The Court observed that, for the purposes of rejection of plaint under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC, the Court is duty bound to consider the contents of the plaint, and not to examine the sufficiency of the evidence or the defence put forth by the defendant
In the instant case, the application of the petitioners/defendants in terms of Order VII Rule 11 was rejected by the trial Court. Aggrieved with the order, the petitioners invoked the Supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 227 of the Constitution by filing the instant petition.
Matter before the Trial Court:
The respondents/plaintiffs had filed a suit wherein they claimed to be the owners in possession of undivided shares in land measuring about 800 Bighas in various Khasra Nos. in village Gokulpur, Delhi.
In the suit, the principal claim of the plaintiff was a declaration against a sale deed executed by one M/s G. S Kashyap and sons in favour of the petitioner no. 1 herein and and as also an injunction against the petitioners from creating third-party interests in the said land.
The plaintiffs had also made three applications for injunction under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 of the CPC.
The petitioners after filing written statement had also made an application under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC. In the said application, the petitioners contended that the plaintiffs had filed no title documents in support of their claim of ownership, and had only filed revenue records which were insufficient to establish title. It was further submitted that the plaintiffs’ claim of possession was false.
However, the trial Court rejected the application of the petitioners under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC and recorded the following findings;
a) Although the Trial Court has found that the plaintiffs have not filed any registered documents or title documents pertaining to the suit property, it has been held that the sufficiency of the evidence placed by the plaintiffs is required to be considered at trial and not in an application for rejection of the plaint.
b) The Trial Court has found that the plaintiffs have made a categorical statement in the plaint that they are in possession of the suit property, and that the veracity of the said contention cannot be adjudicated in an application under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC.
c) On the petitioners’ contention regarding limitation, the Trial Court has found that it is a mixed question of law and fact, which must be considered after evidence.
d) The petitioner had also raised an argument regarding the maintainability of the suit in view of the provisions of the Delhi Land Reforms Act, 1954 [“DLR Act”]. The said plea has also been rejected on the grounds that the plaintiffs had averred in the plaint that the suit property falls within the limits of the Municipal Corporation by reason whereof the DLR Act could not apply.
Observations of the Court:
At the outset the Court said that there is no jurisdictional infirmity in the impugned order so as to exercise the supervisory jurisdiction of this Court under Section 227 of the Constitution.
However, the Court after referring to the judgments in Saleem Bhai and Others vs. State of Maharashtra and Others, Popat and Kotecha Property vs. State Bank of India Staff Association and Urvashiben and Another vs. Krishnakant Manuprasad Trivedi observed that, for the purposes of rejection of the plaint under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC, the Court is duty bound to consider the contents of the plaint, and not to examine the sufficiency of the evidence or the defence put forth by the defendant.
While explaining the distinction between the provisions contained in Order VII Rule 11 and Order XXXIX Rule 1 and 2 of the CPC, the Court observed that the relevant standard by which the plaintiff’s case is adjudged under the two provisions are entirely different.
For the purposes of an order under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC, the Court must come to the conclusion that the plaint is required to be rejected i.e., that the suit must terminate right there. In the plaintiffs’ applications under Order XXXIX Rules 1 and 2 of the CPC, however, the examination is as to whether a prima facie case has been established by the plaintiffs in their favour.
As in the present case, it is quite possible that the Court would find against the plaintiffs on the question of prima facie case and yet find that the plaint is not liable to be rejected under Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC.
Case Title & No: Capital Land Builders Pvt Ltd & Ors vs Shiv Kumar Jindad & Ors (CM(M) 69/2022)
Coram: Justice Prateek Jalan
Date of Judgment: 19-01-2022