A plaint is a statement of claim, a document by presentation of which the suit is instituted. Its object is to state the grounds upon which the assistance of the Court is sought by the plaintiff.
The essentials or particulars of plaint are (Order VII: Rule 1)
(a) The name of the plaintiff,
(b) The name, description and place of residence of the plaintiff,
(c) The name, description and place of residence of the defendant,
(d) Where the plaintiff or the defendant is a minor or a person of unsound mind, a statement to that effect, Judicial Officers’ Examination Course Material
(e) The facts constituting the cause of action and when it arose,
(f) The facts showing that the Court has jurisdiction,
(g) The relief which the plaintiff claims,
(h) Where the plaintiff has allowed to set off or relinquished a portion of his claim, the amount so allowed or relinquished, and
(i) A statement of the value of the subject matter of the suit for the purpose of jurisdiction and of Court fee.
Order VII: Rule 2, In Money Suits:
Where the plaintiff seeks the recovery of money, the plaint shall state the precise amount claimed.
If the suit is for account of mesne profits or for movables in the possession of the defendant or for debts which cannot be determined, the approximate amount or value should be stated.
Order VII: Rule 3, where the subject matter of the suit is immovable property:
The plaint should contain a description of the property sufficient to identify it by indicating boundaries; survey numbers etc.
Order VII: Rule 4, when plaintiff sues as representative:
Where the plaintiff sues in a representative character the plaint shall show not only that he has an actual existing interest in the subject matter, but that he has taken the steps (if any) necessary to enable him to institute a suit concerning it.
Order VII: Rule 5, Defendant’s interest and Liability to be shown:
The plaint should state the interest and liability of the defendant in the subject matter of the suit.
Order VII: Rule 6, grounds of Exemption from Limitation Law:
If the suit is time barred, the plaint should state the ground upon which the exemption from the law of limitation is claimed.
Plaint under Section 26, Order VII of C.P.C. for Specific Performance:
The plaintiff above named humbly states as under:
1. The address for the purposes of service of summons, notice etc., to the defendant is as stated in the cause title.
2. The address for service of summons, notice, etc., on the plaintiff is that of their counsel Sri M. Bhujanga Rao, 555 Charles Street, Secunderabad.
3. Facts – Order VII, Rule 1(E):
That by an agreement in writing dated 1st January, 1989, signed by the defendant, the defendant contracted to sell to the plaintiff his Bungalow referred to in the said agreement (hereinafter referred to as the suit property) for Rs. 50,000/-, and an amount of Rs. 5,000/- was paid by the plaintiff to the defendant as earnest money at the time of agreement.
4. The plaintiff was ready and willing to perform his part of the contract and on June 1st, 1989 he tendered Rs. 45,000/- the balance of consideration to the defendant and called upon him to execute a sale deed, but the defendant refused to do so. (This is filed with this plaint and marked as document No. 2).
5. The plaintiff has always been and is still ready and willing to perform his part of the contract by paying the balance of purchase price to the defendant.
6. Cause of Action – Order VII, Rule 1(e):
The cause of action for the suit arose on January 1, 1989 when the defendant executed the agreement to sell the suit property to the plaintiff, and on June 1st, 1989, when the plaintiff tendered the balance amount to the defendant and showed his readiness and willingness to perform his part of the contract but the defendant refused to execute the sale deed and thereby failed to perform his part of the contract.
7. Jurisdiction – Order VII, Rule 1(f):
The cause of action arose in Hyderabad because the agreement was executed in Hyderabad and the defendant also resides within the territorial limits of this Hon’ble Court, therefore, this Hon’ble Court has Jurisdiction to try this suit.
8. This plaintiff has not filed any suit or petition in any Court or Tribunal against the defendant for the specific performance.
9. Court Fee – Order VII, Rule 1(i):
The suit is valued at Rs. 50,000/- for the purpose of jurisdiction as well as for the purpose of Court fee. Since the value of the subject matter of the suit is for Rs. 50,000/-. Therefore a Court fee of Rs. 2,386/- is paid herewith as per A.P. Court Fee and Suit Valuation Act. Hence the Court fee paid is sufficient.
10. Relief – Order VII, Rule 1(g):
The plaintiff therefore prays that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to Decree the suit as under:
(a) That the defendant may be ordered to transfer the suit property by executing a sale deed in favour of the plaintiff;
(b) that in the alternative, the defendant may be ordered to refund to the plaintiff the amount of Rs. 5,000/- paid as earnest money and also to pay Rs. 45,000/- as damages for committing breach of the contract;
(c) That the defendant may be ordered to pay the plaintiffs costs of this suit.
Where at any stage of the suit, the Court finds that it has no jurisdiction, either territorial or pecuniary or with regard to the subject matter of the suit, it will return the plaint to be presented to the proper Court in which the suit ought to have been filed.
The Judge returning the plaint should make endorsement on the plaint regarding:
(i) the date of presentation in his Court,
(ii) the name of the party presenting the plaint,
(iii) the reasons for returning the plaint.
Lays down the procedure to be followed by the Court before the plaint is ordered to be returned, to be presented to the proper Court. The procedure to be followed is :
1. Where, in any suit, after the defendant has appeared, the Court is of the opinion that the plaint should be returned, he shall, before doing so, intimate its decision to the plaintiff.
