ORDER VI – Pleadings Generally

Rule 1: Pleading.—

“Pleading” shall mean plaint or written statement.


Rule 2: Pleading to state material facts and not evidence.—

(1) Every pleading shall contain, and contain only, a statement in a concise form of the material facts on which the party pleading relies for his claim or defence as the case may be, but not the evidence by which they are to be proved.

(2) Every pleading shall, when necessary, be divided into paragraphs, numbered consecutively, each allegation being, so far as is convenient, contained in a separate paragraph.

(3) Dates, sums and numbers shall be expressed in a pleading in figures as well as in words.


Rule 3: Forms of pleading.—

The forms in Appendix A when applicable, and where they are not applicable forms of the like character, as nearly as may be, shall be used for all pleadings.


Rule 4: Particulars to be given where necessary.—

In all cases in which the party pleading relies on any misrepresentation, fraud, breach of trust, wilful default, or undue influence, and in all other cases in which particulars may be necessary beyond such as are exemplified in the forms aforesaid, particulars (with dates and items if necessary) shall be stated in the pleading.


Rule 5: Further and better statement, or particulars.—[Omitted by Act 46 of 1999, S. 16 (w.e.f. 1-7-2002)]

Rule 6: Condition precedent.—

Any condition precedent, the performance or occurrence of which is intended to be contested, shall be distinctly specified in his pleading by the plaintiff or defendant, as the case may be; and, subject thereto, an averment of the performance or occurrence of all conditions precedent necessary for the case of the plaintiff or defendant shall be implied in his pleading.


Rule 7: Departure.—

No pleading shall, except by way of amendment raise any new ground of claim or contain any allegation of fact inconsistent with the previous pleadings of the party pleading the same.


Rule 8: Denial of contract.—

Where a contract is alleged in any pleading, a bare denial of the same by the opposite party shall be construed only as a denial in fact of the express contract alleged or of the matters of fact from which the same may be implied, and not as a denial of the legality or sufficiency in law of such contract.


Rule 9: Effect of document to be stated.—

Wherever the contents of any document are material, it shall be sufficient in any pleading to state the effect thereof as briefly as possible, without setting out the whole or any part thereof, unless the precise words of the document or any part thereof are material.


Rule 10: Malice, knowledge, etc.—

Wherever it is material to allege malice, fraudulent intention, knowledge or other condition of the mind of any person, it shall be sufficient to allege the same as a fact without setting out the circumstances from which the same is to be inferred.


Rule 11: Notice.—

Wherever it is material to allege notice to any person of any fact, matter or thing, it shall be sufficient to allege such notice as a fact, unless the form or the precise terms of such notice, or the circumstances from which such notice is to be inferred are material.


Rule 12: Implied contract, or relation.—

Wherever any contract or any relation between any persons is to be implied from a series of letters or conversations or otherwise from a number of circumstances, it shall be sufficient to allege such contract or relation as a fact, and to refer generally to such letters, conversations or circumstances without setting them out in detail. And if in such case the person so pleading desires to rely in the alternative upon more contracts or relations than one as to be implied from such circumstances, he may state the same in the alternative.


Rule 13: Presumptions of law.—

Neither party need in any pleading allege any matter of fact which the law presumes in his favour or as to which the burden of proof lies upon the other side unless the same has first been specifically denied (e.g., consideration for a bill of exchange where the plaintiff sues only on the bill and not for the consideration as a substantive ground of claim).


Rule 14: Pleading to be signed.—

Every pleading shall be signed by the party and his pleader (if any):

Provided that where a party pleading is, by reason of absence or for other good cause, unable to sign the pleading, it may be signed by any person duly authorised by him to sign the same or to sue or defend on his behalf.


Rule 14-A: Address for service of notice.—

(1) Every pleading, when filed by a party, shall be accompanied by a statement in the prescribed form, signed as provided in Rule 14, regarding the address of the party.

(2) Such address may, from time to time, be changed by lodging in Court a form duly filled up and stating the new address of the party and accompanied by a verified petition.

