(Civil Revision Petition filed under Section 115 of the Civil Procedure Code against the fair and final order dated 13.10.2015 passed in I.A.No.2227 of 2015 in G.O.P.No.80 of 2013 on the file of the Principal District Judge, Cuddalore.)
Challenging the fair and decreetal order passed in I.A.No.2227 of 2015 in G.O.P.No.80 of 2013 on the file of the Principal District Court, Cuddalore, the petitioner, who is the father-in-law of the respondent, has filed the above Civil Revision Petition.
2. The respondent filed the Original Petition in G.O.P.No.80 of 2013 to restore the custody of minor Nikhil to her.
3. The petitioner - grandfather of the minor filed his counter and was contesting the Original Petition. Subsequently, when the matter was posted for trial after the closure of the petitioner's side evidence, the case was adjourned to 12.11.2014, 24.11.2014, 12.12.2014, 08.01.2015, 13.01.2015, 02.02.2015, 10.02.2015 and on 24.02.2015 for the respondent's side evidence. Since the petitioner - grandfather failed to appear before the trial Court, he was set exparte on 24.02.2015 and the case was posted to 07.03.2015 for orders and the orders were pronounced on the same date. Before the pronouncement of the orders, the petitioner - grandfather of the minor filed a petition in I.A.No.2227 of 2015 on 05.03.2015 to set aside the exparte order dated 24.02.2015. The application filed by the petitioner was opposed by the respondent. In the affidavit filed in support of the petition, the petitioner has stated that he was working as a Driver in the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation and when the Original Petition was posted on 24.02.2015, due to festival season, he could not obtain leave from the authorities and attend the Court proceedings.
4. Though the application was filed on 05.03.2015, even prior to the pronouncement of the orders in G.O.P.No.80 of 2013, the trial Court had passed the orders on merits taking into consideration the oral and documentary evidence let in by the respondent alone. The trial Court should have given an opportunity to the petitioner to put forth his case and could have passed an order after hearing him. Since the petition has been filed by the petitioner to set aside the exparte order even before the pronouncement of the orders in G.O.P.No.80 of 2013, in the interest of justice, the trial Court should have allowed the application. But the trial Court had dismissed the application in I.A.No.2227 of 2015 and declined to set aside the exparte order dated 24.02.2015.
5. In these circumstances, I am of the considered view that the petitioner should be given an opportunity to contest the matter on merits. Accordingly, the fair and decreetal order passed in I.A.No.2227 of 2015 are set aside. The Principal District Judge, Cuddalore is directed to give an opportunity to the petitioner to let in oral evidence and thereafter, decide the matter, afresh, after hearing both the sides, within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.
6. With these observations, the Civil Revision Petition is allowed. No costs. Consequently, the connected miscellaneous petition is closed.