Legal Blog: Compliance of Order 39 Rule 3 : Mandatory or Directory

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Compliance of Order 39 Rule 3 : Mandatory or Directory

Justice Lahoti
The Supreme Court in S.B.L. Ltd. vs Himalaya Drug Co. has examined whether the provision of Order 39 Rule 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 are mandatory or directory in nature. The Supreme Court examined the effect of non compliance of the provisions of Rule 3 of Order 39 in the aforesaid judgment. The Supreme Court held as under;
34. Looking to the scheme of Order 39, CPC it is clear that ordinarily an order of injunction may not be granted ex parte. The opposite party must be noticed and heard before an injunction may be granted. Rule 3 carves out an exception in favour of granting an injunction without notice to the opposite party where it appears that the object of granting injunction would be defeated by the delay. Conferment of this privilege on the party seeking an injunction is accompanied by an obligation cast on the court to record reasons for its opinion and an obligation cast on the applicant to comply with the requirements of Clauses (a) and (b) of the proviso. Both the provisions are mandatory. The applicant gets an injunction without notice but subject to the condition of complying with Clauses (a) and (b) above said.
35. We may refer to several observations made by their Lordships of the Supreme Court inShiv Kumar Chadha v. MCD . Though the observations have been, made primarily on the obligation of the Court to record the reasons but in our opinion they equally apply to the obligation cast on the applicant by the proviso. The provisions are mandatory. Their Lordships have observed :
"The imperative nature of the proviso has to be judged in the context of Rule 3 of Order 39 of the Code. Before the proviso aforesaid was introduced, Rule 3 said "the court shall in all cases, except where it appears that the object of granting the injunction would be defeated by the delay, before granting an injunction, direct notice of the application for the same to be given to the opposite party". The proviso was introduced to provide a condition, where court proposes to grant an injunction without giving notice of the application to the opposite party being of the opinion that the subject of granting injunction itself shall be defeated by delay. The condition so introduced is that the court "shall record the reasons" why an ex parte order of injunction was being passed in the facts and circumstances of a particular case. In this background, the requirement for recording the reasons for grant of ex parte injunction cannot be held to be a mere formality. This requirement is consistent with the principle, that a party to a suit, who is being restrained from exercising a right which such party claims to exercise either under a statute or under the common law, must be informed why instead of following the requirement of Rule 3 the procedure prescribed under the proviso has been followed. The party which invokes the jurisdiction of the court for grant of an order of restraint against a party, without affording an opportunity to him of being heard, must satisfy the court about the gravity of the situation and court has to consider briefly these factors in the ex parte order. We are quite conscious of the fact that there are other statutes which contain similar provisions requiring the court or the authorities concerned to record reasons before exercising power vested in them. In respect of some of such non-compliance therewith will not vitiate the order so passed. But same cannot be said in respect of the proviso to Rule 3 of Order 39. The Parliament has prescribed a particular procedure for passing of an order of injunction without notice to the other side under exceptional circumstances. Such ex parte orders have far-reaching effect, as such a condition has been imposed that court must record reasons before passing such order. If it is held that the compliance with the proviso aforesaid is optional and not obligatory, then the proviso by the Parliament shall be a futile exercise and that part of Rule 3 will be a surplusage for all practical purposes. Proviso to Rule 3 of Order 39 of the Code, attracts the principle that if a statute requires a thing to be done in a particular manner it should be done in that manner or not all." (Para 34)
36. We are of the opinion that if the court is satisfied of non-compliance by the applicant with the provisions contained in the proviso then on being so satisfied the court which was persuaded to grant an ex parte ad interim injunction confiding in the applicant that having been shown indulgence by the court he would comply with the requirements of the proviso, it would simply vacate the ex parte order of injunction without expressing any opinion of the merits of the case leaving it open to the parties to have a hearing on the grant or otherwise on the order of injunction but bi-part only. The applicant would be told that by this conduct (mis-conduct to be more appropriate) he has deprived the opponent of an opportunity of having an early or urgent hearing on merits and, therefore, the ex parte order of injunction cannot be allowed to operate any more.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for uploading the details.
    Vikas Asawat
    Patent Attorney and Advocate


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