In the case of Madhav Prasad Agarwal vs. Axis Bank, a plaint was filed against a builder, Axis Bank and others. The Bank filed a Notice of Motion before a single judge bench of the High Court on the ground that suits against it is barred by virtue of provision of section 34 of The Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002, which rejected the notice. However, the division bench of High Court allowed it, holding that plaint against the Bank was not maintainable u/s 34 of the said Act.
The judges of the Supreme Court division bench consisting of Justice AW Khanwilkar and Justice Ajay Rastogi accepted the relief of plaintiff cannot be pursued against one or more defendants selectively. A plaint order VII Rule 11 (d) can either b rejected as a whole or not at all. There cannot be partial rejection of plaint or rejection of any portion as such. However, the Court also noted that while some of the reliefs claimed under the plaint are barred by the SARFAESI Act or otherwise, such objections may be raised by taking the help of other remedies including under Order 6 Rule 16 of the Code of Civil Procedure at the appropriate stage of proceedings.
Setting aside the decision of the division bench, the SC held that there has been a “jurisdictional error”. The power of the High Court under CPC, Order VII Rule 11 (d) is either to reject the plaint as a whole or not at all. There cannot be partial rejection as claimed by the defendants.