Read Judgment: Sri Biswanath Banik & Anr. V. Smt. Sulanga Bose & Ors.

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, March 15, 2022: While dealing with rejection of plaint under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC mainly on the ground that the suit is barred by limitation, the Supreme Court has reiterated that while considering an application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC, the Court has to go through the entire plaint averments and it cannot reject the plaint by reading only few lines/passages and ignoring the other relevant parts of the plaint.

A Division Bench of Justice M.R Shah and Justice B.V Nagarathna on going through the entire plaint averments, observed that it cannot be said at this stage that the suit is barred by limitation on the face of it. 

Going by the background of the case, Sulanga Bose (Respondents – original plaintiffs) had instituted a Title Suit against Biswanath Banik (Appellants – original defendants) seeking declaration of right, title interest in the suit property and for confirmation of plaintiff’s possession as part performance of contract as provided u/s 53A of the T.P. Act. The Respondents also prayed for enforcement of the agreement directing the Principal defendant to execute and register Deed of conveyance in favour of the plaintiffs. In addition, the Respondents sought for a decree for permanent order of injunction restraining the defendant and his men and agent from causing any interference and/or any obstruction to the peaceful enjoyment and possession of the suit property and further restraining the defendant from making any attempt to dispossess the plaintiffs forcefully and illegally from the suit property. 

Having served with the suit notice, the defendants submitted an application before the trial court requesting to reject the plaint under Order VII Rule 11 CPC mainly on the ground that the suit is barred by limitation and that the suit for a declaration simpliciter u/s 53A of the Transfer of Property Act would not be maintainable. That the trial court rejected the said application and refused to reject the plaint in exercise of powers under Order VII Rule 11 CPC. The matter reached the High Court, which quashed the order passed by the trial court and consequently has allowed the application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC and has rejected the plaint on the ground that the suit is barred by limitation and that the suit for a declaration simpliciter u/s 53A of the Transfer of Property Act would not be maintainable against the actual owner.

After considering the submissions, the Top Court noted that only in a case where on the face of it, it is seen that the suit is barred by limitation, then and then only a plaint can be rejected under Order VII Rule 11(d) CPC on the ground of limitation, and for the said purpose, the Court has to consider and read the averments in the plaint as a whole. 

As observed and held by this Court in the case of Ram Prakash Gupta Vs. Rajiv Kumar Gupta and Ors [(2007) 10 SCC 59], rejection of a plaint under Order VII Rule 11(d) CPC by reading only few lines and passages and ignoring the other relevant parts of the plaint is impermissible, added the Court.

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Shah observed that when the suit is for a decree of permanent injunction and it is averred that the plaintiffs are in possession of the suit property pursuant to the agreement and thereafter, they have developed the land and that they are in continuous possession since more than twelve years and they are also paying taxes to the Corporation, the cause of action can be said to have arisen on the date on which the possession is sought to be disturbed. 

If that be so, the suit for decree for permanent injunction cannot be said to be barred by limitation, as it is the settled proposition of law that the plaint cannot be rejected partially, added the Bench. 

Justice Shah further said that whether the plaintiffs shall be entitled to any relief u/s 53A of the Transfer of Property Act or not has to be considered at the time of trial, but at this stage it cannot be said that the suit for the relief sought u/s 53A would not be maintainable at all and therefore the plaint is liable to be rejected in exercise of powers under Order VII Rule 11 CPC.

Thus, the High Court has committed a grave error in allowing the application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC and has exceeded in its jurisdiction in rejecting the plaint while exercising the powers under Order VII Rule 11 CPC, added the Bench.

Accordingly, the Apex Court allowed the appeal.  


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