ORDER VII – Plaint

Rule 1: Particulars to be contained in plaint.—

The plaint shall contain the following particulars:

(a) the name of the Court in which the suit is brought;

(b) the name, description and place of residence of the plaintiff;

(c) the name, description and place of residence of the defendant, so far as they can be ascertained;

(d) where the plaintiff or the defendant is a minor or a person of unsound mind, a statement to that effect;

(e) the facts constituting the cause of action and when it arose;

(f) the facts showing that the Court has jurisdiction;

(g) the relief which the plaintiff claims;

(h) where the plaintiff has allowed a set-off or relinquished a portion of his claim, the amount so allowed or relinquished; and

(i) a statement of the value of the subject-matter of the suit for the purposes of jurisdiction and of court fees, so far as the case admits.


Rule 2: In money suits.—

Where the plaintiff seeks the recovery of money, the plaint shall state the precise amount claimed:

But where the plaintiff sues for mesne profits, or for an amount which will be found due to him on taking unsettled accounts between him and the defendant, or for movables in the possession of the defendant, or for debts of which the value he cannot, after the exercise of reasonable diligence, estimate, the plaint shall state approximately the amount or value sued for.


Rule 3: Where the subject-matter of the suit is immovable property.—

Where the subject-matter of the suit is immovable property, the plaint shall contain a description of the property sufficient to identify it, and, in case such property can be identified by boundaries or numbers in a record of settlement or survey, the plaint shall specify such boundaries or numbers.


Rule 4: When plaintiff sues as representative.—

Where the plaintiff sues in a representative character the plaint shall show not only that he has an actual existing interest in the subject-matter, but that he has taken the steps (if any) necessary to enable him to institute a suit concerning it.


Rule 5: Defendant’s interest and liability to be shown.—

The plaint shall show that the defendant is or claims to be interested in the subject-matter, and that he is liable to be called upon to answer the plaintiff’s demand.


Rule 6: Grounds of exemption from limitation law.—

Where the suit is instituted after the expiration of the period prescribed by the law of limitation, the plaint shall show the ground upon which exemption from such law is claimed:

Provided that the Court may permit the plaintiff to claim exemption from the law of limitation on any ground not set out in the plaint, if such ground is not inconsistent with the grounds set out in the plaint.


Rule 7: Relief to be specifically stated.—

Every plaint shall state specifically the relief which the plaintiff claims either simply or in the alternative, and it shall not be necessary to ask for general or other relief which may always be given as the Court may think just to the same extent as if it had been asked for. And the same rule shall apply to any relief claimed by the defendant in his written statement.


Rule 8: Relief founded on separate grounds.—

Where the plaintiff seeks relief in respect of several distinct claims or causes of action founded upon separate and distinct grounds, they shall be stated as far as may be separately and distinctly.


Rule 9: Procedure on admitting plaint.—

Where the Court orders that the summons be served on the defendants in the manner provided in Rule 9 of Order V, it will direct the plaintiff to present as many copies of the plaint on plain paper as there are defendants within seven days from the date of such order along with requisite fee for service of summons on the defendants.


Rule 10: Return of plaint.—

(1) Subject to the provisions of Rule 10-A, the plaint shall at any stage of the suit be returned to be presented to the Court in which the suit should have been instituted.

Explanation.—For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that a court of appeal or revision may direct, after setting aside the decree passed in a suit, the return of the plaint under this sub-rule.

(2) Procedure on returning plaint.—On returning a plaint the Judge shall endorse thereon the date of its presentation and return, the name of the party presenting it, and a brief statement of the reasons for returning it.


Rule 10-A: Power of Court to fix a date of appearance in the Court where plaint is to be filed after its return.—

(1) Where, in any suit, after the defendant has appeared, the Court is of opinion that the plaint should be returned, it shall, before doing so, intimate its decision to the plaintiff.

(2) Where an intimation is given to the plaintiff under sub-rule (1), the plaintiff may make an application to the Court—

(a) specifying the Court in which he proposes to present the plaint after its return,

(b) praying that the Court may fix a date for the appearance of the parties in the said Court, and

(c) requesting that the notice of the date so fixed may be given to him and to the defendant.

(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.

(4) Where the notice of the date for appearance is given under sub-rule (3),—

(a) it shall not be necessary for the Court in which the plaint is presented after its return, to serve the defendant with a summons for appearance in the suit, unless that Court, for reasons to be recorded, otherwise directs, and

(b) the said notice shall be deemed to be a summons for the appearance of the defendant in the Court in which the plaint is presented on the date so fixed by the Court by which the plaint was returned.

