Statement Recorded Before a Judicial Officer in a Court can’t be said to have lesser Sanctity than an Instrument of Compromise drawn outside the Court Attested by some Oath Commissioner

Punjab and Haryana High Court noted that the statement recorded before a Judicial Officer in a Court of law cannot be said to have lesser sanctity than an instrument of Compromise drawn outside the Court attested by some Oath Commissioner/Notary Public or any other authority. The observation was made by the Court while dismissing a Revision Petition filed by a tenant, against the order of compromise passed by the Appellate Authority under the Haryana Urban (Control of Rent & Eviction) Act 1973.

Observation made by the Court

  • The Court observed that certain sanctity is attached to a statement made by a party in the Court and it has to be presumed that the same was recorded voluntarily. In case a party is permitted to wriggle out of such statements by conveniently raising some frivolous allegations against his counsel or against opposing counsel, then it will virtually lead to the mockery of the Court.
  • Also, the Bench referred to the Supreme Court’s Verdict consequent to the Gurpreet Singh’s case, where it was held that a judgment or decree passed as a result of consensus arrived at before court can also be also a “judgment on admission”.
  • In Jineshwardas (D) through LRs & Ors. v. Jagrani & Anr., 2003(11) SCC 372, the Apex Court had held that a counsel could compromise a dispute on behalf of his client and that the decree that followed could be the result of a consensus arrived at before the Court and that consensus may not necessarily be a compromise or settlement and adjustment and the same, in a given case, could be a judgement on admission.
  • In yet another case i.e. Pushpa Devi Bhagat (D) through LR v. Rajinder Singh & Ors., 2006(5) SCC 566, where a tenant during the course of ejectment application agreed to vacate the premises by a certain date and the trial Court recorded statements of both the council and thereafter passed a consent decree which was later challenged by the tenant, the Supreme Court held that statements recorded by the Court will amount to a compromise in writing.
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  • The High Court noted that the position of law, as discerned from the above-referred judgments of Hon’ble Supreme Court, leaves no manner of doubt that a statement made by a party or by his counsel towards a compromise which is taken down in writing is as good as a written compromise and would satisfy the requirements of Order 23 Rule 3 CPC, particularly as regards the provision in Rule 3 which was inserted by way of amendment in the year 1976 i.e. “in writing and signed by the parties”.
  • The Court further clarified that perhaps the only exceptional circumstance under which a party may be able to wriggle out from a statement made by him in the Court or by his counsel could be wherein he is able to establish that such statement was made by way of fraud or deception. Even in such a case, he would ideally be required to file a suit for getting such order/judgement/decree set aside on the basis of alleged fraud by specifically pleading as well as by leading cogent and convincing evidence to establish such fraud.

Case Name: Lachhman Dass v. Amarjit Singh Sahni & Anr.

Case No.CR-6310-2019 (O & M)

Coram: Hon’ble Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill

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