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 Plaints: A concise guide to CPC Proceedings

Plaints: A concise guide to CPC Proceedings


In the legal realm, the plaint serves as the foundation of a civil lawsuit. It is a formal document submitted by the plaintiff to initiate legal proceedings and seek relief from the court. However, not all plaints are accepted without scrutiny. 

A valid plaint must comply with several requirements mandated by the legal system, and if they are not met, the plaint may be rejected. This crucial stage guarantees procedural observance, protects the integrity of the legal system, and stops the court system from being overburdened by unfounded or flawed claims.

A valid plaint is more than just a piece of paper; it represents the careful adherence to legal standards and the respect for due process. Let’s delve deeper into what makes a plaint valid and why this initial step is so pivotal in the realm of civil litigation.

The plaintiff's initial chance to argue their case in court is through the plaint. It provides a summary of the relevant facts, the complaint, and the requested remedies. The framework for the entire legal process is defined by this initial submission. 

A well-drafted plaint provides a clear and concise narrative of the plaintiff's claims, aiding the court in understanding the dispute and the relief sought. Conversely, a deficient plaint can lead to confusion, delay, and even injustice.

Plaint is discussed in Order VII of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908. Order VII specifically deals with the particulars of a plaint. It outlines the essential requirements that a plaint must fulfill to be considered valid and maintainable in a civil court.

Order VII of the CPC serves as a safeguard against frivolous or improperly formatted claims. It ensures that plaintiffs meet certain criteria before their cases proceed to trial, thereby protecting the efficiency and integrity of the legal system. 


The essential parts of a plaint are crucial to ensure clarity and procedural adherence in civil lawsuits: 

  1. Heading and Title: This includes the name of the court where the suit is filed, the names and descriptions of the plaintiff and defendant, along with their places of residence. It establishes jurisdiction and identifies the parties involved.

  2. Body of the Plaint: This presents the facts and grounds on which the plaintiff is basing their claim. It should provide a clear and concise narrative of the events leading to the dispute, supporting the legal basis for the relief sought.

  3. Relief Claimed: The plaint must specify the exact relief or remedies sought by the plaintiff. This could include recovery of debts, damages, specific performance of a contract, injunctions, etc. Each relief should be separately and clearly stated.

  4. Verification: The plaint needs to be verified by the plaintiff or someone with knowledge of the facts stated in the plaint. This verification confirms the truthfulness of the claims made in the plaint. 

In essence, these components collectively form the backbone of a valid plaint, ensuring that the court and the parties involved have a clear understanding of the case and the relief sought, thus facilitating fair and efficient legal proceedings.


Order VII Rule 1 delineates the essential particulars required in a plaint. These specifics include:

  1. Court Name: Identification of the court where the suit is filed.

  2.  Plaintiff's Details: Name, description, and place of residence of the plaintiff.

  3. Defendant's Details: Name, description, and place of residence of the defendant, to the extent ascertainable.

  4. Minor or Unsound Mind: Declaration if either party (plaintiff or defendant) is a minor or of unsound mind.

  5. Cause of Action: Facts constituting the cause of action and its timing.

  6. Jurisdictional Facts: Facts demonstrating the court's jurisdiction over the matter.

  7. Claimed Relief: The specific relief sought by the plaintiff.

  8. Set-off or Relinquishment: Mention of any allowed set-off or relinquished claim portion by the plaintiff.

  9. Subject Matter Value: Statement of the subject matter's value for jurisdiction and court fee purposes, where applicable.


Order VII Rule XI of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 addresses the procedure for the rejection of a plaint. This rule serves as a distinct and important recourse where a court is empowered to dismiss a lawsuit summarily, without the need for evidence or a full trial. 

By doing so, it optimizes time and resources for both the court and the involved parties, thereby enhancing the efficiency of the judicial process. Typically, this provision is invoked when the plaint is clearly deficient or when it is apparent from the pleadings that the suit lacks merit.

The rejection of a plaint can occur under the following circumstances:

  1. Non-disclosure of Cause of Action: If a plaint fails to disclose the cause of action, it is subject to rejection. The court's decision is solely based on the content of the plaint.

  2. Undervaluation of Relief: When the relief claimed by the plaintiff is undervalued, and corrections are not made within the specified time, the court can reject the plaint.

  3. Insufficient Stamp Duty: If the relief claimed is properly valued but the paper lacks sufficient stamp duty, and the plaintiff fails to rectify this within the court's deadline, the plaint may be rejected.

