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Section C Examination of the Plaint

1.  Examination of the plaint :- On the presentation or receipt of a plaint, the court should examine it with special reference to the following points viz.: -

  • (i)  whether the name of court to which the suit is brought is given in the plaint [Order VII, rule 1 (a)];
  • (ii)  whether the plaint contains the name, description and place of residence of the plaintiff [Order VII, rule 1 (b)];
  • (iii)  whether it contains the name, description and place of residence of the defendant, so far as they can be ascertained [Order VII, rule 1 (c)];
  • (iv)  whether any of the parties to the suit are minors and, if so, whether they are properly represented [Order VII, rule 1(d)];
  • (v)  whether it contains the facts constituting the cause of action and when it arose [Order VII, rule1 (e)];
  • (vi)  whether the suit is within the jurisdiction of the court or must be returned for presentation to the proper court [Order VII, rule 1(f) and 10];
  • (vii)  whether the plaint states the relief which the plaintiff claims [Order VII, rule 1(g)];
  • (viii)  whether it contains the amount allowed or relinquished if the plaintiff has allowed a set off or relinquished a portion of his claim [Order VII, rule 1(h)];
  • (ix)  whether it contains a statement of the value of the subject-matter of the suit for the purpose of jurisdiction and or court-fees so far as the case admits [Order VII, rule 1(i)];
  • (x)  whether there is, prima facie, any non-joinder or mis-joinder of parties, or mis-joinder of causes of action;
  • (xi)  whether the plaint is duly signed and verified;
  • (xii)  whether the plaint is liable to be rejected for any of the reasons given in Order VII, Rule11;
  • (xiii)  whether the documents attached to the plaint (if any) are accompanied by lists in the prescribed form and are in order;
  • (xiv)  whether the plaintiff has filed a proceeding containing his address for service during the litigation as required by Rule 19 of Order VII as framed by the High Court;
  • (xv)  instructions contained in paragraph 11 below should also be borne in mind at the time of the examination of plaints.

2.  Rules of pleadings noticed. The provisions of the Code with regard to the pleadings (which term includes the plaint and written statements of parties) should be carefully studied. The principal rules of pleadings may be briefly stated as follows: -

  • a)  The whole case must be stated in the pleadings, that is to say all material facts must be stated (Order VI, Rule 2);
  • b)  Only material facts are to be stated. The evidence by which they are to be proved is not be stated (Order VI, Rules 2, 10, 11,and 12);
  • c)  The facts are to be stated concisely;
  • d)  Every pleading is to be signed by the party or person duly authorised by the party, and also by his pleader, if any (Order VI, Rule 14);
  • e)  Save as otherwise provided for by law for time being in force, every pleading is to be verified at the foot by the party or by one of the parties pleading (Order VI, Rule 15);
  • f)  The person verifying the pleading is bound to state 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 [Order VI, Rule 15(2)];
  • g)  It is obligatory that the verification should be signed by the person making it stating the date on which and the place at which it was signed [Order VI, Rule 15(3)];
  • h)  It is not necessary to allege the performance of any condition precedent; an averment of performance is implied in every pleading (Order VI, Rule 6);
  • i)  It is not necessary to set out the whole or any part of a document unless the precise words, thereof are necessary. It is sufficient to state the effect of the document as briefly as possible (Order VI, Rule 9);
  • j)  It is not necessary to allege a matter of fact which the law presumes, or as to which the burden of proof lies on the other side (Order VI, Rule 13);
  • k)  When misrepresentation, fraud, undue influence, etc., are pleaded, necessary particulars must always be given (Order VI, Rule 4);
  • l)  When a suit is prima facie time-barred, the ground on which exemption is claimed must be stated (Order VII, Rule 6);

If the plaint is prolix or indefinite or omits to give the necessary particulars or to specify the relief claimed precisely or is defective in any other respect it should be returned to the party or his counsel for such amendment as may be necessary in the actual presence of the Presiding Officer after he has signed the endorsement. The Court has wide Powers in this respect (see Order VI, Rules 5, 16 and 17). Where amendment is directed, an order should be recorded by the court indicating the particulars about the necessary amendment and fixing a date for filing the amended plaint.

