If the court is satisfied that it has no jurisdiction to entertain a suit, it is its duty to give effect to that on its own initiative. To quote rule 10 of Order 7—”The plaint shall, at any stage of the suit, be returned to be presented to the court in which the suit should have been instituted.
A court of appeal or revision may direct, after setting aside the decree passed in a suit, the return of the plaint under this sub-rule. On returning a plaint the Judge shall endorse thereon the date of its presentation and return, the name of the party presenting it and a brief statement of the reasons for returning it.”
Power of court to fix a date of appearance in the court where plaint is to be filed after its return:
Where in any suit, after the defendant has appeared, the court is of opinion that the plaint should be returned, it shall, before doing so, intimate its decision to the plaintiff. [R. 10-A (1)].
On receiving such intimation, the plaintiff may apply to the court specifying the court in which he proposes to present the plaint after its return, praying that the court may fix a date for the appearance of the parties in the said court, and requesting that the notice of the date so fixed may be given to him and to the defendant. [R. 10-A (2)].
Where an application is made by the plaintiff as aforesaid, the court shall, before returning the plaint and notwithstanding that the order for return of plaint was made by it on the ground that it has no jurisdiction to try the suit—
(a) Fix a date for the appearance of the parties in the court in which the plaint is proposed to be presented, and
(b) Give to the plaintiff and to the defendant notice of such date for appearance. [R. 10-A (3)].
Where the notice of the date for appearance is given, it shall not be necessary for the court in which the plaint is presented after its return, to serve the defendant with a summons for appearance in the suit, unless the court, for reasons to be recorded, otherwise directs. [R. 10-A (4)].
Where the application made by the plaintiff under sub-rule (2) is allowed by the court, the plaintiff shall not be entitled to appeal against the order returning the plaint. (Rs. 10-A, O. VII).
Power of appellate court to transfer the suit to proper court:
Where on an appeal against an order for return of the plaintiff the court hearing the appeal confirms such order, the court of appeal may, if the plaintiff by an application so desires, while returning the plaint, direct the plaintiff to file the plaint, subject to the provisions of the Limitation Act, 1963, in the court in which the suit should have been instituted (whether such court is within or without the State in which the court hearing the appeal is situated), and fix a date for the appearance of the parties in the court in which the plaint is directed to be filed and when the date is so fixed it shall not be necessary for the court in which the plaint is filed to serve the defendant with the summons for appearance in the suit, unless that court in which the plaint is filed for reasons to be recorded, otherwise directs.
The direction made by the court shall be without any prejudice to the rights of the parties to question the jurisdiction of the court in which the plaint is filed, to try the suit. (Rs. 10-B, O. VII).
(b) Rejection of plaint:
The plaint shall be rejected in the following cases:—
(a) Where it does not disclose a cause of action;
(b) Where the relief claimed is undervalued, and the plaintiff, on being required by the court to correct the valuation within a time to be fixed by the court, fails to do so;
(c) where the relief claimed is properly valued, but the plaint is written upon paper insufficiently stamped, and the plaintiff, on being required by the court to supply the requisite stamp-paper within a time to be fixed by the court, fails to do so; and
(d) Where the suit appears from the statement in the plaintiff to be barred by any law. (O. 7, Rs. 11).
(e) Where it is not filed in duplicate;
(f) Where the plaintiff fails to comply with sub-rule (2) of Rule 9.
(g) Where the plaintiff fails to comply with sub-rule (3) of Rule 9.
The time fixed by the court for the correction of the valuation or supplying the requisite stamp-papers shall not, however, be extended unless the court, for reasons to be recorded, is satisfied that the plaintiff was prevented by any cause of an exceptional nature from correcting the valuation or supplying the requisite stamp-papers, as the case may be, within the time fixed by the court and that refusal to extend such time would cause grave injustice to be plaintiff.
The High Court of Calcutta has added another ground for rejection of the plaint, viz., failure to file as many copies on plain paper of the plaint as there are defendants and draft forms of summons and fees for service thereof.