Procedures of Suit Filed As An “Indigent Person”

Who is an ‘indigent person’?

Order XXXIII of the Civil Procedure Code talks about suits by indigent person. Section 304 of Criminal Procedure Code and Article 39A of the Indian Constitution respectively mention legal aid to accused at state expense in certain cases, and equal justice and free legal aid. Indigent person means poor, destitute, pauper. A person is a needy person who does not have sufficient funds to pay the lawsuit fee, or if such fee is not required, he is not entitled to property worth 1,000 rupees, but their properties which are attached in the execution under section 60 will be exempted. The property which will be exempted are: –

  • From attachment in execution of a decree.
  • Subject matter of the suit shall be excluded.

Order XXXIII of the Code of Civil Procedure provides relief for those who have to file an action to assert their rights, but are so poor that they cannot pay court costs, etc. The objective of this order is that poverty should not come in the way of giving justice. The fundamental objective of Decision XXXIII has been discussed in detail by the Kerala High Court in Sumathy Kutty v Narayani, wherein it has been found that the real test is whether the petitioner can convert his possessions, in his case, into liquid cash without difficulty. and undue delays in order to pay the required court fee. The three objects of this provision are:

  • For good faith protection, clean a person in need.
  • Protect interest from income.
  • to protect the accused from harassment.

Who can file as an ‘indigent person’?

It was decided that a single natural person should complete a poor application and that the legal person should also be included in its scope and scope. This is a fixed position at Union of India V. Khaders International Construction Ltd. It is clear that the provisions of Rule XXXIII, Rule 1, were enacted to give poor people the opportunity to seek justice by filing lawsuits or appeals without court fees and in this context, it means on which the very life of the applicant and his family depend. In fact, the capacity is intended to raise funds in accordance with standard and available funds, and in no way illegal or inappropriate. It cannot be the objective of this legislation that the needy first deprive themselves of their livelihood or alienate all their wealth and seek justice in need. If the applicant, who is a needy person, dies while the lawsuit is pending, his legal heirs cannot be said to be able to receive the benefit later.

Procedure to file the suit:

At first, the person has to take the permission from the court to file the case as the indigent person and the court will look into all the details of that person and will also consider all the movable and immovable property. During the time of investigation if any of the property comes by the name to that person then that will also be considered as the property of that person. The application which the person makes as to be treated as ‘indigent’, should contain the following details:

  1. particulars received in regard to plaint as suit.
  2. List of all the movable and immovable property with the estimated value.
  3. Signature and verification.

In the case of Manglu Chattar v Maheshwar Bhoi, the applicant found that the court had weaving tools and materials and that they received daily wages. There is no further evidence from the accused to show that the petitioners have other property. Therefore, it is not disputed that the appellants are all weavers and that their weaving materials consist of hand tools. It is not necessary to consider these properties to find out if they can pay the court fee. Therefore, the daily wages they receive cannot be taken into account for the purpose mentioned above.

If the application is properly filed and filed, the court may examine the applicant or his representative to determine the applicant’s claims and assets. To sue as a needy person, the defendant must be informed 7 days before the written notice. The court sets a date for the presentation of evidence to justify the request. Once the court is satisfied, it is considered an action in the action, and the action is presented as an action in the usual way.

Procedure to Reject the Application:

The court may reject the application if it falls under the category of Rule 5 of The Code of Civil Procedure. If the court sees no reason to deny the request for any of the reasons set forth in Rule 5, one day after notifying the accused and the government official, it will determine that it will receive evidence that the applicant can provide to prove his disability, and for the hearing of evidence that can be contested. The court questions the witnesses who have been brought up by the parties and the applicant or their agent makes a complete record of their evidence and listens to the arguments. After such a hearing, the court may allow or deny the applicant to file a claim as a needy person. If the application is approved, it is numbered and recorded and is considered a complaint in the complaint. The lawsuit continues in the usual way, but the plaintiff is not required to pay a court fee.

If the plaintiff is successful in the lawsuit, the court estimates the sum of the court fees that the plaintiff would have paid if he could not have sued as a needy person, and the state government can claim this amount from either party through the decree The payment of the same was condemned. But in a situation where the person who needs the government fills out a complaint to get the full amount of the contract, a decree was issued in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant state government was ordered to pay the plaintiff’s costs because the defendant was required to pay the court fees to be paid to the government. Therefore, a procedure initiated against the plaintiff could not be maintained to recover the court fee. If the plaintiff is successful in the lawsuit, the court will calculate the number of court fees the plaintiff would have paid if he could not have sued as an indigent person. This amount may be claimed by the state government from any party ordered to pay by decree and is an initial fee for the subject of the dispute. The collector carries out a said decree to initiate a new procedure to track the recovery of the amount of the judicial fee of the person or property that is obliged to pay the judicial fee so that no separate recovery procedure is initiated as arrears. in the income of the land. they may be enforcement procedures. However, the situation is different when indigent person is in a situation where the indigent person fills out a government complaint to obtain the full contractual amount. The decree was issued in favor of the plaintiff. The defendant state government was ordered to pay the plaintiff’s costs because the defendant was ordered to pay the court fee payable to the government. Therefore, proceedings against the plaintiff could not be maintained to reimburse the court fee.


From the above-mentioned topic, I’ve understood that the indigent persons are those who are financially week and are unable to bare the expenses of the court. So, they give an application to the court mentioning all the estimated value of their movable and immovable property and all the properties which are under their name. the court is under the obligation to investigate about the matter and if the court thinks that particular person is genuinely poor then the court will accept the application and give the notice to the other party stating about the suit and the indigent person. All the expenses will be taken up by the government of the trial. If the judgment goes in favor of the indigent then that person will bare the expense and if the judgement goes against the person then the government will bare the expenses.

This article is written by Udita Prakash, BBA LLB(Hons.) 2nd year student at University of Petroleum and Energy Studies

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