Supreme Court: The bench of L. Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai*, JJ has lucidly explained the law on rejection of plaints under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC for want of cause of action and has held that in each the question that will have to be considered is as to whether the reliefs as claimed in the plaint by the plaintiffs could be granted or not and if none of the reliefs sought in the plaint can be granted then such a suit should be thrown out at the threshold.
Here’s the law explained by the Supreme Court on various occasions:
Dahiben v. Arvindbhai Kalyanji Bhanusali , (2020) 7 SCC 366
The power conferred on the court to terminate a civil action is a drastic one, and the conditions enumerated under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC are required to be strictly adhered to. However, under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC, the duty is cast upon the court to determine whether the plaint discloses a cause of action, by scrutinizing the averments in the plaint, read in conjunction with the documents relied upon, or whether the suit is barred by any law.
The underlying object of Order VII Rule 11 of CPC is that when a plaint does not disclose a cause of action, the court would not permit the plaintiff to unnecessarily protract the proceedings.
“… in such a case, it will be necessary to put an end to the sham litigation so that further judicial time is not wasted.”
Pearlite Liners (P) Ltd. v. Manorama Sirsi, (2004) 3 SCC 172
If the court finds that none of the reliefs sought in the plaint can be granted to the plaintiff under the law, the question then arises is as to whether such a suit is to be allowed to continue and go for trial. Holding that such a suit should be thrown out at the threshold, the Courtsaid,
“Why should a suit which is bound to be dismissed for want of jurisdiction of a court to grant the reliefs prayed for, be tried at all?”
T. Arivandandam v. T.V. Satyapal, (1977) 4 SCC 467
Reading of the averments made in the plaint should not only be formal but also meaningful. It has been held that if clever drafting has created the illusion of a cause of action, and a meaningful reading thereof would show that the pleadings are manifestly vexatious and meritless, in the sense of not disclosing a clear right to sue, then the court should exercise its power under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC.
“… such a suit has to be nipped in the bud at the first hearing itself.”
[Rajendra Bajoria v. Hemant Kumar Jalan, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 764, decided on 21.09.2021]
Appearances before the Court by:
For appellants: Senior Advocate Gopal Jain
For Respondents: Senior Advocates Dr. A.M. Singhvi, K.V. Viswanathan and Gopal Sankaranarayanan
*Judgment by: Justice BR Gavai