1-B. Appearance before the conciliatory forum or authority:
Where a suit is referred under Rule 1-A, the parties shall appear before such forum or authority for conciliation of the suit. (Order X, Rule 1-B).
1-C. Appearance before the Court consequent to the failure of efforts of conciliation:
Where a suit is referred under Rule 1-A and the presiding officer of conciliation forum or authority is satisfied that it would not be proper in the interest of justice to proceed with the matter further, then, it shall refer the matter again to the Court and direct the parties to appear before the Court on the date fixed by it.] (Order X, Rule 1-C).
At the first hearing of the suit, the court—(a) shall, with a view to elucidating matters in controversy in the suit, examine orally such of the parties to the suit appearing in person or present in court, as it deems fit; and (b) may orally examine any person, able to answer any material- question relating to the suit, by whom any party appearing in person or present in court or his pleader is accompanied.
At any subsequent hearing, the court may orally examine any party appearing in person or present in court, or any person, able to answer any material question relating to the suit, by whom such party or his pleader is accompanied. The court may, if it thinks fit, put in the course of an examination under this rule questions suggested by either party. (Order X, Rule 2).
The substance of the examination is reduced to writing by the judge and forms part of the record. [Order X, Rule 3].
Consequence of refusal of inability of pleader to answer:
(1) Where the pleader of any party who appears by a pleader or any such person accompanying a pleader as is referred to in Rule 2, refuses or is unable to answer any material question relating to the suit which the Court is of opinion that the party whom he represents ought to answer, and is likely to be able to answer if interrogated in person, the Court [may postpone the hearing of the suit to a day not later than seven days from the date of first hearing] and direct that such party shall appear in person on such day.
(2) If such party fails without lawful excuse to appear in person on the day so appointed, the Court may pronounce judgment against him, or make such order in relation to the suit as it thinks fit.
The object of the above rules is to clear up the obscure points by getting information and to get admission to narrow down the issues. It is only when the party’s pleader refuses or shows inability to answer material questions that the court can insist on personal attendance of a party by assigning reasons under Rule 4 above. A court cannot insist on personal attendance of a party who is a purdanashin lady.