Application for Rejection of Plaint under Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure can be filed at any stage and the Court has to dispose of the same before proceeding with the trial, the Apex Court has reiterated in R. K. ROJA VS. U. S. RAYUDU AND ANOTHER.
The High Court, in this case, had taken the view that the same “was not filed at the earliest opportunity” and that appellant was not diligent in prosecuting the application. Therefore, the court took the view that … “this application filed by the first respondent shall be decided at the time of final hearing …”
The Bench comprising of Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman observed “We are afraid that the stand taken by the High Court in the impugned order cannot be appreciated. An application under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC can be filed at any stage, as held by this Court in Sopan Sukhdeo Sable and others v. Assistant Charity Commissioner and others … “The trial court can exercise the power 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. …”. The only restriction is that the consideration of the application for rejection should not be on the basis of the allegations made by the defendant in his written statement or on the basis of the allegations in the application for rejection of the plaint. The court has to consider only the plaint as a whole, and in case, the entire plaint comes under the situations covered by Order VII Rule 11 (a) to (f) of the CPC, the same has to be rejected.”
The Court further observed: “Once an application is filed under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC, the court has to dispose of the same before proceeding with the trial. There is no point or sense in proceeding with the trial of the case, in case the plaint (Election Petition in the present case) is only to be rejected at the threshold. Therefore, the defendant is entitled to file the application for rejection before filing his written statement. In case, the application is rejected, the defendant is entitled to file his written statement thereafter (See Saleem Bhai andothers v. State of Maharashtra and others). But once an application for rejection is filed, the court has to dispose of the same before proceeding with the trial.”
However, taking into account the concern expressed by the High Court with regard to the alleged attempt on the part of the appellant for delaying the trial of the Election Petition, the bench heard the counsel appearing for the appellant on the application under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC and observed that the said Application does not come within the purview of any of the situations under Order VII Rule 11 (a) to (f) of the CPC. Rejecting the application, the Court directed the appellant to file written statement within two weeks and requested the High Court to dispose of the Election petition before the end of this year.
Read the Judgment here.