Plaint Under Cpc
Authored by Dipali Jaggannath Nikam
Keywords: Order VII of the CPC, Rule 1-11 of Order VII, Stamps Act, Plaintiff, Defendant, Complaint.
A written statement in a legal document containing the plaintiff’s claim is called a plaint. It is the first step towards suit initiation and the contents of a suit are laid out in the plaint. Plaint under Civil Procedure Code is a comprehensive document that outlines a pleading of the plaintiff and the other essentials of a suit and sets up the legal wheel moving. Order VII of the CPC deals particularly with a plaint and states that not all facts or the law need to be expressed. No evidence needs to mention in the plaint and only facts need to be stated and it should be concise and precise. [i]
The term plaint is not defined in CPC or any other law. A word that is close to plaint or represents plaint in law is ‘complaint’ which is used in criminal jurisprudence while the word ‘plaint’ is used in civil law. Both the statements mean the same and are essentially alleged facts from a party who initiate the suit and ask the jurisdiction to take action against the other party of the case. It generally means that a Plaint is a pleading filed on behalf of the victim. The one who files the plaint is called the plaintiff and the ones whose against it is filed are called the defendant. A Plaint that is presented to a civil court includes facts of the claim which the plaintiff expects to obtain through the proceedings of the court. [ii]
Particulars of a Plaint
Order 7 is related to the format of a Plaint. According to Rule 1 of Order 7, the particulars of a plaint are as follows
Ø The name of the court where the suit is initiated
Ø Name and complete mailing address of the plaintiff’s residence
Ø Name and complete mailing address of the defendant’s residence
Ø A statement in support of being minor or unsoundness of mind in case a plaintiff or defendant belongs to either of the categories
Ø The facts relating to the cause of action and when it started
Ø The facts showing that the court has jurisdiction
Ø The claim of the plaintiff
Ø Plaintiff allowing or relinquishing a portion of the claim, the amount so allowed or relinquished
Ø Court fees and a statement detailing the value of the suit [iii]
Apart from these, there are few other rules regarding the contents of a plaint along with their rule number
Ø The plaint has to state the precise amount to be claimed (Rule 2)
Ø If the subject of the suit is an immovable property then the plaint shall contain a description of the property along with identification of the boundary or number in the record for settlement (Rule 3)
Ø Plaintiff sues as representative where he has to show that he has an actual existing interest in the matter and has taken necessary steps to enable him to institute a suit in that matter (Rule 4)
Ø The plaint shall mention the defendant role in the suit and what he is liable about to be called upon to answer the claim of the plaintiff (Rule 5)
Ø If a suit is instituted after the expiration of the given period, the Plaint should show on what ground the exemption is claimed. It all depends on whether the court will allow a plaintiff to claim such exemption on that ground (Rule 6)
Ø The plaint shall specify the relief which the plaintiff wishes to claim directly and the same rule applies to the defendant who will claim relief in his written statement (Rule 7) [iv]
Admission of the Plaint
When the court serves the summons for the defendant the plaintiff must present copies of the plaint to the number of defendants according to Order V, Rule 9. The plaintiff must also pay the summons fee within seven days of such summon. The plaint must mention all the plaintiff and defendant name categorically according to their role or story in the case. As minors or someone of unsound mind cannot be sued or sue anyone it will be mentioned in the cause title. The plaint can be divided into three parts
Ø Heading and Title – This portion will cover the name of the court, parties to the suit, title of the suit.
Ø Body of the Plaint – The body of plaint covers the matter of the suit. This portion is divided into short paragraphs where each paragraph explains the fact. There are two portions to it. One is a formal portion which discusses the date of cause of action. The statement must mention the jurisdiction of the court, the value of the suit, a statement regarding minority, representative character of a plaintiff if any and also reasons claiming exemption if a suit is initiated after the period of limitation. The substantial portion contains all the necessary and vital facts which form the suit. Also, it mentions if the plaintiff wishes to take the proceedings on any other ground.
