The Supreme Court has observed that a plaint can be rejected Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, when it is manifestly vexatious, meritless and groundless, in the sense that it does not disclose a clear right to sue.
The bench comprising of Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Sanjiv Khanna also observed that a mere contemplation or possibility that a right may be infringed without any legitimate basis for that right, would not be sufficient to hold that the plaint discloses a cause of action.
Krishna Nandan Singh and Anil Kumar are brothers. After effecting a partition deed, Anil Kumar sold his property to another person. Krishna Nandan filed a suit against him claiming that the sale is void ab initio and inoperative as there is every chance that the privacy of his family would be affected and destroyed. Essentially, what is claimed by the plaintiff is the right of pre-emption or repurchase of the portion that was allotted to his brother. However, Krishna Nandan did not challenge or deny the partition.
Referring to the pleadings in the plaint, the bench observed:
It is to be held that the plaint does not disclose any cause of action for the relief prayed, that is, a direction to the second respondent to execute and register a sale deed in favour of the first respondent and to put the first respondent in possession. There does not exist any legal right which the plaintiff or the first respondent is entitled to invoke and enforce. For a right to exist, there must be a corelative duty which can be enforced in a law suit. A right cannot exist without an enforceable duty. Ownership means a bundle of rights which would normally include the right to exclude and transfer the property in a manner one wants, subject to contractual obligations as agreed or statutory restrictions imposed on the owner. In the present case, the pleadings fail to establish violation of a statutory right or breach of a contractual obligation which creates an enforceable right in the court of law. In the absence of any such right or even a claim, the plaint would not disclose cause of action.
The bench also reiterated that the cause of action means every fact which, if traversed, would be necessary for the plaintiff to prove in order to seek a decree and relief against the defendant. Cause of action requires infringement of the right or breach of an obligation and comprises of all material facts on which the right and claim for breach is founded, that is, some act done by the defendant to infringe and violate the right or breach an obligation, the court added.
While rejecting the plaint, the bench further observed:
"In T. Arivandanam v. T.V. Satyapal and Another, this Court has held that if the plaint is manifestly vexatious, meritless and groundless, in the sense that it does not disclose a clear right to sue, it would be right and proper to exercise power under Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 ('Code', for short). A mere contemplation or possibility that a right may be infringed without any legitimate basis for that right, would not be sufficient to hold that the plaint discloses a cause of action."
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