The Supreme Court reiterated that Courts are only authorised to examine the averments in the plaint and cannot examine the merits or evidence of disputed facts in issue while deciding for rejection of a plaint under Order VII Rule 11(d) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC).

The Court emphasized that the documents that were not attached to the plaint could not be taken into account at this stage.

This Court opined that for invoking clause (d) of Order VII Rule 11 C.P.C., only the averments in the plaint would be relevant. For this purpose, there cannot be any addition or substraction. No amount of evidence can be looked into. The issue on merits of the matter would not be within the realm of the Court at that stage. The Court at that stage would not consider any evidence or enter a disputed question of fact of law”, the Bench comprising Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Rajesh Bindal observed.

Senior Advocate Shyam Divan appeared for the Appellants and Advocate Kumud Lata Das appeared for the First Respondent.

The Plaintiff filed a suit for specific performance seeking enforcement of MoU dated 31.08.1998. In this suit, defendant filed an application for rejection of plaint under Order VII Rule 11(d) C.P.C. for rejection of the plaint on the ground that in terms of Order II Rule 2 C.P.C., the suit was barred by law. The Trial Court rejected this application. The High Court, allowing the revision petition, allowed the application and rejected the suit.

The Apex Court noted that the cause of action in the two suits was different, and the subsequent suit was not barred under Order II Rule 2 C.P.C. Examining the facts of the case in light of established legal principles, the Court held that the order passed by the High Court in the review application cannot be legally sustained.

Furthermore, the Bench noted that the documents referred to by the First Respondent in support of his plea for rejection of the plaint could not be considered at this stage as they were not part of the record with the Court filed along with the plaint. The Court also noted that no amount of evidence or merits of the controversy could be examined at the stage of decision of the application under Order VII Rule 11 C.P.C.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the Appeal and set aside the impugned order of the High Court.

Cause Title: Eldeco Housing And Industries Limited v Ashok Vidyarthi And Others (2023 INSC 1043)

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