Legal Blog: Doctrine of Non Traverse : The Concept Explained

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Doctrine of Non Traverse : The Concept Explained

Justice V.B. Gupta of the Delhi High Court has enunciated the 'Doctrine of Non-Traverse' in his judgment in Smt. Asha Kapoor v. Sh. Hari Om Sharda . The extract of the judgment is given below;

16. Order VIII Rule 3, 4 and 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure (for short as Code) read as under;
"3. Denial to be specific.- It shall not be sufficient for a defendant in his written statement to deny generally the ground alleged by the plaintiff, but the defendant must deal specifically with each allegation of fact of which he does not admit the truth, except damages.
4. Evasive denial- Where a defendant denies an allegation of fact in the plaint, he must not do so evasively, but answer the point of substance. Thus, if it is alleged that he received a certain sum of money, it shall not be sufficient to deny that he received that particular amount, but he must deny that he received that sum or any part thereof, or else set out how much he received. And if an allegation is made with diverse circumstances, it shall not be sufficient to deny it along with those circumstances.
5. Specific denial-[(1)] Every allegation of fact in the plaint, if not denied specifically or by necessary implication, or stated to be not admitted in the pleading of the defendant, shall be taken to be admitted except as against a person under disability; Provided that the Court may in its discretion require any fact so admitted to be proved otherwise than by such admission.
(2) Where the defendant has not filed a pleading, it shall be lawful for the Court to pronounce judgment on the basis of the fact contained in the plaint, except as against a person under a disability, but the Court may, in its discretion, require any such fact to be proved. (3) In exercising its discretion under the proviso to sub-rule (1) or under sub-rule (2), the Court shall have due regard to the fact whether the defendant could have, or has, engaged a pleader.
(4) Whenever a judgment is pronounced under this rule, a decree shall be drawn up in accordance with such judgment and such decree shall bear the date on which the judgment was pronounced.]"
17. The effect of Order 8 Rule 3 read along with rr 4 and 5 of the Code is that, defendant is bound to deal specifically with each allegation of fact not admitted by him; he must either deny or state definitely that the substance of each allegation is not admitted. The main allegations which form the foundation of the suit should be dealt with in that way and expressly denied. Facts not specifically dealt with will be taken to be admitted under Order 8 Rule 5 of the Code.
18. Order 8 Rule 5 of the Code is known as doctrine of non-traverse which means that where a material averment is passed over without specific denial, it is taken to be admitted. The rule says that any allegation of fact must either be denied specifically or by necessary implication or there should be a statement that the fact is not admitted. If the plea is not taken in that manner, then the allegation should taken to be admitted.
19. Supreme Court in M. Venkataraman Hebbar (D) By L.RS. Vs. M. Rajgopal Hebbar & Ors. 2007 (5) SCALE 598, observed;
"Thus, if a plea which was relevant for the purpose of maintaining a suit had not been specifically traversed, the Court was entitled to draw an inference that the same had been admitted. A fact admitted in terms of Section 58 of the Evidence Act need not be proved."

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