This article is written by Tanisha Mohanty of 7th Semester of SOA National Institute of Law, an intern under Legal Vidhiya
Here in this research paper, the author has given a detailed analysis about pleadings under CPC,1908. The author has given the proper introduction about the topic which includes the definition pleading, the objectives of the pleading, and the detailed explanation about order 6 from rule 1 to rule 18. The detailed analysis on amendment of pleadings is also given here. The administration of civil proceedings is governed under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. The present article provides the comprehensive study of the provisions of the pleadings in civil matters under section 26 of CPC, 1908.
Pleadings, plaint, written statement, object and importance of pleadings, relief sought, amendment of pleadings, principles of pleading, verification.
In a legal proceeding, pleadings are the basis of every case. It is a written statement submitted by the lawyer representing the plaintiff outlining his arguments for the case, upon which the defendant will base his written statement defending himself and arguing why the plaintiff’s arguments should not be successful. After submitting his complaint, the plaintiff may occasionally file a statement with the court’s permission or the court may order him to do so. The written statement is included in the plaintiff’s pleadings in such circumstances. In similar circumstances, once the defendant has submitted his written statement, the court may grant him permission to submit another written statement or may order him to do so. In certain situations, the supplementary written declaration is included in the defendant’s pleadings as well. This is the initial phase of a suit. Pleadings are defined as a written statement or a plaint in Order 6, Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC). Supplemental pleadings refer to the plaintiff’s written statement and the defendant’s extra written statement.
Pleadings in the context of civil procedure refer to the formal written statements submitted by the parties involved in a civil lawsuit. These statements serve as the foundation for the case and provide a clear outline of the facts, issues, and claims made by each party. Pleadings play a crucial role in the legal process and are governed by the Civil Procedure Code in India. Here’s a more detailed definition and explanation:
Definition of Pleadings
Pleadings are the formal written statements or documents submitted by the parties involved in a civil lawsuit to state their respective claims, defenses, and allegations. These documents serve as the initial framework of the case, outlining the legal and factual issues to be addressed during the legal proceedings. Pleadings help establish the boundaries of the dispute and provide clarity to the court and the parties involved.
Key Components of Pleadings: Pleadings typically consist of two main documents filed by the parties:
Plaint (Plaintiff’s Pleading): The plaintiff initiates the lawsuit by filing a plaint. The plaint includes details such as the names and addresses of the parties, a concise statement of facts, the legal basis for the claim, the relief sought (i.e., what the plaintiff wants from the court), and any documents or evidence supporting the claim.
Written Statement (Defendant’s Pleading): The defendant, in response to the plaint, files a written statement. This document contains the defendant’s version of the facts, legal defenses, and any counterclaims against the plaintiff. It must also be accompanied by any supporting documents or evidence.
Importance of Pleadings:
Pleadings serve several important functions in the legal process, including:
- Setting the Stage: Pleadings establish the framework of the case, defining the issues and claims to be addressed during the trial.
- Notice to Opposing Parties: Pleadings provide formal notice to the opposing parties about the claims and defenses being made, ensuring transparency in legal proceedings.
- Preventing Surprise: Pleadings help prevent surprises during the trial by requiring parties to disclose their case’s details beforehand.
- Basis for Judgment: The court’s judgment is often based on the pleadings, as they define the legal and factual parameters of the case.
- Streamlining the Trial: Pleadings help streamline the trial process by narrowing down the issues in dispute and focusing on the relevant evidence.
- Under the Indian Civil Procedure Code (CPC), the rules and procedures regarding pleadings are outlined in Order VI (for pleadings) and Order VIII (for written statements) of the CPC. Parties are required to adhere to these rules and provide full and accurate details in their pleadings. Failure to do so may lead to adverse consequences, including the dismissal of a claim or a defense.
- Overall, pleadings are a fundamental element of civil litigation, helping ensure fairness and efficiency in the legal process by providing a clear and structured presentation of the case.
OBJECTS OF PLEADING:
Here are the four goals of pleading:
- The issues that arise between the parties are determined by the pleadings.
- To prevent the other party from being surprised, pleadings outline the issues.
- Pleadings help to narrow the scope of the conflict.
- The facts that must be proven at trial are outlined in the pleadings.
According to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Virendra Kashinath v. Vinayak N. Joshi, The initial goal of the rule is to provide the opposing side the chance to intimidate him with the unique circumstances of his case so that they can be satisfied by the other side. The second is to enable the court to establish the nature of the parties’ actual disagreement.
As stated in Rule 1, pleading
PLEADING: RULE 1 DEFINITION
The term “pleading” is defined as a written statement or plaint. A defendant’s pleading is their written statement of defense in which they address all relevant facts raised by the plaintiff in their plaint as well as any new information that is favorable to them, adding any legal objections they wish to raise to the claim. A plaintiff’s pleading is their plaint, which is a statement of claim in which the plaintiff sets out their cause of action with all necessary details.
