the court may decide its judgement on the basis of the facts provided in the plaint by the plaintiff. This rule is not applicable to disabled people. Also, the court may ask the plaintiff to provide evidence to prove his fact alleged in the plaint.
- The court will provide the decree of the court after pronouncing the judgement in the court, even though the defendant was unable to submit his statement.
Set-off in a written statement
Order VIII Rule 6 deals with set-off.
Set-off in the written statement is a claim added by the defendant against the plaintiff to defend himself. Set-off is a cross-claim between plaintiff and defendant in which the plaintiff is legally liable to pay that money to the defendant.
Essentials of set-off
- The suit filed by the plaintiff must be related to the recovery of money
- The defendant’s claim for set-off must be for a specific amount of money.
- Money claimed by the defendant in the written statement must be legally recoverable. For example, the defendant cannot claim any money which he won in a bet with the plaintiff.
- The amount claimed by the defendant must not exceed the pecuniary limit of the court. It simply means every court has its own limit that the court can only deal with the cases where a certain amount of money is in the issue. The defendant cannot claim his set-off which is beyond the pecuniary jurisdiction of the court. For example, a court has the pecuniary jurisdiction of 1 lakh, but the defendant claims a set-off which is the amount of 5 lakh, in that case, the pecuniary jurisdiction is exceeding. The defendant cannot claim that set off in that case.
- Both the defendant and plaintiff must fill the same character as they fill in the plaintiff’s claim. It means, the defendant cannot claim a set-off in which the plaintiff was not the main party. The defendant cannot claim money that is recoverable from a person who is in the plaintiff’s relation.
Purpose of set-off in a written statement
- To prevent the institution of a fresh suit in the court.
- It prevents multiple lawsuits between plaintiff and defendant.
- It prevents the valuable time of the court.
Order VIII Rule 6A
Order VIII Rule 6A deals with the Counter-claim. It says that the defendant has the right to add any claim or right which is arisen by the cause of action against the plaintiff. This cause of action can be before the institution of the suit filed by the plaintiff or after the filing of the suit. This claim is known as a counter-claim. The reason behind adding the counter-claim in the same suit is to prevent the multiplicity of the suits because the defendant could have instituted a fresh suit for this cause of action, so the counter-claim was added in the written statement to save the time of court and parties.
Characteristics of counter-claim
- It should not exceed the limits of the pecuniary jurisdiction of the court.
- Counter-claim is considered as cross-suit. it enables the court to announce the judgement on the simple suit and counter-claim.
- In the case of counter-claim, the court provides the time period to the plaintiff to file a written statement
- The counter-claim is treated as a plaint and all the necessary rules of the plaint shall apply on the counter-claim.
Order VIII Rule 6B
It says that the defendant should have stated the grounds of the counterclaim of which he is relying upon in the suit.
Order VIII Rule 6C
In this rule, the plaintiff may request the court to separate the counter-claim from the suit and to settle the counter-claim outside the suit. On the application of the plaintiff for the exclusion of the counter-claim, the court may exclude the counter-claim if the court thinks fit.
Order VIII Rule 6D
As per rule 6D, if the suit filed by the plaintiff is dismissed or discontinued, there will be no effect on the counter-claim. The court will treat the counter-claim as a plaint.
Order VIII Rule 6E
If the plaintiff fails to defend the counter-claim filed by the defendant, the court can pass the judgement on the basis of the counter-claim filed by the defendant.
Order VIII Rule 6F
After settling the set-off and counter-claim in the suit, the court may give the judgement to settle any balance due to the plaintiff or defendant.
For example, A claims 15000 from B in the plaint. But B had set-off recoverable of 20000. In that case, the court will settle the 15000 to solve the dispute and pass the order against the plaintiff to repay the 5000 to B.
Order VIII Rule 6G
The written statement filed by the plaintiff to answer the counterclaim shall contain all the rules related to the written statement.
General Rules of Order VIII CPC
Order VIII Rule 7
Separate grounds of set-off– if the set-off filed by the defendant is based on separate grounds, then the defendant must have stated those grounds clearly in the written statement.
Order VIII Rule 8
Arising new grounds of defence– after filing the plaint, written statement, set-off or counter-claim, if there is any new ground arising for the defence of plaintiff or defendant, the parties can add that fact in the written statement filed by both of them.
Order VIII Rule 9
Subsequent proceeding in the court- The plaintiff or defendant cannot make any subsequent proceedings for a written statement to take the defence for counterclaim and set-off except the court does not allow them on some terms and conditions. The court can allow them to file an additional written statement in a fixed time of 30 days.
Order VIII Rule 10
Order VIII Rule 10 gives the power to the court to pronounce the judgment if the parties fail to file the written statement in the given time. The court will pronounce the judgement against the party who fails and may also pass the decree to settle the dispute. The rule also provided that no court shall order to extend the time period to file the written statement.