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Rejecting Plaint by reading only few lines & passages & ignoring the relevant parts impermissible:SC

REJECTION OF PLAINT BY READING ONLY FEW LINES AND PASSAGES AND IGNORING THE RELEVANT PARTS OF THE PLAINT IS IMPERMISSIBLE: SC

Cause Title: Sri Biswanath Banik and Another v. Smt. Sulanga Bose and Others

Case Number: Civil Appeal No. 1848/ 2022

Quorum: Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna

Judgment Date: 14/03/2022

Counsel for Appellants: Shri Ankur Sood

Counsel for Respondents: Shri Suman Kumar Dutt

Author: Pragash B, Advocate, Madurai Bench of Madras High Court




Background of the Case

The original plaintiffs/ Appellants herein had instituted a Title Suit No. 166/2010 against the original defendants/ Respondents herein in the Court of Civil Division, Sr. Division, Sealdahfor the following reliefs:

a) For declaration of right, title interest in the suit property and for confirmation of plaintiff’s possession as part performance of contract dated 28.04.1995 as provided under Section 53A of the T.P. Act

aa) for enforcement of the agreement dated 28.04.1995 directing the Principal defendant to execute and register Deed of conveyance in favour of the Plaintiffs.

b) For a decree for permanent order of injunction restraining the aforesaid defendant and his men and agent from causing any interference and/or any obstruction to the peaceful enjoyment and possession of the suit property and further restraining the defendant from making any attempt to dispossess the plaintiffs forcefully and illegally from the suit property.

c) For temporary injunction with ad-interim Rule on similar effect in terms of prayer (b).

Subsequently, the defendants filed an application under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC before the trial court to reject the plaint on the ground that the suit is barred by limitation and the suit for declaration simpliciter under Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act would not be maintainable against the actual owner. The Trial Court refused to reject the plaint. Feeling aggrieved, the defendants preferred Revision Application before the Honourable High Court of Calcutta in C.O. 1417/2017. By the impugned judgment and order, the High Court has quashed and set aside the order passed by the trial court and consequently allowed the application under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC and has rejected the plaint on the above grounds. In result, the original Plaintiffs/ Appellants herein has preferred the appeal before the Honourable Supreme Court of India.

Findings of the Honourable Court

The Honourable Supreme Court observed that only in a case where on the face of it, it is seen that the suit is barred by limitation, then and then only a plaint can be rejected under Order VII Rule 11(d) CPC on the ground of limitation. At this stage what is required to be considered is the averments in the plaint. For the aforesaid purpose, the Court has to consider and read the averments in the plaint as a whole. Rejection of a plaint under Order VII Rule 11(d) CPC by reading only few lines and passages and ignoring the other relevant parts of the plaint is impermissible. (Para 7) According to the facts of the case on hand and on going through the entire plaint averments, it cannot be said at this stage that the suit is barred by limitation on the face of it.

The Honourable Apex Court held that the plaintiffs have also prayed for the decree for a permanent injunction claiming to be in possession and the declaration and permanent injunction as such invoking Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act. When the suit is for a decree of permanent injunction and it is averred that the plaintiffs are in possession of the suit property pursuant to the agreement and thereafter, they have developed the land and that they are in continuous possession since more than 12 years and they are also paying taxes to the corporation, the cause of action can be said to have arisen on the date on which the possession is sought to be disturbed. If that be so, the suit for decree for permanent injunction cannot be said to be barred by limitation. (Para 7.4)

The Honourable Court held that whether the plaintiffs shall be entitled to any relief under Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act or not has to be considered at the time of trial, but at this stage it cannot be said that the suit for the relief sought under Section 53A would not be maintainable at all and therefore the plaint is liable to be rejected in exercise of powers under Order VII Rule 11 CPC. (Para 7.4)

In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, the High Court has committed a grave error in allowing the application under Order VII and Rule 11 CPC and rejecting the plaint. The High Court has exceeded in its jurisdiction in rejecting the plaint while exercising the powers under Order VII Rule 11 CPC. The impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is unsustainable both, on law as well as on facts” (Para 8)

For the reasons stated hereinabove, the present appeal succeeds. The impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court allowing the C.O. and quashing and setting aside the order passed by the trial court refusing to reject the plaint under Order VII Rule 11 CPC and consequently rejecting the plaint under Order VII Rule 11 CPC is hereby quashed and set aside. The application submitted by the original defendants to reject the plaint under Order VII Rule 11 CPC stands dismissed. The order passed by the trial court stands restored. Now the trial to proceed further in accordance with law and on its own merits. However, it is observed that whatever observations are made by this Court in the present order shall be confined to deciding the application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC only and the trial court to finally decide and dispose of the suit in accordance with law and on its own merits and on the basis of the evidence led. (Para 9)

Present appeal is allowed accordingly. However, in the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be order as to costs. (Para 9)


Cases Referred:

1. Ram Prakash Gupta v. Rajiv Kumar Gupta and Others, (2007) 10 SCC 59.

2. Delhi Motor Company v. U.A. Basrurkar, AIR 1968 SC 794.

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