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Provisions Under O VII R11 CPC Not Exhaustive; Frivolous Or Vexatious Litigation Not Allowed To Consume Time Of Court: Madhya Pradesh High Court

Kavya Sri ,
  24 September 2022       Share Bookmark

Court :
High Court Of Madhya Pradesh, Principal Seat at Jabalpur
Brief :

Citation :
M.P. No. 3302/2018

Case Title:
Suresh Madan And Others Vs Manvendra Singh And Others

Date of Order:
07/09/2022

Judge(s):
Justice S.A. Dharmadhikari

Parties:
Petitioner :
Suresh Madan, Anurag Madan, Abhishek Alias Dainy Madan, Dhiraj Kumar, Pravesh Madan, Shyam Kumar, Mithilesh Chandra, Naresh Chandra, Ram Kumar, Shivnarayan, Premnarayan, Pankaj Agrawal, Sushil Kumar, Savitri, Vijay, Kishori Kushwaha and Brij Kishore Kushwaha.
Respondent :
Manvendra Singh, State Of MP through Collector Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh), Usha Rai, and Chotelal Dadariya.

Subject

A petition was filed under Article 227 of the Indian Constitution, the petitioners had criticised the order dated 03.07.2018 passed by II Civil Judge Class I, Nowgaon district Chhattarpur in Civil Suit No. 54-A/2017, where the application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC filed by petitioners (defendant) was rejected.

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS

I) Code Of Civil Procedure, 1908

I.I) Order VII Rule 11 CPC, 1908

11. Rejection of plaint

The plaint shall be rejected in the following cases-

(a) where it does not disclose a cause of action;

(b) where the relief claimed is undervalued, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to correct the valuation within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

(c) where the relief claimed is properly valued, but the plaint is returned upon paper insufficiently stamped, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to supply the requisite stamp-paper within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

(d) where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law:

Provided that the time fixed by the Court for the correction of the valuation or supplying of the requisite stamp-paper shall not be extended unless the Court, for reasons to be recorded, is satisfied that the plaintiff was prevented by any cause of an exceptional nature form correcting the valuation or supplying the requisite stamp-paper, as the case may be, within the time fixed by the Court and that refusal to extend such time would cause grave injustice to the plaintiff.

I.II) SECTION 11 OF CPC, 1908 – Res Judicata

No Court shall try any suit or issue in which the matter directly and substantially in issue has been directly and substantially in issue in a former suit between the same parties, or between parties under whom they or any of them claim, litigating under the same title, in a Court competent to try such subsequent suit or the suit in which such issue has been subsequently raised, and has been heard and finally decided by such Court.

Explanation I.-- The expression former suit shall denote a suit which has been decided prior to a suit in question whether or not it was instituted prior thereto.

Explanation II.-- For the purposes of this section, the competence of a Court shall be determined irrespective of any provisions as to a right of appeal from the decision of such Court.

Explanation III.--The matter above referred to must in the former suit have been alleged by one party and either denied or admitted, expressly or impliedly, by the other.

Explanation IV.-- Any matter which might and ought to have been made ground of defence or attack in such former suit shall be deemed to have been a matter directly and substantially in issue in such suit.

Explanation V.-- Any relief claimed in the plaint, which is not expressly granted by the decree, shall for the purposes of this section, be deemed to have been refused.

Explanation VI.-- Where persons litigate bona fide in respect of a public right or of a private right claimed in common for themselves and others, all persons interested in such right shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to claim under the persons so litigating .

1[Explanation VII.-- The provisions of this section shall apply to a proceeding for the execution of a decree and references in this section to any suit, issue or former suit shall be construed as references, respectively, to a proceeding for the execution of the decree, question arising in such proceeding and a former proceeding for the execution of that decree.

Explanation VIII.-- An issue heard and finally decided by a Court of limited jurisdiction, competent to decide such issue, shall operate as res judicata in a subsequent suit, notwithstanding that such Court of limited jurisdiction was not competent to try such subsequent suit or the suit in which such issue has been subsequently raised.]

BRIEF OVERVIEW

The respondent/plaintiff filed a suit for declaration of title, permanent injunction, and delivery of possession. An application was filed under Order VII Rule 11 CPC stating that the plaint did not take any cause of action however it was rejected by the lower court. Then, the petitioner again filed another application for rejection of the plaint but the court dismissed it again. The aggrieved petitioner challenged the court against the order of dismissal.

The respondent contended that the petitioner moving for a second application in the case for rejection of the plaint contravenes the principle of Res Judicata as per section 11 of CPC. They argued that the application of the petitioner in the lower court was untrue and based on false facts, and was done with the intent to delay the trial.

The court scrutinized the documents on record and examined the submissions of parties, and held that the second application moved by petition did not contravene with the principles of Res Judicata as the respondent did not disclose any cause of action in the plaint. It further added that the plaint suffered from non-joinder of the necessary party hence it shall be rejected. The lower court had committed a jurisdictional error by rejecting the second application moved under O VII R 11 CPC, by the petitioner. The impugned order was set aside by the court and allowed the petitioner’s application for rejection of the plaint. The respondent’s plaint was rejected as a result.

Laws laid down in the case

  • The second application filed under Order VII Rule 11 is maintainable as it does not violate the Res Judicata principle.
  • Provisions of this rule are not exhaustive and the court has inherent powers to make sure that no vexatious or frivolous litigation consumes the Court’s precious time.
  • The plaint is rejected if it does not disclose details of the cause of action.
  • Cause of action cannot arise to the plaintiff in filing a suit without impleading the original parties to the suit who are still alive.

