Stages in a Civil Suit as per the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
Team SoOLEGAL 27 Jun 2023

Stages in a Civil Suit as per the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908


A civil suit refers to a legal action filed by one party against another in a civil court to seek a legal remedy for a civil wrong or dispute. It is a non-criminal litigation process that deals with private matters such as contractual disputes, property disputes, tort claims, family matters, and various other civil issues. Civil suits are governed by the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, (hereinafter referred as “CPC”) which provides the procedural rules and guidelines for conducting civil proceedings in India. The Code outlines the process of filing a suit, the jurisdiction of courts, the issuance of summons, examination of witnesses, presentation of evidence, and the final judgment. The objective of a civil suit is to obtain a legal resolution, usually in the form of compensation or specific performance, to restore the rights or address the grievances of the aggrieved party. The stages of a civil suit as per Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 are mentioned below:





Presentation of a Plaint under Order 7 of CPC

Order 7 of CPC 1908 governs the presentation of a plaint in a civil suit in India. It specifies that the plaint should contain essential particulars, be verified, accompanied by the appropriate court fees, and presented to the court having jurisdiction. If the plaint is found to be in order, it is endorsed, registered, and assigned a unique serial number for future reference.


Service of Summons on the Defendant under Order 5 CPC

Order 5 of the CPC, outlines the process of serving summons on the defendant in a civil suit in India. Summons is issued by the court to notify the defendant about the lawsuit and their obligation to appear in court. The summons can be served through personal service, registered post, or substituted service if the defendant cannot be found. In the case of corporations or government entities, the summons is served on their authorized officer. After the service, the serving officer or process server submits a report to the court. Serving summons ensures that the defendant is aware of the legal proceedings and has an opportunity to respond and defend their case.


Appearance of Parties

Once the summons has been duly served on the defendant, the subsequent phase of the civil suit begins, involving the appearance of both parties before the court on the specified date. If the defendant fails to appear as instructed in the summons, the court has the authority to proceed with the case in their absence, which is known as an ex parte proceeding. Conversely, if the plaintiff is absent on the designated date, the court may dismiss the suit. If neither party appears, the court has the discretion to dismiss the suit altogether.


Filling of Written Statement and/or any appropriate application under CPC

After registering their appearance the defendant herein will be asked to file his Written Statement and/or the defendant, if thinks fit, can file any other application as per the provisions of CPC. Also at this stage a counter claim can also be filed by the defendant against the plaintiff if the facts and circumstances are such.


Production of Documents by both Parties and examination of parties

Both Plaintiff and Defendant produce the necessary documents that they want to rely upon to prove their case. Also at this stage the court determines from each party or their representative whether they accept or refute the factual allegations stated in the plaint and written statement. These admissions and denials are duly documented and recorded by the court.


Framing of Issues

Under Order 14 of the Civil Procedure Code, the court, at this stage, is responsible for framing the issues in the case. This task is assigned to the judges as per Order 14, Rule 1. If the court deems it necessary to examine a person or a document in order to accurately frame the issues, it has the discretion to do so. Furthermore, the court retains the power to strike out or add issues in the dispute before delivering a judgment.

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Summoning and Attendance of witnesses

Order 15 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) deals with the summoning and attendance of witnesses in a court of law. As per this order, the parties are required to submit a list of their respective witnesses and the documents they intend to present as evidence. The court fixes a specific day for summoning the witnesses, which should not be later than fifteen days after the settlement of the issues in the case.


Hearing of Suits and Examination of Witnesses

During this stage of the trial, which involves the examination of witnesses and the hearing of suits, the plaintiff is initially given the opportunity to present their case. However, if the defendant raises a legal point or introduces additional facts suggesting that the plaintiff is not entitled to relief, the defendant may take precedence in starting the trial instead of the plaintiff. In such a situation, the defendant has the right to initiate the proceedings.



Once the examination of witnesses is concluded, the suit proceeds to the stage of arguments. During this phase, both parties provide a concise overview of their case and present the evidence supporting the issues before the judge in the final session.



The judgment is the decision rendered by the judge based on which a decree is issued. Following the hearing of arguments from both sides, the court, as per Order 20, Rule 6A, will announce the judgment either promptly or within one month from the conclusion of the arguments.



If either party to the suit is not satisfied with the judgment due to certain reasons, that party can prefer an appeal before the concerned appellate court. Also, in the pendency of the appeal an interim stay on the judgment can also be prayed for.


We have tried to cover every aspect with respect to the above-mentioned topic. However, in case we have missed out on anything, please reach out to us on +91 9810929455 or mail us at

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Richard   2 Jul 2023 4:00pm
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