Scroll Top

‘PLEAD FACTS NOT LAW’

INTRODUCTION

The Code of Civil Procedure of 1908 explicitly talks about civil proceedings and is considered procedural law in general. A procedural law specifies the actual procedure and practices for enforcing rights. Whenever a person feels that someone has infringed on his rights, the person can file a complaint against that person.

But this is not easy at all; one must adhere to all the rules and principles provided in the code while filing a suit. Various steps need to be followed, and all those steps are provided by the code alone. When a person files a pleading in court, the suit begins. It is the document on which the person, who may be the plaintiff or defendant, relies for all the claims and reliefs.

ORDER 6 RULE 1 OF THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE

Order 6[1] of the Code of Civil Procedure deals with ‘Pleadings’ generally. The “Pleading are statements in writing drawn up and filed by each party to a case, stating what his contentions will be at the trial and giving all such details as his opponent needs to know to prepare his case in answer[2].” The plaintiff’s pleading is his plaint, and the defendant’s pleading is his written statement, which is filed after the plaintiff’s plaint is presented which is the first and most important step in filing a lawsuit. A plaint is nothing but a document containing all the claims made by the plaintiff against the defendant.  Whereas the “written statement” is the document stating the defense by the defendant, even the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in one case, mentioned that the ‘Court should not allow parties to go to trial in the absence of proper pleadings[3].’

While dealing with the case, one must adhere to the facts mentioned in the pleading, because no one can claim relief based on a fact that is not pleaded in the plaint. Pleadings are assumed to be the backbone of the suit.

SUB RULE 1 OF RULE 1 ORDER 6

Sub-rule 1 of Rule 2 of Order 6[4] specifies the rules to be followed while presenting a pleading. These fundamental principles are as follows:

  1. A plea should contain facts, not a law.
  2. State material facts only.
  3. Pleas should not state evidence.
  4. The statement should be in a concise form.

First rule of pleading: pleading should contain facts, not a law

From the above discussion, we can understand the importance of pleading, whether it is presented by the plaintiff or the defendant. It should always be brief and contain only the pertinent facts of the case. While dealing with cases, the Supreme Court has pointed out that no one should mention anything that has no relevance to the case, which can include immaterial facts too.

So while dealing with the facts, it should be kept in mind that the facts should be material in nature and on which the plaintiff’s cause of action or the defendant’s defense depends. In Udhav Singh v. Madhav Rao Scindia[5] the Supreme Court has defined the expression ‘material facts in the following words;

“All the primary facts which must be proved at the trial by a party to establish the existence of a cause of action or his defense are material facts”. Material facts are the facts that are in favor of and support the case presented by them. The court always recommends that the complaint and written statement include specifics that titillate the material facts.

The pleading should always address the question of fact rather than the question of law. When the suit is filed for the recovery of money, one should not talk about the law on which the case is decided. It is the primary duty of the court to apply the law to deal with the question of facts. A party’s custom and intention must be pleaded and are known as “material facts.”

We can refer to the example of the suit filed under Section 138.[6] When this kind of suit is filed, it is important to mention the section under which the suit is filed, but one need not mention the law or what it states. It is the court’s function, and they decide the laws applicable to a suit or case presented before them. Again, the court will make its decision based on the facts presented in the pleadings.

But a plea about the maintainability of the suit raises a question of law and need not be pleaded[7]. In a case where there is a mixed question of law and fact, one must plead them out separately. It should not be mixed with the other material facts of the case. The pleadings are presented so that the other party can understand and know the case fully with the help of material facts. It is important to inform another party about the kind of suit filed against them and all the transactions related to it. If such facts are not pleaded, the pleading loses its original meaning.

The court is there to deliver justice. It performs this duty with the help of laws or enactments made by the legislature, by understanding the purpose behind them. It is the court’s primary duty to interpret the law, as it is not the layman’s cup of tea. The legal terms and maxims used by the legislature are not used by people in day-to-day life. So to keep the duty of the court with them, it is advised and mentioned in the Code itself that one must plead facts and not law.

CONCLUSION

It is clear from the above discussion that pleadings are an essential part of the suit and have their importance in the process. Pleadings not only state the issues between the parties, but they also indicate which party bears the burden of proof. The rules of pleadings are just to save the time of the court and the parties involved in the suit, as there can be a scenario in which the court can reject the plaint. So we need to be careful and stick to the provision regarding the pleading.

Author(s) Name: Unnati Ashok Phoke (Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune)

References:

[1] Code of Civil Procedure 1908, Ord. VII

[2] C. K. Takwani, Civil Procedure (5th  Edition, Eastern Book Company 2021) 134

[3]Bachhaj Nahar v Nilima Mandal & Ors. (2008) Civil Appeal No. 5798-5799/2008

[4] Code of Civil Procedure 1908, Ord. VII 2(1)

[5]Udhav Singh v Madhav Rao Scindia (1976) AIR 744

[6] Code of Civil Procedure 1908, s 138

[7] State of Rajasthan v Kalyan Singh (1972) 4 SCC 165