(3) The address furnished in the statement made under sub-rule (1) shall be called the “registered address” of the party, and shall, until duly changed as aforesaid, be deemed to be the address of the party for the purpose of service of all processes in the suit or in any appeal from any decree or order therein made and for the purpose of execution, and shall hold good, subject as aforesaid, for a period of two years after the final determination of the cause or matter.

(4) Service of any process may be effected upon a party at his registered address in all respects as though such party resided thereat.

(5) Where the registered address of a party is discovered by the Court to be incomplete, false or fictitious, the Court may, either on its own motion, or on the application of any party, order—

(a) in the case where such registered address was furnished by a plaintiff, stay of the suit, or

(b) in the case where such registered address was furnished by a defendant, his defence be struck out and he be placed in the same position as if he had not put up any defence.

(6) Where a suit is stayed or a defence is struck out under sub-rule (5), the plaintiff or, as the case may be, the defendant may, after furnishing his true address, apply to the Court for an order to set aside the order of stay or, as the case may be, the order striking out the defence.

(7) The Court, if satisfied that the party was prevented by any sufficient cause from filing the true address at the proper time, shall set aside the order of stay or order striking out the defence, on such terms as to costs or otherwise as it thinks fit and shall appoint a day for proceeding with the suit or defence, as the case may be.

(8) Nothing in this rule shall prevent the Court from directing the service of a process at any other address, if, for any reason, it thinks fit to do so.


Rule 15: Verification of pleadings.—

(1) Save as otherwise provided by any law for the time being in force, every pleading shall be verified at the foot by the party or by one of the parties pleading or by some other person proved to the satisfaction of the Court to be acquainted with the facts of the case.

(2) The person verifying shall specify, by reference to the numbered paragraphs of the pleading, what he verifies of his own knowledge and what he verifies upon information received and believed to be true.

(3) The verification shall be signed by the person making it and shall state the date on which and the place at which it was signed.

(4) The person verifying the pleading shall also furnish an affidavit in support of his pleadings.


Rule 16: Striking out pleadings.—

The Court may at any stage of the proceedings order to be struck out or amended any matter in any pleading—

(a) which may be unnecessary, scandalous, frivolous or vexatious, or

(b) which may tend to prejudice, embarrass or delay the fair trial of the suit, or

(c) which is otherwise an abuse of the process of the Court.


Rule 17: Amendment of pleadings.—

The Court may at any stage of the proceedings allow either party to alter or amend his pleading in such manner and on such terms as may be just, and all such amendments shall be made as may be necessary for the purpose of determining the real questions in controversy between the parties:

Provided that no application for amendment shall be allowed after the trial has commenced, unless the Court comes to the conclusion that in spite of due diligence, the party could not have raised the matter before the commencement of trial.


Rule 18: Failure to amend after order.—

If a party who has obtained an order for leave to amend does not amend accordingly within the time limited for that purpose by the order, or if no time is thereby limited then within fourteen days from the date of the order, he shall not be permitted to amend after the expiration of such limited time as aforesaid or of such fourteen days, as the case may be, unless the time is extended by the Court.


IMPORTANT CASE LAWS

1. Objective of pleading

Throp v. Holdswort, (1876) 3 Ch D 637: “The whole object of pleadings is to bring the parties to an issue, and the meaning of the rules (relating to pleadings) was to prevent the issue being enlarged, which would prevent either party from knowing when the cause came on for trial, what the real point to be discussed and decided was. In fact, the whole meaning of the system is to narrow the parties to definite issues, and thereby to diminish expense and delay, especially as regards the amount of testimony required on either side at the hearing.”

