The research article is based on the grounds of rejection of a plaint and related provisions. It also states the procedure and modes of such rejection. Each ground has been specifically explained with certain case laws for a better view and understanding. Order VII Rule 11 has a very important role to play as it states the basis of the power of the courts to reject any plaint.
Even though the word ‘plaint’ does not carry any specified legal definition under the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), it has been mentioned under a different legal definition. Certain particulars are required to be maintained by the plaintiff and if it is not done, they might need to face a setback in the form of rejection of their plaint.
Pleadings have been defined as “a plaint or a written statement” under Order 6 Rule 1 of Civil Procedure Code (CPC). It means plaint is the pleading filed on behalf of the victim, i.e. plaintiff. It’s the primary step to initiate a civil lawsuit in a court of law. The plaintiff, after employing a counsel, files a document within the court that contains the facts and circumstances that gave rise to the cause for filing the suit. This document is named plaint.[i]
Through such a plaint, the grievances of the plaintiff are spelled out along with the possible causes of action which will arise out of this suit. A plaint which is presented before a civil court of appropriate jurisdiction includes everything, also facts to relief that the plaintiff expects to get. There is no specific definition stated in the CPC. However, Order 7 of the CPC is concerned with a plaint and contains the particulars of a plaint in the mentioned rules.
What we are specifically dealing with here are the grounds for rejection of a plaint. Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure gives a detailed elaboration on the rejection of plaints on certain conditions. it’s mentioned certain grounds on the idea of which the plaints are rejected by the courts. one among them isn’t mentioning the explanation for action that the plaintiff seeks against the respondent.
Grounds for Rejection
- If the cause of action is not mentioned by the plaintiff- Order VII Rule 11(a):
A plaint is rejected by the Court if it doesn’t mention an explanation for action or cause of action which is to be taken by the plaintiff against the respondent. It’s perceived as an abuse of the method of the Court. The cause of action has been stated in quite a few places within the Code of Civil Procedure. A civil lawsuit cannot arise if the cause of action has not been stated or mentioned. This, particularly, is important because it helps to reveal the reasons that made the plaintiff take such action. The court must notice only the plaint while rejecting it and nothing else.
It is a group of allegations or facts which give structure for the reasons behind filing a civil lawsuit within the Court. Under Order II Rule 2 of the CPC, it has been mentioned that to institute a civil suit, the cause for action must be mentioned within the plaint. If it’s not been mentioned, then the plaint is going to be rejected by the Court. It is the only reason why a civil lawsuit exists within the first place. [ii]It specifies the wrong or the legal injury which the one, that is instituting a suit, has suffered. It also has the remedy or relief which the plaintiff would ask the Court to grant. The person instituting such a suit also must prove certain elements stated below:
- That there existed an obligation,
- The act or occurrence of a breach of such duty or obligation,
- The explanation for such a breach and
- The damages incurred by the plaintiff.
Hence, if the plaintiff fails to allege the above facts required for furthering the claim in the plaint, then it shall be dismissed by the Court citing the grounds for such dismissal.
Order II Rule 2
The cause of action has been mentioned in Order II Rule 2 of CPC which clearly states that a person cannot be charged for the same cause of action again. The principle behind this rule is that the plaintiff has got to include all the claims directly within the suit which he’s instituting. The test for the Courts is that the cases falling under this particular provision of the Code must answer the question that the claim within the new suit is found upon a special and new cause of action.
In the case of Smt Munilakshmamma v. Smt Venkatamma, the court found out that if the plaint does not disclose the cause of action then the court will have no option but to reject the plaint as stated under Order VII Rule 11(a). Also, prima facie if it is established that the civil lawsuit is barred by limitation then the suit is to reject.
In K. Thakshinamoorthy v. SBI, a revision petition filed against the order of the learned First Additional Subordinate Judge, Madurai was rejected on the ground of absence of a cause of action.
- If the relief claimed by the plaintiff is undervalued- Order VII Rule 11(b):
As per Order VII Rule 11(b), if the quantity of compensation that’s being demanded by the plaintiff is lesser than the requisite, the plaint is often rejected. Such a claim must be corrected within the time which is prescribed by the Court. Such rejection amounts to dismissing the suit. A fresh plaint could also be presented under Order 7 Rule 13 of the Code.