3.  Joinder of parties and causes of action. When the plaintiffs or defendants are more than one, the plaint should be examined with a view to see, if there is prima facie any misjoinder of parties or causes of action.

(i)  It should appear in the plaint that the persons (if more than one), who sue together as plaintiffs, all, either jointly, severally, or in the alternative, claim the right which is the object of the suit to vindicate. If all the persons jointly entitled to the right, which according to the plaint, has been infringed, cannot be got to sue together, this fact should be stated in the plaint, together with the grounds of refusal, if known. If the plaintiff wishes to use on behalf of or, for the benefit of such persons, he must apply for the permission of the Court under Order 1, Rule 8(1), Civil Procedure Code.

(ii)  Similarly, it should appear in the plaint that the right to the relief claimed exists against all the defendants either jointly severally or, in the alternative, in respect of the subject-matter in dispute. If the cause for suing one defendant is different from that for suing another, the plaint should be returned for amendment on the ground that the plaintiff has joined causes of action which ought not to be joined in the same suit. Different causes of action against different defendants or groups of defendants cannot be brought into one suit. Under Order 1, Rule 5, however, it is not necessary that every defendant should be interested as to all the reliefs claimed in any suit against him.

(iii)  Order II, Rule 3, of the Code of Civil Procedure, only permits a plaintiff to unite in the same suit several causes of action against the same defendant or the same defendants jointly. It follows, therefore, that where the defendants are not jointly liable for the several sums which the plaintiff claims from each, or for other relief sought, the provisions of Order II, Rule 3 cannot be applied, and each distinct cause of action must form the subject of a separate suit. Several plaintiffs having distinct causes of action against the same defendant or defendants cannot join in one suit.

(iv)  The general rule to be observed is that, while no suit may be defeated by mere misjoinder of parties and the rights of the parties actually before the Court may always be disposed of, distinct causes of action can only be joined in one suit where the parties are identical, subject to the provisions of Order II, Rules 4 and 5 and section 15 to 25, of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(v)  In suits which cannot be properly disposed of unless all persons interested in the matter are before the Court Order 1, Rules 8(2) and 10(2) of the Code enable the Court to add necessary parties, when it discovers that they have been omitted by the plaintiff.

4.  Scrutiny of plaint relating to agricultural land when plaintiffs is illiterate :- If the plaint relates to agricultural land and the plaintiff is illiterate, it should be scrutinised with special care, according to the following directions: -

Every such plaint shall be accompanied by a statement, in the prescribed form, setting forth the particulars relating thereto recorded in the settlement record and in the last jamabandi. It should also include a copy of Khasra Girdawari of the harvest concerned if the suit is under the Punjab Tenancy Act. This statement shall be verified by the signature of the Patwari of the Circle in which the land concerned is situate. Where by reason of partition, river action or other cause, the entries in the settlement record and in the last jamabandi do not accord, a brief explanation of the reason should be given in the column of remarks. Where the suit is for a specific plot with definite boundaries, it shall also be accompanied by a map, drawn to scale, showing clearly the specific plot claimed, or in relation to which the decree is to be made, and so much of the fields adjoining it, also drawn to scale, as may be sufficient to facilitate identification. The specific plot and adjoining fields shall be numbered in accordance with the statement and the map shall be certified as correct by the Patwari or other person who prepared it. Where, however, the suit is for the whole of one or more khasra numbers as shown in the Settlement map, or a share in such numbers, and not for a specific portion thereof no map will be required unless it is necessary for other reasons to show the boundaries of such Khasra numbers.

Hon'ble Revenue Minister


Special Chief Secretary, Department of Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management

Sh.  K A P Sinha, IAS

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