“Cause of action” Means

Indian Law Encyclopedia

The expression “cause of action” came to be interpreted by this Court in Kunjan Nair Sivaraman Nair v. Narayanan Nair12 at para 16. To quote: (SCC p. 286) “16. The expression “cause of action” has acquired a judicially settled meaning. In the restricted sense, cause of action means the circumstances forming the infraction of the right or the immediate occasion for the action. In the wider sense, it means the necessary conditions for the maintenance of the suit, including not only the infraction of the right, but the 9 Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th Edn., 1336-37. infraction coupled with the right itself. Compendiously the expression means every fact which would be necessary for the plaintiff to prove, if traversed, in order to support his right to the judgment of the court. Every fact which is necessary to be proved, as distinguished from every piece of evidence which is necessary to prove each fact, comprises in “cause of action”.

In Halsbury”s Laws of England (4th Edn.), the expression has been defined as follows: “Cause of action” has been defined as meaning simply a factual situation the existence of which entitles one person to obtain from the court a remedy against another person. The phrase has been held from earliest time to include every fact which is material to be proved to entitle the plaintiff to succeed, and every fact which a defendant would have a right to traverse. “Cause of action” has also been taken to mean that particular act on the part of the defendant which gives the plaintiff his cause of complaint, or the subject-matter of grievance founding the action, not merely the technical cause of action.”