- Relief under CPC:
Relief also has got to be specifically stated within the plaint. Rule 7 of Order VII of the Code of Civil Procedure requires that a plaint must contain the relief that the plaintiff claims. It is often anything i.e. damages, an injunction, declaration, appointment of a receiver, etc. [iii]
If a plaintiff except when allowed by the Court omits any relief to which he’s entitled to sue, he won’t be granted such relief afterward. Sometimes, the Court grants relief on a special ground than stated within the plaint. The relief claimed by the plaintiff or the defendant could also be a general relief or an alternate relief.
In Commercial Aviation & Travel Company & Ors. v. Vimal Pannalal, it had been held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that while evaluating the worth of the relief claim within the plaint, the Court must resort to the materials, evidence present. The respondent-plaintiff claimed relief estimating from 25 lakhs to 30 lakhs which was also disputed because there wasn’t an accurate estimate. However, the Court held that it had been not unreasonable on the part of the respondent-plaintiff to try to so. Hence the appeal before the Supreme Court was dismissed and reasons were mentioned for the dismissal.
- If the paper on which the plaint is written is not stamped properly- Order VII Rule 11(c):
As per Order VII Rule 11(c), a plaint is rejected by the Court if it’s been written on a paper which has not been duly stamped and authorized. The recording of the plaint initiates each suit, one among the prerequisites for the right institution of the suit is that it must be appropriately stamped for the explanations for the court fees under the Court Fee Act, 1870.
If the person isn’t ready to structure for the deficiency, he can apply as a pauper to continue the suit. Order under this rule for rejecting a plaint must only tend after the plaintiff has been given a reasonable time to amend things.
In Midnapur Zamindari Co. v. Secretary of State, the Calcutta High Court had required the plaintiff to provide the amended plaint with the duly stamped paper which he did not do so. It had been held by the Court that further, the plaintiff won’t be allowed to amend the plaint and therefore the plaintiff was directed to pay an additional amount of Court fees. The plaint was also rejected.
- Extension of time:
It is upon the Court’s discretion to increase the time for applications under Order VII Rule 11 clauses (b) to(c) of the Code of Civil Procedure. This has been done to make sure that Court fees are properly paid while filing the suit. Section 148 of the Code of Civil Procedure has given powers to the Court for extending the time to try to an action that is prescribed or allowed by the Code of Civil Procedure.
- If the suit is barred by the law- Order VII Rule 11(d):
As per Order VII Rule 11(d) of the Code, a plaint shall be rejected if the suit is barred by Limitation. If a suit is barred by the Law of Limitation, the plaint of such a suit is often amended at the hearing. The Court must ascertain whether there’s the non-disclosure of the explanation for action or the plaint is barred under any law.
Wherever it is often shown by the plaintiff that the suit was filed within the period of limitation, the provisions of this order won’t be attracted. The computation of the amount of limitation may be a mixed question of law and facts.
For instance – If a suit is brought against the govt without giving the requisite notice to an equivalent under Section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the plaint for such a suit shall be rejected. Section 80 of the Code requires a notice which must be served to the govt or the general public officer before instituting the suit.
- Other Provisions:
Order VII Rule 11(e) requires that a duplicate copy of the plaint alongside the first one should be filed for instituting a suit. The plaint is rejected if the plaintiff fails to do as instructed.
Furthermore, Order VII Rule 11(f) states that if a plaintiff doesn’t follow or abide by Order VII Rule 9 of the Code, the plaint might be rejected. Rule 9 Order VII of the Code clearly states the procedure right after the admission of the plaint. The plaintiff must attach an inventory of documents, a variety of copies as needed by the Court.
- Locus Standi:
For filing a suit, the plaintiff must have a locus standi. He/She must show that some right of the person has been violated. Such violation should also end in some injury caused to the person. If no right has been violated, the person won’t have a locus standi for filing a suit. It’s the power of the party to point out the Court that there was a sufficient explanation for action behind the filing of the suit. The locus standi of the suit completely depends upon whether any grounds were violated which resulted in the rejection of the plaint under Order VII Rule 11.
The decision of the Supreme Court in Salem Advocate Bar Association, Tamil Nadu v. Union of India was relied on where the question was whether, following the Amendment of the CPC in 1999, the Court had inherent powers to increase the time beyond thirty days. The Apex Court had noted that the Section had to be allowed to work entirely since its rigid operation would cause absurdity.
In instances where the act couldn’t be completed within the given time, because of the factors beyond the control of the party, it would be within its power to allow such an extension. The Court also provided a word of caution that an equivalent applied to those circumstances only where the time was granted by the Court for the performance of an act and not where the time was stipulated by the Limitation Act.
