WHAT IS PLAINT?
Order 6 rule 1 of Civil Procedure code, 1908 defines pleading to be a plaint or a written statement. Pleadings form the basis of proceedings before the court of law.
Section 26 of the Civil Procedure Code states, that every suit that shall be instituted should present the plaint first or any other documents as may be prescribed.
The Civil Procedure Code does not define plaint rather it has laid down certain rules in detail about plaint in order 7 containing 18 rules. A short brief definition of plaint can be given as:
- Plaint is a legal document.
- It contains the written statement of the plaintiff’s claim.
- It is also termed as a statement of claim.
- It is the first and the primary step towards the institution of a suit.
- Plaint has to be a complete document of all the facts of the case, the claim and the relief that the plaintiff wants from the court.
WHAT ARE THE RULES OF FILING A PLAINT?
We can know about the basic rules of filing a plaint by knowing the rules on how to file a pleading and a plaint:
Basic rules of pleadings:
- Pleadings should state facts and not law.
- Facts should be material facts.
- The pleading should not state the evidence.
- The facts should be stated in brief.
1. Pleadings should state facts and not law
“Plead facts not law.”
- The pleading should only contain facts and not law.
- The facts are to be mentioned on which the claim of the pleaders depend.
- Question of fact and intention shall be pleaded.
- Waiver and negligence shall be pleaded.
- A point of law which is required to be helping the facts should be pleaded.
2. Facts should be material facts
“All the primary facts which must be proved at the trial by a party to establish the existence of a cause of an action or his defense are material facts.”
- Pleading should only contain material facts.
- Material facts are all the primary facts of the plaintiff’s cause of action or the defendant’s defense.
3. The pleading should not state the evidence
“It is an elementary rule in the pleading that, when a state of facts is relied on, it is enough to allege it simply, without setting out the subordinate facts which are the means of producing it, or the evidence sustaining the allegation.”
- The pleading should contain all the facts and not the evidence proving them.
- Pleadings should only contain “facta probanda” meaning, facts that required to be proved and not “facta probantia” meaning, facts by means of which they are to be proved.
- Fact in issue is to be mentioned in the pleadings.
4. The facts should be stated in brief.
“If Care is taken in syntactic process, pleadings can be saved from tautology”
- Material facts should b stated “precisely”, “succinctly “and “Coherently”
- Pleading should be brief but not vague as it gives the defendant a great disadvantage.
- One should not exclude necessary facts while drafting pleadings.
- Every pleading should be divided in paragraphs and sub paragraphs.
- Each allegation shall be contained in a separate paragraph.
- Dates and numbers should be mentioned in figures as well as words.
- Facts must be stated with certainty.
- All the material facts should be stated as a summary.
- Immaterial and unnecessary details shall be omitted.
THE PROVISIONS IN CIVIL PROCEDURE CODE THAT STATES THE ABOVE MENTIONED:
Order 6 Rule 2 of Civil Procedure Code states that the pleading must only state material facts and not evidence supporting the facts:
- All the material facts that are present in the case shall be mentioned in the pleading for the claim or defense of the party but the evidence proving the material facts should not be mentioned.
- Every pleadingas per the necessity and clarity be divided into paragraphs, numbered consecutively, all the allegations for the convenience an understanding be divided in to separate paragraphs.
- The dates, sums and numbers shall be expressed in a pleading in figures as well as in words.
Order 6 rule 4 states that, the particulars other than in Rule 2, should be mentioned in the pleading wherever it is necessary. Like in cases where the pleading relies upon the party’s misrepresentation, fraud, breach of start trust, willful default or undue influence, it should be mentioned in the pleading.
Order 6 rule 14 States that the pleading should be signed by the party or pleader who in the absence of the party unable of signing the pleading, shall sign the same or sue or defend on his behalf.
PARTICULARS TO BE CONTAINED IN A PLAINT:
Order 7 (rule 1 to 8) of the civil procedure code lays down certain particulars that should be added or omitted for the constitution of a valid plaint:
- The name of the court where the suit is brought should be stated.
- The name, description and place of residence of the plaintiff should be mentioned.
- The name, description and place of residence of the defendant should be mentioned.
- If the plaintiff is a minor or a person of unsound mind, the same should be mentioned.
- The time and the cause of action should be mentioned.
- The jurisdiction of the court shall be mentioned.
- The relief that the plaintiff is claiming should be mentioned.
- If the plaintiff has relinquished a portion of his claim, the same should be mentioned.
- The value of subject matter for the purpose of jurisdiction and court fees should be mentioned.
- In case of suit for recovery of money, the claimed amount should be mentioned.
- In case the case is about movable property or the debts of the defendant and the amount could not be determined, then an approximate amount should be mentioned.
In case of suit for immovable property, a description of the property sufficient to identify it should be mentioned.
