Settlements of issues are dealt in Order 14 and Rule 1 of Civil Rules of Practice. Rule 11 of the Civil Rules of Practice describes how issues are to be framed. While framing the issues usually the following points are kept in view by the Judges.
1. Every material proposition of fact in the same way every proposition of law which is affirmed by both parties and which is denied by the other party shall be making the subject of a separate issue.
2. Every issue of fact shall be framed in such a way so that it indicates on whom the burden of proof lies.
3. Every issue of law shall be so framed as to indicate either by a statement of admitted or alleged facts or by reference to pleading or by some documents mentioned therein as to the precise question of law to be decided.
4. The proposition of fact which is not in itself a material proposition, but is relevant only to prove a material proposition shall not be made the subject of an issue.
5. No question regarding the admissibility of evidence shall be made in issue.
An illustration will make this principle clear. If the defendant in a suit file on the foot of a promissory note admits execution of the promissory note as proposed by the plaintiff but pleads he discharged the debt.
Then there is no need to frame an issue whether the promissory note (suit document) is true and genuine. Because defendant is admitting the fact he executed a promissory note. The Magistrate can straight away the issue “whether the discharge pleaded by the defendant is true.
The officer has to frame the issue for himself and the present system of accepting the draft issues from the advocates of both sides may lead to controversies sometimes.
Even if the advocate from both sides insists that the issues given by them are correct and the issues given by the other party are improper. But these issues can at the most serve as stepping stone and are to be accepted by the Judge.
The Judge frames the issues, which in most cases satisfied both the parties. The framing of issues is done by the Judge after going through the plaint and the written statement. As such the Judge is aware of the suit claim and the replies of the other side.
Sometimes when appeal is preferred, the Appellate court may not appreciate the issue as framed and in such an event, there is no likelihood of the appellate court disposing of the matter; resulting in the remand of the case with observation “The issues have not been properly framed and the burden has not been properly cast.
Therefore the suit is remanded”. Sometimes the appellate court would direct the officer who tried the case to frame the proper issues. Sometimes the appellate court may itself frame the issues but would call for findings from the lower court.
Whatever may be the direction of the superior court it would contribute to the delay in disposal of that particular case. That is why the settlement of issues is very important. The following fictitious illustrations will throw some light on the topic “how to frame an issue”.
The plaintiff is a Muslim wife. She alleges that the husband was treating her cruelly by beating her. She also claimed that the husband deserted her. She claimed for divorce.
The husband in his written statement alleges that he never treated his wife cruelly and did not desert her. He contended that the wife left the matrimonial home without justifiable cause.
ISSUES SO TO BE FRAMED:
1. Whether the plaintiff treated the wife cruelly?
2. Whether the defendant is guilty of desertion?
3. Whether the plaintiff is entitled to the dissolution of her marriage by a decree of divorce? and
4. To what relief?
Another Example Case
A is a Hindu. He has a wife and three brothers and two sisters. A’s father breathed his last. A claimed partition of his father’s “A” schedule immoveable property and “B” schedule moveable properties. A claimed 1 /4 share by way of partition by metes and bounds and for separate possession.
The mother, brothers and sisters of A pointed out that items 2 to 4 of plaint A schedule properties are the ancestral properties of A’s father, and that for “B” schedule properties the deceased executed a will bequeathing those properties to his wife (mother of A). They further contended that the mother and sisters of A also have share in schedule properties.
A file the joinder denying the will of his father.
ISSUES TO BE FRAMED:
1. Whether items two to four of plaint A Schedule properties are the ancestral properties of the father of the plaintiff?
2. Whether the will propounded by the defendant is true, valid and binding on the plaintiff?
3. To what share each of the parties is entitled to out of the existing Schedule properties? and
4. To what relief?
In the above mentioned case, suppose the defendants also contended that partition by metes and bounds had already taken place and that the plaintiff cannot claim for partition again. Suppose the defendants also pleaded that in any event, the plaintiff is not entitled to partition and separate possession.
In issue No. 2 in example (in case No. 2 above), the following issues also are to be incorporated, relating issue No.3.
3. Whether the estate of the father of the plaintiff was already partitioned?
4. Whether the plaintiff is entitled to partition by metes and bounds?
5. To what share each of the parties is entitled to in plaint schedule properties? and
6. To what relief?