The Plaint: A Legal Instrument in Civil Litigation
Introduction of The Plaint
The plaint is a pivotal document in civil litigation, serving as the foundation upon which a civil suit is built. It is the first step in instituting a suit and sets the tone for the proceedings that follow. This article aims to elucidate the legal framework surrounding it, as governed by the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (CPC), and to discuss relevant judgments that have contributed to its understanding.
Legal Framework: Provisions in the CPC (The Plaint)
Order 7: The Plaint
Order 7 of the CPC provides a comprehensive framework for it. It outlines the particulars that must be included, such as the name of the court, names of parties, subject matter, and the relief sought. It also specifies the conditions under which a plaint can be rejected, such as when it does not disclose a cause of action, when it is insufficiently stamped, or when it is barred by any law.
Rule 5: Specific Denial
Every allegation of fact in the plaint, if not denied specifically or by necessary implication, shall be taken to be admitted. This is as per Rule 5 of Order 8 in the CPC. This rule imposes a duty on the defendant to deny each and every allegation in it with clarity and precision, failing which they will be deemed to have admitted them.
Section 26: Institution of Suits
Section 26 of the CPC states that every suit shall be instituted by presenting a plaint or in such other manner as may be prescribed. This section lays down the general rule for instituting a suit and indicates that a plaint is an essential document for initiating civil litigation.
Landmark Judgments for The Plaint
Katecha v. Ambalal Kanjbhai Patel, AIR 1972 Guj. 63
In this case, the plaintiff’s application to amend it was rejected. The court held that failure to plead certain matters was a defect in the plaint. It observed that a plaint should contain all material facts on which the plaintiff relies for his claim and that mere general allegations are not sufficient.
Pratap Mistry & Ors. v. Sitaram Mistry, AIR 2010 Pat. 104
This case emphasized the importance of averments in the plaint and how they should align with the prayers. The court applied the provisions of Order 7, Rule 11 to ensure that a frivolous suit is rejected at the outset by rejecting the it as a whole. It held that if none of the reliefs sought in the plaint can be granted by law, then such a suit should be dismissed without wasting judicial time.
It is not merely a procedural requirement but a substantive part of civil litigation. It is governed by various provisions of the CPC, and its importance has been underscored by numerous judgments. Understanding these legal norms is crucial for the effective institution of a civil suit.
- Katecha v. Ambalal Kanjbhai Patel, AIR 1972 Guj. 63
- Pratap Mistry & Ors. v. Sitaram Mistry, AIR 2010 Pat. 104
Provisions of Law
|Sr. No.||Provision / Section of Law||Exact text of the Provision / Section of Law|
|1||Order 7 of the CPC, 1908||“Rules governing the plaint in civil suits”|
|2||Rule 5 of Order 8, CPC, 1908||“Every allegation of fact in the plaint, if not denied specifically or by necessary implication, shall be taken to be admitted.”|
|3||Section 26 of the CPC, 1908||“Every suit shall be instituted by presentation of plaint or in such other manner as may be prescribed.”|
|4||Order 7 Rule 11 of CPC, 1908||“Rejection of plaint.- The plaint shall be rejected in the following cases:- (a) where it does not disclose a cause of action; (b) where relief claimed is undervalued, and plaintiff on being required by Court to correct valuation within time fixed by Court fails to do so; © where relief claimed is properly valued but plaint is written upon paper insufficiently stamped and plaintiff on being required by Court to supply requisite stamp-paper within time fixed by Court fails to do so; (d) where suit appears from statement in plaint to be barred by any law; (e) where it is not filed in duplicate; (f) where plaintiff fails to comply with provisions of Rule 9.”|
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