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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 true. Reiterating the same principle in Abdulla Bin Ali and others vs. Galappa and others (1985) 2 SCC 54, it was said that there is no denying the fact that the allegations made in plaint decide the forum and the jurisdiction does not depend upon the defence taken by the defendants in the written statement. In Exphar Sa and another vs. Eupharma Laboratories Ltd. and another (2004) 3 SCC 688 (para 9), it was ruled that where an objection to jurisdiction is raised by way of demurrer and not at the trial, the objection must proceed on the basis that the facts as pleaded by the initiator of the impugned proceedings are true. The submission in order to succeed must show that granted those facts the court does not have jurisdiction as a matter of law. In this case the decision of the High Court on the point of the jurisdiction was set aside as the High Court had examined the written statement filed by the respondents in which it was claimed that the goods were not at all sold within the territorial jurisdiction of Delhi High Court and also that the respondent No. 2 did not carry out business within the jurisdiction of the said High Court. Following the same principle in Indian Mineral & Chemicals Co. and others vs. Deutsche Bank (2004) 12 SCC 376 (paras 10 and 11), it was observed that the assertions in a plaint must be assumed to be true for the purpose of determining whether leave is liable to be revoked on the point of demurrer.


The principle underlying Clause (d) of Order VII Rule 11 is no different. We will refer here to a recent decision of this Court rendered in Popat and Kotecha Property vs. State Bank of India Staff Association (2005) 7 SCC 510 where it was held as under in para 10 of the report: -


"10. Clause (d) of Order 7 Rule 7 speaks of suit, as appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law. Disputed questions cannot be decided at the time of considering an application filed under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC. Clause (d) of Rule 11 of Order 7 applies in those cases only where the statement made by the plaintiff in the plaint, without any doubt or dispute shows that the suit is barred by any law in force."



Bombay High Court

Clarinda D'Souza vs Mccann Erickson India Limited on 20 November, 2002

However, a plea that the plaint discloses no cause of action is essentially one on a demurrer. Such a plea ought to be accepted only when the Court comes to a conclusion that even if the averments in the Plaint are proved, the plaintiff would not be entitled to the reliefs claimed. The Court must therefore presume that the facts stated in the plaint are correct. In view of the drastic consequences of upholding such a plea, it is axiomatic that it ought to be accepted only in clear cases. Moreover, while considering an application for striking out the name of a defendant on the ground that Plaint discloses no cause of action against him, the Court ought to act with great circumspection and even greater restraint.



Supreme Court of India

Bhagwati Prasad vs Shri Chandramaul on 19 October, 1965


Once it is held that the plaintiff is entitled to eject the defendant, it follows that the from the date of the decree granting the relief of ejectment to the plaintiff, the defendant who remains in possession of the property despite the decree, must pay mesne profits or damages for use and occupation of the said property until it is delivered to the plaintiff. A decree for ejectment in such a case must be accompanied by a direction for payment of the future mesne profits or damages.



"In Trojan & Co. -vs- Nagappa Chettiar (AIR 1953 SC235) this Court considered the issue as to whether relief not asked for by a party could be granted and that too without having proper pleadings. The Court held as under: (AIR p.240, para 22) "22..... It is well settled that the decision of a case cannot be based on grounds outside the pleadings of the parties and it is the case pleaded that has to be found. Without an amendment of the plaint, the court was not entitled to grant the relief not asked for and no prayer was ever made to amend the plaint so as to incorporate it it an alternative case." A similar view has been reiterated by this Court in Krishna Priya Ganguly v. University of Lucknow and Om Prakash v. Ram Kumar observing that a party cannot be granted a relief which is not claimed.

Dealing with the same issue, this Court in Bharat Amratlal Kothari v. Dosukhan Samadkhan Sindhi held: (SCC p.246, para 30) "30. .... Though the court has very wide discretion in granting relief, the court, however, cannot, ignoring and keeping aside the norms and principles governing grant of relief, grant a relief not even prayed for by the petitioner."

In Fertilizer Corpn. Of India Ltd. v. Sarat Chandra Rath this Court held that "the High Court ought not to have granted reliefs to the respondents which they had not even prayed for".

In view of the above, law on the issue can be summarised that the court cannot grant a relief which has not been specifically payed by the parties. The instant case requires to be examined in the light of the aforesaid certain legal propositions."




Whether suit for declaration is maintainable when consequential relief is not claimed?

IN THE HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY AT GOA

FIRST APPEAL NO.25 OF 2006


The Goa State Co-operative Bank Ltd., V/s Smt. Olinda Fernandes,


The defendant no.5 had taken a categorical plea that the plaintiff

was informed by letter dated 3/10/1998 that the sale was confirmed by

sale certificate dated 20/07/1998. It was also stated by the General

Manger of defendant no.5 in his evidence that the suit property was

auctioned on 16/06/1998 and the sale was confirmed on 20/07/1998 by

order of the Recovery Officer, the defendant no.4; that the plaintiff nor

other alleged heirs had shown any interest in the suit property; that the

plaintiff or other alleged heirs never objected to the attachment, auction

or confirmation of sale. It was further deposed by him that there was no

prayer in the suit for declaring the sale certificate as null and void.

Inspite of that, the plaintiff took no steps either to seek a declaration that

the said sale certificate was null and void or for that matter for

cancellation of its registration or for the recovery of the suit property

from the possession of defendant no.12. Shri Ramani, learned Counsel

appearing on behalf of the plaintiff submits that this Court can mould

the reliefs and grant the same to the plaintiff by declaring the sale

certificate as null and void and directing cancellation of its registration.

I am unable to accede to the submission made by Shri Ramani. A

similar issue was considered by the Division Bench of this Court in the

case of Mr. Guna Krishna Gauns & Anr. V/s. Mr. Antonio Joao

Braganza @ Antush Braganza & Ors. (2009 (2) Bom.C.R. 665)

(unreported judgment dated 15/12/2008 in First Appeal No.189/2005),

to which I was a party and it was stated therein that the object of the

proviso to Section 34 of the Specific Relief Act, was to prevent

multiplicity of suits by preventing a person from getting a mere

declaration of right in one suit and then seeking the remedy without

which the declaration would be useless and which could not have been

obtained in the same suit, in another suit. A claim is said to be

consequential only when it cannot be claimed in the absence of a claim

for declaration. Otherwise it would lead to multiplicity of litigation for

the declaratory suit will have to be followed up with an ejectment action

for recovery of possession. It is well settled law that a suit for mere

declaration when consequential relief which is available and which is

not sought for, is not maintainable. Reference was made to the case of

Ram Saran & Anr. V/s. Smt. Ganga Devi (AIR 1972 SC 2685) wherein

the Apex Court had stated that where the defendant is in possession of

the some of the suit properties and the plaintiff in his suit does not seek

possession of those properties but merely claims a declaration that he is

the owner of the suit properties, the suit is not maintainable. That was

the case where Gangadevi was in possession of suit property and the

plaintiffs had not sought the possession of the suit property and had

merely claimed declaration that they were the owners of the suit

property and it is in that context that the Apex Court had held that the

suit was not maintainable. Reference was also made to the case of

Vinay Krishna V/s. Keshav Chandra & Anr. (AIR 1993 SC 957)

wherein it was held that the failure to ask for relief of possession

undoubtedly bars the discretion of the Court in granting the decree for

declaration. The Apex Court had further observed that merely because

the plaint says in the prayer, such other relief be granted to the plaintiff,

it does not mean that without a specific plea for possession and

disregarding the bar under Section 42 (now Section 34, proviso) of the

said Act, the suit could be decreed even with reference to the portions of

which the plaintiff was in possession. In the absence of specific prayer

for the recovery of possession of the property sold by the said sale deeds

to the defendants, the suit for declaratory relief by the plaintiffs was

clearly not maintainable and in this view of the matter also, the

dismissal of the suit for main relief cannot be faulted.