Procedure for Rejection of Plaint
Order 7 Rule 12- Procedure on rejecting plaint: where a plaint is rejected the Judge shall record an order thereto effect with reasons for such order.
Two modes of rejecting plaint:
- The Defendant can file an application within the sort of Interlocutory Application in any stage of proceedings.
- Suo moto rejection under Order VII rule 11. Suo moto means own its motion the court can itself try a suit under Order VII rule 11 if the plaint fulfills the conditions above discussed.[iv]
The Code of Civil Procedure provides an in-depth procedure of civil suits. A comprehensive understanding of each provision is a crucial element. Rejection of plaint is completed under certain grounds which are enumerated under Order VII Rule 11. Within the provision, the word ‘shall’ make it mandatory for the court to reject the plaint when any of the points are satisfied. it’s also very essential for the court to record the explanations for any order that it passes to reject the plaint.
Moreover, if a plaint of the plaintiff is rejected by the court, it doesn’t imply that it cannot bring a suit on an equivalent material again. He’s not barred from bringing a subsequent suit on an equivalent subject-matter. The grounds stated above need to be kept in mind if the plaintiff wants to avoid any kind of rejection of the plaint. These provisions are specifically mentioned for a proper and systematic flow of a civil lawsuit in the Court under CPC.
- What is plaint?
- The plaintiff, after employing a counsel, files a document within the court that contains the facts and circumstances that gave rise to the cause for filing the suit. This document is named plaint. Through such a plaint, the grievances of the plaintiff are spelled out along with the possible causes of action which will arise out of this suit.
- What are the grounds of rejection?
- The grounds are:
- If the cause of action is not mentioned by the plaintiff,
- If the relief claimed by the plaintiff is undervalued,
- If the paper on which the plaint is written is not stamped properly,
- If the suit is barred by the statute,
- If the plaintiff fails to file a duplicate copy of the plaint along with the original one,
- If the plaintiff doesn’t follow or abide by Order VII Rule 9 of the Code, and
- If the plaintiff fails to present the locus standi.
- Can a plaint be rejected partially?
- No, a plaint cannot be rejected in part. It can be either rejected as a whole or not at all. The plaint can and must be rejected in the exercise of powers under Order 7 Rule 11 (d) of CPC on account of non-compliance of mandatory requirements while presenting the plaint, ascribable to clauses (a) to (f) of Rule 11 of Order 7 of CPC. In other words, the plaint as presented must proceed as an entire or are often rejected as an entire but not partially.
- What are the modes of rejection of a plaint?
- There are 2 modes:
- The Defendant can file an application within the sort of Interlocutory Application in any stage of proceedings.
- Suo moto rejection under Order VII rule 11.
- There are 2 modes:
- Can Locus Standi be a ground for rejection?
- Yes, locus standi can be a ground for rejection of plaint. The plaintiff must show that some right of the person has been violated. Such violation should also end in some injury caused to the person. If no right has been violated, the person won’t have a locus standi for filing a suit. It’s the power of the party to point out the Court that there was a sufficient explanation for action behind the filing of the suit.
- Smt Munilakshmamma v. Smt Venkatamma [AIR 2017]
- K. Thakshinamoorthy vs State Bank of India [AIR 2001 Mad 167]
- Commercial Aviation & Travel Company & Ors. v. Vimal Pannalal [AIR 1988 SCR 1636]
- Midnapur Zamindari Co. v. Secretary of State [AIR 1938 Cal 804]
- Salem Advocate Bar Association, Tamil Nadu v. Union of India [AIR 2005 SC 3353]
- [i] Naresh Kumar; Plaint order- 7c.p.c., its meaning, essentials and particulars, form etc.; 19th September 2020; https://www.lawnotes4u.in/2018/09/plaint-order-7-cpc-meaning-essentials-particulars-form-etc..html
- [ii] India: Grounds for Rejection of the Plaint: Civil Procedure Code; 19th September 2020; https://www.stalawfirm.com/en/blogs/view/grounds-for-rejection-of-plaint.html
- [iii] Subodh Asthana; Order 7 Rule 11: Rejection of Plaint; 19th September 2020; https://blog.ipleaders.in/order-7-rule-11/#:~:text=A%20plaint%20can%20be%20rejected,the%20Code%20of%20Civil%20Procedure.
- [iv] Plaint under CPC: Particulars, Procedure, Admission & Rejection; 19th September 2020; https://www.lawnn.com/plaint-under-cpc/