Order VII, Rule 11 CPC - Rejection of Plaint
Order VII, Rule 11 CPC - Rejection of Plaint...
Order VII, Rule 11 CPC – Rejection of Plaint Order VII, Rule 11 CPC 11. 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 undervalued, 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 returned 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; (d) where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law: Provided that the time fixed by the Court for the correction of the valuation or supplying of the requisite stamp-paper shall not be extended unless the Court, for reasons to be recorded, is satisfied that the plaintiff was prevented by any cause of an exceptional nature form correcting the valuation or supplying the requisite stamp-paper, as the case may be, within the time fixed by the Court and that refusal to extend such time would cause grave injustice to the plaintiff. Rejection of Plaint and its Grounds It is a first duty of court, before which a suit is instituted to properly examine the plaint, for the purpose of determining, whether it should be returned, or rejected and in order to determine, the question of rejection it is the responsibility the court to take consideration other materials too, order 7 Rule 11 of CPC narrate cases where plaint should be rejected. The following are the relevant Provisions: (i) Order 7 Rule 11 of CPC (ii) Cross Reference; (a) Section 148, 149 of CPC , (b) Order 41 Rule 3 of CPC, (c) Section 4, 6, 12, 28 of Court fees act 1870 , (d) Section 11 of suit valuation act 1877 Modes of Rejecting Plaint A plaint may be rejected either by (i) An application of the defendant (ii) Suo motu by the court if it is liable to be rejected under order 7 Rule 11. Grounds of Rejecting Plaint Following are the grounds of rejecting plaint under order 7 Rule 11 of CPC (i) Plaint not disclosing cause of action It is a duty of plaintiff that he must be described the cause of actions in his plaint. He must be written of plaint, when arises cause of action and where arises cause of actions. The court readily exercise the power to reject a plaint if it does not disclose any cause of action. (ii) Claimed relief is under valued If the court is of opinion that the plaintiff valuation of suit is fictitious, it can require him to make a correct valuation, and shall allow time for correction and can reject a plaint on his failure to do so. (iii) Plaint is insufficiently stamped Every suit is instituted by filing of the plaint one of the requirements for the proper institution of the suit is that the plaint must be properly stamped for the purposes of the court fees under the court Fee Act, 1870. If the plaint is insufficient stamp, the court reject the plaint under order 7 rule 11 of CPC and give a sufficient time to solve the cause of failures. Conclusion I say, I include that for purpose of determination whether plaint discloses a cause of action or not, court has to presence that every-averment made in the plaint is true, power to reject a plaint under order 7 Rule 11 must be exercised only if the court comes to conclusion that even if all the allegations made in the plaint are proved, plaintiff would not be entitled to any relief what so ever.
Powers under Order VII, Rule 11 CPC In order to attract provisions of Order VII, Rule 11, C.P.C. it is mandatory requirement that the contents of the plaint should be presumed to be true and correct. However, the precedent of Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan laid down in the case of S.M. Shaft Muhammad Zaidi through Legal Heirs v. Malik Hassan Ali Khan (Moin) through Legal Heirs reported in 2002 SCMR 338 is often used for rejecting the plaint. It has been observed by the Honourable Supreme Court on Page No.342 (Para No.14) as under: “14. Besides, averments made in the plaint other material available on record which on its own strength is legally sufficient to completely refute the claim of the plaintiff, can also be looked into for the purpose of rejection of the plaint. It does not necessarily mean that the other material shall be taken as conclusive proof of the facts stated therein, but it actually moderates that other material on its own intrinsic value be considered along with the averments made in the plaint.”
The aforesaid observation of the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan too demonstrates that the averments of the plaint cannot be ignored straightaway. In another case law of Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan (Abdul Waris v. Muhammad Yousaf) reported in PLD 1997 Supreme Court 366, it has been observed by their lordships on Page No.371 by relying upon the case Haji Allah Bakhsh v. Abdur Rehman 1995 SCMR 459. Relevant observation is reproduced below: “5. In the present case on the basis of the contents of the plaint, it could not have been held that the plaint does not disclose any cause of action or that relief claimed is undervalued and the plaintiff failed to correct the valuation in spite of the time fixed by the Court or the plaint written upon insufficient stamp- paper and the plaintiff failed to supply the requisite stamp-paper within the time fixed by the Court or that the suit was barred from the statement in the plaint by any law. In this view of the matter, the learned Civil Judge was competent to reject the above application under Order VII, Rule 11, C.P.C: The petitioner is free to raise whatever legal or factual pleas are available to him to show that the suit is not maintainable but the rejection of the plaint could not have been sought on the above grounds which were pressed into service. Leave is refused.”
It has been laid down by the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan in case Jewan and 7 others v. Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, Revenue, Islamabad and 2 others 1994 SCMR 826, at Page No.831, relevant placitum is reproduced as under: “We are, therefore, of the view that in the above- referred cases though the observation was made by the Court that Order VII, Rule 11, C.P.C. is not exhaustive of all situations but it did not lay down the law that the Court while rejecting the plaint under Order VII, Rule 11, C.P.C. could take into consideration the plea of defendant though disputed and denied by the plaintiff.”
