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KEY TAKEAWAYS:-

  • Understanding the concept of joinder of parties with respect to the rules laid down in Civil Procedure Code.
  • Who are the necessary parties?
  • Consequences of non-joinder of necessary parties.

INTRODUCTION:-

For any civil suit, there must be an opposing party. The presence of opposing parties is one of the essential elements of a civil suit. However, not all parties are necessary for the suit to be adjudicated upon. The suit cannot be dismissed merely because of the absence of non-necessary parties. However, if a suit is dismissed on account of a non-joinder of necessary parties, the plaintiff will have to file the suit again which will result in multiplicity of litigation. Thus, to avoid this multiplicity of litigation, the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 has provided some legal provisions. For the fulfilment of this purpose, the court may add the necessary parties on its own or may direct the plaintiff to do so. However, since this addition of necessary parties is procedural in nature, the same has to be done at the time of trial, but without prejudice to the plea of limitation of the parties involved.

MEANING AND ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS OF A CIVIL SUIT:-

The main aim of civil law is to preserve an individual’s right of action through redressal. It can be done by an institution of a civil suit, which is a process for recovery of an individual right or individual wrong. The Bombay High Court in the case of Krishnappa vs. Shivappa laid down some requirements for any civil suit:-

  1. The opposing parties
  2. The subject matter
  3. The cause of action
  4. The relief claimed by the parties

Logically, the opposing parties is referred here as the plaintiff and the defendant. Since civil law deals with only those rights which are private in nature, the legal action for enforcing the same can be initiated only by the one whose civil rights have been violated. Thus, there must be the involvement of a plaintiff for the initiation of the civil suits, who will claim relief from the party who has violated his civil rights. The party from whom the relief is demanded is called as the defendant.

WHEN CAN JOINDER OF PARTIES TAKE PLACE?:-

The joinder of parties is the term used for “joining several parties as plaintiffs or defendants in the same suit”. The parties which are to be joined as the plaintiffs or defendants must be in the view of court, the necessary parties. The joining parties must possess some interest in the subject matter of the suit instituted, where the fundamental consideration is the existence of a right of relief in relation to the party.

Order 1 of the code deals with the parties to the suit as well as the joinder of the plaintiffs and defendants. The court in the case of Mosley vs. General Motors Corporation Ltd held that, “the essential requirement in this connection is that issues of fact or law has to be similar. However, the issues do not need to be identical. A joinder can take place only when there is a right of relief out of the same transaction and the facts/laws involved in the issues are common to all plaintiffs.”

The court concerned may also order for separate trials if it thinks fit to do so in order to avoid any kind of delay or injustice. The court competent to try such suits is the civil court, whose decision cannot be reversed and the appeals lie only in the cases where the court is found to abuse such powers. The plaintiff in order to get a speedy relief, may file such suit against several defendants. However, at the same time, it must be kept in mind that the defendants cannot be denied their right to a fair hearing.

WHO ARE THE NECESSARY PARTIES?:-

The necessary parties are the ones who have some interest in the subject matter of the suit. Without the impleading of the necessary parties, a claim cannot be settled or an effective decree cannot be passed by the court without the presence of such parties. There is no particular criterion for determining who are the necessary parties to the suit. However, such decision depends on the facts and circumstances of each case.

COMPULSORY JOINDER AND ADDITION OF PARTIES:-

The question which arises while talking about compulsory joinder of parties is “whether certain persons not joined as parties actually have sufficient interests in the suit?” Another question which comes into mind of many is that, “if the necessary are not able to join, will the suit be allowed to proceed or it will be dismissed?”

The US Supreme Court in the case of Shields vs. Barrow classified the parties as “necessary” and “indispensable”, according to the nature of their rights. The rule of indispensable party is based upon the principle that “a court should do complete justice or none at all”. Thus, if a party in the absence of whom a suit cannot be decided is not impleaded, the suit must be dismissed.

The addition of necessary party depends upon the discretion of the court. The rule that a necessary party has a right to be included in the suit does not apply to the case of proper party. However, a proper party may plead before the court to be joined in the suit. Therefore, when such a situation arises, the court may consider the need of its presence in the adjudication of the suit. The court exercises a wide discretionary power in this regard and if the court thinks that the presence of such party is necessary for the adjudication, then it may order the same.

MIS-JOINDER AND NON-JOINDER IN A CIVIL SUIT:-

The misjoinder of parties refer to the situation where the parties which are joined as plaintiffs or defendants were not ought to be joined neither as plaintiff nor as defendant. It also refers to situation where the plaintiffs are impleaded as defendants and defendants are impleaded s plaintiffs. Thus, in other words, we can say that misjoinder refers to impleading of an unnecessary party.

On the other hand, non-joinder refers to the situation where the parties who were ought to be joined were not impleaded. In other words, it refers to the absence of a party. A suit may be dismissed in case of non-joinder of necessary parties; however, this principle does not apply in the case of misjoinder.

CONSEQUENCES OF NON-JOINDER OF NECESSARY PARTIES:-

Order 1, Rule 9 of CPC deals with non-joinder of parties. However, this is only a procedural provision and does not affect the substantive rights and duties of parties. Though the non-joinder of parties is not fatal to a suit, but it is necessary to understand the distinction between non-joinder of someone who ought to have been joined and someone whose joinder is only necessary for the convenience for the litigation of the proceedings. In such circumstances, the parties which are ought to have been joined are referred to as necessary parties while the latter are termed as proper parties.

The absence of necessary parties refers to the situation when the parties from whom relief is being claimed are not present, due to which the court is unable to pass any effective decree. In such circumstances, the court has the authority to dismiss the suit, but it does not have to be dismissed. However, if the court thinks fit, it shall grant the relief to the plaintiff by passing a decree between the parties present before it. The defendant has the right to plead non-joinder of parties by the plaintiff provided he shall specify that who the parties are and their respective interest in the suit. The general principle of law says that the plea of non-joinder must be raised at the earliest as late plea reflects the subject matter of the suit. The law at this point seems to favour plaintiff. Therefore, if the plaintiff refuses to implead proper parties, the court is authorised to dismiss the suit.

Rules 9 and 10 of Order 1 of Code of Civil Procedure are complementary in nature, where the latter deals with the addition of parties to a suit where the court on its own may order the parties to be joined as plaintiff or defendant if it feels its “presence may be necessary in order to unable the court effectively and completely to adjudicate upon and settle all the questions involved in the suit”.

CONCLUSION:-

From the above analysis, the following points may be concluded:-

  1. All those who are interested in a controversy are necessary parties to a suit involving that controversy, so that a complete disposition of the dispute may be made.
  2. Joinder of parties is not necessary when it is impossible, impractical or involves undue complications.
  3. A party unless represented by one who is a party is not bound by the decree.

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