Filing of multiple applications for the same relief suppressing pendency of previous applications amounts to gross abuse of process of the court:

IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

Date of decision: 16th June, 2020

CS(COMM) 201/2017


SHOGUN ORGANICS LTD Vs GAUR HARI GUCHHAIT & ORS

When a specific question was asked to ld. counsel for the Plaintiff as to why multiple applications are being filed in respect of the same subject matter and why no disclosure was made while the matter is being continuously heard, no answer is forthcoming.

11. At the commencement of the hearing today, ld. counsel for the Plaintiff, after having been apprised of these facts sought to withdraw the application and the Court was initially inclined to permit withdrawal of the application.

12. However, Mr. Tiwari, ld. counsel appearing for the Defendant No.2 submits that the same prayer i.e., that the stock ought to be sold to the Plaintiff, has now been made before the ld. Division Bench in an appeal filed against order dated 11th June, 2020, which is listed today. The factum of filing of the appeal and the same relief having been sought was again not disclosed during today’s hearing by Ld. Counsel for the Plaintiff.

13. The filing of repeated applications and non-disclosure of the same to the Court hearing the matter, and the concealment of the correct facts from the Court clearly gives an impression to this Court that the Plaintiff’s conduct is not bonafide. In any event, the relief sought is not liable to be granted. The Defendant no.2 has been permitted by this court vide order dated 11th June 2020 to sell the stock on the same terms as was stipulated in the judgement/decree dated 14th August 2019. In fact, further safeguards such as disclosure of batch numbers have also been incorporated in the said order to ensure that only the unsold stock is sold and no fresh stock is manufactured or sold by Defendant no.2. At the time when the order was pronounced on 11th June 2020, a similar oral request that the stock should be sold to the Plaintiff or the customers to whom sales are made ought to be disclosed, was rejected by this Court. The Defendant No.2 cannot be forced to sell its products to the Plaintiff alone and not to its own customers. The relief sought is thus totally misplaced. The present application is a gross abuse of process.



This principle was recognized by the Supreme Court in Pasupuleti Venkateswarlu vs The Motor & General Traders AIR 1975 SC 1409. It was observed therein that though the right to relief must be judged to exist as on the date a suitor institutes the legal proceeding, the principle that procedure is the handmaid and not the mistress of the judicial process is also to be noted. Justice VR Krishna Iyer observed:


If a fact, arising after the lis has come to court and has a fundamental impact on the right to relief for the manner of moulding it, is brought diligently to the notice of the tribunal, it cannot blink at it or be blind to events which stultify or render inept the decrotal remedy. Equity justifies bending the rules of procedure, where no specific provision or fairplay is violated, with a view to promote substantial justice--subject, of course, to the absence of other disentitling (actors or just circumstances. Nor can we contemplate any limitation on this power to take note of updated facts to confine it to the trial Court. If the litigation pends, the power exists, absent other special circumstances repelling resort to that course in law or justice. Rulings on this point are legion, even as situations for applications of this equitable rule are myraid. We affirm the proposition that for making the right or remedy claimed by the party just and meaningful as also legally and factually in accord with the current realities, the court can, and in many cases must, take cautious cognisance of events and developments subsequent to the institution of the proceeding provided the rules of fairness to both sides are scrupulously obeyed.


In Sheshambal (dead) through LRs vs. Chelur Corporation Chelur Building (2010) 3 SCC 470, the court laid down conditions in which the relief can be moulded:


(i) that the relief, as claimed originally has, by reason of subsequent events, become inappropriate or cannot be granted;

(ii) that taking note of such subsequent event or changed circumstances would shorten litigation and enable complete justice being done to the parties; and

(iii) that such subsequent event is brought to the notice of the court promptly and in accordance with the rules of procedural law so that the opposite party is not taken by surprise."


Supreme Court of India

Samir Narain Bhojwani vs M/S Aurora Properties And ... on 21 August, 2018

That apart, the learned Single Judge as well as the Division Bench have committed fundamental error in applying the principle of moulding of relief which could at best be resorted to at the time of consideration of final relief in the main suit and not at an interlocutory stage. The nature of order passed against the appellant is undeniably a mandatory order at an interlocutory stage. There is marked distinction between moulding of relief and granting mandatory relief at an interlocutory stage. As regards the latter, that can be granted only to restore the status quo and not to establish a new set of things differing from the state which existed at the date when the suit was instituted. This Court in Dorab Cawasji Warden Versus Coomi Sorab Warden and Others,2 has had occasion to consider the circumstances warranting grant of interlocutory mandatory injunction. In paragraphs 16 & 17, after analysing the legal precedents on the point as noticed in paragraphs 11-15, the Court went on to observe as follows:


“16. The relief of interlocutory mandatory injunctions are thus granted generally to preserve or restore the status quo of the last non-contested status which preceded the pending controversy until the final hearing when full relief may be granted or to compel the undoing of those acts that have been illegally done or the restoration of that which was wrongfully taken from the party complaining. But since the granting of such an injunction to a party who fails or would fail to establish his right at the trial may cause great injustice or irreparable harm to the party against whom it was granted or alternatively not granting of it to a party who succeeds or would succeed may equally cause great injustice or irreparable harm, courts have evolved certain guidelines. Generally stated these guidelines are:

(1) The plaintiff has a strong case for trial. That is, it shall be of a higher standard than a prima facie case that is normally required for a prohibitory injunction.

It is necessary to prevent irreparable or serious injury which normally cannot be compensated in terms of money.


(3) The balance of convenience is in favour of the one seeking such relief.