In a case law reported in 1991 SCMR 2030, it has been held by the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan that in case of defect, the plaintiff be given opportunity to remove defect.
In another case law reported in 1990 SCMR 1630, it has been held by the honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan that the plaint cannot be rejected on plea of lack of proof, weakness of proof and only averments of plaint be seen. However, the plaint cannot be rejected where the pleas raised in the plaint require evidence such as fraud, misrepresentation, limitation, etc. or any mixed questions of law and facts.
It has been held in case of Muhammad Altaf and others v. Abdur Rehman Khan and others 2001 SCMR 953 (Page No.954), the relevant placitum is reproduced as follows: “4. We would not like to express our views on the merits of the respective case of parties. However, it will suffice to observe that for the purpose of an application under Order VII, Rule 11, C.P.C., the averments contained in a plaint are to be presumed, to be correct. In the case in hand, learned Judges of the Division Bench have rightly pointed out that the allegation of fraud which was also averred in the plaint could not have been resolved without recording evidence.”
It has been observed in case of Tariq Mahmood Chaudhry, Kamboh v. Najam-un-Din 1999 SCMR 2396 (Page No.2397), by the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan, the relevant placitum (A) is reproduced as under: “3. After hearing the learned counsel for the petitioner and the respondent who appeared in person, we are of the view that the learned Civil Judge had already framed issue No.2 to the effect that the suit was within time and besides that the learned Civil Judge also gave finding that the question of limitation in the case was a mixed question of law and fact and thus the issue can only be resolved after recording of evidence touching the controversy.”
When first application under Order VII, Rule 11, CPC. has already been decided on merits, second application under Order VII, Rule 11, C.P.C. is not maintainable. See PLD 2002 Supreme Court 74. After rejection of the plaint, the plaintiff can file fresh suit after removing technical defects; if any. Moreover, the order rejecting a plaint is certainly a decree in terms of the definition of the expression “decree” contained in S.2(2), C.P.C. and could be challenged under section 96, C.P.C. However, if the application for rejection of the plaint is dismissed, the party seeking rejection of the plaint may invoke the jurisdiction of Revisional Court, if the said order falls within the meaning of Section 115, CPC.
Principle enshrined under Order 7 Rule 11 (d) CPC In Kamala and others v. K.T. Eshwara SA and others, (2008) 12 SCC 661 while dealing with the principle engrafted under Order 7 Rule 11 (d) C.P.C., the Court has held that Order 7 Rule 11(d) of the Code has limited application. It must be shown that the suit is barred under any law. Such a conclusion must be drawn from the averments made in the plaint. The Court opined that different clauses in Order 7 Rule 11 should not be mixed up. Whereas in a given case, an application for rejection of the plaint may be filed on more than one ground specified in various sub-clauses thereof, a clear finding to that effect must be arrived at. What would be relevant for invoking clause (d) of Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code are the averments made in the plaint. For that purpose, there cannot be any addition or subtraction. Absence of jurisdiction on the part of a court can be invoked at different stages and under different provisions of the Code. Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code is one, Order 14 Rule 2 is another. For the purpose of invoking Order 7 Rule 11 (d) of the Code, no amount of evidence can be looked into. The issues on merit of the matter which may arise between the parties would not be within the realm of the court at that stage. All issues shall not be the subject-matter of an order under the said provision.
Rejection of Plaint (O.7 R.11 CPC) and disclosure of complete Cause of Action as Contemplated under O. 7 R. 1(e) CPC Order VII, Rule 1 CPC – Particulars to be contained in plaint The plaint shall contain the following particulars:(a) the name of the Court in which the suit is brought; (b) the name, description and place of residence of the plaintiff; (c) the name, description and place of residence of the defendant, so far as they can be ascertained; (d) where the plaintiff or the defendant is a minor or a person of unsound mind, a statement to that effect; (e) the facts constituting the cause of action and when it arose; (f) the facts showing that the Court has jurisdiction; (g) the relief which the plaintiff claims; (h) where the plaintiff has allowed a set-off or relinquished a portion of his claim, the amount so allowed or relinquished; and (i) 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. In order to commence a legal action, the person must have some real grievance against the person, which is the foundation of any legal action, i.e. he must claim that his rights, whether under the law, or under the contract, or under equity, or under the common law or customs, is infringed. In the absence of “required pleadings”, the Plaint may be wanting in “Material proposition of fact” [contemplated under O. 14 R. 1(2)] which the Plaintiff must prove (if disputed by the adversary) in order to claim reliefs; and therefore no issues could be framed if the pleadings are alleged to be wanting in specific details, or alleged to be vague or general in nature. “Material