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The basic court procedure for filing a civil suit in India

Rituraj Singh Chauhan 4 Jan 2017, 5:56pm
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For filing a civil case or civil law suit, there is a detailed process laid down, if the process is not followed, then the registry has a right to dismiss the suit. The Procedure is as follows:

Filing of Suit/Plaint - Plaint is the written complaint or allegation. One who files it is known as "Plaintiff" and against whom it is filed is known as "Defendant". It contains Name of the Court, Nature of Complaint, Names and Address of parties to be suit, it also contain verification from plaintiff, stating that, contents of the plaint are true and correct

Vakalatnama- Vakalatnama is a written document, by which the person/party filing the case authorises the Advocate/Lawyer to represent on their behalf. However a person/party filing a case, May also represent their own case personally in any court and in this case he do not need Vakalatnama"

On General Terms, a Vakalatnama may contain below terms:

  • The client will not hold the Advocate responsible for any decision
  • The client will bear all the costs and/expenses incurred during the proceedings
  • The advocate will have right to retain the documents, unless complete fees are paid
  • The client is free to disengage the Advocate at any stage of the Proceedings
  • The Advocate shall have all the right to take decisions on his own in the court of Law, during the hearing, to the best interest of client

Filing -Filing of plaint before Chief Ministerial Officer [Sherestedar)–paying appropriate court fee & process fees,different amount of court fees is paid for different type of documents.

Hearing: How Proceedings are conducted - On the first day of hearing, if the court thinks there are merits in the case, it will issue notice to the opposite party, to submit their arguments, and fix a date. When the notice is issued to the opposite party, the plaintiff is needed to do the following:

  • File requisite amount of procedure - fee in the court.
  • File 2 copies of plaint for each defendant in the court.
  • Of, the 2 copies for each defendant, one shall be sent by Register/post/courier, and one by Ordinary post.
  • Such filing should be done within 7 days, from date of order/notice.

Written Statement -

  • When the notice has been issued to the respondent, he is required to appear on the date specified in the notice
  • Before such date, the respondent is required to record his written statement i.e. his barrier against the claim raised by offended party, inside 30 days from date of administration of notice, or inside such time as given by court
  • The written statement should specifically deny the allegations, which defendant thinks are false. Any allegation not specifically denied is deemed to be admitted
  • The written statement should also contain verification from the Defendant, stating that, the contents of written statement are true and correct
  • The time period of 30 days, for filing a Written Statement, but after seeking permission of the court it can be extended to 90 days

Replication by Plaintiff - Replication is a reply, filed by the plaintiff, against the "written statement" of Defendant and it should also specifically deny the allegations raised by the Defendant in written statement. Anything which is not denied is deemed to be accepted.Once Replication is filed, pleadings are stated to be complete.

Filing of Other Documents - Once, the pleadings are complete, and then both the parties are given opportunity to produce and file documents, on which they rely, and to substantiate their claims. Filing of Documents should be admitted and taken on record. In brief the procedure is as follows:

  • Documents filed by one party may or may not be admitted by opposite party
  • In case documents are denied by opposite party, then they can be admitted by the witness presented by party whose documents are denied
  • Once the document has been admitted it shall form a part of the record of court, and all the details of suit such as name of parties, title of suit etc, shall be inscribed on the document
  • Documents, which are rejected i.e. not admitted, are returned to the respective parties.
  • It is necessary that document should be filed in "original", and a spare copy should be given to the opposite party.

Framing of Issues – Issues are framed by the Court and on the basis of “Issues” arguments and examinations of witness takes place. Below are the key points:

  • Issues are framed, keeping in view the disputes in the suit, and the parties are not allowed to go outside the purview of "Issues"
  • Issues may be of: Fact or Law
  • At the time of passing final order, the court will deal with each issue separately, and will pass judgements on each issue

List of witness - 

  • All witness, the parties wish to produce, and to be examined, has to be presented before the court
  • Within 15 days from the date on which issues were framed or within such other period as the court may fix, both the parties to the suit will have  file a list of witness
  • The parties may either call the witness by themselves, or can ask the court to send summons to them
  • In case court send summons to witness then the party which asked for such witness has to deposit money ' with the Court for their expenses, is known as "Diet Money"
  • Any witness, who is not appeared before the court, if he is required by the court to do so, then the court may penalize in terms of fine
  • Finally on the date, the witness will be examined by both the parties
  • Once, the Examination and Cross- Examination of witness is over, and also the admission and denial of documents, then the court will fix a date for final hearing.

Final Hearing - 

  • On final hearing day, the arguments will take place
  • The arguments should strictly be restricted to the issues framed
  • Before the final Arguments, the parties with the permission of Court can amend their pleadings
  • The court may refuse to listen for anything which is not contained in the pleadings
  • Finally, the court will pass a "final Order", either on the day of hearing itself, or some other day which will fixed by the court.

Certified copy of order- It is the final order of court, and having the seal and stamp of court. It is useful, in case of Appeal or in case of execution of the order.

Appeal, Reference and Review - When an order is passed against a party to the suit, it is not that it has no further remedy. Such party can further initiate the proceedings, by way of:

  1. Appeal,
  2. Reference, or
  3. Review

Appeal - An appeal lies from any decree passed by the court. There are some  technicalities and difference between these stated as follows:

  • Where the value of suit does not exceed Rs. 10,000, an appeal can be filed only on a question of law
  • When a decree has been passed against the Defendant as "Ex-Parte" (i.e. without his appearance) no appeal is allowed
  • When an appeal is headed by two or more judges, then the majority decision will be prevailed
  • In case there is no majority, then the decree of lower court shall be confirmed
  • If  number of judges in the court where appeal is filed, is more than the number of judges hearing the appeal, and then if there is a disagreement on a point of law, such dispute can be referred to one or more judges

Procedure for appeal from original decrees

  • The appeal has to be filed in the form prescribed, signed by the appellant, along with a true certified copy of the order
  • The appeal should contain the grounds of objection under distinct heads, and such grounds has to be numbered consecutively
  • If the appeal is against a decree for payment of money, the court may require the petitioner to deposit the disputed amount or provide any other security
  • A ground/objection which has not been mentioned in the appeal, cannot be taken up for arguments, without the permission of court
  • Similarly any point of act which was not taken up y the Appellant, in lower court, cannot be taken up in appeal lies only against only those points which have been decided by the court rightly or wrongly
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Rituraj Singh Chauhan
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