Plaint under CPC: Particulars, Procedure, Admission & Rejection
A plaint is a legal document which contains the written statement of the plaintiff’s claim. A plaint is the first step towards the initiation of a suit. In fact, in the very plaint, the contents of the civil suit is laid out.
Through such a plaint, the grievances of the plaintiff are spelled out, as well as the possible causes of action that can arise out of the suit. A plaint which is presented to a civil court of appropriate jurisdiction contains everything, including facts to relief that the plaintiff expects to obtain.
Although it hasn’t been defined in the CPC, it is a comprehensive document, a pleading of the plaintiff, which outlines the essentials of a suit, and sets the legal wheels up and running.
Order VII of the CPC particularly deals with a plaint. A few of the essentials of a plaint implicit in itself are those only material facts, and not all facts or the law as such is to be stated, the facts should be concise and precise, and no evidence should be mentioned.
PARTICULARS OF A PLAINT:
- The name of the particular court where the suit is initiated.
- Name, place, and description of the plaintiff’s residence
- Name, place, and description of the defendant’s residence.
- A statement of unsoundness of mind or minority in case the plaintiff or the defendant belongs to either of the categories.
- The facts that led to the cause of action and when it arose.
- The facts that point out to the jurisdiction of the court.
- The plaintiff’s claim for relief.
- The amount allowed or relinquished by the plaintiff if so
- A statement containing the value of the subject matter of the suit as admitted by the case.
- Order VII, Rule 2 states that the plaintiff shall state the exact amount of money to be obtained from the defendant if the case is so. On the other hand, if the exact amount cannot be arrived at, as is then case with mesne profits, or claim for property from the defendant, an approximate figure must be mentioned by the plaintiff.
- Order VII, Rule 3 states that when immovable property is the subject matter of the plaint, the property must be duly described, that is sufficient in the ordinary course to identify it.
- Order VII, Rule 3 states that when the plaintiff has initiated the suit in a representative capacity, it has to be shown that he/ she has sufficient interest in doing the same as well as has taken the required steps to ensure the same.
- The plaint should adequately show the involvement of the defendant, including his/ her interests in the same and thereby justifying the need to bring him/ her forward.
- If the plaintiff files the suit after the expiration of the period of limitation, he/ she must show the reason for which such an exemption from law is being claimed.
PROCEDURE FOR ADMISSION OF THE PLAINT:
When the court serves the summons for the defendant, according to Order V, Rule 9, the plaintiff must present copies of then plaint according to the number of defendants, and should also pay the summons fee, within seven days of such a summons.
THE PARTICULARS OF A PLAINT CAN BE DIVIDED INTO THREE IMPORTANT PARTS SUCH AS HEADING AND TITLE, BODY OF THE PLAINT, AND RELIEF CLAIMED.
HEADING AND TITLE:
NAME OF THE COURT:
The name of the court should be written as the heading. It is not necessary to mention the presiding officer of the court. The name of the court would be sufficient. Eg. In the Court of District Judge, Kolkata.
PARTIES TO THE SUIT:
There are two parties to every suit, the plaintiffs and the defendants. For the purpose of the suit, the name, place, and description of the residence of both the plaintiffs and the defendants have to be mentioned in the particular plaint.
When there are several plaintiffs, all of their names have to be mentioned and have to be categorically listed, according to their pleadings, or in the order in which their story is told by the plaintiff.
Minors cannot sue nor can be sued. So if one of the parties is a minor or of unsound mind, it will have to be mentioned in the cause title.
TITLE OF THE SUIT:
The title of the suit contains the reasons for approaching the court and the jurisdiction before which the plaint Is initiated.
BODY OF THE PLAINT
This is the body of the plaint wherein the plaintiff describes his/ her concerns in an elaborative manner. This is divided into short paragraphs, with each paragraph containing one fact each. The body of the plaint is divided into two further parts which are:
The formal portion contains the following essentials.
- A statement regarding the date of cause of action. It is necessary for every plaint to contain the date when the cause of action arose. The primary objective behind this is to determine the period of limitation.
