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Delhi High Court

Arunesh Punetha vs Boston Scientific Corporation ... on 25 August, 2005

It is a settled rule of law that the plea of rejection of plaint is founded on the "PLEA OF DEMURRER". A person raising such plea in law has to take the facts as stated by the opponent as correct. Despite tentative admission of such correctness, the plaint does not disclose a complete or even partial cause of action or the relief claimed is barred by law and thus, the plaint is liable to be rejected within the provisions of Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Plain language of this rule shows that for determination of an application under this provision, the Court has to look into the plaint. This concept has been extended by judicial pronouncement of various courts so as to take within its ambit even the documents filed by the plaintiff Along with plaint or subsequent thereto but prior to the hearing of such application. It would be more so where the documents have been referred to in the plaint itself. But the defense raised by the defendants in his written statement or the documents filed along therewith certainly falls beyond the zone of consideration, where an application for rejection of a plaint is being considered by the Court. The language of the rules does not admit any scope for doubt that the written statement filed by the defendant cannot be referred or relied upon by the applicants for decision of such application. Whether the plaint discloses any cause of action or not, is a question found on the basic cause of action pleaded by the plaintiff in his plaint. It must thus necessarily be construed that language of Rule 1 is circumscribed by the limitation or reading the plaint at best with its supporting documents. A Full Bench of this Court in the case of Harnam Singh v. Surjit Singh, , held as under:-

It is well settled that a cause of action means every fact which, if traversed, would be necessary for the plaintiff to prove in order to support the right to a judgment in his favor. In other words, it is a bundle of facts which taken with the law applicable to him gives the plaintiff a right to relief against the defendant. Negatively it does not comprise the evidence necessary to prove the bundle of facts and equally has no relation whatsoever to the defense, which may be set up by the defendant nor does it depend on the character of the relief prayed for by the plaintiff.

Well accepted canon of civil jurisprudence makes a clear distinction between "plaintiff has no cause of action" and "the plaint does not disclose cause of action". In the earlier part, there is complete absence of a right to sue. While in the latter, the right to sue may exist, but it is not well founded on the basis of the averments made in the plaint. The plaint lacks essential and material particulars which would give an effective cause of action to the plaintiff. Where on fact of it, the plaint does not disclose any cause of action, the plaint may be liable to be rejected, but where the parties are to produce oral and documentary evidence to substantiate and support their cause of action and relief claimed for in the plaint, the Court has to consider the entire material placed on record and the suit would be liable to the decided on merit.

The above distinction was clearly stated by a Full Bench of Allahabad High Court in the case of Jagannath Prasad and Ors. v. Smt. Chandrawati and another, .

n the recent case State of Orissa v. Klockner and Company and Ors, , the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India while approving the following view taken by the learned Single Judge of the High Court dismissed the Special Leave Petition.

"From the discussion in the order it appears that the learned trial judge has not maintained the distinction between the plea that there was no cause of action for the suit and the plea that the plaint does not disclose a cause of action. No specific reason or ground is stated in the order in support of the finding that the plaint is to be rejected under Order 7 Rule 11(a). From the averments in the plaint, it is clear that the plaintiff has pleaded a cause of action for filing the suit seeking the reliefs stated in it. That is not to say that the plaintiff has cause of action to file the suit for the reliefs sought that question is to be determined on the basis of materials (other than the plaint) which may be produced by the parties at appropriate stage in the suit. For the limited purpose of determining the question whether the suit is to be wiped out under Order 7, Rule 11(1) or not the averments in the plaint are only to be looked into. The position noted above is also clear from the petitioner filed by defendant No. 1 under Order 7, Rule 11 in which the thrust of the case pleaded is that on the stipulations in the agreement of 20.4.1982 the plaintiff is not entitled to file a suit seeking any of the reliefs stated in the plaint."

Supreme Court of India

Ramesh B. Desai And Others vs Bipin Vadilal Mehta And Others on 11 July, 2006

The plea raised by the contesting respondents is in fact a plea of demurrer. Demurrer is an act of objecting or taking exception or a protest. It is a pleading by a party to a legal action that assumes the truth of the matter alleged by the opposite party and sets up that it is insufficient in law to sustain his claim or that there is some other defect on the face of the pleadings constituting a legal reason why the opposite party should not be allowed to proceed further. In O.N. Bhatnagar vs. Smt. Rukibai Narsindas and others (1982) 2 SCC 244 (para 9) it was held that the appellant having raised a plea in the nature of demurrer, the question of jurisdiction had to be determined with advertence to the allegations contained in the statement of claim made by respondent 1 under Section 91(1) of the Act and those allegations must be taken to be true. In Roop Lal Sathi vs. Nachhattar Singh Gill (1982) 3 SCC 487 (para 24), it was observed that a preliminary objection that the election petition is not in conformity with Section 83(1)(a) of the Act i.e. it does not contain the concise statement of the material facts on which the petitioner relies, is but a plea in the nature of demurrer and in deciding the question the Court has to assume for this purpose that the averments contained in the election petition are tru