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Rejection of Plaint Order 7 Rule 11: Saleem Bhai v/s State of Maharashtra 2002

Saleem Bhai And Others vs State of Maharashtra And Ors on 17 December, 2002, Appeal (civil) 8518 of 2002 AIR 2003 SC 759

Facts of The Case
  1. The appellant filed an application under order VII Rule 11 of the code of civil procedure,1908 (C.P.C.) in the suits and praying the court to dismiss the suits on the grounds urged by the appellant. It is stated there that the plaint is liable to be rejected under clause (a) and clause (d) of Rule 11 of order VII C.P.C. There was also an application by the appellant under section 151 of C.P.C. regarding prayer to the court that they first decide the application under order VII rule 11 C.P.C
  2. The respondent also filed an application under order VIII rule 10 of C.P.C. to get the orders in the suits immediately as the appellant did not filed his written statement
  3. Afterwards the learned Trial Judge dismissed the application given under order VIII Rule 10 C.P.C and also the application filed under Section 151 of C.P.C. whereas concerning to the application under order VII rule 11 C.P.C the learned Trial Judge allowed the appellant to file his written statement.
  4. after the aforesaid order passed aggrieved thereby, the appellant filed revision petition before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh [Indore Bench].
Findings of the High Court
  1. Hon'ble High Court confirmed the order of learned Trial Judge and revised the order passed by the learned Trial Judge that the appellant should file his written statement and also observed that the trial court should frame issues of laws and facts arising out of pleadings and the trial court should record its finding on the preliminary issues in accordance with the law before proceeding to try the suit on the facts.
  2. after the decree given by the High court the appellant and an appeal before Hon'ble Supreme Court of India

Held by The Supreme Court
The common question arose after the appeals made before the Supreme Court that whether an application under order VII rule 11 C.P.C ought to be decided on the allegations in the plaint and filing of the written statement by the defendant is irrelevant and unnecessary.

Order VII Rule 11 C.P.C. deals with rejection of plaint it provides some condition under which the plaint can be rejected, in the aforesaid matter the appellant filed the application relying on clause (a) and (d) of VII rule 11 of C.P.C
  1. Where it does not disclose a cause of action;
  2. Where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law
Hon'ble Supreme Court held that A perusal of Order VII Rule 11 C.P.C. makes it clear that the relevant facts which need to be looked into for deciding an application thereunder are the averments in the plaint. The trial court can exercise the power under Order VII Rule 11 C.P.C. at any stage of the suit-before registering the plaint or after issuing summons to the defendant at any time before the conclusion of the trial.

For the purposes of deciding an application under clauses (a) and (d) of Rule 11 of Order VII C.P.C. the averments in the plaint are germane; the pleas taken by the defendant in the written statement would be wholly irrelevant at that stage, therefore, a direction to file the written statement without deciding the application under Order VII Rule 11 C.P.C. cannot but be procedural irregularity touching the exercise of jurisdiction by the trial court.

Therefore it is clear from the aforesaid order that it was beyond the jurisdiction vested in the court as well as it was seen as a procedural irregularity and Hon'ble court also said that the concerned High Court has also not looked upon the aforesaid aspect which was given later by the Supreme Court and the court set aside all the previous orders and remit the case back to the Trial Court for deciding the application under order VII rule 11 of C.P.C on the basis of averments in the plaint after affording an opportunity of being heard to the parties in accordance with law. Hence the appeal was allowed.

Case from the view point of: Rejection of plaint
The aforesaid case is very much important from the perspective of rejection of plaint under order VII rule 11 of C.P.C. as the case cleared about the jurisdiction of the court in the aforesaid matter that the direction to file written statement without deciding the application under VII rule 11 of C.P.C. is a procedural irregularity and also it stated that the relevant fact which should be looked on deciding the plaint is averments in the plaint.