17. Being essentially an equitable relief the grant or refusal of an interlocutory mandatory injunction shall ultimately rest in the sound judicial discretion of the court to be exercised in the light of the facts and circumstances in each case. Though the above guidelines are neither exhaustive nor complete or absolute rules, and there may be exceptional circumstances needing action, applying them as prerequisite for the grant or refusal of such injunctions would be a sound exercise of a judicial discretion.” (emphasis supplied)


25. The Court, amongst others, rested its exposition on the dictum in Halsbury‟s Laws of England, 4th edition, Volume 24, paragraph 948, which reads thus:


“A mandatory injunction can be granted on an interlocutory application as well as at the hearing, but, in the absence of special circumstances, it will not normally be granted. However, if the case is clear and one which the court thinks ought to be decided at once, or if the act done is a simple and summary one which can be easily remedied, or if the defendant attempts to steal a march on the plaintiff, such as where, on receipt of notice that an injunction is about to be applied for, the defendant hurries on the work in respect of which complaint is made so that when he receives notice of an interim injunction it is completed, a mandatory injunction will be granted on an interlocutory application.”

26. The principle expounded in this decision has been consistently followed by this Court. It is well established that an interim mandatory injunction is not a remedy that is easily granted. It is an order that is passed only in circumstances which are clear and the prima facie material clearly justify a finding that the status quo has been altered by one of the parties to the litigation and the interests of justice demanded that the status quo ante be restored by way of an interim mandatory injunction. (See Metro Marins and Another Versus Bonus Watch Co. (P) Ltd. and Others3, Kishore Kumar Khaitan and Another Versus Praveen Kumar Singh4 and Purshottam Vishandas Raheja and Another Versus Shrichand Vishandas Raheja (Dead) through LRS.

and Others5)

27. In the factual scenario in which mandatory order has been passed against the appellant, in our opinion, is in excess of jurisdiction. Such a drastic order at an interlocutory stage ought to be eschewed. It cannot be countenanced.


Supreme Court of India

Gaiv Dinshaw Irani & Ors vs Tehmtan Irani & Ors on 25 April, 2014


Considering the aforementioned changed circumstances, the High Court taking note of the subsequent events moulded the relief in the appeal under Section 96 of the Code of Civil Procedure and the same has been challenged by the appellants before us. In ordinary course of litigation, the rights of parties are crystallized on the date the suit is instituted and only the same set of facts must be considered. However, in the interest of justice, a court including a court of appeal under Section 96 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not precluded from taking note of developments subsequent to the commencement of the litigation, when such events have a direct bearing on the relief claimed by a party or one the entire purpose of the suit the Courts taking note of the same should mould the relief accordingly. This rule is one of ancient vintage adopted by the Supreme Court of America in Patterson vs. State of Alabama[11] followed in Lachmeshwar Prasad Shukul vs Keshwar Lal Choudhury[12]. The aforementioned cases were recognized by this Court in Pasupuleti Venkateswarlu vs. The Motor and General Traders[13] wherein he stated that:


“…If a fact, arising after the lis has come to court and has a fundamental impact It is basic to our processual jurisprudence that the right to relief must be judged to exist as on the date a suitor institutes the legal proceeding. Equally clear is the principle that procedure is the handmaid and not the mistress of the judicial process. If a fact, arising after the lis has come to court and has a fundamental impact on the right to relief or the manner of moulding it, is brought diligently to the notice of the tribunal, it cannot blink at it or be blind to events which stultify or render inept the decretal remedy. Equity justifies bending the rules of procedure, where no specific provision or fairplay is violated, with a view to promote substantial justice — subject, of course, to the absence of other disentitling factors or just circumstances. Nor can we contemplate any limitation on this power to take note of updated facts to confine it to the trial court. If the litigation pends, the power exists, absent other special circumstances repelling resort to that course in law or justice. Rulings on this point are legion, even as situations for applications of this equitable rule are myriad. We affirm the proposition that for making the right or remedy claimed by the party just and meaningful as also legally and factually in accord with the current realities, the Court can, and in many cases must, take cautious cognisance of events and developments subsequent to the institution of the proceeding provided the rules of fairness to both sides are scrupulously obeyed.” The abovementioned principle has been recognized in a catena of decisions. This Court by placing reliance on the Pasupuleti Venkateswarlu Case (supra), held in Ramesh Kumar vs. Kesho Ram[14] that:


“6. The normal rule is that in any litigation the rights and obligations of the parties are adjudicated upon as they obtain at the commencement of the lis. But this is subject to an exception. Wherever subsequent events of fact or law which have a material bearing on the entitlement of the parties to relief or on aspects which bear on the moulding of the relief occur, the court is not precluded from taking a ‘cautious cognizance’ of the subsequent changes of fact and law to mould the relief.” This was further followed in Lekh Raj vs. Muni Lal & Ors.[15]. This Court in Sheshambal (dead) through LRs vs. Chelur Corporation Chelur Building & Ors.[16] while discussing the issue of taking cognizance of subsequent events held that:

“19. To the same effect is the decision of this Court in Om Prakash Gupta case where the Court declared that although the ordinary rule of civil law is that the rights of the parties stand crystallised on the date of the institution of the suit yet the court has power to mould the relief in case the following three conditions are satisfied: (SCC p. 263, para 11) “11. … (i) that the relief, as claimed originally has, by reason of subsequent events, become inappropriate or cannot be granted;

(ii) that taking note of such subsequent event or changed circumstances would shorten litigation and enable complete justice being done to the parties; and

(iii) that such subsequent event is brought to the notice of the court promptly and in accordance with the rules of procedural law so that the opposite party is not taken by surprise.” This Court in Rajesh D. Darbar and Ors. vs. Narasinghro Krishnaji Kulkarni and Ors.[17], a matter regarding the elections in a registered society, held that the courts can mould relief accordingly taking note of subsequent events. Furthermore, in Beg Raj Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors.[18] while deciding on the issue of renewal of a mining lease held that:

“….A petitioner, though entitled to relief in law, may yet be denied relief in equity because of subsequent or intervening events i.e. the events between the commencement of litigation and the date of decision. The relief to which the petitioner is held entitled may have been rendered redundant by lapse of time or may have been rendered incapable of being granted by change in law. There may be other circumstances which render it inequitable to grant the petitioner any relief over the respondents because of the balance tilting against the petitioner on weighing inequities pitted against equities on the date of judgment.” Even this Court while exercising its powers under Article 136 can take note of subsequent events (See: Bihar State Financial Corporation & Ors. vs. Chemicot India (P) Ltd. & Ors.[19], Parents Association of Students vs. M.A. Khan & Anr.[20], State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. vs. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.[21] )

35. Thus, when the relief otherwise awardable on the date of commencement of the suit would become inappropriate in view of the changed circumstances, the courts may mould the relief in accordance with the changed circumstances for shortening the litigation or to do complete justice.


RETURN OF PLAINT :

Amar Chand Inani v. Union of India (1973) 1 SCC 115 : AIR 1973 SC 313. In that case, the plaintiff a practising advocate, sustained serious injuries in a railway accident while travelling by a train. He instituted a suit for damages in Karnal Court which was then transferred to Panipat Court. The plaint was, however, returned for presentation to proper Court since Panipat Court had no jurisdiction to hear the suit. In pursuance of the said order, the plaint was presented to Ambala Court. At the time of presentation of the plaint to Ambala Court, an objection was raised that the suit was barred by limitation. The question before the Court was as to whether the suit was filed within the period of limitation. This Court held that since the Karnal Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit, it was not a proper Court. The submission that the suit instituted in Ambala Court after the plaint was returned from Karnal Court should be deemed to be a continuation of the suit filed in Karnal Court had been negatived.


