The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 has been enacted by the Parliament to govern the laws relating to the procedure of courts of civil judicature. The Code is exhaustive in nature and comprises of 158 sections and 51 orders entailing various rules, detailing the procedure for institution of suit, its trial, passing of decree, its execution and other issues incidental thereto.
On one hand, the Code prescribes for various rights of an aggrieved party to institute the suit as Plaintiff, similarly, it also safeguards the interest of the one contesting it being the Defendant against the cases which are barred by law or have been filed without a valid cause of action etc.
One such key provision in the hand of the Defendant to contest a frivolous suit and get the same rejected is encapsulated under Order VII, Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
The contents of Order VII, Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 is reproduced here-in-below:
“11. Rejection of plaint – The plaint shall be rejected in the following cases:-
(a) where it does not disclose a cause of action;
(b) 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;
(c) where the relief claimed is properly valued, but the plaint is returned 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, fails to do so;
(d) where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law;
(e) where it is not filed in duplicate;
(f) where the plaintiff fails to comply with the provision of rule 9:
Provided that the time fixed by the Court for the correction of the valuation or supplying of the requisite stamp-paper shall not be extended unless the Court, for reasons to be recorded, is satisfied that the plaintiff was prevented by any cause of an exceptional nature form correcting the valuation or supplying the requisite stamp-paper , as the case may be, within the time fixed by the Court and that refusal to extend such time would cause grave injustice to the plaintiff.”
It has been observed that even after filing of Application under Order VII, Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 by the Defendant / contesting party seeking rejection of Plaint, the Court does not exercise its authority in disposing of the same then and there and rather directs the Defendant to file his Written Statement and keeps the said Application pending for disposal at the time of hearing the final arguments.
However, on 04.07.2016, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No. 5540/2016 being titled as “R.K. Roja vs. U.S. Rayudu & Another” has held as follows:
“6. Once an application is filed under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC, the court has to dispose of the same before proceeding with the trial. There is no point or sense in proceeding with the trial of the case, in case the plaint (Election Petition in the present case) is only to be rejected at the threshold……..”
The Hon’ble Supreme Court while arriving at the afore-said conclusion quoted in approval the paragraph number 20 of a matter being titled as ”Sopan Sukhdeo Sable and others vs. Assistant Charity Commissioner and others”, (2004) 3 SCC 137, which is reproduced here-in-below:
“20. … Rule 11 of Order 7 lays down an independent remedy made available to the defendant to challenge the maintainability of the suit itself, irrespective of his right to contest the same on merits. The law ostensibly does not contemplate at any stage when the objections can be raised, and also does not say in express terms about the filing of a written statement. Instead, the word “shall” is used, clearly implying thereby that it casts a duty on the court to perform its obligations in rejecting the plaint when the same is hit by any of the infirmities provided in the four clauses of Rule 11, even without intervention of the defendant. …”
With the said decision, I hope that the trial of the suits shall be concluded expeditiously in as much as the cases being hit by the rigours of Order VII, Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 would be rejected then and there without being made to suffer an exhaustive trial.