Legal Provisions of Order VII of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (C.P.C.), India – Plaint

(2) The name, description and place of residence of the plaintiff;

(3) The name, description and place of residence of the defendant, so far as they can be ascertained;

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(4) Where the plaintiff or the defendant is a minor or a person of unsound mind, a statement to that effect;

(5) The fact constituting the cause of action and when it arose;

(6) The facts showing that the court has jurisdiction;

(7) The relief which the plaintiff claims;

(8) Where the plaintiff has allowed a set-off or relinquished a portion of his claim, the amount so allowed or relinquished; and

(9) A statement of the value of the subject-matter of the suit for the purposes of jurisdiction and of court-fees, so far as the case admits (Order VII, Rule 1).

Additional Particulars in certain plaints:

1. Where the plaintiff seeks the recovery of money the plaint shall state the precise amount claimed; but where the plaintiff sues for Mesne profits, or for an amount which will be found due to him on taking unsettled accounts between him and the defendant, or for movables in the possession of the defendant, or for debts of which the value he cannot, after the exercise of reasonable diligence, estimate, the plaint shall state approximately the amount sued for. (Order VII, Rule 2).

2. Where the subject-matter of the suit is immovable property, the plaint shall contain a description of the property sufficient to identify it, specifying the boundaries or numbers in a record of settlement or survey. (Order VII, Rule 3).

3. Where the plaintiff sues in a representative character the plaint shall show not only that he has an actual existing interest in the subject-matter, but that he has taken the steps necessary to enable him to institute a suit concerning it. (Order VII, Rule 4).

4. The plaint shall show that the defendant is or claims to be interested in the subject-matter, and that he is liable to be called upon to

5. Where the suit is instituted after the expiration of the period of limitation, the plaintiff shall show the ground upon which exemption from such law is claimed. (Order VII, Rule 6).

Relief:

Every plaint shall state specifically the relief which the plaintiff claims either simply or in the alternative, and it shall not be necessary to ask for general or other relief which may always be given as the court may think just to the same extent as if it had been asked for. And the same rule shall apply to any relief claimed by the defendant in his written statement. (Order VII, Rule 7).

In a suit for injunction restraining the defendants from flowing water through a certain plot and the courts below directing restoration of position to pre-existing state of affairs, the mere mistake to specify the number of the plot is not by itself sufficient to disentitle the plaintiffs to relief which they were otherwise entitled to.

Ordinarily, a suit is tried in all its stages on cause of action as it existed on the date of the institution, but the court can look to subsequent events when the relief claimed originally has (1) by reason of subsequent change of circumstances become inappropriate, or (2) where it is necessary to take notice of the changed circumstances to shorten litigation, or (3) to do complete justice between the parties.

Procedure on admitting plaint:

Where the Court orders that the summons be served on the defendants in the manner provided in rule 9 of Order V, it will direct the plaintiff to present as many copies of the plaint on plain paper as there are defendants within seven days from the date of such order along with requisite fee for service of summons on the defendants], (Order VII, Rule 9).

The plaintiff shall within the time fixed by the court pay the requisite fee for the service of summons on the defendants. [Order VII, Rule 9(1-A)].

Return of plaint:

Rule 10 of Order VII provides for the return of plaint in all cases where a court is unable to entertain it for want of jurisdiction— territorial, pecuniary or other causes. If the court is satisfied that it has no jurisdiction to entertain a suit, it is its duty to give effect to that on its own initiative.

To quote rule 10 of Order VII—”Subject to the provisions of Rule 10-A, the plaint shall at any stage of the suit be returned to be presented to the court in which the suit should have been instituted… On returning a plaint the judge shall endorse thereon the date of its presentation and return, the name of the party presenting it, and a brief statement of the reasons for returning it.”

Powers of Appellate or Revisional Court to Return Plaint:

The power of directing the plaint to be returned for presentation before appropriate court can be exercised by the court of appeal or revision also if it finds that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

Explanation to sub-rule (1) of rule 10 clearly provides that a court of appeal or revision may direct, after setting aside the decree passed in a suit, the return of the plaint under the said sub-rule. Obviously, once it is found by the appellate court that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit any further adjudication upon merit of other issues by it would be without jurisdiction and nullity.

Propriety of dismissal of suit:

The Division Bench was totally wrong in passing an order of dismissal of the suit itself when it had arrived at the conclusion that the Bombay Court had no jurisdiction to try the suit. The only course to be adopted in such circumstances was to return the plaint for presentation to the proper court and not to dismiss the suit.

Under rule 10-A, inserted by the Amendment Act, 1976, the court has power to fix a date for the appearance of the parties in the court where the plaint is to be filed after its return.

