Report No. 144
6.4.2. Question for consideration.-
The question for consideration is this. For deciding whether the plaint discloses a cause of action or not, should the court assume the averments made in the plaint to be correct for the time being and then decide whether those averments disclose a cause of action? Or, can the court go further and hold a deeper enquiry?
6.4.3. The High Court of Rajasthan has held that what the court has to decide is, whether the allegations made in the plaint disclose a cause of action. This does not entitle the court to hold a probe into those allegations on the basis of the plea raised by the defendant.1
1. Ranjeetmal v. Poonam Chand, AIR 1983 Raj 1 (2), para. 3 (Dwarka Prasad, J.).
6.4.4. On the other hand, the High Court of Delhi1 seems to take a view which would confer on the court a wider power. In the Delhi case, the question was as to whether the State Trading Corporation was the agent of the Central Government, by reason of which the Central Government was liable for the breach of contract committed by the Corporation. It was urged on behalf of the Union of India (Central Government) that the plaint did not disclose any cause of action against the Union of India and the suit should be dismissed against it.
The High Court held that it was to be seen if, actually according to law, the contention of the plaintiff that the STC is an agent of the Government is justified or not and mere allegation of the plaintiff was not enough. This Delhi judgment has been dissented from, in the Rajasthan judgment2 of 1983.
1. Sakthi Sugars Lid., v. Union of India, AIR 1981 Del 212.
2. Ranjeetmal v. Poonam Chand, AIR 1983 Raj 1 (2) (Dwarka Prasad, J.).
6.4.5. In an Allahabad case, it was emphasised that two cases stand apart from each other:-
(i) case where the plaint itself does not disclose the cause of action; and
(ii) case where, after the parties have produced oral and documentary evidence, the court, after a consideration of all the materials, comes to the conclusion that there is no cause of action.
In the former case, Order 7, rule 11(a) is attracted, while in latter case it is not attracted according to the Allahabad view.1
1. Jagannath Prasad v. Chandrawati, AIR 1970 All 309 (311), para. 6 (FB) (per Gyanendra Kumar, J.).
6.4.6. In the Delhi case of 1981, the arguments placed before the court and the reasoning of the court are found in paragraphs 11 and 12 of the judgment, quoted below:1
"11. The learned counsel for the plaintiff contended that at this stage the only thing plaintiff has to show is that the allegations contained in the plaint do spell out a cause of action against defendants including the Union of India, in the present case, that it is not necessary that the said cause of action should be established and that the matter of establishing cause of action would come up for consideration only when the case would be tried on merits.
He, therefore, suggests that let this application of the Union of India be dismissed and the matter as to whether the plaintiff has any cause of action against the Union of India should be decided after the framing of issues and leading of entitle evidence. The learned counsel explains that in the present case there was allegation of the plaintiff that defendant no. 2 was agent of the Union of India and that the said allegation is sufficient for disclosing the cause of action against the Union of India.
In support of this contention he relied upon a judgment of Assam High Court in Shanti Ranjan Das Gupta v. Dasuram Mirzamal Firm, AIR 1957 Assam 49. It was held that a plaint could not be rejected on the ground that there was no cause of action for the suit because that was something different from saying that the plaint itself did not disclose any cause of action. The learned counsel contended that in the present case what the Union of India was urging was that the plaintiff had no cause of action because according to law defendant No. 2 was not agent of the Union of India.
12. But the law in this respect is laid down by the Supreme Court in T. Arivandandam v. T.V. Satyapal, AIR 1977 SC 2421. It is laid down that if, on a meaningful and not formal reading of a plaint, it is manifest that the plaint is vexatious or meritless in the sense of not disclosing a clear right to sue, trial court should exercise its power under Order VII, rule 11, Code of Civil Procedure, and should reject the plaint. So, it is meaningful reading of the plaint which is required. It is to be seen if actually according to law, on the allegations contained in the plaint, defendant No. 2 was agent of the Union of India or not. Mere formal allegation of the plaintiff that defendant No. 2 was agent of the Union of India is not to he accepted.
In view of the Supreme Court authority, it is the duty of the Court to probe whether allegations made in the plaint made defendant No. 2 as agent and the Union of India as the principal according to law. I have already held that according to law, defendant No. 2 was not agent of the Union of India, and that being so plaint does not disclose any cause of action against the latter."
1. Sakthi Sugar Ltd. v. Union of India, AIR 1981 Del 212.