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Replication in Commercial Dispute Cannot Be Filed Beyond 45 Days of Receipt of Written Statement

This case examines the legal implications of failing to file a replication within the prescribed 45-day limit in commercial disputes, with reference to the Delhi High Court (Original Side) Rules, 2018, and the landmark judgment in Ram Sarup Lugani & Anr. v. Nirmal Lugani & Ors., (2021) 276 DLT 681 (DB). A specific case is analyzed where the Plaintiff sought condonation for a 164-day delay in filing the replication, highlighting the strict adherence to procedural timelines in the commercial court framework.

Factual Background:
The present suit was initiated by the Plaintiff seeking damages and loss of profits from the Defendant due to the Defendant's failure to complete contractual obligations dated October 22, 2020, concerning the supply of Indian Origin Corn to Louis Dreyfus Company Asia Pte. Ltd. Following the filing of the written statement by the Defendant, the Plaintiff delayed filing the replication by 164 days, well beyond the permissible 45-day period.

The Plaintiff filed an application for condonation of this delay, invoking the Court's discretion to allow the late filing of replication. However, the relevant procedural rules and judicial precedents pose significant hurdles to the Plaintiff's request.

In commercial disputes, procedural rules are strictly enforced to ensure expedient resolution of cases. The Delhi High Court (Original Side) Rules, 2018, specifically Rules 4 and 5, set definitive timelines for filing written statements and replications. These rules aim to streamline judicial processes and minimize unnecessary delays.

The judgment in *Ram Sarup Lugani & Anr. v. Nirmal Lugani & Ors.*, (2021) 276 DLT 681 (DB) serves as a pivotal reference point. The Division Bench in this case unequivocally stated that the maximum time limit for filing a replication is 45 days from the receipt of the written statement. This decision underscores the judiciary's commitment to maintaining procedural discipline and upholding the statutory timelines prescribed under the rules.

In the present case, the Plaintiff's application for condonation of a 164-day delay must be examined against this backdrop of stringent procedural adherence. The Plaintiff's justification for the delay, whether based on logistical challenges, oversight, or other reasons, will be scrutinized against the principle of procedural rigor emphasized in the *Ram Sarup Lugani & Anr. v. Nirmal Lugani & Ors.*, (2021) 276 DLT 681 (DB) judgment. Thus Court refused to condone the delay in filing the replication. The refusal to condone substantial delays in filing replications aligns with these principles, reinforcing the importance of adhering to procedural timelines.

Concluding Note:
Court's refusal to grant condonation of delay of more than 45-days in filing the replication after receipt of written statement highlights the judiciary's commitment to procedural efficiency and discipline. The Delhi High Court (Original Side) Rules, 2018, and the authoritative judgment in *Ram Sarup Lugani & Anr. v. Nirmal Lugani & Ors.*, (2021) 276 DLT 681 (DB) establish a clear mandate for strict adherence to procedural timelines in commercial disputes.

Case Citation: Louis Dreyfus Company Pvt. Ltd. Vs Nutralite Agro Products Pvt. Ltd.:10.01.2024:CS Comm 538 of 2020:2024:DHC:238:Delhi High Court:Prathiba M Singh, H.J.

Ideas, thoughts, views, information, discussions and interpretation expressed herein are being shared in the public Interest. Readers' discretion is advised as these are subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception, interpretation and presentation of the fact and issue involved herein.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman, IP Adjutor - Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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