Civil cases are the most complicated cases with a complex and lengthy procedures. So, let’s examine the procedure of filing a civil suit in India.
The Indian judicial system has followed the British colonial era law system, comprising the Supreme Court, the High Courts and Subordinate courts at the district, municipal and village levels dealing with civil cases. The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, governs all civil cases and procedures. It provides for the Orders and Rules for the procedures of civil actions in India and deals with the jurisdiction principles.
The plaintiff filed the civil suit in court against the defendant, not to punish the defendant but to recover damages and compensation made by the defendant’s cause of action.
Now let’s learn how to file a civil suit in India, some basics about civil laws and cases, and how to enforce them in court when there is a civil rights violation.
What is a Civil Suit?
Cases that are not criminal in nature are civil, and there is no list or specific definition for civil cases. According to law, a civil suit is when someone infringes another person’s rights against a property or any other dispute.
Civil cases involve disagreements between individuals or groups commonly entitled to compensation. A civil lawsuit usually begins when one person or business (the plaintiff) claims that they got hurt by the cause of action from another person or business (the defendant) and requests relief from the court by filing a “complaint”.
The plaintiff may ask the court to grant compensation for damages, or the plaintiff may ask for an injunction to stop the defendant from acting or to compel the defendant to act.
Finally, the plaintiff may ask the court to issue a “declaratory judgement” in which the court determines the parties’ rights under a statute or contract.
What is the Law for Civil Cases in India?
The principal statute for civil cases in India is the Civil Procedure Code of 1908. Still, various civil cases depend on the case’s nature and the facts in which different acts shall be applicable. For example, if the case is related to the labour and employee, then the Labour law or Industrial Disputes Act is applied.
Who Can File a Civil Suit?
According to Article 39A of the Indian Constitution, the State must ensure that the legal system promotes justice based on equal opportunity. It must provide free legal aid through appropriate legislation or systems or any other way to ensure that no citizen is denied the opportunity to secure justice due to their financial situation or disability.
Thus, anyone suffering from harm or damage due to another person’s cause of action can file a civil suit in a court of law.
How to File a Civil Suit in India?
There is a detailed procedure to file a civil suit in court, which everyone must follow; otherwise, the registrar has the right to dismiss the case.
The written complaint or allegation is known as a plaint. The “Plaintiff” is the party who files it, while the “Defendant” is the party against whom the plaint gets filed. It includes the court’s name, the complaint’s nature, the names and addresses of the parties involved, and whether a statement or content from the plaintiff is true and correct.
The plaintiff authorises the advocate/lawyer to fight their case in court, writing a document called Vakalatnama. If the plaintiff is fighting his case without a lawyer, then vakalatnama is not required.
Submission of Plaint
After the vakalatnama, the written plaint gets submitted before the Chief Ministerial Officer with the court fees. The court fees are different for some cases, depending on the case’s documents.
How Civil Suit Proceeding Takes Place?
If the court decides that the matter has merit on the first day of the hearing, it will notify the opposing party to submit their arguments and set a date for the hearing.
The respondent must attend on the date listed in the notice after it has been served. Before the notice date, the respondent must submit a written statement, or “barrier”, opposing the claim made by the other party. The defendant must submit the written statement within 30 days of the notice.
Replication by Plaintiff
A replication is a reply submitted by the plaintiff to the defendant’s “written statement,” and it should deny the claims made in that statement. If the plaintiff does not deny the facts claimed by the defendant, the court shall consider that the plaintiff has accepted.
Filing Other Documents
Once the pleadings are over, the court gives the parties a chance to submit any other documents to support their allegations.
Framing of Issues
The framing of issues is the following phase in a civil case. The court frames the issues based on which the court conducts arguments and witness examinations. Issues can be either through facts or law. The court will address each issue separately and pass the final order.
The arguments should be strictly confined to the issues raised on the day of the final hearing.
The court must issue a “final order” after considering both parties’ closing arguments, either on the day of the final hearing or on a different date set by the court.
Appeal, Reference, Review
When a party is not satisfied with the court’s order, the party can go to further proceedings like appeal, reference & review.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer to File a Civil Suit?
Filing a civil suit is a long process if you don’t have proper advice on how to file a civil lawsuit which could trouble you in keeping track of the dates and procedures for correctly completing and submitting specific legal paperwork.
A single late or inaccurate submission could jeopardise your case, prolong a specific legal process, or, even worse, result in the case getting dismissed entirely. Even in cases where there is direct evidence against you, there are other options beyond pleading guilty or admitting guilt. When you hire a lawyer, they can assist with the options and avoid penalties before the pleadings begin.
The above process is a theoretical procedure in the Civil Procedure Code of 1908 on how to file a civil suit in India. A cause of action is required before filing a civil lawsuit, and it must have violated a civil right, and there shall be damage recovery or compensation in the complaint. The plaintiff will make all statements, which is the first step in the civil litigation procedure. A civil case in India typically goes through a lengthy process, beginning with filing the plaint and ending with the verdict or decree. However, due to the help of a lawyer, clients can consume time throughout the process.