The pleadings’ core rules are outlined in Rule 2.
PRINCIPLES OF PLEADINGS: RULE 2
The essential rules of pleading are outlined in Sub rule (1) of Rule 2. It is as follows: 2(1). Each pleading must include a short summary of the material facts supporting the party’s claim or defence, as appropriate, but not the supporting documentation that will be used to prove those facts. The evaluation reveals the following broad principles:
- Pleadings must contain facts, not legal arguments:
Four simple words can concisely sum up the law of pleading: “Plead facts, not law.” Therefore, questions of fact that must be specifically pled include whether a custom or use exists, as well as issues of intent, waiver, and negligence. However, a claim that the lawsuit can be maintained establishes a question of law and doesn’t necessarily have to be pleaded.
- The facts mentioned should be material facts:
The facts mentioned should be material facts, which are all those that need to be proven in order to support either the defendant’s written statement of defence or the plaintiff’s right to relief as requested in the plaint. ‘Material facts’ and ‘particulars’ are distinct from one another.
According to the Supreme Court in Virender Nath v. Satpal Singh, “Material facts” are fundamental or primary facts that must be pleaded by either the plaintiff or the defendant in support of the case they have put out to establish their claim or defence. On the other hand, “particulars” are information supporting the party’s material facts. It would be considered that the plea has not been raised at all if a party omits to specify relevant facts, and the court will not permit that party to introduce evidence supporting that fact at trial unless it grants that party permission to alter his pleading. It has been ruled that a plaintiff who brings a claim based on title must describe the type of deeds he uses to establish his title. Similar to this, a party relying on the fact that the notice of dishonour is not required, that the woman requesting maintenance has lost her right due to her incontinence, or that the person who signed the plaint in a suit brought by a corporate body has authority under the Code is required to allege those facts in his pleading.
- The pleadings shouldn’t contain evidence:
The evidence of the facts, as distinct from the facts themselves, should not be stated in the pleadings. There are two categories of facts:
- Facta probanda, or “the facts that must be proved,” often known as “material facts,”
- Facta probantia—their supporting evidence, the facts. (evidence).
Only facta probanda, not facta probantia, should be included in the pleadings.
- The facts should be expressed concisely.
Defendant must be aware of the case he is up against. He cannot be left in the dark about the plaintiff’s intentions by a cryptic pleading. As a result, the pleading needs to be clear, concise, and explicit. The phrase “in a concise form” certainly implies that length should be followed when preparing pleadings.
In accordance with Rule 3, forms from Appendix A of the Code should be utilized when appropriate; otherwise, forms of a similar kind should be used. The truth of the facts must be pleaded. As succinctly as the circumstances of the case permit, all relevant information must be provided in a summary form. Material allegations and critical information must be included; irrelevant claims and information must be left out.
Particulars to be provided where necessary.
Rule 4 states that where misrepresentation, fraud, breach of trust, deliberate default, or undue influence are pleaded in the pleadings, specifics with dates and things must be given.
The particulars include: date when it was committed, the person who committed that, manner by which it was committed and date on which it comes to the plaintiff’s knowledge.
In the case of Bishundeo Narain v. Seogeni Rai, the Supreme Court made the following observation: “Now if there is one rule which is better established than any other, it is that in cases of fraud, undue influence, and coercion, the parties pleading it must set forth full particulars, and the case can only be decided on the particulars as laid. No deviation from them from the evidence is possible.
In order to focus the discussion and prevent the party accused of improper conduct from being caught off guard, Rule 4 has been developed. Therefore, the court should insist on the details that provide the intended opposing side of the case adequate notice if the particulars stated in the pleading are not sufficient and explicit before moving forward with the trial of the complaint.
Rule 6 lays down that a precedent condition which is intended to be contested, shall be stated in the pleadings.
In general, departing from a pleading is not permitted, and barring an amendment, no party may assert a claim or make a factual allegation that is inconsistent with his prior pleadings.
In simple words, when a party asserts something, then he is not permitted to depart from it in the subsequent paragraph. Rule of departure is strictly applied in the pleadings. He can only depart from it by amendment, but not in the same pleading.
A simple denial of a contract by the other party will only be interpreted as a denial of the fact of the contract, not its legality, validity, or enforceability.
When a party denies a contract, he makes a bare denial. When there is a bare denial, it will be referred that he has just denied the facts but not the legality of the contract.
Unless the words in the documents are important, they do not need to be extensively described in the pleadings.
Only the operation of the documents is needed and the contents which are material shall be stated briefly.
When a person’s malice, fraudulent intention, knowledge, or other mental state is relevant, it may be alleged in the pleading only as a fact without stating the specific circumstances from which it is to be inferred. Such instances in reality provide substantial proof of facts.
