Plaint and Written Statement in a Civil Suit
As per Order IV Rule 2, a suit is instituted by presenting a plaint.
A plaint is a document which describes (Order VII Rule 1 )
all the four essentials of a suit i.e. parties, cause of action, subject matter and the relied claimed. If one of the essentials is inadequately described or is absent, then the plaint will be considered incomplete.
Jurisdiction of the court.
Not barred by limitation.
An incomplete or inchoate plaint may be returned or rejected.
`Rejected (Order VII Rule 11)
Does not disclose CoA
Barred by limitation
Incorrect valuation of the claim amount
Insufficient payment of court fees
Appealable especially if it is on the ground of limitation.
This is done at the preliminary stage. However, different states have different rules regarding this. Gujarat: cannot be rejected after settlement of issues.
The aspects of rejected plaint can be decided by either a competent officer of the court or a judge.
Returned (Order VII Rule 10)
To be presented before the proper Court for adjudication. This can be done at any stage of a suit.
It is based on the aspect of jurisdiction.
However, orders with regard to return plaint are also appealable under Order 43 Rule1.
It is the response of the defendant to the plaint filed by the plaintiff.
The defendant first has to ensure and verify the exhibits annexed to a plaint. Wherever there exists a doubt, the defendant can seek inspection from the plaintiff.
After that, the written statement is drafted paragraph to paragraph to deny whatever is incorrect in the plaintiff’s plaint. If defendant remains silent on any aspect and it is not denied specifically or by necessary implication, then that ground will be considered to have been admitted by the defendant. Order VIII Rule 3
Once the denials are over, the defendant must raise by his pleadings all matters which show that the suit is not maintainable. Order VIII Rule 2
The defendant shall also be entitled to raise any claim for set off or a counter claim in the written statement.
Set off :
Suit should be for recovery of money
The claim of the defendant against the plaintiff should be for an ascertained sum of money
The sum should be legally recoverable
Should be within the pecuniary jurisdiction of the court entertaining the suit.
Both parties must fill the same character in set off as well as the suit.
Types of Set off :
Equitable set off: It may be for an unascertained sum of money. It is a matter of discretion of court. The claim must have arisen from the same transaction.
Legal set off: For an ascertained sum of money. It can be claimed as a matter of right if conditions are fulfilled. It is not necessary that the claim arises from the same transaction. Normally, these are seen in India.
Counter Claim :
Provision for counter claim was added in the CPC by an amendment in the year 1976 to ensure there was no multiplicity of suits.
Under counter claim, the defendant can set up any claim arising out of a CoA accruing against the plaintiff. It is not necessary that the counter claim be submitted with the written statement. However, the CoA must have arisen before the written statement is submitted.
The plaintiff is entitled to file a written statement against the counter claim. Even if a suit is dismissed, withdrawn or stayed, the proceeding under counter claim will stand to continue independent of the suit as if the defendant had filed a cross suit against the plaintiff.
Conditions of Counter Claim :
It need not be a counter claim, it can be any claim arising out of any CoA arisen before submission of written statement.
Relief claimed can be of any means i.e. monetary or non-monetary.
Counter claim need not arise from the same transaction.