(5) Where the application made by the plaintiff under sub-rule (2) is allowed by the Court, the plaintiff shall not be entitled to appeal against the order returning the plaint.


Rule 10-B: Power of appellate court to transfer suit to the proper Court.—

(1) Where, on an appeal against an order for the return of plaint, the Court hearing the appeal confirms such order, the court of appeal may, if the plaintiff by an application so desires, while returning the plaint, direct plaintiff to file the plaint, subject to the provisions of the Limitation Act, 1963 (26 of 1963), in the Court in which the suit should have been instituted (whether such Court is within or without the State in which the Court hearing the appeal is situated), and fix a date for the appearance of the parties in the Court in which the plaint is directed to be filed and when the date is so fixed it shall not be necessary for the Court in which the plaint is filed to serve the defendant with the summons for appearance in the suit, unless that Court in which the plaint is filed, for reasons to be recorded, otherwise directs.

(2) The direction made by the Court under sub-rule (1) shall be without any prejudice to the rights of the parties to question the jurisdiction of the Court, in which the plaint is filed, to try the suit.


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 written 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 provisions of Rule 9;

Provided that the time fixed by the Court for the correction of the valuation or supplying of the requisite stamp-papers 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 from correcting the valuation or supplying the requisite stamp-papers, 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.


Rule 12: Procedure on rejecting plaint.—

Where a plaint is rejected the Judge shall record an order to that effect with the reasons for such order.


Rule 13: Where rejection of plaint does not preclude presentation of fresh plaint.—

The rejection of the plaint on any of the grounds hereinbefore mentioned shall not of its own force preclude the plaintiff from presenting a fresh plaint in respect of the same cause of action.


Rule 14: Production of document on which plaintiff sues or relies.—

(1) Where a plaintiff sues upon a document or relies upon document in his possession or power in support of his claim, he shall enter such documents in a list, and shall produce it in court when the plaint is presented by him and shall, at the same time deliver the document and a copy thereof, to be filed with the plaint.

(2) Where any such document is not in the possession or power of the plaintiff, he shall, wherever possible, state in whose possession or power it is.

(3) A document which ought to be produced in Court by the plaintiff when the plaint is presented, or to be entered in the list to be added or annexed to the plaint but is not produced or entered accordingly, shall not, without the leave of the Court, be received in evidence on his behalf at the hearing of the suit.

(4) Nothing in this rule shall apply to document produced for the cross-examination of the plaintiff’s witnesses, or, handed over to a witness merely to refresh his memory.


Rule 15: Statement in case of documents not in plaintiff’s possession or power.— [Omitted by Act 22 of 2002, S. 8 (w.e.f. 1-7-2002).]

Rule 16: Suits on lost negotiable instruments.—

Where the suit is founded upon a negotiable instrument, and it is proved that the instrument is lost, and an indemnity is given by the plaintiff, to the satisfaction of the Court, against the claims of any other person upon such instrument, the Court may pass such decree as it would have passed if the plaintiff had produced the instrument in Court when the plaint was presented, and had at the same time delivered a copy of the instrument to be filed with the plaint.


Rule 17: Production of shop-book.—

(1) Save in so far as is otherwise provided by the Bankers’ Books Evidence Act, 1891 (18 of 1891), where the document on which the plaintiff sues is an entry in a shop-book or other account in his possession or power, the plaintiff shall produce the book or account at the time of filing the plaint, together with a copy of the entry on which he relies.

(2) Original entry to be marked and returned.—The Court or such officer as it appoints in this behalf, shall forthwith mark the document for the purpose of identification; and, after examining and comparing the copy with the original, shall, if it is found correct, certify it to be so and return the book to the plaintiff and cause the copy to be filed.


Rule 18: Inadmissibility of document not produced when plaint filed.— [Omitted by Act 22 of 2002, S. 8 (w.e.f. 1-7-2002)]


IMPORTANT CASE LAWS

1. Contents of plaint in respect to cause of action

Ramprasad Chimanlal v. Hazarimull Lalchand, AIR 1931 Cal 458: “….Rule 1(e) and (f) requires not that a statement should be made that the plaintiff has a good cause of action or that it arose on such and such a date, or that it arose partly or wholly within the jurisdiction, but that particulars should be given of the facts constituting the cause of action and when it arose, and the facts showing that it arose partly or wholly within the jurisdiction and that this was the meaning and intention of the order of Jenkins C.J. is, I think, made clear by his reference therein to Order VII, rule 1(e) and (f) and to his observations in Madras Steam Navigation Co., Ld. v. Shalimar Works, Ld. [(1914) I.L.R. 42 Calc. 85, 100.] where he refers explicitly to Order VII, rule 1(e) and quotes it verbatim.”


