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Pleadings In Civil Disputes

Civil Law in India is governed by the Code of Civil Procedure. The pleadings are the statement of facts � in the written form submitted to the Court, and it ordinarily means plaint, written statement, replication, or rejoinder.

The person who approaches the court through filing plaint is called the plaintiff and the one who defends the trial is called the defendant. The defendant has an opportunity to file a cross case in the same trial with a distinct claim other than the one which is sought by the Plaintiff.

The procedural law is intended to aid the administration of substantive justice, and not to block it. The provisions governing pleading in civil cases are intended to provide each party with notice of the other's case in order to meet it, to enable courts to ascertain what is truly at stake between parties and to prohibit departures from the course that litigation on certain causes of action must take.


What Are Aims And Objectives Of The Pleadings?

The provisions related to pleadings in a Civil Suit are enumerated in Order VI, VII & VIII, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. The aims and objectives are:
  1. The pleadings aim to establish the precise issues of contention between the parties in a lawsuit;
  2. The pleadings provide an adequate notice/intimation of the case to the opposing party, allowing one to reply to the contentions, and present the evidence relevant to the disclosed subject;
  3. The pleadings allow courts to ascertain the true nature of the dispute between parties and to avert departures from the path that litigation on specific causes of action must pursue;
  4. A structure in a trial is formulated through the pleadings and it becomes the foundation of the Civil Suit.

When Can Plaint Be Filed And Its Ingredients?

The citizens have legal rights or obligations, i.e. the rights or obligations conferred by law on citizens. These rights could be legal or individual rights and are enforceable through the medium of the Court under Civil Law by instituting a suit. All of these rights are enforced on behalf of the citizen, individual, or group. A suit is filed by charging that the legal rights of the plaintiff have been violated and all of these allegations, when given in the appropriate form, are referred to be a plaint in a civil suit.

The party must provide a legal statement in the prescribed format. Institution of the Suit through filing the plaint sets in motion for a Civil Trial. The Civil Suit has to be filed on a valid cause of action. The term 'cause of action' refers to the reason for the legal action, the set of facts that led to the legal action, the circumstances that led to the legal action, or the event that led to the legal action.

The key features of a plant to be kept in mind while drafting a plaint:
  • The purpose of a Plaint is to state material facts, not to produce evidence. The material facts must be related to a valid cause of Action. However, the important documents can be attached to the Plaint in a prescribed manner;
  • The plaint is governed by Order VI (Pleadings in general) & Order VII (Plaint), Code of Civil Procedure, 1908;
  • Law is not to be stated in the plaint, ordinarily;
  • Each point, whenever necessary, shall be divided into paragraphs and consecutively numbered, with each allegation presented in a distinct paragraph;
  • In all cases where the party relies on any misrepresentation, fraud, breach of trust, wilful default, or undue influence, shall be stated in the Plaint
  • The circumstances giving rise to the cause of action and the date on which they occurred have to be mentioned;
  • Facts establishing the Court's jurisdiction;
  • The plaint shall have remedies sought by the plaintiff;
  • In the case of set-off or relinquishment of a portion of the plaintiff's claim, the amount of the set-off or relinquishment;
  • Statement of the Suit's value for the purposes of jurisdiction and court fees, to the extent that the case permits;
  • If a party who has obtained an order for leave to amend does not amend accordingly within the time-limited prescribed, he shall not be permitted to amend after the expiration of such limited time, unless the time is extended by the Court; 
  • Trial Court under Order VI Rule 17 may at any stage of the proceedings allow either party to alter or amend his pleadings for the purpose of determining the real questions in controversy between the parties;
  • The plaint shall have a statement to the effect that the plaintiff or defendant is a minor or a person of unsound mind;
  • Any condition precedent, the performance or occurrence of which is intended to be contested, shall be distinctly specified in his pleading by the plaintiff;
  • No pleading shall, except by way of amendment, raise any new ground of claim or contain any allegation of fact inconsistent with the previous pleadings;
  • Every pleading shall be signed and verified at the foot by the party and/or its pleader (if any).

Who Can File A Written Statement And Its Description?

