24 Jan 2010

Cause of action to be examined at each stage of trial: High Court

In an important message to the all courts looking after original matters, the Delhi High Court has pointed it out as the duty of the courts to ensure that the cause of action for which the suit has been filed survives at each stage of the trial. The High Court justified the action of the single judge in dismissing a suit at at a late stage in the suit holding that the cause of action had failed to continue and thus the suit was dismissed in terms of Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The High Court inter alia declared as under;
17. Rigmarole of a trial is not to be routinely undertaken. At every stage of the suit, Judges have to be vigilant to see as to whether cause of action to further proceed with the suit survives or not. At any stage of the suit, if the court finds that the cause of action no longer survives, then it ought not to await a formal application under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC and can “suo moto” exercise its inherent powers under Section 151 of CPC in the interest of justice, to do complete justice between the parties. We, therefore, do not find any substance in the contention of learned senior counsel for the Appellant of impugned order short-circuiting the trial.
18. Courts have to play proactive role as they are faced with overflowing dockets and the learned Single Judge has shown the way by proceeding to examine as to whether Appellant’s claim discloses the cause of action to proceed to a trial. Although the impugned order discloses that the issue of maintainability of a suit has been dealt with, but in fact, learned Single Judge has by detailed order, invoked clause (a) of Rule 11 of Order 7 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which provides for rejection of plaint if it is found to be lacking cause of action. It is really immaterial that in the impugned order, suit of the Appellant’s has been held to be not maintainable. Without concentrating on the phraseology, true import of the order has to be seen. In fact, the purport of the impugned order is of rejection of the Appellant’s plaint as it has been found in the impugned order that no part of the contract survives which could be specifically enforced. Infact, learned Single Judge has correctly found that there was no cause of action with Appellant to proceed with his suit.
Have a look at the decision. For further insights into the meaning and ambit of the expression 'cause of action' have a look at our paper on SSRN on this issue. 

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