If the court has no jurisdiction the proper order is to return the plaint and not dismiss it. The plaint may be returned even at the stage of argument. An appellate court can also return the plaint. Where a plaint is returned by the trial court for presentation to the proper court to which the plaint is presented thereafter, it is bound to give credit for the fee levied by the court that returned the plaint.

An order returning a plaint to be presented to the proper court, except where the procedure specified in rule 10-A of Order VII has been followed, is appealable under Order XLIII, Rule 1, but a second appeal does not lie.

Nature of Returned Plaint—A Fresh Plaint

Difference between no cause of action and no plea in plaint:

The applicant pleaded for rejection of on ground that the plaintiff has no cause of action without specifically taking the that plea does not disclose any cause of action. The rejection of plaint by court is not proper where it maintained no distinction between plea that there was no cause of action for suit and plea that plaint does not disclose cause of action.

The plaintiff had pleaded that full agreement including the arbitration clause was null, void and unenforceable. He had not pleaded that the arbitration clause was void. There is difference between two cases. It is not proper to reject the plaint by court without appreciating the distinction between two types of cases.

It is not proper to reject the election petition under Order VII, Rulell on the ground that there are non-triable issues are in the petition while the averments in petition read with Annexures disclose triable issues of corrupt practice.

Where earlier suit under Order VII, Rule 11 has been rejected, the subsequent suit on same cause of action is not barred.

Nature of Returned Plaint—A Fresh Plaint:

When a plaint is returned for presentation to proper court, it is treated to be as fresh plaint. Amendment of such plaint can be made without seeking permission for amendment. Such altered plaint cannot be dismissed on the ground that it contained averments not made in the original plaint.

Rejection of plaint:

The plaint shall be rejected in the following cases:

(a) Where it does not disclose a cause of action;

(b) Where the relief claimed is under-valued, and the plaintiff, on being required by the court to correct the valuation within a time to be fixed by the court, fails to do so;

(c) Where the relief claimed is properly valued, but the plaint is written upon paper insufficiently stamped, and the plaintiff on being required by the court to supply the requisite stamp-paper within a time to be fixed by the court, fails to do so; and

(d) Where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law. (Order VII, Rule 11).

[(e) Where it is not filed in duplicate.]

[(f) Where the plaintiff fails to comply with the provisions of rule 9.] (Order IX Rule 11).

The High Court of Calcutta has added another ground for rejection of /- the plaint, viz., the failure to file as many copies on plain paper of the plaint as there are defendants and draft forms of summons and fees for the service thereof.

The rejection of a plaint on any of the grounds mentioned above shall not of its own force preclude the plaintiff from presenting a fresh plaint in respect of the same cause of action. (Order VII, Rule 13). A fresh suit can be instituted provided it is not barred.

[A document which ought to be produced in Court by the plaintiff when the plaint is presented, or to be entered in the list to be added or annexed to the plaint but is not produced or entered accordingly, shall not, without the leave of the Court, be received in evidence on his behalf at the hearing of the suit], [Order VII Rule 9 (3)]

Non-Disclosure of Cause of Action:

Cause of action can be culled out on a conjoint reading of all paragraphs of plaint.

The Bank in suit for recovery an letters of credit based action on fraud or misrepresentation alleging non-supply of goods by the sellers to the buyers. There was no allegation of presentation of fraudulent or forged documents.

There may be variety of reasons for non-supply of goods and by using words ‘fraud’. Objections under Order VII, Rule 11 cannot be avoided. The plaint was liable to be rejected under Order VII, Rule 11(a) as disclosing no cause of action based on fraud or misrepresentation.

Mere Technicality affecting public Interest-effect:

Where suits are instituted or defended on behalf of public corporations like Bank, public interest should not be allowed to be defeated on a mere technicality.

Procedural defects not going to the root of the matter should not be allowed to defeat a just cause. It is not proper to dismiss the suit filed by bank for recovery of loan on the ground of plaint not being signed and verified by competent person.

The Court seeing the conduct of trial and other evidence and circumstances might come to the conclusion that the Bank had ratified the act of signing of pleading by its officer. As Bank can expressly or impliedly ratify such acts of its officer.

When Application for rejection of Plaint can be moved:

Application under Order VII, Rule 11 for rejection of plaint can be entertained even after issues have been framed in the suit.

Validity of rejection of plaint:

Where main relief in plaint was relating to continuance of tenancy under trust. Other reliefs regarding enquiry into affairs of trust. Rejection of plaint on ground that Civil Court had no jurisdiction was liable to be set aside. Adjudication in suit was directed to be restricted to question of tenancy only. Plaintiff was permitted to make application for relinquishing other reliefs.

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