The interest and liability of the defendant in the subject matter of the suit should be mentioned.
If the suit is time-barred, the ground on the exemption of the law of limitation is claimed should be mentioned.
GROUNDS FOR REJECTION OF PLAINT?
Grounds for rejection of plaint are:
1. If a plaint does not disclose the cause of action:
- If the plaint filled by the plaintiff, doesn’t specify any cause of action, the court will reject such a plaint, by only looking at the plaint.
- The court can reject plaint on this basis only if it reaches to the conclusion that after all the allegation are set out, the plaintiff is not entitled to any relief.
- A plaint shall be rejected wholly if the case of action is not defined, it cannot be rejected partly.
2. LOCUS STANDI:
- The basis of filing a suit is locus standi.
- The term means that one needs to show that some legitimate right of the individual has been damaged, and such infringement has brought some damages to the individual.
- If there is no locus standi then no suit can be brought, as it provides the grounds which were abused which lead to the institution of suit.
3. Relief claim is undervalued:
When the relief claimed is undervalued and the valuation of the claim is not corrected or extended by the court, the plaint will be rejected.
4. Insufficiently stamped:
- Sometimes the relief claimed by the plaintiff is written on paper insufficiently stamped and the plaintiff on failing to pay the court fees within the time fixed or extended by the court, the plaint can be rejected.
- If the plaintiff cannot pay the court fees, he may apply to continue the suit as an indigent person.
5. Suit barred by law:
- If the statements in the plaint show that the suit is barred by any law, the court will reject the plaint.
- If plaint itself shows that the claim is barred by limitation, the plaint can be rejected.
6. Plaint not in duplicate:
According to order 4 rule 1, every suit shall be instituted by presenting a plaint in duplicate. If such a requirement is not fulfilled then the plaint can be rejected.
7. Non compliance with statutory provisions:
If the plaintiff fails to go according to the provision, the plaint shall be rejected.
8. Other grounds of rejection:
- If a plaint is signed by a person not authorized by the plaintiff and it is not corrected within the stipulated time, such a plaint can be rejected.
- Not showing the clear right to sue, a vague plaint can also be rejected.
MODE OF REJECTION OF PLAINT:
The plaint can be rejected by two methods:
- The plaintiff can file an application at any stage of the suit for rejection of the plaint.
- The judge can at any stage of the suit reject the plaint if it doesn’t fulfill the requirements and comes under nay rule of Order 7 of Code of Civil Procedure.
ON WHAT GROUNDS A PLAINT CAN BE RETURENED?
A plaint can be returned by the following provisions:
Order 7 rule 10(1): RETURN OF PLAINT
This order states that, a plaint can be returned by any court if the suit that is presented cannot be tried in the filed court, due to lack of jurisdiction. Thus the court may return the plaint for it to be presented in the proper court.
*Jurisdiction is of three types; Territorial jurisdiction, pecuniary jurisdiction and subject-matter jurisdiction.*
Order 7 rule 10(2): PROCEDURE TO RETURN PLAINT
While returning the plaint, the court shall mention the following particulars in the plaint:
- Date of return of Plaint.
- Date of Presentation of Plaint.
- Name of the party representing the Plaint.
- Statement stating the reason for return of the Plaint.
Order 7 rule 10(A): POWER OF THE COURT TO FIX THE DATE OF APPEARANCE IN THE REQUIRED COURT:
If the defendant has appeared in the court and the court is returning the plaint, the court shall intimate its opinion to the plaintiff. When such an intimation is given to plaintiff, the plaintiff shall with an application ask the court to:
- Mention the court in which the suit shall be presented after the return.
- Praying the court to fix a date for the appearance of parties in the said court
- Requesting the notice of the date to be given to the defendant also.
After receiving the application the court shall:
- Fix a date for the appearance of the parties in the court where the plaint is supposed to be presented.
- Give the plaintiff and the defendant notice to appear in the court.
When the notice of the date is given:
- It is not necessary for the court in which the plaint is returned to issue summon to the defendant.
- The notice given by the previous court mention date and appearance shall be taken as summon.
- After the application is given by the plaintiff on return of suit, the plaintiff cannot then appeal against the court on returning the plaint.
REMEDIES ON RETURN OF PLAINT:
- Plaintiff may file a new suit.
- Plaintiff may amend the plaint.
- Plaintiff may file an appeal. (Only first appeal can be filled against the order of return.)
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RETURN AND REJACTION OF PLAINT?
|Rejection of plaint||Return of plaint|
||2. Return of plaint is always Suo Moto.|
||3. In return of plaint second appeal is not allowed.|
||4. Order returning plaint is not a decree.|
||5. In returning plaint revision can be filled.|
||6. It is exhausted in nature.|
This article has been written by Prajakta Panda, 3rd Year BALLB at University Law College, Bhubaneswar, Odisha.