Considering the provisions of the Limitation Act and Order 7, Rule 10 of the Code, the Court stated:


" Section 14 of the Act only provided for the exclusion of the time during which the plaintiff has been prosecuting with due diligence another civil proceeding against the defendant, where the proceeding is founded upon the same cause of action and is prosecuted in good faith in a Court which, from defect of jurisdiction, or other cause of a like nature, is unable to entertain it Even if the plaintiff was entitled to get an exclusion of the time during which he was prosecuting the suit in the Karnal and Panipat, the suit would not be within time as the filing of the suit in the Kamal Court was beyond the period of limitation.

It was, however, argued by Counsel for the appellant that the suit instituted in the Trial Court by the presentation of the plaint after it was returned for presentation to the proper Court was a continuation of the suit filed in the Karnal Court and, therefore, the suit filed in Karnal Court must be deemed to have been filed in the trial Court. We think there is no substance in the argument, for, when the plaint was returned for presentation to the proper Court and was presented in that Court, the suit can be deemed to be instituted in the proper Court only when the plaint was presented in that Court. In other words, the suit instituted in the Trial Court by the presentation of the plaint returned by the Panipat Court was not a continuation of the suit filed in the Karnal Court".


Supreme Court of India

M/S Exl Careers vs Frankfinn Aviation Services Pvt. ... on 5 August, 2020

It is no more res­integra that in a dispute between parties where two or more courts may have jurisdiction, it is always open for them by agreement to confer exclusive jurisdiction by consent on one of the two courts. Clause 16B of the agreement extracted above leaves us in no doubt that the parties clearly indicated that it was only the court at Delhi which shall have exclusive jurisdiction with regard to any dispute concerning the franchise agreement and no other court would have jurisdiction over the same. In that view of the matter, the presentation of the plaint at Gurgaon was certainly not before a court having jurisdiction in the matter. This Court considering a similar clause restricting jurisdiction by consent in Swastik Gases (P) Ltd. vs. Indian Oil Corpn. Ltd., (2013) 9 SCC 32, observed as follows: “32. ….It is a fact that whilst providing for jurisdiction clause in the agreement the words like “alone”, “only”, “exclusive” or “exclusive jurisdiction” have not been used but this, in our view, is not decisive and does not make any material difference. The intention of the parties—by having Clause 18 in the agreement —is clear and unambiguous that the courts at Kolkata shall have jurisdiction which means that the courts at Kolkata alone shall have jurisdiction. It is so because for construction of jurisdiction clause, like Clause 18 in the agreement, the maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius comes into play as there is nothing to indicate to the contrary. This legal maxim means that expression of one is the exclusion of another. By making a provision that the agreement is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts at Kolkata, the parties have impliedly excluded the jurisdiction of other courts. Where the contract specifies the jurisdiction of the courts at a particular place and such courts have jurisdiction to deal with the matter, we think that an inference may be drawn that parties intended to exclude all other courts. A clause like this is not hit by Section 23 of the Contract Act at all. Such clause is neither forbidden by law nor it is against the public policy. It does not offend Section 28 of the Contract Act in any manner.”


14. This was reiterated in State of West Bengal vs. Associated Contractors, (2015) 1 SCC 32, holding that presentation of the plaint in a court contrary to the exclusion clause could not be said to be proper presentation before the court having jurisdiction in the matter.


15. That brings us to the order of the reference to be answered by us. In Joginder Tuli (supra) the original court lost jurisdiction by reason of the amendment of the plaint. The Trial Court directed it to be returned for presentation before the District Court. This Court observed as follows:


“5. … Normally, when the plaint is directed to be returned for presentation to the proper court perhaps it has to start from the beginning but in this case, since the evidence was already adduced by the parties, the matter was tried accordingly. The High Court had directed to proceed from that stage at which the suit stood transferred. We find no illegality in the order passed by the High Court warranting interference.” To our mind, the observations are very clear that the suit has to proceed afresh before the proper court. The directions came to be made more in the peculiar facts of the case in exercise of the discretionary jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution. We may also notice that it does not take into consideration any earlier judgments including Amar Chand Inani vs. The Union of India (supra) by a Bench of three Honourable Judges. There is no discussion of the law either and therefore it has no precedential value as laying down any law.

16. Modern Construction (supra), referred to the consistent position in law by reference to Ramdutt Ramkissen Dass vs. E.D. Sassoon & Co., Amar Chand Inani vs. The Union of India, Hanamanthappa vs. Chandrashekharappa, (1997) 9 SCC 688, Harshad Chimanlal Modi (II) (supra) and after also noticing Joginder Tuli (supra), arrived at the conclusion as follows:


“17. Thus, in view of the above, the law on the issue can be summarised to the effect that if the court where the suit is instituted, is of the view that it has no jurisdiction, the plaint is to be returned in view of the provisions of Order 7 Rule 10 CPC and the plaintiff can present it before the court having competent jurisdiction. In such a factual matrix, the plaintiff is entitled to exclude the period during which he prosecuted the case before the court having no jurisdiction in view of the provisions of Section 14 of the Limitation Act, and may also seek adjustment of court fee paid in that court.

However, after presentation before the court of competent jurisdiction, the plaint is to be considered as a fresh plaint and the trial is to be conducted de novo even if it stood concluded before the court having no competence to try the same.” Joginder Tuli (supra) was also noticed in Harshad Chimanlal Modi (II) (supra) but distinguished on its own facts.


17. We find no contradiction in the law as laid down in Modern Construction (supra) pronounced after consideration of the law and precedents requiring reconsideration in view of any conflict with Joginder Tuli (supra). Modern Construction (supra) lays down the correct law. We answer the reference accordingly.

8. We regret our inability to concur with Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. (supra), relied upon by Mr. Patwalia, that in pursuance of the amendment dated 01­.02­.1977 by reason of insertion of Rule 10A to Order VII, it cannot be said that under all circumstances the return of a plaint for presentation before the appropriate court shall be considered as a fresh filing, distinguishing it from Amar Chand Inani (supra). The attention of the Court does not appear to have been invited to Modern Construction (supra) and the plethora of precedents post the amendment.


19. Order VII Rule 10-A, as the notes on clauses, indicates was inserted by the Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1976 (with effect from 01.02.1977) for the reason:


“New Rule 10-A is being inserted to obviate the necessity of serving summonses on the defendants where the return of plaint is made after the appearance of the defendant in the suit.” Also, under sub-rule (3) all that the Court returning the plaint can do, notwithstanding that it has no jurisdiction to try the suit is:

“10A. Power of Court to fix a date of appearance in the Court where plaint is to be filed after its return. xxx xxx xxx (3) Where an application is made by the plaintiff under sub- rule (2), the Court shall, before returning the plaint and notwithstanding that the order for return of plaint was made by it on the ground that it has no jurisdiction to try the suit, —

(a) fix a date for the appearance of the parties in the Court in which the plaint is proposed to be presented, and

(b) give to the plaintiff and to the defendant notice of such date for appearance.”

