In a judgment delivered last week, the Supreme Court has examined the scope of Rule 1A of Order XXIII CPC which deals with power of a court to permit transposition of defendants as plaintiff.
The bench comprising Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari observed that, if the plaintiff is seeking to withdraw or to abandon his claim under Rule 1 of Order XXIII and the defendant seeking transposition is having an interest in the subject-matter of the suit and thereby, a substantial question to be adjudicated against the other defendant, then the defendants can be transposed as plaintiffs.
The court in R.Dhanasundari vs. A.N. Umakanth was considering an appeal against an order of the Trial court permitting transposition of defendants as plaintiff, as the original plaintiff withdrew.
Rule 1A, provides that, in the eventuality of plaintiff withdrawing the suit or abandoning his claim, a pro forma defendant, who has a substantial question to be decided against the co-defendant, is entitled to seek his transposition as plaintiff for determination of such a question against the said co-defendant in the given suit itself.
The bench observed that, under this provision, the powers of the Court to grant such a prayer for transposition are very wide and could be exercised for effectual and comprehensive adjudication of all the matters in controversy in the suit. The court added:
"The basic requirement for exercise of powers under Rule 1-A ibid. would be to examine if the plaintiff is seeking to withdraw or to abandon his claim under Rule 1 of Order XXIII and the defendant seeking transposition is having an interest in the subject-matter of the suit and thereby, a substantial question to be adjudicated against the other defendant. In such a situation, the pro forma defendant is to be allowed to continue with the same suit as plaintiff, thereby averting the likelihood of his right being defeated and also obviating the unnecessary multiplicity of proceedings."
In the facts of the case, the bench observed that Trial court rightly allowed the transposition.