The Supreme Court has observed that a plaint can be rejected under Order 7 Rule 11(d) of the Code of Civil Procedure, if by considering the averments, it is found that the suit is clearly barred by law of limitation.
In this case (Raghwendra Sharan Singh vs. Ram Prasanna Singh), the plaintiff filed the suit for a declaration that the deed of gift dated 06.03.1981 executed in favour of the defendant is showy and sham transaction and no title and possession with respect to the gifted property ever passed to the a defendant and hence the same is not binding on him. He also made a prayer for confirming his possession over the suit property and in case he is found out of possession, then a decree for recovery of possession be passed.
The defendant filed an application under Order 7 Rule 11 r/w Order XIV, Rule 2 CPC for rejection of the plaint on the ground that the suit is clearly barred by law of limitation, as the deed of gift having been executed on 06.03.1981, the suit under Article 59 of the Limitation Act ought to have been filed within three years of the deed of execution of the gift deed, whereas the same has been filed after more than 22 years of the execution of the deed.
The Trial court dismissed the application and the High court confirmed it by dismissing the revision petition filed by the defendant. The Trial court had agreed with the contention of the plaintiff that the question with respect to the limitation can be said to be a mixed question of law and facts, and thus the evidence was required to be led by both the parties and only thereafter, the issue with respect to limitation is required to be considered.
Perusing the averments of the plaint, the bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice MR Shah observed that the plaintiff by clever drafting has tried to bring the suit within the period of limitation which, otherwise, is barred by law of limitation. The court reiterated that, as the suit is clearly barred by law of limitation, the plaint is required to be rejected in exercise of powers under Order 7 Rule 11 of the CPC. The court also said that the plaintiff cannot be allowed to circumvent that provision by means of clever drafting so as to avoid mention of those circumstances, by which the suit is barred by law of limitation. While setting aside the orders, the bench said:
"Now, so far as the application on behalf of the original plaintiff and even the observations made by the learned trial Court as well as the High Court that the question with respect to the limitation is a mixed question of law and facts, which can be decided only after the parties lead the evidence is concerned, as observed and held by this Court in the cases of Sham Lal alias Kuldip (supra); N.V. Srinivas Murthy (supra) as well as in the case of Ram Prakash Gupta (supra), considering the averments in the plaint if it is found that the suit is clearly barred by law of limitation, the same can be rejected in exercise of powers under Order 7 Rule 11(d) of the CPC."