  4. Barred by Law: If the plaint indicates that the suit is legally barred, it will be rejected by the court.

  5. Failure to File in Duplicate: The plaint must be filed in duplicate; non-compliance leads to rejection.

  6. Non-Compliance with Statutory Provisions: Failure to adhere to the provisions of Rule 9 or other statutory requirements may also lead to plaint rejection.


  1. Defendant's Application: At any stage of the legal proceedings, the defendant can file an application challenging the validity of the plaint. This can be in the form of an interlocutory application, which is a legal request made during the course of a lawsuit.

  2. Suo Moto Rejection: According to Order VII Rule 1, a court has the authority to reject a plaint on its own motion (suo moto) if it finds that the conditions outlined in the rule are not fulfilled. This means that the court can take action without waiting for a formal application from the defendant or any party.


Rule 10 of Order VII deals with the return of a plaint in legal proceedings. It states that the plaint can be returned to be presented to the appropriate court at any stage of the suit, as per Rule 10A, if applicable.

The Explanation clarifies that even a Court of appeal or revision, after setting aside a decree in a suit, has the authority to direct the return of the plaint as per this sub-rule.

Upon returning a plaint, the Judge is required to endorse on it the date of its initial presentation, the name of the presenting party, and a concise explanation of why it is being returned.


  1. Return of plaint under Order 7 Rule 10: This occurs when a court, at any stage of the suit, determines that it does not have the jurisdiction to try the case. In such situations, the court is obligated to return the plaint to the plaintiff for presentation to the court with the rightful jurisdiction to hear the matter. Essentially, it’s about ensuring that the case is heard in the appropriate legal forum.

  2. Rejection of plaint under Order 7 Rule 11: This provision allows a court to reject a plaint based on specific grounds outlined in the rule. These grounds typically relate to procedural deficiencies or substantive issues with the plaint itself. For example, a plaint may be rejected if it is not properly stamped, if it does not disclose a cause of action, or if it is frivolous or vexatious. Unlike the return of plaint, which is based on jurisdictional concerns, the rejection of plaint focuses on the adequacy and validity of the plaint as per procedural and substantive legal requirements.


  1. Meenakshi Sundaram Chettiar vs. Venkatachalam Chettiar (1979)- As per the Supreme Court ruling the relief requested in the plaint was deemed inadequate and undervalued, the court thus rejected the plaint. The court stated that the plaintiffs must ensure that their valuation of relief aligns with the case's facts.

  2. Midnapur Zamindary Co. v. Secretary of State- the plaintiff failed to submit the revised plaint with the necessary stamp duty. As a result, the court refused the plaintiff’s request to amend the plaint and dismissed the case. In contrast, in other instances, if a plaintiff can't afford the fees, they may apply to continue the case as an indigent person.

  3. R.K. Roja v. U.S. Rayadu & Anr. (2016)- The Supreme Court established that an application under Order VII Rule 11 can be submitted at any stage, but once filed, the court must address and resolve it before continuing with the trial.

  4. T.V. Satyapal v. T. Arivandandam (1977)- the apex court determined that the contents of a plaint must be considered both formally and substantively meaningful. However, if a plaint is filed in such a way that it appears to establish a cause of action, even though closer examination reveals that no such cause exists, the court is empowered under Order 7 Rule 11 of the CPC to take appropriate action.

  5. Dahiben v. Arvindbhai Kalyanji Bhanusali (2020)- The Supreme Court said that the court’s authority to dismiss a civil action is a significant one, and the conditions outlined in Order VII Rule 11 of the CPC must be strictly followed. This rule places the responsibility on the court to evaluate whether the plaint establishes a cause of action by examining the averments in the plaint along with the supporting documents, or whether the suit is legally barred. The main objective of Order VII Rule 11 of CPC is to prevent the unnecessary prolongation of legal proceedings when a plaint fails to disclose a valid cause of action. In such instances, it becomes imperative to swiftly end the baseless litigation to avoid wasting judicial time.

  6. Mayar H.K. Ltd. v. Owners & Parties, Vessel M.V. Fortune Express (2006)- the Supreme Court clarified that the reasons for rejecting a plaint as outlined in Rule 11 of Order VII of the CPC are not limited to those explicitly listed.

  7. Sopan Sukhdeo Sable v. Asst. Charity Commr. (2004)- the Supreme Court emphasized that a plaint cannot be partially rejected and partially retained. Instead, it must be either wholly accepted or wholly rejected by the court.

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