Chandigarh, May 28,2022: While dealing with a petition impugning the Trial Court’s order which rejected the plaintiffs’ application for framing an additional issue after evidence of both the side was closed and the case was at the stage of argument, the Punjab & Haryana High Court has held that it is trite that an additional issue can be framed at any point of time.
However, when seeing the factsheet of the present case in light of the proposition of law, the Bench of Justice Alka Sarin added,
“… however, in the present case firstly, both the parties were fully aware about the controversy involved in the suit and have led evidence to prove their respective pleas. Issue nos.1 and 2 are broad enough to cover the entire controversy in issue [regarding the possession of the plaintiffs on land which was the subject matter of the suit].”
The Court was dealing with a petition filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India impugning the order vide which the application filed by the plaintiff-petitioners for framing an additional issue was dismissed.
Briefly stated, the plaintiffs (petitioners) filed a suit for declaration as well as for permanent injunction and, in the alternative, for possession in the year 2015. On September 19, 2016, the Trial Court framed the issue of whether the plaintiff was entitled to the grant of decree or declaration, and whether the plaintiff was entitled to grant of consequential relief of permanent injunction.
Another issue framed by the Lower Court was whether the plaintiff had no locus standi and cause of action to file and maintain the instant suit and whether the suit of the plaintiff was improperly valued for the purpose of court fee and jurisdiction. And, the last issue was whether the suit of the plaintiff was bad for misjoinder of causes of action and misjoinder and non-joinder of necessary parties. This was followed by the issue of relief.
After the evidence of both the parties was closed, the plaintiffs filed an application for framing of an additional issue at the stage of arguments. The said application was contested by the defendant-respondents and vide the impugned order, the same was dismissed. Hence, the present petition.
The counsel for the plaintiff-petitioners contended that the said issue was a necessary issue in as much as it was required to give clarity to the judgment and decree which was to be passed by the Court below. It was further the contention that an additional issue can be framed at any point in time. It was also the case of the counsel that the evidence qua the said issue was already led and therefore, framing of an additional issue would not amount to delay of proceedings.
After considering the contentions and the factual matrix of the case, the Court perused the order of the Trial Court framing the above-stated issues and from such perusal, the Court observed that besides the issues framed by the Court no other issue was presented or claimed. The Court further observed that after such framing of the issues, the parties led their evidence and it was only at the stage of arguments that the present application for framing of an additional issue was moved.
Further, the Court observed (after considering the impugned order) that the Trial Court held that the first issue was wide enough to cover the entire controversy on all parameters for possession of the land of the plaintiffs on the basis of the sale deed of 1983 and on the basis of cancellation of other sale deeds (of 1989, 2005, 2012 and 2014) as well as mutation and revenue entries. It was the case of the plaintiff-petitioners that the evidence qua the same was already led.
Therefore, against this backdrop, the Court observed that it is trite that an additional issue can be framed at any point in time. However, in the present case, the Court observed that firstly, both the parties were fully aware of the controversy involved in the suit and they led evidence to prove their respective pleas. Also, the Court was of the view that the first two issues were broad enough to cover the entire controversy in issue.
In view of the above, the Court did not find any illegality or infirmity in the impugned order and thus, the present petition was accordingly dismissed.