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Meaning and Particulars of Plaint in CPC

Updated: May 5


Meaning and Particulars of Plaint in CPC


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Meaning of Plaint in CPC


The term "plaint" is not explicitly defined in the Civil Procedure Code. However, it can be understood as a statement of claim, essentially a document through which the suit is initiated.


Its purpose is to outline the reasons why the plaintiff seeks the intervention of the court. In essence, it serves as the initial pleading of the plaintiff in the legal proceedings.


Particulars of Plaint

Parties to Suit


In every legal suit, there must be two distinct parties: the plaintiff and the defendant. It is possible for there to be multiple plaintiffs or defendants in a suit, but there must be at least one plaintiff and one defendant.


The plaint must include all necessary particulars, such as the names, fathers' names, ages, places of residence, etc., to accurately identify the parties involved in the proceedings.


Cause of Action


In every legal suit, there must exist a cause of action against the defendant, as the rejection of the plaint would result if none is found.


Although the term "cause of action" is not explicitly defined in the Code, it can be understood as a collection of essential facts necessary for the plaintiff to establish to succeed or to obtain relief against the defendant.

 
 

Essentially, the cause of action encompasses all facts required to support a right or secure a judgement, forming the basis of the suit.


The seminal definition of "cause of action" is found in Cooke v. Gill, where Lord Brett articulated it as "every fact necessary for the plaintiff to prove, if challenged, to support his right to court judgement."


The cause of action is independent of any defence that the defendant may raise or the relief sought by the plaintiff. It pertains solely to the grounds outlined in the plaint as the basis for the action, or the means by which the plaintiff seeks a favourable court decision.


The cause of action must predate the filing of the suit, forming the foundation upon which the suit is brought.


Furthermore, it is imperative for the plaintiff to specify when the cause of action arose. This serves to inform both the defendant and the court whether the alleged cause of action, as presented in the plaint, actually occurred in fact and in law.


Determining whether particular facts constitute a cause of action depends on the substance of the matter rather than the form of the action and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


Jurisdiction


The plaint is required to include all pertinent details demonstrating the court's pecuniary and territorial jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit.


In cases where the defendant challenges the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit, the court has the authority to raise the issue and resolve it before addressing other matters.


This ensures that the court's jurisdiction is established and acknowledged prior to delving into other aspects of the case.

 
 

Valuation


The plaintiff is required to indicate in the plaint the value attributed to the subject matter of the suit for determining the court's pecuniary jurisdiction and applicable court fees. In certain instances, such as a suit for monetary recovery, the valuation for both purposes may align.


However, there are situations where the valuations differ, such as in suits for declaration, injunction, or possession of immovable property. In such cases, the plaintiff should clearly specify the valuation of the suit for both jurisdictional purposes and court fees.


Limitation


Rule 6 stipulates that if a suit is constrained by limitation, the plaintiff must elucidate the basis of exemption in the plaint.


However, the proviso introduced by the Amendment Act of 1976 authorises the court to allow the plaintiff to introduce a new ground for exemption if it does not contradict the grounds stated in the plaint.


Relief


Every plaint must specifically outline the relief sought by the plaintiff, either straightforwardly or as an alternative. If the relief is grounded on separate and distinct grounds, they should be clearly delineated.


The plaintiff may claim multiple reliefs arising from the same cause of action, and if he fails to sue for any particular relief without the court's permission, he cannot subsequently pursue it.


Although it's not mandatory to request general or additional relief, the plaintiff typically includes a general relief clause in the plaint.


However, such a prayer isn't essential as the court may grant additional relief not explicitly requested, provided it aligns with the case's substance and is not contradictory to the specific claims made.


Similarly, the defendant can also claim relief in the written statement, and the court should consider all reliefs requested by both parties, focusing on the substance rather than the form of the matter.


If a question arises regarding whether a particular relief was sought in the plaint, the entire plaint should be examined, and the matter's substance should be evaluated.


The Supreme Court, in Bhagwati Prasad v. Chandramauli, elucidated that while relief should ideally stem from the pleadings, if the parties were aware of and presented evidence on an issue indirectly related to the trial, objections based solely on the absence of explicit pleadings might be considered overly formal.


Relief not grounded in the pleadings cannot be granted, and the court cannot base its decision on matters beyond the pleadings or allow evidence on issues not raised in them.


Although a suit cannot be dismissed solely because the plaintiff seeks more relief than entitled, the court can only grant relief commensurate with what the plaintiff claims, unless the plaint is amended with court permission.




Subsequent Events and Plaint


If the plaintiff lacks a cause of action at the time of filing, they cannot usually benefit from a cause of action arising after the suit initiation.


Similarly, if the plaintiff has a substantive right at the time of filing, subsequent events typically do not bar them from relief.


However, this doesn't mean that events occurring after the suit filing are entirely disregarded. In appropriate cases, it's not only permissible but also the duty of the court to consider changed circumstances.


If subsequent events render the original relief claimed by the plaintiff useless or inappropriate, or if new relief is required in light of changed facts or law to ensure complete justice between the parties, the court can depart from the general rule and adjust the relief accordingly.


The courts recognize that facts emerging after the institution of proceedings can fundamentally affect the right to relief or the manner in which it is granted.


Therefore, if such facts are diligently brought to the court's attention, it must consider them to ensure substantial justice, provided that fairness to both sides is maintained.


While courts often consider events occurring after suit filing and may permit amendments based on such events, this is typically done to prevent multiple proceedings or when the original relief becomes inadequate due to changed circumstances.


However, if the proposed amendment would entirely displace the plaintiff's original suit and a fresh suit would be time-barred, courts are less inclined to permit such amendments.

 
 



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