The Madhya Pradesh High Court has held that the parties to the suit can plead alternative pleas but should not be to the extent of being mutually destructive to each other.

The bench of Justice Vivek Agarwal observed that "it is evident that trial Court erred in not allowing framing of an issue on the basis of alternative plea of ouster overlooking the fact that parties can plead inconsistent or alternative plea, but not to the extent of mutual destructive to each other."

In this case, the petitioner had instituted a suit against the Respondents for declaration of title regarding the suit property on the basis of a Will. The Petitioner filed an application under Order XIV Rule 5 of the Civil Procedure Code for amendment of issues to add a plea of ouster as an alternative. The said application was rejected by the Trial Court. Assailing the order of the Trial Court, the petitioner preferred the petition under Article 227 of the Constitution, before the High Court.

The Court observed that both the plaintiff and the defendant can raise several pleas and defences in the alternative.

"The expression 'Alternative' means the one or the other of two things. A party to litigation may include in his pleadings two or more set of facts and 2 claim relief in the alternative. "Inconsistent" on the other hand means mutually repugnant, contradictory or irreconcilable establishment of one necessarily implies abrogation or abandonment of other. The plaintiff may rely upon several different reliefs in the alternative. Similarly, the defendant can also raise several defences in the alternative. In instance for a suit for possession is maintainable on the basis of title or in the alternative on the basis of lease.", said the Court.

Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the matter was remitted to the Trial Court to frame the additional issues on the plea of ouster and further proceed with the trial.

Cause Title- Akhilesh Kumar & Anr. V. Shri Sharadchandra Bhate & Anr.

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