When giving notice to a person is required or a condition precedent, pleadings should only mention giving the notice; they shouldn’t specify the form, exact terms, or circumstances from which it should be inferred, unless they are important.
When a notice is required to inform another party about a fact, only that facts should be stated. The contents in the complied form should not be stated.
Implied contracts or relationships between people may be asserted as facts, and the correspondence, conversations, and events that support the assertion should be pleaded broadly.
It is to be noted that, quasi-contractual obligations are implied contact.
It is not necessary to plead facts that the law presumes or where the burden of proof lies with the opposing party.
Presumption of law need not be pleaded; it will be automatically inferred by the court.
Example: when a plaintiff sues the defendant for the bill of exchange, he did not plead for consideration. It is a presumption by law that when one party sues the other for bill of exchange, and not for consideration as a substantive ground of claim. The court shall presume that bill of exchange is followed by consideration.
Every pleading must be signed by the party and his pleaders. Provided that, if the plaintiff or defendant is absent then the authorized agent should sign on their behalf.
After signature, the plaint or written statement i.e., the pleading must be verified.
Every pleading must be verified on affidavit in accordance with Rule 15 by the party, one of the parties, or a person knowledgeable about the facts of the case.
The court may at any stage of the proceedings order to stuck out or amend any matter or part of the pleading if it is unnecessary, scandalous, frivolous, or vexatious or which may tend to prejudice, embarrass, or delay the fair trial of the court or which is otherwise an abuse process to the court.
Amendment of pleadings;
- A plaintiff can amend his plaint or a defendant can amend his written statement.
- For amendment of pleadings, the party seeking such amendment shall bring the fact in front of the court or settlement office.
- After framing of the issues, no amendment can be sought by the parties. In simple words, no amendment can be done after framing of the issues.
- The court will be reluctant to amend such things.
- The change should be done earliest possible opportunity i.e., on or before settlement of issues
- If the trial begins, court will not easily permit amendment.
Here are some scenarios in which a pleading amendment will be accepted:
- The proposed amendment is required to ascertain the lawsuit’s actual dispute.in
- The proposed amendment reduces the length of the parties’ legal dispute.
- A lawsuit mentions an unfinished cause of action.
- When the lawsuit was filed, some important facts were left out.
- The pleading contained some inaccurate information. For instance, the mentioned property description is inaccurate.
A second application based on the same facts cannot be maintained if the first application for an amendment is denied. However, if the situation changes, a new application may be submitted. The court may reject such an application for the reasons listed below:
- It is not necessary to understand the amendment’s purpose in order to resolve the controversy’s core issue.
- The amendment completely alters the suit’s fundamental character due to its nature.
- According to the limitation clause, the time limit bars the proposed modification of a claim or relief.
- The proposed amendment revokes the legal advantage that other parties had accumulated.
- The amendment was not applied in good faith.
In B.K.N. Narayana Pillai v. P. Pillai and Ors, the Supreme Court held that a mere delay in filing the application cannot be a valid ground for its rejection. According to the ruling, the application cannot be denied in circumstances when the opposite party might get costs for the delay. The purpose of courts, according to a statement, is to further the interests of justice. The ability of courts to permit amendments to pleadings is to do complete fairness to the parties and not to use anything that is easily reversible against them.
Failure to amend after order:
The party must amend within given period by court.
- If the court has not prescribed the period, then it should be amended within 14 days of the passing of the order.
- If the party has failed to amend it within the prescribed period and then it is null.
- The party must amend within the prescribed period of time given by court. If in case the court has not given any prescribed time, then it’ll be amended within 14 days from the date of passing of the order.
- He cannot amend after the expiry of the prescribed time period unless the time is extended by the court.
Pleadings are the foundation of any legal proceeding. The pleading lays out the case. In order to frame claims or defenses for either party, it directs the parties to develop arguments and understand the claims of the other party. It serves as direction for the entire suit journey. They also decide what types of admissible evidence the parties may present during the trial. The Code of Civil Procedure, together with any amendments, contains the basic rules for pleadings. These rules have the objective to maintain social harmony and advance justice’s highest goals.
- The Code of Civil Procedure,1908 Bare Act
- Dr. S.R. Myeni Code of Civil Procedure and Limitation Act.
 Virendra Kashinath v. Vinayak N. Joshi (1999) 1 SCC 47
 Virender Nath v. Satpal Singh, (2007) 3 SCC 617
 Bishundeo Narain v. Seogeni Rai AIR 1951 SC 280
 Ladli Prashad v. Karnal Distillery Co. Ltd., supra, at p. 1288 (AIR)
 B.K.N. Narayana Pillai v. P. Pillai and Ors, AIR 2000 SC