Court dismisses Kamal Haasan’s plea against Regent Saimira on Marmayogi
Justice R. Subramanian refused to strike out the pleadings and instead granted 15 days’ time for Regent Saimira and its whole-time director K.S. Srinivasan to file an affidavit of verification, in support of their pleadings
The Madras High Court on Tuesday dismissed an application taken out jointly by actor Kamal Haasan and Raajkamal Films International, to strike out the pleadings made by Regent Saimira Entertainment Limited in response to a civil suit filed by him and his production firm demanding ₹11 crore with 10% interest from 2009 for not honouring financial commitments for production of a movie titled Marmayogi.
Justice R. Subramanian refused to strike out the pleadings and instead granted 15 days’ time for Regent Saimira and its whole-time director K.S. Srinivasan to file an affidavit of verification, in support of their pleadings, as required under the Commercial Courts Act of 2015. The judge agreed with the defendants’ counsel A. Chidambaram that the defect was curable and therefore the entire written statement need not be rejected.
The judge pointed out that though the suit was filed in 2009, the Commercial Division of the High Court took cognisance of it only in September 2020 and granted time to the defendants to file their written statement. Thereafter, the actor and his production firm took out an application to reject the statement on the ground that it was not accompanied by a verifying affidavit as required under the 2015 Act.
Disagreeing with the applicants, the judge said the Commercial Courts Act was introduced with the object of fast-tracking resolution of commercial disputes. Various provisions were incorporated to the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC). Many provisions were also amended and made applicable only to commercial cases/disputes. Powers of the courts were enhanced and, under certain circumstances, curbed too by the enactment.
Rule15A of Order VI of the CPC was amended by the Commercial Courts Act of 2015. Sub Rules (1) and (2) of Rule 15A require the pleadings filed in a commercial dispute to be verified by an affidavit. Sub Rule (5) empowers the court to strike out the pleadings which are not verified by an affidavit. In contrast to Sub-Rule (4), Sub-Rule (5) introduced an element of discretion to the court in as much as it used the verb ‘may’ and not ‘shall.’
“If we are to examine the language used… we have to necessarily come to the conclusion that the same cannot be held to be mandatory,” the judge said and concluded that the law invests a discretion on the court to either reject the pleading or give a chance to the defendant to cure the defect.