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Can't Examine Sufficiency Of Evidence While Deciding Plea For Rejection Of Plaint Under Order VII Rule 11 CPC: Delhi High Court

PRIYANKA PREET
25 Jan 2022 1:17 PM GMT
Cant Examine Sufficiency Of Evidence While Deciding Plea For Rejection Of Plaint Under Order VII Rule 11 CPC: Delhi High Court
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The Delhi High Court has held that sufficiency of evidence placed on record by the plaintiffs is required to be considered during trial and not while deciding an application for rejection of plaint under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC.Holding thus, Justice Prateek Jalan upheld the order of the Civil Judge at Karkardooma Court, refusing to look into the documents produced by plaintiff to...

The Delhi High Court has held that sufficiency of evidence placed on record by the plaintiffs is required to be considered during trial and not while deciding an application for rejection of plaint under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC.

Holding thus, Justice Prateek Jalan upheld the order of the Civil Judge at Karkardooma Court, refusing to look into the documents produced by plaintiff to establish his claim of title over a disputed land and dismissing the Defendant's application for rejection of plaint.

The Bench observed,

"It is well settled that, for the purposes of rejection of the plaint under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC, the Court is duty bound to consider the contents of the plaint, and not to examine the sufficiency of the evidence or the defence put forth by the defendant."

Background

In the instant case, the Plaintiffs ('Respondents') filed a suit before the Trial Court claiming to be owners in possession of the suit land. To establish their ownership, the Respondents showed a sale deed and an injunction against the Defendants ('Petitioners') from creating third-party interest in the said land. The Respondents also made three applications for an injunction under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 of the CPC.

The Petitioners, however, filed an application under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC contending that the Respondents had insufficient evidence to establish their ownership due to a lack of title deed. Further, per the Petitioners, the Respondent's claim over possession was also false.

The Trial Court held that although no registered document or title deed was presented by the Respondents, the question of sufficiency of the evidence can be determined only at trial and not in an application for rejection of the plaint. Similarly, their claim of possession cannot be determined in an Order 7 Rule 11 application.

The Petitioners contended that by a separate order on the same date i.e., 13.09.2021, the Trial Court had rejected the application of the Respondents under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 on the ground that they had failed to make out a prima facie case in their favour. Therefore, in not rejecting the plaint under Order VII Rule 11, the Trial Court is contradicting itself.

Judgement

The Delhi High Court did not find any judicial infirmity in the Trial Court's order. The Court reaffirmed that in an Order VII Rule 11 application, the Court is duty-bound to examine the contents of the plaint but should not venture into examining the sufficiency of evidence or the defence put forward by the defendants. This is in consonance with the Saleem Bhai and Ors vs State of Maharashtra and Ors [(2003) 1 SCC 557] and other judgements.

As far as the inconsistency between the Trial Court's order in the Order VII Rule 11 and Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 applications is concerned, the standard of adjudication is entirely different. In an application under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2, the Court must examine if prima facie, the case is in favour of the Plaintiffs. However, under Order VII Rule 11, the Court must make a decision with regard to the termination of the plaint. Therefore, it is possible that the Court can find no prima facie case in favour of the Plaintiff and yet not reject the plaint as under Order VII Rule 11.

The Bench accordingly, dismissed the Petition.

Case Title: Capital Land Builders Pvt Ltd and Ors vs Shiva Kumar Jindad and Ors

Case No: CM(M) 69/2022

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 45

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment



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