20. The language of Order VII Rule 10-A is in marked contrast to the language of Section 24(2) and Section 25(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure which read as under:

“24. General power of transfer and withdrawal.

xxx xxx xxx (2) Where any suit or proceeding has been transferred or withdrawn under sub-section (1), the Court which is thereafter to try or dispose of such suit or proceeding may, subject to any special directions in the case of an order of transfer, either retry it or proceed from the point at which it was transferred or withdrawn.

25. Power of Supreme Court to transfer suits, etc. xxx xxx xxx (3) The Court to which such suit, appeal or other proceeding is transferred shall, subject to any special directions in the order of transfer, either retry it or proceed from the stage at which it was transferred to it.”

21. The statutory scheme now becomes clear. In cases dealing with transfer of proceedings from a Court having jurisdiction to another Court, the discretion vested in the Court by Sections 24(2) and 25(3) either to retry the proceedings or proceed from the point at which such proceeding was transferred or withdrawn, is in marked contrast to the scheme under Order VII Rule 10 read with Rule 10-A where no such discretion is given and the proceeding has to commence de novo.


22. For all these reasons, we hold that Oriental Insurance Co. (supra) does not lay down the correct law and over­rule the same.


REJECTION OF THE PLAINT :


It is well settled that the defence taken by the respondents/defendants in their written statement filed in opposition to the plaint cannot be taken into consideration while examining the merits of the application moved for seeking rejection of the plaint under Order VII Rule 11 CPC as that would fly in the face of the settled position of law that to arrive at a conclusion as to whether a plaint is devoid of any cause of action, the court is required to restrict itself to examining the plaint as a whole on a premise that what has been stated therein, is correct and additionally, by referring to the documents filed by the plaintiff in support of the averments made in the plaint. [Ref.: Inspiration Clothes & U. vs. Collby International Ltd., 88 (2000) DLT 769; Tilak Raj Bhagat vs. Ranjit Kaur, 159 (2009) DLT 470; Bhau Ram vs. Janak Singh, V (2012) SLT 536; Tilak Raj Bhagat vs. Ranjit Kaur, 2012(5) AD (Del) 186; Indian City Properties Ltd. vs. Vimla Singh] 198 (2013) DLT 432; and Razia Begum vs. DDA & Ors. 215 (2014) DLT 290 (DB)].


In Popat and Kotecha Property vs. State Bank of India Staff Association reported as (2005) 7 SCC 510, the Supreme Court had cited its earlier decisions in T. Arivandandam vs. T.V. Satyapal reported as (1977) 4 SCC 467, Roop Lal Sathi vs. Nachhattar Singh Gill reported as (1982) 3 SCC 487, I.T.C. Ltd. vs. Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal reported as (1998) 2 SCC 70, Raptakos Brett & Co. Ltd. vs. Ganesh Property reported as (1998) 7 SCC 184 and Saleem Bhai vs. State of Maharashtra reported as (2003) 1 SCC 557 and held thus:-


"16. The trial court must remember that if on a meaningful and not formal reading of the plaint it is manifestly vexatious and meritless in the sense of not disclosing a clear right to sue, it should exercise the power under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code taking care to see that the ground mentioned therein is fulfilled. If clever drafting has created the illusion of a cause of action, it has to be nipped in the bud at the first hearing by examining the party searchingly under Order 10 of the Code. (See T. Arivandandam v. T.V. Satyapal (1977 (4) SCC 467).

XXX XXX XXX

19. There cannot be any compartmentalization, dissection, segregation and inversions of the language of various paragraphs in the plaint. If such a course is adopted it would run counter to the cardinal canon of interpretation according to which a pleading has to be read as a whole to ascertain its true import. It is not permissible to cull out a sentence or a passage and to read it out of the context in isolation. Although it is the substance and not merely the form that has to be looked into, the pleading has to be construed as it stands without addition or subtraction of words or change of its apparent grammatical sense. The intention of the party concerned is to be gathered primarily from the tenor and terms of his pleadings taken as a whole. At the same time it should be borne in mind that no pedantic approach should be adopted to defeat justice on hair- splitting technicalities."



In Mayar (H.K.) Ltd. and Ors. vs. Owners and Parties Vessel M.V. Fortune Express and Ors. reported as (2006) 3 SCC 100, the Supreme Court had the occasion to examine the spectrum of an application moved under Order VII Rule 11 CPC for rejection of the plaint and had held thus:-


"11. Under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code, the Court has jurisdiction to reject the plaint where it does not disclose a cause of action, where the relief claimed is undervalued and the valuation is not corrected within a time as fixed by the Court, where insufficient court fee is paid and the additional court fee is not supplied within the period given by the Court, and where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law. Rejection of the plaint in exercise of the powers under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code would be on consideration of the principles laid down by this Court. In T. Arivandandam vs. T.V. Satyapal and Another, (1977) 4 SCC 467, this Court has held that if on a meaningful, not formal, reading of the plaint it is manifestly vexatious, and meritless, in the sense of not disclosing a clear right to sue, the Court should exercise its power under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code taking care to see that the ground mentioned therein is fulfilled. In Roop Lal Sethi vs. Nachhattar Singh Gill, (1982) 3 SCC 487, this Court has held that where the plaint discloses no cause of action, it is obligatory upon the court to reject the plaint as a whole under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code, but the rule does not justify the rejection of any particular portion of a plaint. Therefore, the High Court could not act under Order 7 Rule 11(a) of the Code for striking down certain paragraphs nor the High Court could act under Order 6 Rule 16 to strike out the paragraphs in absence of anything to show that the averments in those paragraphs are either unnecessary, frivolous or vexatious, or that they are such as may tend to prejudice, embarrass or delay the fair trial of the case, or constitute an abuse of the process of the court. In ITC Ltd. Vs. Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal, (1998) 2 SCC 70, it was held that the basic question to be decided while dealing with an application filed by the defendant under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code is to find out whether the real cause of action has been set out in the plaint or something illusory has been projected in the plaint with a view to get out of the said provision. In Saleem Bhai and Others vs. State of Maharashtra and Others, (2003) 1 SCC 557, this Court has held that the trial court can exercise its powers under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code at any stage of the suit before registering the plaint or after issuing summons to the defendant at any time before the conclusion of the trial and for the said purpose the averments in the plaint are germane and the pleas taken by the defendant in the written statement would be wholly irrelevant at that stage.