proposition” appears to be such proposition of facts which are peculiar to each kind of Suits, which must be alleged to exist in the Plaint to claim relief. AND, whereas what material facts are to be pleaded, would of course depend upon the nature of relief claimed / prayed for, however, the judicially ascertained definition of “cause of action” would furnish a brilliant answer as what should be pleaded in the Plaint / WS. Let us look at Cause of action. Broadly speaking, Cause of action has two dimensions, one, the accrual of cause of action, i.e. that moment of time when the rights of the Person is infringed and such infringement of right entitles him to move the Court of law, although he may choose not to move the Court immediately; like for example, a Persons sells goods and raise Invoice, dated 01.01.2014, and where the terms of payment agreed was 7 days from the date of Invoice; and therefore, if the payment is not made by 08.01.2014 (7 whole days would be calculated from 02.01.2014 to 08.01.2014), the Seller will have accrual of “Cause of action” on 09.01.2014; And second, cause of action means, the bundle of facts which are necessary (sufficient) to prove by the Plaintiff, to claim a decree from the court; or to say, every fact, which, if traversed, it would be necessary for the Plaintiff to prove, in order to support his right to the judgment of the Court. From the second definition, it also follows that the Plaintiff is not obliged to prove every fact which is being “disputed” by the defendant; and he is required to prove only those facts which are “necessary”, in order to support his right to the judgment of the Court. The expression “material facts” is also known as “Integral facts”. (2007) 6 SCC 769 – Paras 40, 41. Therefore, in the backdrop of reliefs he is claiming, it is for the Plaintiff to ascertain, the facts he has to prove, to authoritatively ask for judgment in his favour; and therefore must clearly set out in his pleadings, those facts. The pleadings, as far as possible, must be supported by documentary evidences [O.7 R.14; O.8 R.1A] available under the law. Therefore, a heavy burden is cast upon the Plaintiff who invokes the jurisdiction of the Court, to make out a clear cut case for the reliefs he claims; and my brief experience shows that a frivolous Suit would always be wanting in “pleading of material facts”, and the Plaint may liable to be rejected as provided under O.7 R.11(a) to (d), as the case may be; and in every Application under O.7 R.11(a), it must be shown that, in the chain of events, Plaintiff is obliged to prove “this fact”
to claim “this Relief”, and the said “this fact” is not “duly” pleaded in the Plaint; and therefore, the Plaint does not disclose cause of action. “Duly” implies a fact which is pleaded and which is supported by applicable / required documentary evidence, upon which the Court can frame an “issue” if the said fact is disputed; And if the Plaintiff makes out a good case, the burden then falls upon the Defendant to “traverse” the material facts; and his failure to adequately “traverse” the material facts, as provided under O.8 Rr.1A, 3, 4, and 5, may entitle the Plaintiff to claim decree based on the mandate of O.12 R.6, r/w O.15, r/w Sections 17 and 58 of Evidence Act. While deciding O.7 R.11 Applications, whilst WS may not be looked into, at the same time, for the purpose of securing that Plaint discloses complete cause of action, it may be presumed that everything stated in the Plaint is denied in the WS, and then, based on this presumption, the Court may see, Principal issues which invariably arises in the nature of Suit which is filed, if can be framed. It may be appreciated that “Issues” can only be framed where the Party adduces sufficient evidence (documentary or otherwise) in support of his plea, in the Plaint. Therefore, in every litigation, the Plaintiff must discern / make himself duly acquainted with, as which set of facts he must prove, so as to authoritatively ask for the relief he is claiming; and more so, it is important for the defendant to discern / make out those “set of facts” which must be pleaded and proved by the Plaintiff, before he can authoritatively ask for judgment in his favour, for, if the Plaintiff fails to plead or prove even one fact among those “set of facts”, may render the case of the Plaintiff “fall”. Plaint founded on pleas unsupported by any material on record, the Plaint does not disclose any cause of action, shall be rejected under O7R11, (2008) 2 Punj LR (D) 41, 48 (Del), (2008) 10 SCC 97, 103; (2005) 10 SCC 760, 778. Object of O. 7, R. 11 CPC Keep out of Courts irresponsible law Suits. Order 10 is a tool in the hands of Court to effectuate object behind O7R11. The Plaint can be rejected even without intervention of the Defendant. The duty is cast upon the Court to perform its obligation. (2004) 3 SCC 137, 147. A plaint can be rejected under O7R11 for institutional defects. AIR 2009 (NOC) 915 (Ker) (DB). The trial Court can exercise powers under O7R11 at any stage of the Suit. (2004) 3 SCC 137; (2003) 1 SCC 557. Where the Suit is not maintainable, the HC can under invoke jurisdiction under Article 227 and reject the Plaint. (2008) 2 MLJ 646, 652 (Mad). Power to reject Plaint can be exercised even after framing of issues and when matter is posted for evidence, (1998) 2 SCC 70, 76, 77; (2004) 3 SCC 137; (2003) 1 SCC 557. O.7 R.11 – Rejection of Plaint – the case must fall within the four corners of the provisions of O.7 R.11 – truthfulness of narration of facts in Plaint / WS are not to be judged at the stage of rejection of Plaint – AIR 2011 (NOC) 260 P& H – Para 24.