Monday, 24 January 2022

Pleading and its general rule

 PLEADINGS AND ITS RULES

BY: Bishrant Khatiwada, SLS, Pune, Email: bishrantkhatiwada0@gmail.com

Speaking in general sense according to a layman, a pleading can be defined as a formal statement of the cause of action or defense. Pleadings are defined as a plaint or written statement under CPC Order 6 Rule 1. In the code, the term 'plaint' is undefined. It is, however, the statement of claim - a document that provides the material facts on the basis of which a lawsuit is filed in a court of law.

  1. What is pleading and its objects

The backbone of the legal profession is pleadings. It is the cornerstone upon which a party's case is built. A party's case must be stated in the pleadings. Furthermore, relief cannot be sought on grounds that are not included in the pleadings. Pleadings should be correctly drafted and should not include irrelevant, obscure, or confusing matters. It was held in Devki Nandan v. Murlidhar that a conclusion based on no pleading and no evidence could not be upheld. In a court procedure, pleadings are the materials or important facts that must be averred in order to present a cause or establish a defence. It is the suit's backbone, upon which the entire structure is built. It involves claims and counter-allegations made by one side that the other denies.

The object of pleading was observed in leading case of Throp V holdsworth wherein, "The whole object of pleadings is to bring parties to an issue," the court said in Throp v. Holdsworth. "The meaning of the rules (relating to pleadings) was to prevent the issue from being enlarged, which would prevent either party from knowing what the real point to be discussed and decided when the cause came on for trial." In fact, the system's entire purpose is to limit the parties to specific issues, reducing costs and delays, particularly in terms of the amount of testimony required on either side at the hearing."

The object of pleadings are:

  1. To bring the parties to definite suit

  2. To prevent surprise and miscarriage of justice

  3. To avoid unnecessary expense and trouble

  4. To save public time

  5. To eradicate irrelevancy

  6. To assist court

Pleadings not only outline the issues between the parties for the court's final decision at the trial, but they also demonstrate and stress their relevance throughout the whole litigation process. The correct manner of trial is guided by the pleadings. They show who bears the burden of proof and who has the authority to initiate the lawsuit. They also establish the scope of admissible evidence that the parties may present at trial. They also set a limit on the amount of relief that the Court can provide.

  1. Fundamental rules of pleadings

The rules of pleadings are given in Order 6 Rule 2 of the Civil Procedural Code, 1908. The major rules are:

  1. Pleading should state the facts (Facta Probanda)

  2. The fact should be material facts ( Facta Probantia)

  3. Pleading should not state the evidence

  4. The facts stated in the pleading should be in a concise form

Pleading should state the facts

Unnecessary information unrelated to the cause of action shall not be disclosed in any pleading (also known as Facta Probanda). It is up to the court to decide how the law should be applied to the facts. Thus, the presence of any custom or usage is an issue of fact that must be proven, but a claim of suit maintainability is a question of law that does not require pleading. A mixed matter of fact and law, on the other hand, should be expressly pleaded. Rule 13 further states that a presumption in one's favour does not need to be pleaded because they are matters of proof. 

It is the first and most important rule in pleadings. It states that pleadings should only contain facts and not legal arguments. In the case of Kedar Lal v. Hari Lal, it was decided that the parties must submit solely the facts on which their claims are based. It is up to the Court to decide how the law should be applied to the facts. It was ruled in Gouri Dutt Ganesh Lall Firm v. Madho Prasad that the law of pleading may be summed up in four words: "Plead facts, not law."

However, it was established in Ram Prasad v. State of M.P. that a mixed matter of law and fact should be properly pled. The Court stated in Union of India v. Sita Ram Jaiswal that a point of law that must be supported by facts shall be pled with the requisite facts.

The Fact should be Material facts

The pleading must not include any proof of the facts that may be used to establish them, as this is only necessary after the problems have been resolved (also known as Facta Probantia). In the court, the term "substantial facts" is not defined. The Supreme Court defined the term in the case of Udhav Singh v. Madhav Rao Scindia as "all the basic facts that must be established at the trial by a party to demonstrate the existence of the cause of action or his defence."

"The phrase'material facts' may be said to be those facts on which a party relies for his claim or defence," the Supreme Court said in Virender Nath v. Satpal Singh. 'Material facts,' in other words, are facts that support the plaintiff's claim or the defendant's defence. What constitutes'material facts' will vary depending on the circumstances of each case, and no general norm can be established. All basic and core facts that must be proven at trial by the party to demonstrate the existence of a cause of action or defence must be presented in the pleading by the party."

Pleading shouldnot state the evidence

The parties' pleadings must not specify any law that requires the court to evaluate such facts, but they may present a mixed matter of law and fact in their pleadings.

It is the third and most important rule of pleadings. It states that pleadings should include a declaration of important facts on which the party relies, but not the evidence used to prove those facts. There are two categories of facts: 

(a) facta probanda, which are the facts that must be proved (material facts), and 

(b) facta probantia, which are the facts that will be used to prove them (particulars or evidence).

Only facta probanda, not facta probantia, shall be included in the pleadings. Facta probanda are the important facts on which the plaintiff bases his claim or the defendant bases his defence, and they must be expressed in the plaint or written declaration, as the case may be. However, the facts or evidence used to show the material facts are known as facta probantia and are not required to be presented in the pleadings.

The Facts stated in the pleading should be in a concise form

It is further stipulated that every complaint should be separated into paragraphs, numbers sequentially, and each accusation should be recorded in distinct paragraphs, and that all such significant facts must be expressed in compact form, i.e., in a brief and to-the-point manner. Dates, amounts, and numbers should be stated both in English and in figures.

The phrases "in a compact manner" are obviously suggestive of the idea that brevity should be adhered to while preparing pleadings in Virendra Kashinath v. Vinayak N. Joshi. Of course, brevity should not come at the expense of omitting crucial information, but it also does not imply nagging in the pleadings. Pleadings can be spared from tautology if attention is exercised in the syntactic procedure.

The other rules of pleadings are:

  1. According to rule 14 of Order 6 of CPC, every pleading must be signed by the parties or his pleader

  2. Rule 4 of Order 6 of CPC states that particulars with date should be stated, wherever misrepresentation, breach of trust, fraud, wilful default or under influence is pleaded in the pleading

  3. The effect of the document shall be stated briefly where the contents of any documents are material which is stated in Rule 9 of Order 6 of CPC


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