FACTS

The respondent/plaintiff filed a suit for declaration of title, permanent injunction, and delivery of possession from the defendant/petitioner. One of the plaintiffs, Raghuraj Singh s was a ruler of a Princely state named Alipura in Nowgaon, Chhattarpur. During 1947-48 merging into the then ‘C’ Class State of Vindhya Pradesh. Properties vested in the newly formed state and the ex-ruler were shown separately. Before vesting, the Alipura estate had given 18.75 acres of land to Mahadev Singh in 1945 with a permanent patta. After Mahadev, Kunwar Bahadur Singh succeeded, and later Santosh Singh. Late Kunwar Singh had sold some part of the land to the defendants and Santosh Singh sold some pieces to one of the defendants, Pankaj Agarwal again from the same land. Pankaj then gave away the land to other defendants.

The respondent filed the suit based on the Patta filed in 1945 however it did not bear any signature or seal by Tahsildar over the patta. The petitioners filed an application under Order VII Rule 11 A of CPC for dismissing the suit as the plaintiff had no cause of action as the land in issue has already been alienated by the state of Alipura before that of the Estate in Vindhya Pradesh. The fact that Alipura alienated the suit land in 1945, the query as to the ex-ruler having an interest in land can be negated and the suit is not maintainable on grounds of absence of cause of action.

ISSUES RAISED

  1. Whether a second application under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC violate the principles of Res Judicata?
  2. When Res Judicata applies in a suit?
  3. Whether plaint without cause of action can be rejected out rightly?

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE PETITIONERS

The senior counsel Shri R P Agarwal appearing for the petitioner contended that the suit land allotted in 1945 for 40 years has expired in 1985 and a suit filed on 25.09.2014 after 30 years is beyond the limitation period. Mahadev and his legal heirs, under Section 153 of the Vindhya Pradesh Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1953 had acquired bhumiswamy rights and are tenants. Thus the rights of the plaintiff have been extinguished. The section would have otherwise conferred in them heritable and transferable rights.

It was also argued that Mahadev and his legal heirs did not implead in the suit from whom reversion of property can be claimed. The five sale deeds have been executed between 1969 and 1988. All defendants are transferees from Kunwar and Santosh Singh and they had by adverse possession perfected their rights.

It was argued that no relief can be granted in the suit as the plaintiff’s right has been statutorily extinguished and it fails for non-joinder of Mahadev Singh and his legal heirs. In a judgment delivered in favor of Mahadev on 12.11.1984, it was clear that he didn’t die intestate as Kunwar Bahadur was his son. This fact was wrongly stated in the written statement of the defendants. Since the deed last executed was in 1988, the right was perfected only by 2000 and the suit has been barred by limitation.

Petitioner relied on the judgment delivered by Supreme Court in Ferro Alloys Corporation Limited & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors. AIR 1999 SC 1236, Mathura Prasad Bajoo Jaiswal and others Vs. Dossibai N.B.Jeejeebhoy, AIR 1971 SC 2355 and Lonankutty Vs. Thomman and another, reported in AIR 1976 SC 1645 to contend that the second application under O VII R 11 CPC was maintainable.

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENTS

Respondents blatantly opposed all the prayers and the second application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC as they violate the principles of Res Judicata as per Section 11 of CPC. Thus the second application shall not be maintainable and the dismissal by the lower court was right. They argued the application to be based on facts only to delay the trial. They stated that Pattedar does not become the owner of the land and cannot transfer it to anyone. The Patta was only for 40 years after which it had to be returned to the original owner. The defendants have manipulated revenue records and have become illegal owners.

They relied upon judgments delivered in Arjun Singh Vs. Mohindra Kumar and others, AIR 1964 SC 993 and Satyadhyan Ghosal and others Vs. S.M.Deorajin Debi and another, AIR 1960 SC 941 with regards to Res Judicata. They argued for dismissal under Order VII Rule 11 C.P.C. Another judgment delivered by the apex court in Bijay Kumar Manish Kumar HUF v. Ashwin Desai stated that the provisions of O VII R 11 CPC are not exhaustive and the court has inherent discretion to disallow frivolous, vexatious, or bogus petitions.

JUDGMENT

The power conferred on the court to terminate a civil suit must satisfy all conditions under Order VII Rule 11 CPC, however, is at the discretion of the court to decide whether the plaint discloses a cause of action, scrutinize averments in the plaint, and check whether barred by any law. The court held that the object of the provision is to check upon cause of action in a plaint and disallow to protract the proceedings unreasonably. It will then require to dismiss such litigation. Referring to the precedents put forth by the counsels, when the cause of action is not disclosed in the plaint then it shall be rejected.

The land allotted in 1945 had expired after 40 years in 1985 and the suit was filed in 2014, 30 years of inordinate delay was caused. Since Mahadev and his legal heirs acquire bhumiswami rights under Section 153 of Scheduled Areas (Assimilation of Laws) Act, 1953 as tenant/pattedar under sub-clause (xvi) of section 2 definition and thus the petitioner rights stand statutorily extinguished. This section states about transferable and heritable rights of the tenant.

The suit can be dismissed by the court in its inherent powers if found vexatious, the same grounds on which the trial court rejected the plaint. The petitioners have proven that there was no accrual of cause of action for the plaintiffs to file a suit without impleading the original purchaser as a party to the suit who was still alive. The plaint can be rejected on grounds of absence of non-joinder of the original purchaser.

The trial court was held to have made a jurisdictional error in rejecting the application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC by petitioners. As it was permissible and the order dated 03.07.2018 was set aside. The plaint of the plaintiff stands rejected. No orders as to cost and the petition was disposed of.

Learn the practical aspects of CrPC HERE, CPC HERE, IPC HERE, Evidence Act HERE, Family Laws HERE, DV Act HERE

 
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