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    Tuesday, 6 December 2016

    Return of Plaint under Code Civil Procedure

    1. Introduction
    It is a general principle of law that courts cannot entertain a suit, unless they have jurisdiction to do so. When a suit is instituted in one court and if opinion of court is that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the suit, the plaint should be returned to the plaintiff under order 7 Rule 10 CPC, for presentation to the proper court.

    2. Meaning of Plaint
    Plaint is not defined by the code, so it has to be taken in an ordinary sense “It is a written memorial tendered to a court in which the plaintiff sets forth –the cause of action and seeks Judgment and relief from the Court”.

    3. Relevant Provisions
    Following are the relevant provisions regarding the topic of return of plaint
    Order 7 Rule 10 C.P.C
    Cross Reference
    Section 6 to 25 of Code of Civil Procedure
    Section 11 of suit valuation Act 1887.

    4. Grounds for return of Plaint

    Court shall return a plaint on the following ground

    i. Court has no jurisdiction
    The term jurisdiction refers to the legal authority, to administer justice in accordance with the means provided by law and subject to the limitation imposed by law. When the court has no jurisdiction, plaint should be returned.

    ii. Objection to jurisdiction
    If party has any objection as to jurisdiction of the court, it should be raised as early as possible and any objection to jurisdiction should be dealt with under rule 19 of order 7.

    iii. Subsequently acquired jurisdiction
    If at the time of institution of suit, Court has no jurisdiction but subsequently acquires jurisdiction, then the suit will be deemed to have been properly instituted from the date, the court gets jurisdiction.

    iv. One part of plaint is within and other part outside the jurisdiction of Court
    When plaint consists of two parts, one of which is within the jurisdiction of the court and the other is outside the jurisdiction of the court, and then is such case two views prevailed. According to one view the court should return the plaint outside its jurisdiction and continue with the part within its jurisdiction.

    Another view is that Court should not return the plaint but strike out under Order 6 Rule 16 of CPC that portion of the plaint, which is not within its jurisdiction.

    v. Determination of jurisdiction
    In order to determine, whether the court has jurisdiction, the suit as originally framed and instituted, has to be looked into.

    5. Scope
    Order 7 Rule 10 of CPC will be applicable only, when the suit is pending before the court. Provisions of Rule 10 are mandatory in nature.

    6. Time for returning of Plaint
    The plaint may be returned at any stage of the suit and even in appeal or revision.

    7. Procedure on Returning Plaint
    On returning plaint the judge shall endorse following on the plaint
    i.                 Date of presentation and return of plaint
    ii.                Name of the party presenting it.
    iii.               Brief statement of reasons for returning it.

    8. Two courses to plaintiff on return of plaint
    On return of plaint, plaintiff has the following options
    i.                 He may file a new suit or
    ii.                He may amend the same plaint and present it in the court

    9. Applicability of Order 7 Rule 10
    Order 7 Rule 10 of CPC is applicable only to suits and not to the application.

    10. Limitation
    For the purpose of limitation, the date of institution of the suit is the date when the plaint is represented to the court, having jurisdiction.

    11. Appeal
    An order of returning a plaint is appealable, hut second appeal is barred.

    13. Conclusion

    By the above discussion, it can be said, that jurisdiction of court is necessary, to obtain adjudication, and decision of court without jurisdiction, is a nullity in the eye of law, and not binding of anyone, though this is subject to the exceptions u/s 21 CPC and u/s 11 of suit valuation Act 1887. Jurisdiction, of the court is initially determined by the recitals in the plaint and where civil court does not have jurisdiction it shall return the plaint under order 7 Rule 10 CPC.
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    Item Reviewed: Return of Plaint under Code Civil Procedure Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Usman Ali
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