In Hardesh Ores Pvt. Ltd. vs. M/s. Hede & Company reported as 2007 (5) SCC 614, the Supreme Court held as follows:-


"25. The language of Order VII Rule 11 CPC is quite clear and unambiguous. The plaint can be rejected on the ground of limitation only where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law. Mr. Nariman did not dispute that "law" within the meaning of Clause (d) of Order VII Rule 11 must include the law of limitation as well. It is well settled that whether a plaint discloses a cause of action is essentially a question of fact, but whether it does or does not must be found out from reading the plaint itself. For the said purpose the averments made in the plaint in their entirety must be held to be correct. The test is whether the averments made in the plaint if taken to be correct in their entirety, a decree would be passed. The averments made in the plaint as a whole have to be seen to find out whether Clause (d) of Rule 11 of Order VII is applicable. It is not permissible to cull out a sentence or a passage and to read it out of the context in isolation. Although it is the substance and not merely the form that has to be looked into, the pleading has to be construed as it stands without addition or subtraction of words or change of its apparent grammatical sense. As observed earlier, the language of Clause (d) is quite clear but if any authority is required, one may usefully refer to the judgments of this Court in Liverpool and London S.P. and I Association Ltd. v. M.V. Sea Success I and Anr. (2004) 9 SCC 512 and Popat and Kotecha Property v. State Bank of India Staff Association, (2005) 7 SCC 510." (emphasis added)

As can be seen from the aforesaid discussion, a plaint cannot be rejected on the basis of allegations levelled by the defendant in the written statement or for that matter, in an application moved under Order VII Rule 11 CPC, for seeking rejection of the plaint. In exercise of its powers under Order VII Rule 11 CPC, the court is required to look into the averments made in the plaint, which alone are germane. The entire plaint must be read as a whole to determine as to whether it discloses a cause of action. In undertaking the said exercise, the court is not expected to consider a particular plea and instead, the averments made in the plaint in entirety, have to be taken to be correct. Since a cause of action comprises of a bundle of facts, the same are required to be proved by the plaintiff only at the time of the trial. Only the material facts are required to be stated in the plaint without referring to the evidence except in circumstances where the pleadings relate to misrepresentation, fraud, undue influence, wilful default etc. As long as the court is satisfied that the plaint discloses some cause of action that requires determination, the plaint ought not to be rejected. At the end of the day, the court must be mindful of the fact that the underlying object of Order VII Rule 11 CPC is to nip in the bud, irresponsible and vexatious suits. At the same time, the opinion of the court that the plaintiff may not ultimately succeed in the suit, ought not to form the basis for rejecting the plaint.




Delhi High Court

Mrigendra Pritam Vikramsingh ... vs Jaswinder Singh & Ors. on 12 November, 2010


The Order VII Rule 11(a) Reads as under:


"Order VII Rule 11 Rejection of plaint The plaint shall be rejected in the following cases:--

(a) where it does not disclose a cause of action;

(b) where the relief claimed is undervalued, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to correct the valuation within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

(c) where the relief claimed is properly valued, but the plaint is returned upon paper insufficiently stamped, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to supply the requisite stamp-paper within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;‖

(d) where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law.

22. A perusal of the aforesaid four clauses show that so far as the first ground for rejection of the plaint is concerned, that is based on the cause of action. This is not the case of the defendant that the plaint does not disclose any cause of action. On the contrary, the grounds which are urged are misjoinder of parties or non filing of the documents despite time having been given by the Court etc. These are no grounds for rejection of plaint summarily under O 7 R 11 CPC. There can be at best an issue framed with regard to mis- joinder of parties whereupon parties will be given an opportunity to produce the evidence and decide the said issue. The defendant will have to adduce evidence to show that on account of mis-joinder of parties he has been seriously prejudiced or in the absence of joining of a necessary or a proper party, the Court has not been or will not be able to give the complete relief to the plaintiff, therefore, this cannot be a ground for summoning for rejection of the plaint.


23. Similarly, if the plaintiff has not filed the document despite the time having been given, it will at best make the Court draw an adverse inference against him but can hardly be a ground for rejection of the plaint at this stage. The basic dictum is that one who asserts must prove. Further, when it comes to proof of documents best evidence has to be produced and in the case of documentary evidence. The document itself is the best evidence unless a party is permitted to produce secondary evidence. If the plaintiff does not do so he does so at its own peril.


24. The clause (b) and (c) as envisaged under Order VII CPC are the grounds where either the suit has been undervalued or even if properly valued but deficient court fees has been paid which is not the case of the defendant.

Omission to verify or defective verification can be regularized at a later stage and if it is a mere irregularity within Section 99 as a defect in verification it has been held in catena of authorities to be curable defect and not a fatal one.

Moreover, it is settled that the law of procedure is not to be used in order to oust a person on a technical ground from getting a rights of a party on merits adjudicated by the competent court. In other words, the technicality of law should not deter the Court from passing the orders on merits of the case or proceedings towards the resolution of the matter on merits rather than get bogged down by the technicalities. This principle of law is laid down by the Apex Court five decades back in the case titled Sangram Singh Vs. Election Tribunal AIR 1955 SC 425 wherein it was observed as under:


―A code of procedure is procedure, something designed to facilitate justice and further its ends: not a Penal enactment for punishment and penalties; not a thing designed to rip people up. Too technical construction of sections that leaves no room for reasonable elasticity of interpretation should therefore be guarded against (provided always that justice is done to both sides) lest the very means designed for the furtherance of justice be used to frustrate it.





Supreme Court of India

Church Of Christ Charitable Trust ... vs M/S. Ponniamman Educationa Trust ... on 3 July, 2012

Order VII Rule 11 of the Code:


“11. Rejection of plaint— The plaint shall be rejected in the following cases:—

(a) where it does not disclose a cause of action;

(b) where the relief claimed is undervalued, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to correct the valuation within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

(c) where the relief claimed is properly valued, but the plaint is returned upon paper insufficiently stamped, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to supply the requisite stamp-paper within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

(d) where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law;

(e) where it is not filed in duplicate;

(f) where the plaintiff fails to comply with the provision of Rule 9:

Provided that the time fixed by the Court for the correction of the valuation or supplying of the requisite stamp-paper shall not be extended unless the Court, for reasons to be recorded, is satisfied that the plaintiff was prevented by any cause of an exceptional nature for correcting the valuation or supplying the requisite stamp-paper, as the case may be, within the time fixed by the Court and that refusal to extend such time would cause grave injustice to the plaintiff.” It is clear from the above that where the plaint does not disclose a cause of action, the relief claimed is undervalued and not corrected within the time allowed by the Court, insufficiently stamped and not rectified within the time fixed by the Court, barred by any law, failed to enclose the required copies and the plaintiff fail to comply with the provisions of Rule 9, the Court has no other option except to reject the same. A reading of the above provision also makes it clear that power under Order VII Rule 11 of the Code can be exercised at any stage of the suit either before registering the plaint or after the issuance of summons to the defendants or at any time before the conclusion of the trial. This position was explained by this Court in Saleem Bhai & Ors. vs. State of Maharashtra and Others, (2003) 1 SCC 557, in which, while considering Order VII Rule 11 of the Code, it was held as under:


