The concept of cause of action in the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) is a fundamental aspect of civil litigation that serves as the basis for filing a lawsuit. While it provides a structured framework for presenting legal claims, it has also been subject to certain criticisms and complexities. Here’s a critical analysis of the cause of action in CPC:
1. Lack of Uniform Definition: The CPC does not provide a specific definition of cause of action, leading to varying interpretations across different jurisdictions. The absence of a uniform definition can create confusion and inconsistency in the application of the law.
2. Vague and Subjective Standard: The determination of what constitutes a cause of action can be subjective and open to interpretation. Plaintiffs may sometimes struggle to identify the precise elements required to establish their claim, potentially leading to technical defects and rejections of plaints.
3. Complexity in Pleading: Drafting a proper cause of action in the plaint can be challenging, especially for unrepresented litigants. The lack of clarity in the requirements can result in poorly pleaded plaints, leading to delays and additional costs in the legal process.
4. Impact on Judicial Efficiency: The absence of a clear and standardized definition of cause of action can contribute to unnecessary delays in the judicial process. Courts may need to spend time and resources determining the sufficiency of the cause of action before proceeding with the case.
5. Burden of Proof: The burden of proving the existence of a cause of action lies with the plaintiff. This can be particularly burdensome in cases where the cause of action is complex and involves multiple elements that must be established through evidence.
6. Overemphasis on Technicalities: The strict adherence to the requirements of cause of action may sometimes result in cases being decided on technicalities rather than the merits of the dispute. This can lead to injustice and undermine the purpose of civil litigation.
7. Inadequate Guidance for Unrepresented Litigants: Litigants without legal representation may find it challenging to navigate the complexities of the cause of action. The lack of clear guidance may hinder access to justice for such individuals.
8. Need for Judicial Interpretation: Due to the CPC’s lack of a comprehensive definition of cause of action, the judiciary has often filled the gaps through judicial interpretation. While this may provide some clarity, it can also result in varying interpretations by different courts.
To address these issues, there is a need for clearer and more precise guidance on the concept of cause of action in the CPC. This could involve incorporating a specific definition and providing comprehensive guidelines for pleading and establishing a cause of action in a plaint. Moreover, simplifying the requirements and providing accessible resources for unrepresented litigants would contribute to a more efficient and equitable civil justice system.