- There should be a statement regarding the jurisdiction of the court. The plaint must contain all facts that point out the pecuniary or territorial jurisdiction of the court.
- The value of the subject matter of the suit must be stated properly in this part of the plaint.
- Statement regarding minority.
- The representative character of the plaintiff
- The reasons why the plaintiff wants to claim exemptions under the law if the suit is initiated after the period of limitation.
This portion of the plaint must contain all the necessary and vital facts, which constitute the suit. If the plaintiff wishes to pursue a course of action on any other grounds, such grounds must be duly mentioned.
- It should be shown in the plaint that the defendant is interested in the subject matter and therefore must be called upon by the court.
- If there is more than one defendant, and if the liability is not joint, then the individual liability of each and every defendant must be shown separately.
- In the same way, if there is more than one plaintiff, and their cause of action is not joint, then too, the same has to be mentioned separately.
The last part of the plaint is the relief. The relief claimed must be worded properly and accurately. Every plaint must state specifically the kind of relief asked for, be it in the form of damages, specific performance or injunction or damages of any other kind. This has to be done with utmost carefulness because the claims in the plaint cannot be backed by oral pleadings.
SIGNATURE AND VERIFICATION:
The signature of the plaintiff is put towards the end of the plaint. In case the plaintiff is not present due to any legitimate reason, then the signature of an authorized representative would suffice.
The plaint should also be duly verified by the plaintiff. In case the plaintiff is unable to do so, his/ her representative may do the same after informing the court.
The plaintiff has to specify against the paragraphs in the pleadings, what all he/ she has verified by his/ her own awareness of the facts, and what has been verified as per information received, and subsequently believed to be true.
The signature of the plaintiff/ verifier, along with the date and the place, at the end of the plaint is essential.
The verification can only be done before a competent ourt or in front of an Oath Commissioner.
Where the language of the plaint is beyond the comprehension of the plaintiff, the same has to be translated, or made known to the plaintiff, and only after that can he/ she put his/her signature and get the plaint verified by the Oath Commissioner.
RETURN OF PLAINT
Order VII, Rule 10 states that the plaint will have to be returned in such situations where the court is u able to entertain the plaint, or when it does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the plaint.
The courts can exercise the power of returning the plaint for presentation before the appropriate court if it feels that the trial court itself did not have the appropriate jurisdiction in the first place.
Once the appellate court finds out that the trial court decided on the civil suit without proper jurisdiction, such decision would be nullified.
DISMISSAL OF SUIT
If the plaint is to be returned to the parties after its rejection, the court has to fix a date for the same where the parties can arrive for this purpose.
This was mentioned in Rule 10, inserted by the amendment act of 1976. If the court does not have the adequate jurisdiction, the proper course is to return the plaint and not to dismiss it.
NATURE OF RETURNED PLAINT
When a plaint has been returned for want of proper jurisdiction, it is to be treated as a fresh plaint. This fresh plaint can be amended and no consequences can arise as a result of it. This amended plaint cannot be rejected by stating that the averments were not present in the original plaint. This argument will not be taken into consideration and the plaint will be allowed to stand.
WHEN CAN A PLAINT BE REJECTED?
A plaint can be rejected under the following scenarios:
- Where the cause of action is not disclosed
- When the relief claimed by the plaintiff is undervalued, and he/ she is not able to correct it even after being instructed by the court to do so.
- When the relief claimed is proper, but the plaintiff proceeds with the plaint on a paper which has not been stamped sufficiently and fails to do so even after the court’s instruction.
- Where the suit stems from a statement which has been essentially barred by law.
WHEN CAN THE APPLICATION FOR THE REJECTION OF A PLAINT BE MOVED?
Application for the rejection of the plaint can be in instituted at any time, even after the issues have been solidified in the said plaint.
A plaint is important in the sense that it is the first and foremost step towards instituting the suit. Therefore, due care has to be taken to ensure that the procedure required for the initiation of plaint has been duly recognized.
It is mandatory to follow protocol by stating the relevant facts, the necessary details, refrain from providing evidence and mention the kind of relief envisaged so that the plaintiff is duly benefitted