This article is written by Sai Charan Reddy Mogiligari, a student of ICFAI Law School, Hyderabad.
The famous Latin legal maxim, ubi jus ibi idem remedium which means where there is a right there is a remedy, speaks of remedial measure available in the code of law. Such remedial measures are enforced in the Court of Law by institution of the suit. The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 is the procedural and adjective law which is followed by the courts in all the civil matters.
Section 26 and Section 35-35B of Code of Civil Procedure, 1098 deals with Order I (Parties to the Suit), Order II (Framing of the Suit), Order IV (Institution of Suit), Order VI (Pleadings), and Order VII (Plaint) provides the procedural principles and rules related to institution of suits.
A plaint is a legal document in which a plaintiff appeals to the court to grant him a remedy for any legal injury caused to him is called plaint and the suitor or the person who files the suit is known as plaintiff. Plaint is also called ‘suit’. The judicial process starts with the institution of a suit by presenting a plaint. The relevant provision is in Order IV, Rule 1, which reads:
- Suit to be commenced by plaint- (1) Every suit shall be instituted by presenting a plaint in duplicate to the court or such officer as it appoints in this behalf.
- Every plaint shall comply with the rules contained in Orders VI and VII, so far as they are applicable.
- The plaint shall no be deemed to be duly instituted unless it complies with the requirements specified in sub-rules (1) and (2).
Order VI is a general chapter regarding pleadings. And Order VII specially deals with plaints.
Framing of a Suit
Every suit (plaint) should be framed in such a way that will enable the court to find out the dispute in question and to decide the same judiciously to prevent further litigation. Order II, Rule 1 CPC reads as under-
“Frame of suit: Every suit shall as far as practicable be framed so as to afford ground for final decision upon the subjects in dispute and to prevent further litigation concerning them.”
The object of the suit is not only to resolve the disputes for the present but to settle the issue once for all. To achieve this goal, the suit should be perfect and complete. It cannot be a piecemeal affair. Total relief should be claimed in the suit. We cannot relinquish a part of claim and reserve your right to file a subsequent suit for relinquished part of claim some time later as per our convenience. Rule 2 of Order II made it clear in the following words:
Suit to include the whole claim: (1) Every suit shall include the whole of the claim which the plaintiff is entitled to make in respect of the cause of action; but a plaintiff may relinquish any portion of the claim in order to bring the suit within the jurisdiction of any court.
(2) Relinquishment of part of claim: Where a plaintiff omits to sue in respect of, or intentionally relinquishes, any portion of his claim, he shall not afterwards sue in respect of the portion so omitted or relinquished.
(3) Omission to sue for one or several reliefs: A person entitled to more than one relief in respect of the same cause of action may sue for all or any of such reliefs, but if he omits, except with the leave of the court, to sue all such reliefs, he shall not afterwards sue for any relief so omitted.
Explanation- For the purpose of this rule, an obligation and a collateral security for its performance and successive claims arising under the same obligation shall be deemed respectively to constitute but one cause of action.
Structure of Plaint
For a plaint, there are no strict rules or any proforma. But the Civil Procedure Code provides certain guidelines regarding the particulars to be contained in the plaint. We find those guidelines in Rule 1, Order VII of Civil Procedure Code which runs as follows-
Particulars to be contained in Plaint: The plaint shall contain the following particulars:
- The name of the court in which the suit is brought;
- The name, description and place of residence of the plaintiff;
- The name, description and place of residence of the defendants, so far as they can be ascertained; and
- Where the plaintiff or the defendant is a minor or a person of unsound mind, a statement to that effect;
- The facts constituting the cause of action and when it arose;
- The facts showing that the court has jurisdiction;
- The relief which the plaintiff claims;
- Where the plaintiff has allowed a set-off or relinquished a portion of his claim, the amount so allowed or relinquished;
A statement of the value of the subject-matter or the suit for the purposes of jurisdiction and the court fees so far as the case admits.