“9. A perusal of Order VII Rule 11 CPC makes it clear that the relevant facts which need to be looked into for deciding an application thereunder are the averments in the plaint. The trial court can exercise the power under Order VII Rule 11 CPC at any stage of the suit — before registering the plaint or after issuing summons to the defendant at any time before the conclusion of the trial. For the purposes of deciding an application under clauses (a) and (d) of Rule 11 of Order VII CPC, the averments in the plaint are germane; the pleas taken by the defendant in the written statement would be wholly irrelevant at that stage, therefore, a direction to file the written statement without deciding the application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC cannot but be procedural irregularity touching the exercise of jurisdiction by the trial court…….” It is clear that in order to consider Order VII Rule 11, the Court has to look into the averments in the plaint and the same can be exercised by the trial Court at any stage of the suit. It is also clear that the averments in the written statement are immaterial and it is the duty of the Court to scrutinize the averments/pleas in the plaint. In other words, what needs to be looked into in deciding such an application are the averments in the plaint. At that stage, the pleas taken by the defendant in the written statement are wholly irrelevant and the matter is to be decided only on the plaint averments. These principles have been reiterated in Raptakos Brett & Co. Ltd. vs. Ganesh Property (1998) 7 SCC 184 and Mayar (H.K.) Ltd. and Others vs. Owners & Parties, Vessel M.V. Fortune Express and Others (2006) 3 SCC 100.

7) It is also useful to refer the judgment in T. Arivandandam vs. T.V. Satyapal & Anr., (1977) 4 SCC 467, wherein while considering the very same provision, i.e. Order VII Rule 11 and the duty of the trial Court in considering such application, this Court has reminded the trial Judges with the following observation:


“5. ……….The learned Munsif must remember that if on a meaningful – for formal – reading of the plaint it is manifestly vexatious, and meritless, in the sense of not disclosing a clear right to sue, he should exercise his power under Order VII, Rule 11 C.P.C. taking care to see that the ground mentioned therein is fulfilled. And if clever drafting has created the illusion of a cause of action nip it in the bud at the first hearing by examining the party searchingly under Order X, C.P.C. An activist Judge is the answer to irresponsible law suits. The trial Courts would insist imperatively on examining the party at the first hearing so that bogus litigation can be shot down at the earliest stage. The Penal Code is also resourceful enough to meet such men, (Cr.XI) and must be triggered against them…..” It is clear that if the allegations are vexatious and meritless and not disclosing a clear right or material(s) to sue, it is the duty of the trial Judge to exercise his power under Order VII Rule 11. If clever drafting has created the illusion of a cause of action as observed by Krishna Iyer J., in the above referred decision, it should be nipped in the bud at the first hearing by examining the parties under Order X of the Code.


Power of Attorney:


14) Next, we have to consider the power of attorney. It is settled that a power of attorney has to be strictly construed. In order to agree to sell or effect a sale by a power of attorney, the power should also expressly authorize the power to agent to execute the sale agreement/sale deed i.e., (a) to present the document before the Registrar; and (b) to admit execution of the document before the Registrar. A perusal of the power of attorney, in the present case, only authorizes certain specified acts but not any act authorizing entering into an agreement of sale or to execute sale deed or admit execution before the Registrar. In a recent decision of this Court in Suraj Lamp and Industries Pvt. Ltd. vs. State of Haryana and Another (2012) 1 SCC 656, the scope of power of attorney has been explained in the following words:


“20. A power of attorney is not an instrument of transfer in regard to any right, title or interest in an immovable property. The power of attorney is creation of an agency whereby the grantor authorises the grantee to do the acts specified therein, on behalf of grantor, which when executed will be binding on the grantor as if done by him (see Section 1-A and Section 2 of the Powers of Attorney Act, 1882). It is revocable or terminable at any time unless it is made irrevocable in a manner known to law. Even an irrevocable attorney does not have the effect of transferring title to the grantee.

21. In State of Rajasthan v. Basant Nahata, (2005) 12 SCC 77. this Court held: (SCC pp. 90 & 101, paras 13 & 52) “13. A grant of power of attorney is essentially governed by Chapter X of the Contract Act. By reason of a deed of power of attorney, an agent is formally appointed to act for the principal in one transaction or a series of transactions or to manage the affairs of the principal generally conferring necessary authority upon another person. A deed of power of attorney is executed by the principal in favour of the agent. The agent derives a right to use his name and all acts, deeds and things done by him and subject to the limitations contained in the said deed, the same shall be read as if done by the donor. A power of attorney is, as is well known, a document of convenience.

* * *

52. Execution of a power of attorney in terms of the provisions of the Contract Act as also the Powers of Attorney Act is valid. A power of attorney, we have noticed hereinbefore, is executed by the donor so as to enable the donee to act on his behalf. Except in cases where power of attorney is coupled with interest, it is revocable. The donee in exercise of his power under such power of attorney only acts in place of the donor subject of course to the powers granted to him by reason thereof. He cannot use the power of attorney for his own benefit. He acts in a fiduciary capacity. Any act of infidelity or breach of trust is a matter between the donor and the donee.” An attorney-holder may however execute a deed of conveyance in exercise of the power granted under the power of attorney and convey title on behalf of the grantor.”

15) It is clear that from the date the power of attorney is executed by the principal in favour of the agent and by virtue of the terms the agent derives a right to use his name and all acts, deeds and things done by him are subject to the limitations contained in the said deed. It is further clear that the power of attorney holder executed a deed of conveyance in exercise of the power granted under it and conveys title on behalf of the grantor. In the case on hand, though the plaint avers that the 2nd defendant is the agreement holder of the 1st defendant, the said agreement is not produced. It was also pointed out that the date of agreement is also not given in the plaint. We have already mentioned Form Nos. 47 and 48 of Appendix A and failure to mention date violates the statutory requirement and if the date is one which attracts the bar of limitation, the plaint has to conform to Order VII Rule 6 and specifically plead the ground upon which exemption from limitation is claimed. It was rightly pointed out on the side of the appellant that in order to get over the bar of limitation all the required details have been omitted.





Delhi High Court

Harish Chander Malik vs Vivek Kumar Gupta & Others on 23 May, 2011


The law with regard to Order VII Rule 11 CPC is well settled. While dealing with an application for rejection of plaint under Order VII Rule 11 CPC, the court has to consider only the averment in the plaint and not the defence of the defendant or the contents of the application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC. In C. Natrajan v. Ashim Bai reported at (2007) 14 SCC 183, the Apex Court has observed:


"8. An application for rejection of the plaint can be filed if the allegations made in the plaint even if given face value and taken to be correct in their entirety appear to be barred by any law. The question as to whether a suit is barred by limitation or not would, therefore, depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case. For the said purpose, only the averments made in the plaint are relevant. At this stage, the court would not be entitled to consider the case of the defence. (See Popat and Kotecha Property v. SBI Staff Assn.4)"

30. A similar view was expressed in Mayar (H.K.) Ltd. v. Owners & Parties, Vessel M.V. Fortune Express reported in (2006) 3 SCC 100 wherein the Apex Court observed as under:


"11. Under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code, the court has jurisdiction to reject the plaint where it does not disclose a cause of action, where the relief claimed is undervalued and the valuation is not corrected within the time as fixed by the court, where insufficient court fee is paid and the additional court fee is not supplied within the period given by the court, and where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law. Rejection of the plaint in exercise of the powers under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code would be on consideration of the principles laid down by this Court. In T.