Let's look upon all the grounds which are given in the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 Order VII which talk about the Plaint that how it should be made, its content, relief sought, procedure of admitting the plaint etc. however in rule 11 of order VII rejection of plaint is mentioned where 6 grounds are mentioned on the basis of which the respondent claims that the plaint should be rejected, they are:
  1. Where it does not disclose a cause of action; (as per the bare act)
  2. Where the relief claimed is undervalued, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to correct the valuation within a time to be fixed by the court, fails to do so;
  3. Where the relief claimed is properly valued by the plaint is written upon paper insufficiently stamped, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to supply the requisite stamp-paper within a time to be fixed by the Court, failed to do so;
  4. Where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law;
  5. Where it is not filed in duplicate;
  6. Where the plaintiff fails to comply with the provisions of rule 9;
In rule 12 its mentioned that where a plaint is rejected the judge shall record an order and mention the reason behind the rejection of the plaint but in the above case the written statement has been asked without even deciding the application of order VII rule 11 and the case cleared that such practice should not take into the consideration after aforesaid order passed by Hon'ble Supreme Court and also this rule can be applied in any stage of the case. In a case before the Calcutta High Court, Selina Sheehan v. Hafez Mohammad Fateh Nashib, the plaint was rejected even after it was numbered and instituted as a suit.

Importance of Order VII Rule 11 With Respect to Pleadings
Judicial time is very precious and specially in our country and it should be managed in the most efficient way it can't be, sham litigation not only waste the time of the court but also cause unwarranted prejudice and harm to parties arrayed as defendants in such litigation therefore in order to deal with such problems such as sham litigation the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 provides with order VII rule 11 in short O7 R11 it's like a special remedy for the courts to dismiss the suit at threshold without further proceeding such as recording evidence and conducting further trial .

With the remedy on basis of the evidence adducted if it is satisfied that the action must be terminated on any grounds contained in the provision of order VII rule 11 the court do so and save its crucial time and avoid sham litigations.

The grounds such as 11[b] if the compensation amount which is being demanded by the plaintiff is lesser than the necessary amount. Rule 11[c] where the plaint can be rejected if it has not been duly stamped and authorized and if the person is not able to make up the deficiency he can apply as mendicant for continuing the suit but also the reasonable time is being given by the court to amend the plaint and correct it.

In clause 11[d] if the suit is barred by any law of limitation, the plaint of such a suit can be amended at the hearing. It is the duty of the court to check whether it is accordance with the law of limitation or not, also when it can be shown by the plaintiff that the suit was filed by the plaintiff is within the time period of limitation the provision of the aforesaid order 7 will not be attracted because it will become the question of law and facts.

Furthermore clause 11[e] requires that the copy of the plaint along with the original one should be filed by the plaintiff while instituting any plaint, the plaint can be rejected if the plaintiff fails to attach copies of plaint. Also rule 11[f] states that if the plaintiff does not follow order VII rule 9 of the code which is the procedure of admitting the plaint the plaintiff should attach all the required document and its list and number of copies required by the code, the plaint can be rejected.

As the Judiciary is among the three organs of the government which are known to be the pillars of democracy the smooth working of judiciary is very much important as well as if we look up to the burden of cases the time is very crucial therefore in that manner also, we can say that the O7 R11 of C.P.C is important regarding to the pleadings. On the other hand, the O7 R11 also gives a viewpoint to any plaint that it should contain all the required contents and must in accordance with O7 so it could not come to the category of aforesaid rule and not get rejected.

Through this judgment, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has stated that judicial time is crucial one, and that courts are bound to reject sham plaints to avoid wastage of judicial time. It has clarified that the power of the courts under O7 R 11 are mandatory in nature and can be exercised at any stage of the suit, either before registering the plaint, or after issuing summons to the defendant, or before conclusion of the trial.

Litigation also go with the option of seeking rejection of plaint if the suit fails to give a valid cause of action in the plaint accordance with the O7 R11 but also we have to remember that the application of giver order and rule must be practiced very carefully and must keep the points given by Supreme Court in the case of Saleembhai v. state of Maharashtra and there should be no procedural irregularity and no plaint should suffer injustice due to wrong application of O7 R11.
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