The above guidelines apply to all suits filed under Civil Procedure Code. On the basis of above guidelines, the structure of the plaint can be broadly divided into four parts. They are:
- Descriptive particulars of the parties.
- Body of the plaint.
- Relief portion.
Heading: Name of the Court, Suit No., and names of the parties to the suit constitute Heading part of the plaint. Normally we call it as cause title. Say for example:
IN THE COURT OF CITY CIVIL JUNIOR JUDGE, HYDERABAD
O.S No. _______/2020
Ram Chauhan ….Plaintiff
Ravi Varma ….. Defendant
If the plaintiff or the defendants are more than one, they have to be numbered consecutively. Where the plaintiff or defendant are minors represented by a guardian or next friend, the same has to be mentioned.
After the cause title, the provision of law under which the suit is filed to be stated. For example-
Plaint filed on behalf of plaintiff under Section 26 of Order II, Rule 1 CPC
If the suit is filed under any special provision of law or under any Special Act, the same has to be stated.
Descriptive particulars: After mentioning the provision of law under which the suit is filed, the descriptive particulars of the plaintiff and then the descriptive particulars of the defendant should be given. These descriptive particulars are very much important because they are necessary for service of suit notices etc. and also to incorporate them in the Register of Civil Suits. Rule II, Order 4 provides that Courts shall cause the particulars of the every suit to be entered in a book to be kept for the purpose and called the register of civil suits. Such entries shall be numbered every year according to the order in which the plaints are admitted.
Another object of descriptive particulars is to secure the correct identity of parties to the suit. The courts are very serious about the descriptive particulars like full name of the party, father/husband’s name, age, occupation, residential address with full postal particulars constitute descriptive particulars. These descriptive particulars are applicable in case of individuals.
In the suits by or against the Central Government, State Government, Public Undertakings, Corporations, Banks, Cooperative Societies, etc. these rules do not apply. For example, when a suit is filed against State Government, naturally suit notices will be served on the concerned District Collector. In such a case it is sufficient to give the description of the defendant as under-
“The defendant is the State Government of Telangana represented by the District Collector, Rangareddy, having his office at Hyderabad.”
The same will apply to cooperate bodies etc.
Body of Plaint: The body of the plaint starts next to descriptive particulars and it is the most vital part of the plaint. The entire facts of the case, the cause of action, valuation of the suit, both the pecuniary and territorial jurisdiction constitute the body of the plaint. The entire suit claim should be incorporated in the body of the plaint. The material facts on which the plaintiff relies his claimis the body of the plaint. The body of plaint shall be divided into paragraphs numbered consecutively making the plaint easy to read and understand. Dates, sums and numbers shall be expressed in figures as well as in words.
Naturally, the body of the plaint starts with a preamble like words such as, “The facts of the case or suit claim or particulars of the claim.” Then follows introductory sentences leading gradually into the material facts of the case. The introductory sentences correspond to the nature of relationship between the parties or the nature of the suit property and other general things prior to the starting of the litigation.
Causes of Dispute: After the introductory sentences, the transactions or the events took place which leads to the dispute has to be narrated in a chronological order by incorporating them in distinct and separate paragraphs. Care should be taken in drafting this part of the body of the plaint, keeping in mind the fact that the facts must be explained in a very concise form. A proper distinction should be made between material facts and immaterial facts. At the same time the starting point of cause of action (date), condition precedents like statutory obligations such as notice under Section 80, CPC, or Section 106 of T.P Act should be averred in the body of the plaint specifically and clearly. When a suit is filed under representative capacity, the same should be mentioned.
Cause of action and territorial jurisdiction: After mentioning the cause of dispute, the cause of action and territorial jurisdiction should have be stated in a separate paragraph. So in the cause of action para, it must be specifically stated that the said court has jurisdiction for the reason/reasons mentioned. For example, in a money suit, the cause of action should be mentioned as follows-
“The cause of action for the suit arose on______(date) when the defendant borrowed Rs. ____ and executed suit pronote and subsequently till this day when the defendant fail to repay the same at Hyderabad where the pronote was executed and parties reside within the jurisdiction of Hon’ble Court.”
