Plaint

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Plaint

On understanding the contents of section 26, the meaning of suit, it will become quite apparent that what a plaint is. A plaint is a document by presentation of which a suit is instituted. Whenever a cause of action arises, the plaintiff having such claim of right must present it to the court. Therefore the plaintiff presents a plaint to the civil court of appropriate jurisdiction. It is basically the pleading of plaintiff and henceforth, the entire case, from facts to relief claimed must be stated in a plaint.

Before understanding the procedure[1] regarding institution of a plaint, it is also desirable to understand what a plaint is and what its particulars[2] are, whether it can be returned or rejected and whether an appeal lies against it? A plaint is usually divided in parts such as a heading, the cause title, the body, the prayer and signature and verification of the plaintiff. The heading signifies the appropriate jurisdiction of the court while cause title is the name, description and capacity of litigating parties. Basically the content of a plaint must be exclusive of everything related to the person aggrieved. Therefore it is very necessary that the content part include the cause of action and it must be established.[3] Though the code nowhere has defined the tern ‘cause of action’, it may be defined as, “bundle of essential facts, which it is necessary for the plaintiff to prove before he can succeed”.[4] The plaint will be deemed to have been rejected having no cause of action, therefore every suit presupposes the existence of cause of action.

The other important part is the relief sort since it will be purposeless for a litigating party to present a plaint while rendering away of the relief sought. In K.C. Skaria v. Govt of state of Kerala[5], the Apex court observed that the plaintiff can increase the claim only by seeking amendment of the plaint and paying additional court-fee on the amended claim.

Regarding the admission of plaint, the plaintiff carries several duties in this sphere. It is required to annex a list of all documents with the plaint. Most importantly, it is the duty of the plaintiff that after submission of the plaint he shall supply the copy of the plaint for defendant. And if there is more than one defendant, a copy for each shall be supplied within the time prescribed by the court. Another duty on behalf of the plaintiff is that he is bound to pay requisite fees of the service of summons for the defendant. It is essential that service of summons has to be conducted within seven days after the institution of plaint.

But can plaint once submitted be returned? It can be returned on various grounds dealt under Rule 10- 10B of Order VII. The court can return it any stage during the suit when the court feels that there is lack of jurisdiction in terms of territorial, pecuniary or in respect of subject matter jurisdiction. The procedure regarding returning of plaint is as follows. The judge returning it shall make an endorsement on it regarding the date of presentation, the date of return, the name of the party presenting it and the reasons for returning it.[6] The return of a plaint is considered an order of the court and an order is appealable. [7]But it is to be understood that all orders are not appealable unless otherwise expressly provided under the code.

The plaint can be rejected on several cases, initial one being very apparent that when a plaint is without cause of action, while another issue talks about the relief claimed when undervalued. Since only the contents of a plaint are looked upon the determination of proper vale of the suit, having inconsiderate valuation in a plaint deems rejection. The technical glitches may also render a plaint returnable. Where the plaint is insufficiently stamped, it condones the court to reconsider their discretion and it comes to the conclusion that the plaintiff has failed to pay requisite fees for summons and copy of plaint. If courts’ discretion allows such person to pay the requisite fee, he may have his plaint treated as presented from the date of actual presentation of plaint. This can also apply with regard to memorandum of appeal. It is also provided that if a person is incapable of paying the required fees, he can present such a plaint under provision of suit as an indigent person.[8]

The provision relating to section 80 of the code states that, a notice shall be provided to the government if a suit is to be filed by the plaintiff against it. Therefore presenting a plaint making the government defendant, without notice, will amount to the return of the plaint. This is one of the circumstances where the suit gets barred by the law itself. Even non compliance with the statutory provision amounts to the rejection of a plaint. There are several grounds under Order VII Rule 11 on which a plaint can be rejection, yet these are not exhaustive since any ground bearing essence of vexatious and meritless will have a disabling effect on such plaint. Therefore, it is much appreciated to have the contents of the plaint appropriately complied with.

The definition of Decree[9] makes it very clear and mandatory that an order rejecting a plaint is a deemed decree. The term deemed is basically provided to create a statutory fiction, since having being called an order will waive off an effect of being appealable unless specifically provided. Henceforth, an order rejecting a plaint is appealable.

While the provisions contained in Order VII are essential and desirable to be complied with, for removing any probability of having the plaint returned or rejected, they are procedural. An automatic rejection of the plaint would not be caused merely due to the non compliance with the provisions of Order VII.

[1] Rule 9 of Order VII.

[2] Rule 1 to 8 of Order VII.

[3] P. Chandrasekharan v. S Kanakarajan AIR 2007 SC 2306

[4] Laxman Prasad v. Prodigy Electronics Ltd., (2008) 1 SCC 618

[5] AIR 2006 SC 811

[6] Order VII Rule 10-A.

[7] Order 43 Rule 1(a).

[8] Order 33

[9] Section 2(2)