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Order VII Rule 11 CPC: Plaint Has To Be Rejected If Reliefs Claimed In It Cannot Be Granted Under Law: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
21 Sep 2021 11:36 AM GMT
Order VII Rule 11 CPC: Plaint Has To Be Rejected If Reliefs Claimed In It Cannot Be Granted Under Law: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that a court has to reject a plaint if it finds that none of the reliefs sought in it can be granted to the plaintiff under the law.In such a case, it will be necessary to put an end to the sham litigation so that further judicial time is not wasted, the bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai observed.The court added that underlying object of Order VII Rule...

The Supreme Court observed that a court has to reject a plaint if it finds that none of the reliefs sought in it can be granted to the plaintiff under the law.

In such a case, it will be necessary to put an end to the sham litigation so that further judicial time is not wasted, the bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai observed.

The court added that underlying object of Order VII Rule 11 of CPC is that when a plaint does not disclose a cause of action, the court would not permit the plaintiff to unnecessarily protract the proceedings.

In this case, a civil suit was filed by the plaintiffs before the Calcutta High Court claiming various reliefs in connection with assets and properties of the firm "Soorajmull Nagarmull". The case of the plaintiffs is that in spite of demise of the three original partners of the partnership firm, through whom the plaintiffs were claiming, the defendants have been carrying on the business of the partnership firm. 

The defendants filed application seeking rejection of the plaint on the ground that the plaint does not disclose any cause of action, and the relief as claimed in the plaint could not be granted. Though the single bench dismissed these applications, they were allowed by the Division Bench.

In appeal, the appellant contended that the Division Bench, in the impugned judgment and order, has almost conducted a mini-­trial to find out as to whether the relief as claimed in the plaint could be granted or not. That, such an exercise is impermissible while considering an 6 application under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC. On the other hand respondents, contended that, if the reliefs, as sought in the plaint, cannot be granted, then the only option available to the Court is to reject the plaint.

In this regard, the bench referred to the judgments in T. Arivandandam v. T.V. Satyapal (1977) 4 SCC 467 and Pearlite Liners (P) Ltd. v. Manorama Sirsi (2004) 3 SCC 172) and observed:

15. It could thus be seen that this Court has held that reading of the averments made in the plaint should not only be formal but also meaningful. It has been held that if clever drafting has created the illusion of a cause of action, and a meaningful reading thereof would show that the pleadings are manifestly vexatious and meritless, in the sense of not disclosing a clear right to sue, then the court should exercise its power under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC. It has been held that such a suit has to be nipped in the bud at the first hearing itself.
17. It could thus be seen that the court has to find out as to whether in the background of the facts, the relief, as claimed in the plaint, can be granted to the plaintiff. It has been held that if the court finds that none of the reliefs sought in the plaint  can be granted to the plaintiff under the law, the question then arises is as to whether such a suit is to be allowed to continue and go for trial. This Court answered the said question by holding that such a suit should be thrown out at the threshold. This Court, therefore, upheld the order passed by the trial court of rejecting the suit and that of the appellate court, thereby affirming the decision of the trial court. This Court set aside the order passed by the High Court, wherein the High Court had set aside the concurrent orders of the trial court and the appellate court and had restored and remanded the suit for trial to the trial court.

The court said that it is in agreement with the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court which came to the conclusion that the reliefs as sought in the plaint, cannot be granted. While dismissing the appeal, the court further observed:

20. It could thus be seen that this Court has held that the power conferred on the court to terminate a civil action is a drastic one, and the conditions enumerated under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC are required to be strictly adhered to. However, under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC, the duty is cast upon the court to determine whether the plaint discloses a cause of action, by scrutinizing the averments in the plaint, read in conjunction with the documents relied upon, or whether the suit is barred by any law. This Court has held that the underlying object of Order VII Rule 11 of CPC is that when a plaint does not disclose a cause of action, the court would not permit the plaintiff to unnecessarily protract the proceedings. It has been held that in such a case, it will be necessary to put an end to the sham litigation so that further judicial time is not wasted.



Citation: LL 2021 SC 483

Case name: Rajendra Bajoria Vs. Hemant Kumar Jalan

Case no.| Date: CA 5819-­5822 OF 2021 | 21 September 2021

Coram: Justices L. Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai

Counsel: Sr. Adv Gopal Jain, Senior Advocates Dr. A.M. Singhvi, K.V. Viswanathan, Gopal Sankaranarayanan for respondents


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