Arivandandam v. T.V. Satyapal5 this Court has held that if on a meaningful, not formal reading of the plaint it is manifestly vexatious, and meritless, in the sense of not disclosing a clear right to sue, the court should exercise its power under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code taking care to see that the ground mentioned therein is fulfilled. In Roop Lal Sathi v. Nachhattar Singh Gill6 this Court has held that where the plaint discloses no cause of action, it is obligatory upon the court to reject the plaint as a whole under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code, but the rule does not justify the rejection of any particular portion of a plaint. Therefore, the High Court therein could not act under Order 7 Rule 11(a) of the Code for striking down certain paragraphs nor the High Court could act under Order 6 Rule 16 to strike out the paragraphs in the absence of anything to show that the averments in those paragraphs are either unnecessary, frivolous or vexatious, or that they are such as may tend to prejudice, embarrass or delay the fair trial of the case, or constitute an abuse of the process of the court. In ITC Ltd. v. Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal7 it was held that the basic question to be decided while dealing with an application filed by the defendant under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code is to find out whether the real cause of action has been set out in the plaint or something illusory has been projected in the plaint with a view to get out of the said provision. In Saleem (2005)7 SCC 510 (1977)4 SCC 467 (1982)3 SCC 487 (1998)2 SCC 70 Bhai v. State of Maharashtra8 this Court has held that the trial court can exercise its powers under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code at any stage of the suit before registering the plaint or after issuing summons to the defendant at any time before the conclusion of the trial and for the said purpose the averments in the plaint are germane and the pleas taken by the defendant in the written statement would be wholly irrelevant at that stage. In Popat and Kotecha Property v. State Bank of India Staff Assn 9 this Court has culled out the legal ambit of Rule 11 of Order 7 of the Code in these words: (SCC p.516, para 19) ―19. There cannot be any compartmentalisation, dissection, segregation and inversions of the language of various paragraphs in the plaint. If such a course is adopted it would run counter to the cardinal canon of interpretation according to which a pleading has to be read as a whole to ascertain its true import. It is not permissible to cull out a sentence or a passage and to read it out of the context in isolation. Although it is the substance and not merely the form that has to be looked into, the pleading has to be construed as it stands without addition or subtraction of words or change of its apparent grammatical sense. The intention of the party concerned is to be gathered primarily from the tenor and terms of his pleadings taken as a whole. At the same time it should be borne in mind that no pedantic approach should be adopted to defeat justice on hair- splitting technicalities.‖


12. From the aforesaid, it is apparent that the plaint cannot be rejected on the basis of the allegations made by the defendant in his written statement or in an application for rejection of the plaint. The court has to read the entire plaint as a whole to find out whether it discloses a cause of action and if it does, then the plaint cannot be rejected by the court exercising the powers under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code. Essentially, whether the plaint discloses a cause of action, is a question of fact which has to be gathered on the basis of the averments made in the plaint in its entirety taking those averments to be correct. A cause of action is a bundle of facts which are required to be proved for obtaining relief and for the said purpose, the material facts are required to be stated but not the evidence except in certain cases where the pleadings relied on are in regard to misrepresentation, fraud, wilful default, undue influence or of the same nature. So long as the plaint discloses some cause of action which requires determination by the court, the mere fact that in the opinion of (2003)1 SCC 557 (2005)7 SCC 510 the Judge the plaintiff may not succeed cannot be a ground for rejection of the plaint. In the present case, the averments made in the plaint, as has been noticed by us, do disclose the cause of action and, therefore, the High Court has rightly said that the powers under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code cannot be exercised for rejection of the suit filed by the plaintiff- appellants.‖


31. Further in Popat and Kotecha Property v. State Bank of India Staff Assn. reported at (2005) 7 SCC 510, the Apex Court elaborately dealt with the law under Order VII Rule 11. The relevant portion of the judgment is extracted as under:


"12. In the present case the respondent has relied upon clause (d) of Rule 11.

13. Before dealing with the factual scenario, the spectrum of Order 7 Rule 11 in the legal ambit needs to be noted.

14. In Saleem Bhai v. State of Maharashtra10 it was held with reference to Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code that the relevant facts which need to be looked into for deciding an application thereunder are the averments in the plaint. The trial court can exercise the power at any stage of the suit -- before registering the plaint or after issuing summons to the defendant at any time before the conclusion of the trial. For the purposes of deciding an application under clauses (a) and (d) of Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code, the averments in the plaint are the germane; the pleas taken by the defendant in the written statement would be wholly irrelevant at that stage.

15. In I.T.C. Ltd. v. Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal11 it was held that the basic question to be decided while dealing with an application filed under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code is whether a real cause of action has been set out in the plaint or something purely illusory has been stated with a view to get out of Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code.

16. The trial court must remember that if on a meaningful and not formal reading of the plaint it is manifestly vexatious and meritless in the sense of not disclosing a clear right to sue, it should exercise the power under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code taking care to see that the ground mentioned therein is fulfilled. If clever drafting has created the illusion of a cause of (2003)1 SCC 557 (1998(2 SCC 70 action, it has to be nipped in the bud at the first hearing by examining the party searchingly under Order 10 of the Code. (See T. Arivandandam v. T.V. Satyapal12.)


17. It is trite law that not any particular plea has to be considered, and the whole plaint has to be read. As was observed by this Court in Roop Lal Sathi v. Nachhattar Singh Gill13 only a part of the plaint cannot be rejected and if no cause of action is disclosed, the plaint as a whole must be rejected.


18. In Raptakos Brett & Co. Ltd. v. Ganesh Property14 it was observed that the averments in the plaint as a whole have to be seen to find out whether clause (d) of Rule 11 of Order 7 was applicable.


19. There cannot be any compartmentalization, dissection, segregation and inversions of the language of various paragraphs in the plaint. If such a course is adopted it would run counter to the cardinal canon of interpretation according to which a pleading has to be read as a whole to ascertain its true import. It is not permissible to cull out a sentence or a passage and to read it out of the context in isolation. Although it is the substance and not merely the form that has to be looked into, the pleading has to be construed as it stands without addition or subtraction of words or change of its apparent grammatical sense. The intention of the party concerned is to be gathered primarily from the tenor and terms of his pleadings taken as a whole. At the same time it should be borne in mind that no pedantic approach should be adopted to defeat justice on hair- splitting technicalities.‖



17. Plaint
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