The Civil Suit is basically a dispute which arises between two people or two organizations wherein a subject for dispute is limited to monetary transaction and dispute related to immovable property. The Civil Suit, if it is personal in nature than it is governed under Civil Procedure Code and if it is related to business transaction than Commercial Court Act also plays a great role to set out the procedure. The Parties in the Civil Suit are addressed as Plaintiff and Defendant.
Broadly, a civil suit passes through the following five stages
- Institution of a Civil Suit (Plaint, Written Statement, Replication, etc.)
- Framing of issues.
- Summoning and attendance of witnesses.
- Hearing of Suit and Examination of Witness.
- Decree/Order and the Judgment.
STAGES OF CIVIL SUIT
There are total 16 stages in a Civil Suit which are mentioned herein below:-
The document in which the fact of the case is mentioned that document is known as Plaint in legal world. The entire Civil Suit is based on Plaint and the Plaint is starting point or the starting stage for all the Civil Suit. Order VII deals with the contents of Plaint and some of the points mentioned under Order VII is mentioned herein below:-
- Name of the Court
- Details of the Party
- Facts of the Dispute involved between the party
- Relief Sort
- The Documents on which the party is relying upon.
After a Plaint is filed the Court may either accept the Plaint or they may reject the Plaint if the Plaint is accepted the Court may call the Party i.e. Defendant against whom the dispute is filed and Court calls party by issuing Summon. Defendant to whom the summons is issued may appear in person or through the legal representative. If the Summons are addressed within the jurisdiction of the Court than the same is addressed under Section 27 of the Code and if the Defendant doesn’t reside in the jurisdiction of the Court but the same resides in the same Country than the Summons are addressed under Section 28 of the Code but if the Defendant is residing outside the Country than the Summons are addressed under Section 29 of the Code. The Summons is also addressed when Plaintiff or Defendants want to produce a witness in the Court, the procedure relating for calling for witness is mentioned under Section 31 of the Code. The procedure for the Service of Summons is mentioned under Order V of the Code.
3. Appearance of the Party
The Party to whom summon is addressed needs to be present before the concerned court and if the person failed to appear before the concerned Court than as per Order V rule 20 an Ex-parte order is passed by the Concerned Court. If both parties are not present on the concerned date than the court after giving due chance ay dismiss the matter.
4. Interlocutory Proceeding
Everyone knows that Suit is a Long process as it has many steps before passing Judgment so before starting the stages of Suit sometime the Court has to intervene in the matter to maintain the position as it prevailed. Such Intervention is known as “STATUS QUO”. The Plaintiff can ask for Status Quo order by filing Notice of Motion in the City Civil Court or by filling Interim Application in respective High Court. Following intervention matter are entertain by the Civil Court:-
- Temporary Injunction (order 39)
- Appointment of Court Receiver (order 40)
- Appointment of Court Commissioner(order 26)
- Arrest and Attachment before Judgment (order 38)
5. Written Statement
In the simple language Written Statement is a Document in which the Defendant mentions his/her side of facts of the case and mentions his defense to the Plaint. Order VIII of the code deal with Written Statement. Before Amendment in 2002, there was no limitation period for filing the Written Statement but after the amendment, it is mandatory to file Written Statement within 90 days, after the limitation period is expired it is at the discretion of the Court whether to accept the Written Statement. Under this discretion, the Court will give additional days to file Written Statement but those days won’t exceed 90 days.
6. Examination of Party
After the Written Statement is filed the Court may ask the parties whether they admit the allegation or they deny the allegations pressed by the Plaintiff and such acceptance or denial should be recorded.
7. Framing of Issues
The Court after the Suit is filed and after the Written Statement is filed by the Defendant then the Court may ask the parties to produce Draft Issues and after examining the draft issues the Court may frame Final issues. Order XIV of code deal with Framing of Issues.
8. List of Document relied by the Party
After the Framing of Issue, the Court will ask the Parties to submit a List of Documents on which they are relying upon. The parties submit the list in the form of Affidavit.
9. Discovery and Inspection
After the Document is produced in the Court the Party can apply for inspection of Document. Order XI of the code deals with the Discovery and Inspection of documents. After taking leave from the court the parties can Inspect the Document.
10. Admission and Denial of Document
After the Party has ascertained the Document they may either Admit the Document or they may deny the Document. The Admission and Denial of the Documents are dealt under Order XII of the code.
11. Production of Documents
After the List of Document is relied upon by the Party and after Admission and denial of the Document, the next stage is to produce the Document in the Court. The Party has to submit all original documents in the concerned court. Order XIII of code deals with the production of the Documents.
12. Hearing and Cross Examination of the Witness (Order XVIII)
After the Production of Document, the next stage of a civil suit is hearing of suits and examination of witnesses commence. The first right to begin is of the plaintiff. The plaintiff has to submit the evidence that was earlier marked if any evidence was not marked earlier then it will not be considered by the court. And the defendant’s advocate will cross-examine the plaintiff and also to the witnesses who are from the plaintiff’s side. And the defendant also presents his side of the story supported by his witnesses and evidence from his side and the plaintiff advocate also cross-examined the defendant.
As soon as the stage of the hearing of suits and examination of witnesses is over then the suit is kept for the next stage i.e. argument. Once the evidence has been submitted and cross-examination is conducted by both parties, then both sides are allowed to present a summary of the case and evidence to the judge in the final session.
After the concerned court has heard the matter the Court will pass Judgment/Decree. The provision related to Judgment and Decree is in Section 33 read with Order XX of the Code.
15. Appeal, Review and Revision
After the Judgment is pronounced and if the concerned party are not satisfied with the Judgment/Decree passed than they can either apply for Review (Section 114 read with Order XLVII) within Thirty Days from the date of pronouncement of Judgment/Decree or the aggrieved party can apply for Revision (Section 115) to the higher court within thirty days of pronouncement of Judgment, or the aggrieved party can also go for an Appeal (section 96 to 110 along with Order XLI to XLV) to the Higher Court within 60 or 90 days from the pronouncement of the Judgment/ Decree.
16. Execution of the Decree
In this stage, decree-holder compels the judgment-debtor to out the mandate of the decree or decree or order as the case may be. It is the process by which a decree-holder recovers the fruits of the judgment. The execution is complete when judgment creditor or decree-holder gets money or other thing awarded to him by judgment, decree, or order.
About author –
This article is authored by Urvika Shah Sheth. She is an advocate practicing at Bombay High Court.
Also Read – Procedure of Admission of Plaint under CPC