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A defendant may file a written statement against the contentions raised by the plaintiff in the plaint.

He has the right to file a counter claim also in appropriate cases. It is a claim by the defendant against the plaintiff. It is like the plaint of the defendant against the plaintiff. The courts normally treats the counter claim as a plaint. In a counter claim, the defendant has some sort of right to be established against the plaintiff and has some reliefs to be realised. The law regarding counter claim is stated in Order 8 Rule 6A to 6G, 7 to 9of the Code of Civil Procedure. As per Order 8 Rule 6A the defendant can raise a counter claim against the plaintiff either before or after the filing of the suit. He has to do this before he has delivered his defence. Other Law Relating to Counter Claim 1. The counter claim shall not exceed the pecuniary limits of jurisdiction of the Court. 2. The counter-claim shall have the same effect as a cross-suit so as to enable the court to pronounce a final judgement in the same suit. 3. The plaintiff can file a written statement to the counter claim of the defendant. 4. The counter claim shall be governed by law relating to plaints. 5. The defendant shall state the ground for counter claim in his written statement. 6. The court may direct the counter claim to be decided by a separate suit upon the application by the plaintiff. 7. The stay or dismissal of a suit will effect the counter-claim also. 8. The law relating to written statement will govern the written statement to the counter-claim.

Set-off and Counter Claim

The concept of set-off is enunciated under Order 8 Rule 6 of the CPC. Set-off means a claim set up against another. It is therefore a cross-claim which partly offsets the claim of the plaintiff. Where there is a situation where the plaintiff has filed a suit for the recovery of a certain sum of money from the defendant and the defendant finds justice in the claim of the plaintiff, but at the same time believes that he has a demand of his own amounting to at most as much as the demand of the plaintiff, then the defendant can file for a set-off to counter-balance the two debts. It is therefore a reciprocal acquittal of debts between the two parties. The set-off might be a legal set-off or an equitable set-off, but in either case the principle remains the same.

The object of this provision is fairly obvious. It seeks to prevent a multiplicity of litigation between the same two parties as to ascertainable claims through deciding them in the same suit and adjusting their claims so as to ensure that either their respective claims are written off or that if the claim of the plaintiff is more than that of the defendant, the excess amount is paid by the defendant to the plaintiff. Thus what the provision relating to set-off does is make the two parties argue their counter-claims in the same suit and thus effectively counter-balance their interests to speedily dispose of the case while at the same time doing justice to the interests of both parties. A counter claim on the other hand may be defined as a claim made by the defendant in a suit against the plaintiff. [35] This means that in the written submissions of the defendant, in addition to seeking the claim of a set-off the defendant may actually go ahead and a make a claim of his own, which is in the nature of a plain against the plaintiff. Thus what the counter-claim effectively is is a cross-suit in the same suit. A counter-claim will only arise in such cases where it was open to the defendant to file a separate suit in this regard in a competent court. Thus in effect the end that a counter-claim achieves is the joining together of two separate suits between the same parties and decide the matter finally between them. This again achieves the dual mission of reducing the amount of litigation, which speeds up the entire litigation process as well as addressing all legal issues between the parties in the same trial which further adds to the process of expedition. Set-offs and counter-claims can thus be said to be fine examples of the manner in which the CPC provides for speedy and effective justice dispensation.