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Order VII Rue 11 CPC: Court Has Inherent Power To See That Frivolous Or Vexatious Litigations Are Not Allowed To Consume Its Time: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
25 Feb 2021 9:30 AM GMT
Order VII Rue 11 CPC: Court Has Inherent Power To See That Frivolous Or Vexatious Litigations Are Not Allowed To Consume Its Time: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that the provisions of Order VII Rue 11 [Rejection of Plaint] are not exhaustive and the Court has the inherent power to see that frivolous or vexatious litigations are not allowed to consume the time of the Court .In this case, the plaintiff filed a Civil Suit in the original side of the Madras High Court challenging a sale deed executed by the first defendant...

The Supreme Court observed that the provisions of Order VII Rue 11 [Rejection of Plaint] are not exhaustive and the Court has the inherent power to see that frivolous or vexatious litigations are not allowed to consume the time of the Court .

In this case, the plaintiff filed a Civil Suit in the original side of the Madras High Court  challenging a sale deed executed by the first defendant in favour of other defendants, on the ground that there is a pre-emption agreement executed between the Plaintiff and the first Defendant. The plaintiff stated that the said agreement was executed on the basis of the Power of Attorney executed by the first Defendant in favour of her son. The defendants moved an application under Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, contending that there is no Power of Attorney authorizing Zakir Ali to enter into any sale or preemption agreement. The Division Bench of the High Court allowed the application and rejected the plaint holding that the Power of Attorney does not authorize the attorney to execute an agreement as the Power of Attorney was granted for conduct of Court proceedings only.

In appeal before the Apex Court, the plaintiff contended that the clause 6 of the Power of Attorney "to do all lawful, as my said attorney deems fit and just on my behalf" authorizes the attorney to take all steps which are necessary and proper, as considered by the attorney. 

The bench observed that while considering an application under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC, the question before the Court is whether the plaint discloses any cause of action or whether the suit is barred by any law, on the face of the averments contained in the plaint itself. While considering an application under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC the Court is not to look into the strength or weakness of the case of the plaintiff or the defence raised by the defendant, it added. 

In this case, the court noted that there is no assertion in the plaint that the Power of Attorney authorized Mr. Zahir Ali to execute any pre-emption agreement. It said:

"In any case, an application under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC for rejection of the plaint requires a meaningful reading of the plaint as a whole. As held by this Court in ITC v. Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal reported in AIR 1998 SC 634, clever drafting creating illusions of cause of action are not permitted in law and a clear right to sue should be shown in the plaint. Similarly the Court must see that the bar in law of the suit is not camouflaged by devious and clever drafting of the plaint. Moreover, the provisions of Order VII Rue 11 are not exhaustive and the Court has the inherent power to see that frivolous or vexatious litigations are not allowed to consume the time of the Court. 8. In this case, a meaningful reading of the plaint as a whole makes it abundantly clear that the relief claimed in the suit is barred in view of the restricted scope of the Power of Attorney given by the first Defendant to Mr. Zahir Ali."

The court added that when the claim in a suit is based on an agreement executed through a Power of Attorney holder, the Court is not debarred from looking into the Power of Attorney.

"The argument of the learned Counsel for the Petitioner/Plaintiff that the expression 'to do all lawful acts' in Clause 6 of the Power of Attorney will include an act of sale of the property is not tenable. The acts mentioned in the Power of Attorney are in respect of Court proceedings and that too with reference to Civil Suit No. 72 of 1979. There is no clause permitting the attorney to sell the property or to enter into any agreement to sell. In the absence of any such clause in the Power of Attorney, the Defendant No. 1 cannot be bound by the acts of her son. Therefore, the purported pre-emption agreement does not give any right to the plaintiff to file the suit. The suit is thus not maintainable.", it said.

The court observed that on a meaningful reading of the plaint in its entirety that the plaintiff has no cause of action against the first defendant being the owner of the suit property, the Power of Attorney being patently invalid.  The Division Bench of the High Court has done substantial justice by nipping in the bud, a suit which is ex facie not maintainable for want of cause of action against the defendants or any of them, thereby saving precious judicial time as also inconvenience and expenditure to the parties to the suit, the bench said while dismissing the SLP. 


CASE: K. AKBAR ALI  vs. K. UMAR KHAN [SLP 31844 OF 2018]
CORAM: Justices Indira Banerjee and Hemant Gupta
COUNSEL: Sr. Adv R. Balasubramanian, Sr. Adv R. Basant, Adv Raghenth Basant
CITATION: LL 2021 SC 114


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