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IMPORTANCE OF PLEADINGS IN CIVIL CASES AS EXPLAINED WITH CITATIONS BY JUSTICE P SATHASIVAM AND JUSTICE DR B.S. CHAUHAN

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Decision in a case of election matter, in Kalyan Singh Chouhan vs C.P.Joshi  Decided on 24 January, 2011, Justice P. SATHASIVAM & Justice Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN observed following principles of case law on “Importance of pleadings”  as also applicable to civil court proceedings:-

This Court in Ram Sarup Gupta (dead) by L.Rs. v. Bishun Narain Inter College & Ors., AIR 1987 SC 1242 held as under: "It is well settled that in the absence of pleading, evidence, if any, produced by the parties cannot be considered. It is also equally settled that no party should be permitted to travel beyond its pleading and that all necessary and material facts should be pleaded by the party in support of the case set up by it. The object and purpose of pleading is to enable the adversary party to know the case it has to meet........ In such a case it is the duty of the court to ascertain the substance of the pleadings to determine the question."

This Court in Bachhaj Nahar v. Nilima Mandal & Ors. , AIR 2009 SC 1103, held as under: "The object and purpose of pleadings and issues is to ensure that the litigants come to trial with all issues clearly defined and to prevent cases being expanded or grounds being shifted during trial. Its object is also to ensure that each side is fully alive to the questions that are likely to be raised or considered so that they may have an opportunity of placing the relevant evidence appropriate to the issues before the court for its consideration. The object of issues is to identify from the pleadings the questions or points required to be decided by the courts so as to enable parties to let in evidence thereon. When the facts necessary to make out a particular claim, or to seek a particular relief, are not found in the plaint, the court cannot focus the attention of the parties, or its own attention on that claim or relief, by framing an appropriate issue........ Thus it is said that no amount of evidence, on a plea that is not put forward in the pleadings, can be looked into to grant any relief. The jurisdiction to grant relief in a civil suit necessarily depends on the pleadings, prayer, court fee paid, evidence let in, etc."

 In J.K. Iron & Steel Co. Ltd, Kanpur v. The Iron and Steel Mazdoor Union, Kanpur, AIR  1956 SC 231, this Court observed: "It is not open to the Tribunals to fly off at a tangent and, disregarding the pleadings, to reach any conclusions that they think are just and proper."
Order XIV Rule 1 CPC reads: "Issues arise when a material proposition of fact or law is affirmed by the party and denied by the other." Therefore, it is neither desirable nor required for the court to frame an issue not arising on the pleadings. The Court should not decide a suit on a matter/point on which no issue has been framed. (Vide: Raja Bommadevara Venkata Narasimha Naidu & Anr. v. Raja Bommadevara Bhashya Karlu Naidu & Ors., (1902) 29 Ind. App. 76 (PC); Sita Ram v. Radha Bai & Ors., AIR 1968 SC 535; Gappulal v. Thakurji Shriji Dwarkadheeshji & Anr., AIR 1969 SC 1291; and Biswanath Agarwalla v. Sabitri Bera, (2009) 15 SCC 693).

The object of framing issues is to ascertain/shorten the area of dispute and pinpoint the points required to be determined by the court. The issues are framed so that no party at the trial is taken by surprise. It is the issues fixed and not the pleadings that guide the parties in the matter of adducing evidence.

In Kashi Nath (Dead) through L.Rs. v. Jaganath, (2003) 8 SCC 740, this Court held that where the evidence is not in line with the pleadings and is at variance with it, the said evidence cannot be looked into or relied upon. While deciding the said case, this Court placed a very heavy reliance on the judgment of the Privy Council in Siddik Mohd. Shah v. Saran, AIR 1930 PC 57.

There may be an exceptional case wherein the parties proceed to trial fully knowing the rival case and lead all the evidence not only in support of their contentions but in refutation thereof by the other side. In such an eventuality, absence of an issue would not be fatal and it would not be permissible for a party to submit that there has been a mis-trial and the proceedings stood vitiated. (vide: Nagubai Ammal & Ors. v. B. Shama Rao & Ors., AIR 1956 SC 593; Nedunuri Kameswaramma v. Sampati Subba Rao, AIR 1963 SC 884; Kunju Kesavan v. M.M. Philip & Ors., AIR 1964 SC 164; Kali Prasad Agarwalla (dead) by L.Rs. & Ors. v. M/s. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. & Ors., AIR 1989 SC 1530; Sayed Akhtar v. Abdul Ahad, (2003) (7) SCC 52; and Bhuwan Singh v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., AIR 2009 SC 2177).







1 comment:

BrijmohanShrivastava said...

Sir I read today case ' adverse possession many many thanks

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