Inter-pleader suit is a suit filed by a person who has no direct interest in the subject-matter of the suit. In other words if the plaintiff is in possession of some article, things or property (in which he is not having direct interest or he may be a custodian or stake holder) and if he is in a dilemma over the rivals claims of the defendants, he may file inter-pleader suit in the competent court to have determination as to who is the actual owner of the article, things or property.
It is a suit where there must be more than one defendants and the defendants contest against each other for the disputed property. In an interpleader suit the plaintiff holds the movable or immovable property and files the suit only to ascertain as to whom he should deliver the property because the defendants claim the property against each other or they interplead against each other. In every interpleader suit, there must be some debt or sum of money or other property in dispute between the defendants only. And the plaintiff must be a person who claims no interest therein other than for charges or costs and who is ready to pay or deliver the property to such of the defendants as may be decided by the court to be entitled to the property.
Section 88 of the Civil Procedure Code lays down that where two or more persons claim adversely to one another, the same debt, sum of money or other property, movable or immovable, from another person, who claims no interest therein other than for charges or costs and who is ready to pay or deliver it to the rightful claimant, such other person may institute a suit of interpleader against all the claimants for the purpose of obtaining a decision as to the person to whom the payment or delivery shall be made and of obtaining indemnity for himself .
Proviso to section 88 further says that where any suit is pending in which the rights of all parties can properly be decided, no such interpleader suit shall be instituted.
In an interpleader suit, the contest is between the defendants for title and the plaintiff has got nothing to do with that contest. In this respect, Rule l (a) or Order 35 of the Code of Civil Procedure mandatorily requires the plaintiff to state that he claims no interest in the subject matter in dispute other than for charges or costs. [Mangal Bhikaji Nagpase vs State Of Maharashtra (1997) 99 BOMLR 91 a]
According to Order 35, Rule 1, of CPC, in every interpleader suit, in addition to other statements, the plaint shall state:-
- That the plaintiff claims no interest in the subject matter in dispute other than the charges or costs. For example, when consigned goods are claimed by several parties, the railway can bring an interpleader suit claiming only a lien for freight, demurrage etc. ;
- the claims made by the defendants severally , and
- that there is no collusion between the plaintiff and any of the defendants .
Order 35, Rule 2, provides hat where the subject matter claimed is capable of being paid into Court or placed in the custody of the Court, the plaintiff may be required to so pay or place it before he can be entitled to any order in the suit.
The provision is intended to protect a bona fide person from future list that he did not discharge his obligation. Order 36 obviates the difficulties of parties in locking themselves up in a lengthy legal battle when the crux of the dispute depends on a single or a few points.