A written statement is a response to the plaintiff's claim in the plaint and the defendant files it under the legal obligation. Non-appearance to the Court's notice or not filing a written statement at all can result in ex-parte order against the defendant.
  • Written Statement is governed by Order VI (Pleadings in general) & Order VIII (Written Statement), Code of Civil Procedure, 1908;
     
  • It is the defendant's specific admission of the plaintiff's claim or specific denial of the plaintiff's claims or averments in his plaint;
     
  • The important documents can be attached to the Written Statement in a prescribed manner;
     
  • The defendant must raise in his pleading all issues that demonstrate the suit is not maintainable or that the transaction is void or voidable in law, as well as all grounds of defense that, if not raised, are likely to surprise the opposing party or raise issues of fact unrelated to the plaint, such as fraud, limitation, release, payment, performance, or facts establishing illegality;
     
  • It is not sufficient for a defendant to deny generally the grounds mentioned by the plaintiff in his written statement; the defendant must address each factual accusation to which he does not concede the truth, except for damages;

When a defendant denies a factual accusation in the plaint, he must do it directly, not evasively. Thus, if it is alleged that he received a certain sum of money, denying that he received that total or any portion thereof is not sufficient; he must also set forth how much he received. And if an allegation is made based on a variety of circumstances, denying it only on the basis of those facts is insufficient.
  • Except in the case of a person with a disability, every factual allegation in the plaint shall be presumed to be admitted unless expressly or impliedly disputed or indicated to be not admitted in the defendant's pleading;
     
  • Specific detail of the set-off must be included in a written statement. Where the defendant relies on several distinct grounds of defense or set-off or counter-claim, based on separate and distinct facts, they shall be presented separately and distinctly, to the extent possible;
     
  • Any defense that has arisen subsequent to the institution of the suit or the production of a written statement claiming set-off or counter-claim may be raised in the written statement by the defendant;
     
  • No pleading subsequent to a defendant's written statement shall be presented except with the Court's permission and on such terms as the Court deems appropriate; however, the Court sets a time limit of not more than thirty days for presenting the same;
     
  • Pursuant to Order VIII, Rule 1, or Rule 9 within the time permitted or fixed by the Court, as the case may be, the Court shall pronounce judgment against him or make such order in relation to the suit as it deems fit, and upon the pronouncement of such judgment, a decree shall be drawn up; 
     
  • Written Statement shall have a statement to the effect that if the defendant is a minor or a person of unsound mind appropriate representation of the Defendant with the Court's permission;
     
  • Written Statement shall be signed and verified at the foot by the party and/or its pleader (if any);
     
  • Any challenge to the cause of action, Court's jurisdiction, deficiency in the court fees should be mentioned in the Written Statement;
     
  • General standards of pleadings are to be followed in the Written Statement.
     

Where To Add Preliminary Submissions In A Written Statement And Its Contents?

The preliminary submissions are limited to the accurate and proper facts pertaining to the matter at hand that have been withheld or omitted by the opposing party in the pleadings. The preliminary submissions/objections to the Plaint in a Suit shall be mentioned in the beginning of the Written Statement under the category 'preliminary submissions/objections'. While making such a plea, it is critical to ensure that the legal provisions and/or their interpretation are crystal clear and directly applicable to the issues of the Civil Suit. Under the heading preliminary submissions and objections, the following points may be considered:
  • The claim is barred by Res Judicata;
  • Any jurisdictional error;
  • Any inaccurate fact contained in the plaint;
  • The plant fails to disclose the valid cause of action
  • Absolute bar of Limitation;
  • Estoppel;
  • Subjudice;
  • Lis Pendens;
     
Other legal submissions.
The other defences that a defendant may raise in response to the Plaint:
  • When a defendant categorically denies all of the claims included in the plaint;
  • Where the defendant concedes the allegations but strives to neutralize them by affirmatively stating certain facts of his own;
  • These objections are not meritorious and are limited to a legal matter. These may be dilatory or conclusive pleas/pleas in bar;
  • Pleas that delay a trial on its merits is the dilatory pleas.

How Can A Competent Civil Lawyer Help You?

The parties involved in the civil litigations are under a lot of stress due to long-standing unresolved legal issues. At times, the parties are unable to take correct decisions, especially, looking at the nuances involved in the complex code of civil procedure and its interplay with the statutory laws like Hindu Laws, Indian Contract Act, the Registration Act, the Indian Trusts Act, the Sale of Goods Act, the Indian Partnership Act, and other relevant statutory laws.

The correct approach to alleviating this stress is to hire a competent civil lawyer who can take a charge of the situation and make your case, a winning case with the best of the probabilities. The best civil lawyers in Chandigarh can provide you with expert guidance in the complex civil disputes along with the correct remedies available in Law. You can seek legal advice on your matter from our expert civil lawyers at The Law Codes.

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