2. Where an intimation is given to the plaintiff under sub-rule (1) the plaintiff may make an application to the Court-
(a) Specifying the Court, in which he proposes to present the plaint after its return,
(b) Praying that the Court may fix a date for the appearance of the parties in the Court, and
(c) Requesting that the notice of the date so fixed may be given to him and to the defendant.
3. Where an application is made by the plaintiff under sub-rule (2) the Court shall, before returning the plaint and notwithstanding that the order for return of the plaint was made by it on the ground that it has no jurisdiction to try the suit-
(a) Fix a date for the appearance of the parties in the Court in which the plaint is proposed to be presented, and
(b) Give to the plaintiff and to the defendant notice of such date for appearance.
4. Where the notice of the date for appearance is given under sub-rule
(a) It shall not be necessary for the Court in which the plaint summons for appearance in the suit, unless that Court, for reasons to be recorded, otherwise direct, and
(b) The said notice shall be deemed to be summons for the appearance of the defendant in the Court in which the plaint is presented on the date so fixed by the Court by which the plaint was returned.
5. Where the application made by the plaintiff under sub-rule (2) is allowed by the Court, the plaintiff shall not be entitled to appeal against the order returning the plaint.
Rule 10-B: 1 Where on an appeal against an order for the return of plaint, the Court hearing the appeal confirms such order, the Court of appeal may, if the plaintiff by an application so desires, while returning the plaint, direct plaintiff to file the plaint subject to Limitation Act, 1963 in the Court in which the suit should have been instituted, and fix a date for the appearance of the parties in the Court in which the plaint is directed to be filed and when the date is so fixed, it shall not be necessary for the Court in which the plaint is filed to serve the defendant with the summons for appearance in the suit, unless that Court in which the plaint is filed, for reasons to be recorded, otherwise directs.
2. The direction made by the Court under sub-rule (1) shall be without any prejudice to the rights of the parties to question the jurisdiction of the Court, in which the plaint is filed, to try the suit.
Rejection of Plaint:
Rule 11 of Order 7 of C.P.C. deals with rejection of plaint. Rule 11 says that the plaint will be rejected in the following cases-
(a) Where it does not is close a cause of action:
If the plaint filed by the plaintiff does not disclose any cause of action, the Court will reject it, but in order to reject the plaint on this ground, the Court must look at the plaint and at nothing else.
The power to reject a plaint on this ground should be exercised only if the Court comes to the conclusion that even if all the allegation set out in the plaint are proved, the plaintiff would not be entitled to any relief. In that case, the Court will reject the plaint without issuing summons to the defendants.
The Supreme Court in Arivandanam vs. Satyapal held that the reading of the plaint should be meaningful and not formal.
Again, the Supreme Court held in Rooplal vs. Gill, that the plaint can be rejected as a whole if it does not disclose cause of action. A part of it cannot be rejected.
(b) Where the relief claimed is under valued:
Where the relic? Claimed by the plaintiff is under valued and the valuation is not corrected within the time fixed or extended by the Court, the plaint will be rejected.
The Supreme Court in Meenakshi Sundaram vs. Venkatachalam held that in the considering the question whether the suit is properly valued or not, the Court must confine its attention to the plaint only and should not look at the other circumstances which may subsequently influence the judgement of the Court as to the true value of the relief prayed for.
(c) Where it is insufficiently stamped:
Sometimes the relief claimed by the plaintiff is properly valued, but the plaint is written upon a paper insufficiently stamped and the plaintiff fails to pay the requisite Court fees within the time fixed or extended by the Court. In that case, the plaint will be rejected.
However, if the requisite Court fee is paid within the time extended by the Court, the suit or appeal must be treated as instituted from the date of presentation of plaint or memorandum of appeal for the purpose of limitation as well as payment of Court fee (Sec. 149 C.P.C.).
If the plaintiff cannot pay the Court fee, Order 33 provides for continuing the suit as a indigent person.
(d) Where the Suit appears to be barred by any Law:
Where the suit appears from the statements in the plaint to be barred by any law, the Court will reject the plaint. For instance, wherein a suit against the Government, the plaint does not state that the notice as required by Section 80 of C.P.C. has been given the plaint will be rejected under this clause.
In B.R. Sinha vs. State of Madhya Pradesh the Supreme Court held that where waiver of such notice is pleaded, the Court cannot reject the plaint without giving the plaintiff an opportunity to establish that fact.
(e) Where the plaint is not filed in duplicate.
(f) Where the plaintiff fails to complain sub-rule (2) of Rule 9.
(g) Where the plaintiff fails to complain sub-rule (3) of Rule 9A.
Rule 12 Procedures on Rejection of Plaint:
Where a plaint is rejected by the Court, the Judge will pass the order to that effect and will record the reason for it.
Rule 13 Effect of Rejection of Plaint:
If the plaint is rejected on any of the above grounds, the plaintiff is not thereby precluded from presenting a fresh plaint in respect of the same cause of action.
Any order rejecting a plaint is a ‘decree’ and therefore, is appealable.