Plea Taken By Defendant In Written Statements Wholly Irrelevant While Considering Application Under OVII R11 CPC: Madhya Pradesh High Court

Update: 2022-01-21 04:43 GMT

Deciding a civil revision against the order of a civil court, the Madhya Pradesh High Court has held that rejecting an application preferred under Order VII Rule 11 CPC would be illegal if the court sought for written statements of the defendant rather than deciding the same on averments in the plaint. Justice Anil Verma observed,"For the purposes of deciding an application...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
Please Subscribe for unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments, Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.

Deciding a civil revision against the order of a civil court, the Madhya Pradesh High Court has held that rejecting an application preferred under Order VII Rule 11 CPC would be illegal if the court sought for written statements of the defendant rather than deciding the same on averments in the plaint.

Justice Anil Verma observed,

"For the purposes of deciding an application under clauses (a) and (d) of Rule 11 of Order VII C.P.C. 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 C.P.C. cannot but be procedural irregularity touching the exercise of jurisdiction by the trial court."

The Court was essentially dealing with a civil revision challenging the order of a civil court, wherein the application of the Petitioner/Defendant under Order VII Rule 11 CPC was rejected on the ground that his contentions would be adjudicated based on his pleadings and the evidence produced by all the parties.

The case of the Petitioner/Defendant was that the Respondent/Plaintiff had filed a suit for declaration and cancellation of sale deeds, along with possession of suit land. After the service of notice upon the Petitioners/Defendants, they sought for rejection of plaint under Order VII Rule 11. They submitted before the civil court that the said land dispute falls under the provisions of Section 170-B and Section 257 of the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code, 1959, which categorically bar the civil court from exercising its jurisdiction in the matter.

However, the civil judge rejected the application and hence, revision was filed.

The Respondent/Plaintiff argued that that the suit was not covered under section 257 of the MPLRC, therefore, the Civil Court had jurisdiction to entertain the matter. Hence, the revision petition had no merit and was liable to be dismissed.

Examining the grounds taken by the lower court while rejecting the application, the court elucidated the aspects of provisions under Order VII Rule 11. It noted that –

A perusal of Order VII Rule 11 C.P.C. 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 C.P.C. 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 C.P.C. 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 C.P.C. cannot but be procedural irregularity touching the exercise of jurisdiction by the trial court.

The court placed its reliance on Sapan Sukhdeo Sable & Ors. v. Assistant Charity Commissioner & Ors., wherein the Supreme Court had noted that Order VII Rule 11 casts a duty on the court to perform its obligations in rejecting the plaint when the same is hit by any of the infirmities provided in the four clauses of Rule 11, even without intervention of the defendant. The court also referred to Sajjan Sikaria & Ors. v. Shakuntala Devi Mishra & Ors., wherein the Apex court had observed that while dealing with an application under Order VII Rule 11, consideration of written statement is not a condition precedent and only averments in the plaint have to be considered.

Collating its observations, the court concluded that the lower court had acted illegally in exercise of its power because for the purpose of deciding the application under Order VII Rule 11, the averments in the plaint alone should've been germane as the pleas to be taken by the defendant in the written statement were wholly irrelevant. Wherefore, the impugned order passed by the civil court, being contrary to law, was liable to be set aside.

The court while remitting the matter to the lower court, directed that the application filed by the Petitioner/Defendant under Order VII Rule 11 be decided on the basis of the averments in the plaint after affording an opportunity of being heard to the parties, in accordance with law.

Petitioner was represented by Senior Advocate V.K. Jain with Mr. Vaibhav Jain.

Respondent was represented by Senior Advocate A.S. Garg with Ms. Nidhi Bohra.

State was represented by Mr. Amay Bajaj.

Case Title: Foti Rakabchand Jain through LRs Vs. Foti Ratanlal Jain through LRs 
Case citation: 2022 LiveLaw (MP) 8

Click Here To Read/Download Order


Tags:    

Similar News