What is a plaint?
Whenever a suit is filed in any court by a plaintiff, he submits a copy of plaint in that court which contains all the details of cause of action, relief claimed by the plaintiff, jurisdiction of court etc. According to the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, a suit is instituted by the presentation of plaint.
In the leading case of Girija Bai v. Thakur Das, AIR 1967 Mys 217, the Hon’ble court held that the expression “plaint” has not been defined in the Code. However, it can be said to be a statement of claim, a document, by presentation of which the suit is instituted. Its object is to state the grounds upon which the assistance of the court is sought by the plaintiff. It is a pleading of the plaintiff.
Moreover, in the leading case of Hansraj Gupta v. Official Liquidators of the Dehra Dun- Mussoorie Electric Tramway Co. Ltd., AIR 1933 PC 63, the Hon’ble Privy Council stated that the word “suit” means a civil proceeding instituted by the presentation of a plaint.
Order 7 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, deals with the provisions of plaint. According to the provisions of this Order, a plaint shall contain the name of the court in which the suit has been instituted, the name and place of residence of the plaintiff and defendant, the facts showing the cause of action and jurisdiction of the court, relief claimed by the plaintiff etc. Moreover, according to this Order, if the suit has been filed to recover the money from defendant then the plaintiff must state the precise amount of money or if the suit has been filed relating to the immovable property then in such case the plaintiff must give the details so that the property may be identified easily and along with these facts plaintiff must give proper details of the relief claimed by him.
According to Rule 10 of Order 7 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, if the suit has been instituted in that court which does not have jurisdiction either territorial or pecuniary to try the suit then in such case that court can return the plaint at any stage of the suit and ask the plaintiff to present the plaint in the proper court.
At the time when the court returns the plaint to plaintiff, the plaintiff may request the court to state the court in which the suit shall be instituted and prescribe the date on which the parties have to appear before that court and issue notice to the opposite party. If the court issues notice to the opposite party then in such case the court in which the suit has been filed afterwards need not serve the summons to the opposite party because the purpose of summons have been fulfilled by sending notice to him.
In the leading case of Amar Chand v. Union of India, AIR 1973 SC 313, the Hon’ble court held that when the plaint is filed in the proper court, after getting it back from the wrong court, it cannot be said to be a continuation of the suit and the suit must be deemed to commence when a plaint is filed in the proper court.
According to the provisions of this Code, the court has power to return the plaint if the court in which suit has been filed does not have jurisdiction to try the suit.
Moreover, along with this power, the court has also power to reject the plaint if it has not been presented according to the provisions of Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
According to Order 7 Rule 11 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, if the plaint does not discloses the cause of action then in such case the court can reject the plaint. According to the Indian Justice System, the decision of the court must be based upon the material facts of the suit and court must determine the rights and liabilities of the parties and court can do so if the court knows the real dispute between the parties and cause of action states the dispute between the parties. Basically cause of action means plaintiff has a right and it has been violated by the defendant. So, if the plaintiff wants to get decree in his favour, he has to show that he had a right which has been violated by defendant i.e. he has to state the cause of action in the plaint.
In the leading case of Commercial Aviation & Travel Co. v. Vimla Pannalal, AIR 1988 SC 1636, the Hon’ble court held that if the plaint filed by the plaintiff does not disclose any cause of action, the court will reject it. But in order to reject the plaint on this ground, the court must look at the plaint and at nothing else.
Moreover, according to this provision, if the relief claimed by the plaintiff is undervalued and the plaintiff does not correct the valuation within the time given by court then after the expiry of that time, the court will reject the plaint.
In the leading case of Tara Devi v. Sri Thakur Radha Krishna Maharaj, AIR 1987 SC 2085, the Hon’ble court held that in considering the question whether the suit is properly valued or not, the court must confine its attention to the plaint only and should not look at the other circumstances which may subsequently influence the judgment of the court as to the true value of the relief prayed for.
According to Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, if the suit has been filed by the plaintiff after the expiry of the period of limitation and the plaint submitted by the plaintiff shows this fact then in such case the court can reject the plaint.
In the leading case of Gangappa Gurupadappa v. Rachawwa, AIR 1971 SC 442, the Hon’ble court held that if the plaint itself shows that the claim is barred by limitation, the plaint can be rejected by the court.
According to Order 7 Rule 11 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, there are other provisions also which are required to be fulfilled by the plaintiff and if the plaintiff does not fulfill these conditions and submits the plaint in the court then in such case the court has power to reject that plaint.
If the plaint of plaintiff has been rejected by the court on any of the ground mentioned under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, it does not preclude the plaintiff from filing a fresh suit upon same cause of action. According to the provisions of this Order, the plaintiff can file a fresh suit upon same cause of action.