Virendra Kashinath Ravat v. Vinayak N. Joshi, (1999) 1 SCC 47: “The object of the Rule is twofold. First is to afford the other side intimation regarding the particular facts of the case so that they may be met by the other side. Second is to enable the court to determine what is really the issue between the parties. The words in the sub-rule “a statement in a concise form” are definitely suggestive that brevity should be adhered to while drafting pleadings. Of course brevity should not be at the cost of setting out necessary facts, but it does not mean niggling in the pleadings. If care is taken in the syntactic process, pleadings can be saved from tautology. Elaboration of facts in pleadings is not the ideal measure and that is why the sub-rule embodied the words “and contain only” just before the succeeding words “a statement in a concise form of the material facts”.”


2. Contradiction between evidence and pleading

Kashi Nath v. Jaganath, (2003) 8 SCC 740: “………As noted by the Privy Council in Siddik Mohd. Shah v. Saran [AIR 1930 PC 57 (1)] and Trojan and Co. v. Rm. N.N. Nagappa Chetiar [AIR 1953 SC 235] when the evidence is not in line with the pleadings and is at variance with it and as in this case, in virtual self-contradiction, adverse inference has to be drawn and the evidence cannot be looked into or relied upon. Additionally, as rightly submitted, the conclusion whether there was adoption is essentially one of fact merely depending upon pure appreciation of the evidence on record. This position has been stated in several decisions of this Court e.g. Rajendra Kumar v. Kalyan [(2000) 8 SCC 99] and Raushan Devi v. Ramji Sah [(2002) 10 SCC 205] ………”


3. What will be the contents of a Pleading and how will they be read?
Sopan Sukhdeo Sable v. Asstt. Charity Commr., (2004) 3 SCC 137:

“13. 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 Gill [(1982) 3 SCC 487] 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.

15. 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 or 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.

16. Submission of the learned counsel for Respondent 2 Trust was that requirement of law being reading the plaint in its totality, the appellants cannot take the plea that they would give up or relinquish some of the reliefs sought for. That would not be permissible. The plea clearly overlooks the basic distinction between statements of the facts disclosing cause of action and the reliefs sought for. The reliefs claimed do not constitute the cause of action. On the contrary, they constitute the entitlement, if any, on the basis of pleaded facts. As indicated above, Order 6 Rule 2 requires that pleadings shall contain and contain only, a statement in a concise form of the material facts on which the party pleading relies for his claim. If the plea of Mr Savant, learned counsel for the respondent Trust is accepted, the distinction between the statement of material facts and the reliance on them for the claim shall be obliterated. What is required in law is not the piecemeal reading of the plaint but in its entirety. Whether the reliefs would be granted on the pleaded facts and the evidence adduced is totally different from the relief claimed. All the reliefs claimed may not be allowed to a party on the pleadings and the evidence adduced. Whether part of the relief cannot be granted by the civil court is a different matter from saying that because of a combined claim of reliefs, the jurisdiction is ousted or no cause of action is disclosed. Considering the reliefs claimed vis-à-vis the pleadings would not mean compartmentalisation or segregation, in that sense. The plea raised by the respondent Trust is therefore clearly unacceptable.”


4. Mutually inconsistent pleas and defences

Devasahayam v. P. Savithramma, (2005) 7 SCC 653: “It is true as has been submitted by Mr Gupta that a party to a lis cannot raise pleas which are mutually destructive but ordinarily inconsistent defences can be raised……..”


5. Objective of Verification

Devi Prasad v. Chairman of the Court of Election Tribunal, AIR 1956 All 19: “…….The object of directing the verification of the contents of plaints or petitions is that the person should be aware of the fact that he is undertaking a particular responsibility in mentioning the facts in the plaint or the petition and the object for having the lists verified is also the same.”


6. Amendment of Pleadings – Rule

Niemeyer v. E.M. Mamooji, AIR 1938 Rang 461 : “………..In Mulla’s Code of Civil Procedure in the Commentary on O. 6, R. 17, at p. 501, the matter is summed up: “The general rule is that any amendment allowed must he such as is either raised in the pleadings or is consistent with the case, as originally laid, and that the state of facts and the equities and ground of relief originally alleged and pleaded by the plaintiff should not be departed from.”


CONNECTED SECTIONS

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