2. Can Court grant a relief not asked by the aggrieved party?

State of Gujarat v. S.C. Agrawal, AIR 1998 Guj 193 : “……Court is having inherent powers to grant appropriate and alternative relief though not specifically pleaded, but it is also the duty of the Court to do so in the circumstances of the case. The Court has to look to substance of claim in determining the relief to be granted. It is not at all necessary for this Court to disclose to the parties as to what relief this Court will grant to the petitioner before actually granting the same…….. The primary duty of the Court is to do justice and therefore, it is the duty of the Court to grant relief as the circumstances of the case warrant even though it may not be asked for. This power of the Court to grant the just and proper relief to a party without his asking is also recognized by the provisions of Civil Procedure Code in Order 7, Rule 7.”


3. Exemption from Limitation

Roshan Lal Kuthiala v. Raja Rana Yogendra Chandra, AIR 1996 HP 14: “In a case of present nature, where some exemption from limitation is prayed for, it is essential for the plaintiff to plead such an exemption in the plaint very specifically. It has been held in AIR 1972 Mad 108 (Sha Manmall Misrimall v. K. Radhakrishnan) that in such a case under Order 7, Rule 6, C.P.C. it is obligatory, as a matter of pleading, to show the ground on which the exemption from limitation is claimed and it was held that consequently, unless the plaint is amended, it would not be open to the parties to rely on an exemption not pleaded in the plaint.”


4. Subsequent events affecting relief sought

M. Shanmugha Udayar v. Sivanandam, AIR 1994 Mad 123 : “…..Where it is shown that the original relief claimed has, by reason of subsequent change of circumstances, become inappropriate or that it is necessary, to base the decision of the court on the later circumstances in order to shorten litigation or to do complete justice between the parties, it is incumbent upon a court of justice to take notice of events which have happened since the institution of the suit and to mould its decree according to the circumstances as they stand at the time the decree is made. And the Apex Court has laid down in Phool Chand v. Gopal Lal (1967 (3) S.C.R. 153) that so far as partition suits are concerned, if an event happens after the preliminary decree and before a final decree is passed, and a change in the shares is necessitated, the trial court can and should pass a second preliminary decree correcting the shares; and, if there is a dispute in that behalf, the order of the Court deciding that dispute and making a variation in the shares specified in the preliminary decree already passed is a decree in itself which would be liable to appeal. A partition suit is not finally disposed of till the final decree is passed and the Court has jurisdiction to decide all disputes, that may arise due to the death of some of the parties after the preliminary decree and before the passing of the final decree. There is nothing in the Civil Procedure Code which prohibits the passing of more than one preliminary decree in a partition suit, if circumstances justify it and if it is convenient and advantageous to do so. …..”


5. Return of Plaint for filing in wrong jurisdiction

Nandita Bose v. Ratanlal Nahata, (1987) 3 SCC 70: “Under Section 15 of the Code every plaint should be instituted in the court of the lowest grade competent to try it and if the value of the suit was Rs 42,000 only it had to be filed in the City Civil Court of Calcutta and not on the original side of the High Court. The principles which regulate the pecuniary jurisdiction of civil courts are well settled. Ordinarily, the valuation of a suit depends upon the reliefs claimed therein and the plaintiff’s valuation in his plaint determines the court in which it can be presented. It is also true that the plaintiff cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a court by either grossly over-valuing or grossly under-valuing a suit. The court always has the jurisdiction to prevent the abuse of the process of law. Under Rule 10 of Order 7 of the Code the plaint can be returned at any stage of the suit for presentation to the court in which the suit should have been instituted.”


6. “An activist judge is the answer to irresponsible law suits

T. Arivandandam v. T.V. Satyapal, (1977) 4 SCC 467: “……..The learned Munsif must remember 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, he should exercise his power under Order 7, Rule 11 CPC 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 10, CPC. 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……..”


CONNECTED SECTIONS

1. Section 10

2. Section 11

3. Section 15

4. Section 16

5. Section 21

6. Section 22

7. Section 24

8. Section 25

9. Section 26


 

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