Ø Relief – This part is about the claim of relief and it must be worded properly and accurately. The plaint must specifically mention the kind of relief the plaint is looking for and the reason behind such sum or claim and it cannot be backed by oral pleadings so utmost care should be given to this part.
Ø Signature and Verification – The plaint has to be duly verified by the plaintiff and his signature at the end of the plaint is required along with date and place of signature mentioned in the plaint. If the language is beyond the comprehension of the plaintiff then it must be translated in the language known to the plaintiff. The verification of the Plaint needs to be done in front of the competent court in front of an Oath Commissioner. If for any reason the plaintiff is not present then the signature of an authorised representative would suffice.
Return of Plaint
Rule 10 of Order 7 states that the Plaint needs to be returned in situations where the court is unable to entertain the plaint or it doesn’t fall under his jurisdiction. The court can exercise its power and return the plaint from the presentation if it finds that the trial court itself didn’t have the jurisdiction to take the plaint and once the appellate court finds out that the trial court has without jurisdiction passed the decree then such decision will be nullified.
Nature of Returned Plaint
If a Plaint is returned due to the issue of jurisdiction then it is to be treated as a fresh plaint. A fresh plaint can be amended and there shall be no consequence related to it. The changes will be taken into account and the Plaint will be allowed to stand.
Order 7, Rule 11 lays down the ground for rejection of the plaint. There are six grounds for rejections
Ø If the plaintiff has omitted the cause of action i.e the specific reason or injustice done by the defendant due to which the suit is filed
Ø If the suit is undervalued either intentionally or unintentionally.
Ø Under the Stamps Act, all the legal documents must be drafted on a stamp paper of a requisite value which depends on the nature of the document, valuation of the suit. The court may ask the plaintiff to submit the stamp paper and if he fails to do that the plaint may be rejected
Ø When the filing of the suit is barred by the law which evidentially will lead to the rejection of the plaint.
Ø The plaint has to be filed in duplicate which means that one set will be for the plaintiff and other for the defendant and if found otherwise can become a reason for the rejection
Ø Order 7 Rule 9(1) requires the plaintiff to submit the number of copies required by the court of the plaint. It usually depends on the number of defendants and if the plaintiff fails to submit the required number it can be rejected
Ø Similarly, Order 7 Rule 9(1A) required the plaintiff to submit the fee that will be incurred by the court to serve the summons to the defendants. In Civil Suit, this amount is paid by the plaintiff within 7 days from the date of order of payment
A plaint is a first and foremost step towards instituting the suit so due care must be given to the written statement which covers the base of the case as well as explains in detail the defendant’s role and the reason behind the filing of the suit. It is important to state the relevant facts and refrain from providing evidence and mention the kind of claim the plaintiff is looking for so that the plaintiff is benefited accordingly.
[i] Lawnin.com, “Plaint under CPC: Particular, Procedure, Admission & Rejection, ”LAWNIN, Jan.23.2014, https://www.lawnn.com/plaint-under-cpc/# [ii] Ashish Agarwal, “Grounds and procedure for return and rejection of plaint under CPC,1908,” Feb.8.2020, https://www.legalbites.in/grounds-and-procedure-for-return-and-rejection-of-plaint-under-cpc-1908/ [iii] Susmita Haldar, Institution of suits and its essentials: Portrayal of the principles and Procedural rules under the code of civil procedure, 1908, http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/2212/Institution-of-Suit-and-its-Essentials.html [iv] “Order V|| Plaint Rule 1,2,3,4,5,6, of code of civil procedure 1098,” aaptaxlaw.com, https://www.aaptaxlaw.com/code-of-civil-procedure/order-VII-code-of-civil-procedure-rule-1-2-3-4-5-6-plaint-1-2-3-4-5-6-order-VII-of-cpc-1908-code-of-civil-procedure.html