Questions: What is meant by issues and how are they framed? Can an issue be determined first of all and when? Illustrate Find the answer only on Legal Bites.[What is meant by issues and how are they framed? Can an issue be determined first of all and when? Illustrate] Answer Order XIV of the Civil Procedure Code deals… Read More »

Questions: What is meant by issues and how are they framed? Can an issue be determined first of all and when? Illustrate Find the answer only on Legal Bites.[What is meant by issues and how are they framed? Can an issue be determined first of all and when? Illustrate] Answer Order XIV of the Civil Procedure Code deals with the settlement of issues and determination of suit on issues of law or on issues agreed upon. Rule 1 of Order XIV lays down provisions regarding the Framing of issues. As...

Questions: What is meant by issues and how are they framed? Can an issue be determined first of all and when? Illustrate

Find the answer only on Legal Bites.[What is meant by issues and how are they framed? Can an issue be determined first of all and when? Illustrate]

Answer

Order XIV of the Civil Procedure Code deals with the settlement of issues and determination of suit on issues of law or on issues agreed upon. Rule 1 of Order XIV lays down provisions regarding the Framing of issues.

As per R. 1(1) Issues arise when a material proposition of fact or law is affirmed by one party and denied by the other. Issues are of two kinds:

  • Issues of fact.
  • Issues of law.

Issues are to be framed in respect only of those facts which have been alleged by one party and either denied or not admitted by the other party. Framing of issues is an important stage at which the scope of the trial is determined.

A three-judge bench in the case of Makhan Lal Bangal v. Manas Bhunia, AIR 2001 SC 490, Lahoti J, elaborately explained the scheme of Order XIV of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 in the following words in para 19:

“An election petition is like a civil trial. The stage of framing the issues is an important one inasmuch as on that day the scope of the trial is determined by laying the path on which the trial shall proceed excluding diversions and departures therefrom. The date fixed for settlement of issues is, therefore, a date fixed for hearing. The real dispute between the parties is determined, the area of conflict is narrowed and the concave mirror held by the Court reflecting the pleadings of the parties pinpoints into issues the disputes on which the two sides differ.

The correct decision of civil lis largely depends on the correct framing of issues, correctly determining the real points in controversy which need to be decided. The scheme of Order XIV of the Code of Civil Procedure dealing with settlement of issues shows that an issue arises when a material proposition of fact or law is affirmed by one party and denied by the other. Each material proposition affirmed by one party and denied by other should form the subject of a distinct issue.”

Rule 2: Court to pronounce judgment on all issues.

(1) Notwithstanding that a case may be disposed of on a preliminary issue, the Court shall, subject to the provisions of sub-rule (2), pronounce judgment on all issues.

(2) Where issues both of law and of fact arise in the same suit, and the Court is of opinion that the case or any part thereof may be disposed of on an issue of law only, it may try that issue first if that issue relates to

  • the jurisdiction of the Court, or
  • a bar to the suit created by any law for the time being in force, and for that purpose may, if it thinks fit, postpone the settlement of the other issues until after that issue has been determined, and may deal with the suit in accordance with the decision on that issue.

The amended rule is divided into sub-rr (1) and (2), the first incorporating the normal rule recognized even under the unamended rule that all the issues arising in a suit must ordinarily be tried together notwithstanding that a case can be disposed of on a preliminary issue and the second providing a limited exception to that ordinary rule of trial. Sub-rule (2) furthermore is discretionary and not mandatory both in respect of the formation of an opinion that the case or a part of it can be disposed of by trial of a preliminary issue and as to its trial, first, on a preliminary issue.

Order XIV, r 1 makes it obligatory for the court to pronounce judgment on all issues. But it is subject to the provisions of sub-r (2) which gives discretion to the court to frame the issue of law only if it relates to the jurisdiction of the court or to a bar to the institution of the suit itself.

The intention of the legislature as is apparent from the wording of Order XIV, Rule 2 is clear that the disposal of the suit should be expedited. It has, therefore, been left to the discretion of the court to frame an issue of jurisdiction as a preliminary issue if the court thinks that the suit should be disposed of on that issue.

A perusal of sub-r (2) of Rule 2 of Order XIV would show that an issue of law may be tried as a preliminary issue provided it relates to the jurisdiction of the court or to a bar to the suit created by law for the time being in force.

However, the said provision is discretionary and the court is not bound to try an issue as a preliminary issue. Thus, where various factual questions based on the evidence led by the parties had to be gone into for deciding the issue relating to limitation; it was not a pure issue of law, but a mixed question of law and fact. The refusal to try it as the preliminary issue was held to be proper.

Where territorial jurisdiction depended on whether a branch of the partnership business existed at another place or not, which was purely a mixed question of law and fact, and it could not be settled without entering into the evidence adduced by the parties, the question of jurisdiction of the court could not be decided as preliminary case under Order XIV, r 2. [Naresh Chandra Das v. Gopal Chandra Das, AIR 1991 Cal 237]

Similarly, the question of jurisdiction in a matrimonial matter cannot be decided as a preliminary issue, where the wife challenges the jurisdiction of the court on the ground that parties did not reside together at a place where the suit was instituted. [Nirmala Kumari v. District Judge, Mainpuri, AIR 1999 All 92]Q


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