What is cause of action?

A plaint before it can be entertained and registered as suit, it must plead cause of action.

What is cause of action?

While scrutinizing the plaint averments, it is the bounden duty of the trial Court to ascertain the materials for cause of action. The cause of action is a bundle of facts which taken with the law applicable to them gives the plaintiff the right to relief against the defendant. Every fact which is necessary for the plaintiff to prove to enable him to get a decree should be set out in clear terms. It is worthwhile to find out the meaning of the words “cause of action”. A cause of action must include some act done by the defendant since in the absence of such an act no cause of action can possibly accrue.

In A.B.C. Laminart Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. vs. A.P. Agencies, Salem (1989) 2 SCC 163, Supreme Court explained the meaning of “cause of action” as follows:

“12. A cause of action means every fact, which if traversed, it would be necessary for the plaintiff to prove in order to support his right to a judgment of the court. In other words, it is a bundle of facts which taken with the law applicable to them gives the plaintiff a right to relief against the defendant. It must include some act done by the defendant since in the absence of such an act no cause of action can possibly accrue. It is not limited to the actual infringement of the right sued on but includes all the material facts on which it is founded. It does not comprise evidence necessary to prove such facts, but every fact necessary for the plaintiff to prove to enable him to obtain a decree. Everything which if not proved would give the defendant a right to immediate judgment must be part of the cause of action. But it has no relation whatever to the defence which may be set up by the defendant nor does it depend upon the character of the relief prayed for by the plaintiff.”

In Bloom Dekor Ltd. vs. Subhash Himatlal Desai & Ors. (1994) 6 SCC 322, wherein a three Judge Bench of Supreme Court held as under:

“28. By “cause of action” it is meant every fact, which, if traversed, it would be necessary for the plaintiff to prove in order to support his right to a judgment of the Court, (Cooke v. Gill, 1873 LR 8 CP

In other words, a bundle of facts which it is necessary for the plaintiff to prove in order to succeed in the suit.” It is mandatory that in order to get relief, the plaintiff has to aver all material facts. In other words, it is necessary for the plaintiff to aver and prove in order to succeed in the suit.

Pleadings of particulars:

Forms 47 and 48 of Appendix A of the Code

In the case on hand, the plaintiff-respondent to get a decree for specific performance has to prove that there is a subsisting agreement in his favour and the second defendant has the necessary authority under the power of attorney. Order VII Rule 14 mandates that the plaintiff has to produce the documents on which the cause of action is based, therefore, he has to produce the power of attorney when the plaint is presented by him and if he is not in possession of the same, he has to state as to in whose possession it is. In the case on hand, only the agreement between the plaintiff and the second defendant has been filed along with the plaint under Order VII Rule 14(1). As rightly pointed out by the learned senior counsel for the appellant, if he is not in possession of the power of attorney, it being a registered document, he should have filed a registration copy of the same. There is no such explanation even for not filing the registration copy of the power of attorney. Under Order VII Rule 14(2) instead of explaining in whose custody the power of attorney is, the plaintiff has simply stated ‘Nil’. It clearly shows non-compliance of Order VII Rule 14(2).

Where a document is sued upon and its terms are not set out in the plaint but referred to in the plaint, the said document gets incorporated by reference in the plaint.

Conclusion:

in view of the shortfall in the plaint averments, statutory provisions, namely, Order VII Rule 11, Rule 14(1) and Rule 14(2), Form Nos. 47 and 48 in Appendix A of the Code which are statutory in nature, we hold that the learned single Judge of the High Court has correctly concluded that in the absence of any cause of action shown as against the 1st defendant, the suit cannot be proceeded either for specific performance or for the recovery of money advanced which according to the plaintiff was given to the 2nd defendant in the suit and rightly rejected the plaint as against the 1st defendant.

[Source: Church Of Christ Charitable Trust vs. Ponniamman Educationa Trust, decided  on 3 July, 2012 by Supreme Court of India.]

 

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