Order 6, Rule 16 of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

We think it profitable to examine the scheme of Order VI, Rule 16:

16. Striking out pleadings – The Court may at any stage of the proceedings order to be struck out or amended any matter in any pleading –

(a)  which may be unnecessary, scandalous, frivolous or vexatious, or

(b)  which may tend to prejudice, embarrass or delay the fair trial of the suit, or

(c)  which is otherwise an abuse of the process of the Court.”

It authorizes the Court to order that any matter in any pleading before it be struck out on the grounds specified under clauses (a), (b) and (c). Each one of them is a distinct ground. For example, clause (a) authorizes the Court to strike out the pleadings which may be (i) unnecessary, (ii) scandalous, (iii) frivolous, (iv) vexatious. If a pleading or part of it is to be struck out on the ground that it is unnecessary, the test to be applied is whether the allegation contained in that pleading is relevant and essential to grant the relief sought. Allegations which are unconnected with the relief sought in the proceeding fall under this category. Similarly, if a pleading is to be struck out on the ground that it is scandalous, the Court must first record its satisfaction that the pleading is scandalous in the legal sense and then enquire whether such scandalous allegation is called for or necessary having regard to the nature of the relief sought in the proceeding. The authority of the Court under clause (c) is much wider. Obviously, such authority must be exercised with circumspection and on the basis of some rational principles. The very purpose of the Rule is to ensure that parties to a legal proceeding are entitled ex debito justitiae to have the case against them presented in an intelligible form so that they may not be embarrassed in meeting the case.”

Hon’ble Justice J. Chelameswar, Ajay Arjun Singh v. Sharadendu Tiwari, [Civil Appeal No. 8254 of 2016].

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