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State of M.P & Ors Vs. M/S Ruchi Printers, on 5th May 2016, Supreme Court of India: Case Brief-Read Judgement

Time is Essence of Contract: Supply made after given time, treated by Court as unauthorized and no remedy for loss as such can be granted

Civil Appeal No. 4817 of 2016
Bench: Justice V. Gopal Gowda; Justice Arun Mishra

Case Brief: Here, in this case an appeal is preferred by the State challenging the judgement and order of the High court of Madhya Pradesh. In the facts of the case, the Printing & writing articles department of Madhya Pradesh State, earlier in 2008 invited quotations for printing Bhu- Adhikar and Rin Pustikas. Thereafter, printing order was placed with respondent for supply of 37,07,726 copies of said material, with the condition that at least half of the booklets were to be supplied in the first lot and rest were to be supplies later. Thereafter a modified time limit is fixed by the letter and a date of 31-03-2008 was provided as final date for supply. However, the said modification was challenged in writ petition by respondent and Single judge of High Court accepted the claim. The Single Judge directed state to accept the supply of copies from respondent and make payment as per terms fixed in contract. Moreover, for the another claim, the Single Judge directed petitioner to approach the State Government for deciding the claim for other materials already supplied. However, State Government preferred appeal and as such the High Court made impugned judgement and order in writ appeal and writ petitions. As such, the State feeling aggrieved brought appeal here. The bench found that the respondents were well aware that the time was the essence of the contract and there was requirement of those booklets on time bound basis, and as such the respondents were required to complete the work of printing of booklets at the earliest. And when supply was not made in given time, then through another communication, the time was extended and asked the respondents to supply material before 31-03-2008. Thus, bench found unequivocal terms, in which it was made clear that no booklets were to be received after that date, and if any material published then that was to be treated unauthorized publication. Thus, bench observed that there was no communication brought on record before said date asking the respondents to print and supply the booklets. As such no right could be said to have accrued on the basis of palpably illegal earlier communication. As such, the division bench of the High Court had erred in holding its decision. The bench as such held that the booklets printed after given time limit were without any work order in existence. Thus, the bench held the impugned judgement and order of High Court, as incorrect and set it aside and appeals are allowed.

Read the Judgement: State of  M.P & Ors Vs. M/S Ruchi Printers

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