The term ‘plaint’ has nowhere been defined in the Code of Civil Procedure. However, it is said to be 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. It is a pleading of the plaintiff.
SOME IMPORTANT ASPECTS RELATED TO PLAINT:
- Parties to suit –
There must be two parties in every suit, namely, the plaintiff and the defendant. There may, however, be more than one plaintiff or more than one defendant. But there must be at least one plaintiff and one defendant in every suit. All particulars, such as name, father’s name, age, place of residence, etc., which are necessary to identify the parties, must be stated in the plaint.
- Cause of action –
Every suit presupposes the existence of a cause of action against the defendant because if there is no cause of action, the plaint will have to be rejected.
The classic definition of the said expression is found in the case of coke v. gill, wherein lord Brett observed:
“cause of action means every fact which it would be necessary for the plaintiff to prove, if traversed, in order to support his right to the judgement of the court.”
From where the Cause of action arose is also important to know. It will enable the defendant as well as the court to ascertain from the plaint whether in fact and in law the cause of action as alleged by the plaintiff in the plaint did arise or not.
- Jurisdiction of court –
The plaint must state all the facts showing how the court has pecuniary and territorial jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the suit. When the jurisdiction of a court to entertain the suit is disputed by the defendant, the court may frame the issue to that effect and decide the same before deciding other issues.
- Valuation –
The plaintiff must state in the plaint the valuation of the subject matter of the suit for the purposes of pecuniary jurisdiction of the court and court fees. Sometimes, the valuation of the subject-matter for both the purposes maybe the same, as, for example, in suit for recovery of money. But sometimes, two valuations may differ, as, for example, in a suit for declaration or in a suit for injunction or for possession of immovable property.
- Limitation –
Rule 6 provides that where the suit is barred by limitation, it is necessary for the plaintiff to show the ground of exemption in the plaint. But the proviso added by the Amendment Act of 1976 empowers the court to permit the plaintiff to rely on a new ground for exemption if it is not inconsistent with the grounds mentioned in the plaint.
- Relief –
Every plaint must state specifically the relief claimed by the plaintiff either simply or in the alternative. Where the relief is founded on separate and distinct grounds, they should be so stated. Where the plaintiff is entitled to more than one relief in respect of the same cause of action, it is open to him to claim all or any of such reliefs. But if he omits, except with the leave of the court, to sue for any particular relief, he will not afterwards be allowed to sue for the relief so omitted.
ADMISSION OF PLAINT:
Rule 9 lays down the procedure when the plaint is admitted by the court. It provides for filing of copies of the plaint by the plaintiff and also requires him to pay requisite fees for the service of summons on the defendant within seven days.
RETURN OF PLAINT:
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.
REJECTION OF PLAINT:
The plaint will be rejected in the following cases:
- Where plaint does not disclose cause of action.
- Where relief claimed in undervalued.
- Where plaint is insufficiently stamped.
- Where suit is barred by law
- Where plaint is not in duplicate
- Where there is non-compliance with statutory provisions.
- Other grounds