Valuation: Valuation is required for payment of courtfee and deciding the pecuniary jurisdiction of the court. Court fee differs from suit to suit. In money suit fee has to be paid on the total claim. In partition suit a fixed court dee is payable. Ina suits relating to immovable property court fee is payable over a portion of the market value of the property.
After the cause of action para, valuation para should be incorporated. It should be stated there the value of the suit for purpose of pecuniary jurisdiction. If the plaintiff intentionally relinquished any portion of the claim for any reason, the same should be stated clearly.
Relief claimed or prayer portion of the plaint: The relief is the concluding part of the plaint. The relief should be very very precise and corresponds to the averments made in the plaint. The court cannot grant any relief greater than the relief asked for. But at the same time the court can grant only a portion for the relief asked for. Not only that, the court is also at liberty to grant some other relief which is not asked for if the court feels that such relief is not inconsistent with the pleadings and is not completely inconsistent with the relief in the interest of justice. Whatever may be the option of the court, but the plaintiff should state clearly the relief that he seeks in the relief or prayer portion of the plaint. Normally, costs of the suit, interest are also to be included in the relief.
After prayer, the plaintiff should sign or put his thumb impression on the right side of the plaint and Advocate (if the plaintiff engages one) should sign on the left side of the plaint. Then follows verification.
List of documents: Though the Order 1, Rule 7 does not mention about the list of documents, it is also very important and forms part of the plaint. Because the plaint will be returned, or even rejected if the material and relevant documents are not filed along with the plaint.
Procedural documents: These are some more documents which must be filed along with the plaint. They are-
- Valuation Certificate.
- Valuation Slip.
- Account Copies.
RETURN OR REJECTION OF PLAINT: When the plaint is in order and in complete form, complying with all relevant provisions, then only it will be taken into the file of court. When it is defective in one way or another, it will be returned for compliance with objections. Naturally, the Courts are granting some time to comply with objections. When the objections are duly compiled with to the satisfaction of the Courts, it will be registered as suit and orders will be issued for service of summons to the defendant. If the objections are not compiled with, the plaint will be rejected.
When the defendant appears before the Court on the date so fixed, he will be asked to file his objections to the plaint, if he so desires, in the form of written statement. Written statement is also a part of pleading.
Kalepur Pala Subrahmanyam v. Tiguti Venkata. AIR 1971 AP 313– The Court held that a plaint cannot be rejected in part and retained part under this rule. If it is rejected, it should be rejected as a whole.
Bibhas Mohan Mukherjee v. Hari Charan Banerjee AIR 1961 Cal 491- In this case, the Court held that an order rejecting a plaint is a decree and hence is appealable.
Kuldeep Singh Pathania vs. Bikram Singh Jarya- The Court held that, for an application under Order VII, Rule 11 (a) of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the only pleadings of the plaintiff can be looked into neither the written statements nor averments can be considered for the enquiry.
Sopan Sukhdeo Sable V. Asstt. Charity Commr. AIR 2004 SC 569 (572)- In this case the Court held that where the suit filed earlier was at a stage of recording of the evidence and an application under Order VII, Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure Code was rejected.
- The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
- Limitation Act, 1963
- Takwani C K, CIVIL PROCEDURE CODE with LIMITATION ACT 1963 (Seventh edition. Eastern Book Combany, 2013)
- P. Satyanarayana, CIVIL COURT FILING, PRACTICE & PROCEDURE (Second edition. Asia Law House, 2020)
- Sen Gupta SP, HANDBOOK OF THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 1908 (Kamal Law House, 2007)
- P Ramanatha Aiyar, Concise Law Dictionary (Seventh edition. LexisNexis 2020)
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