Who Is Entitled to File A Pauper-Suit? Procedure for Filling Such Suits.


“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” [1]

This quote was written by Fredrick Douglass. Sir explains in this quote that wherever there is an unbalance in the judicial system of a country not a single person will be alive then.

Another example that I would like to give is from the poem “FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND EQUALITY”[2] by Lonnie Hicks.

This poem clearly represents how necessary it is to maintain a balance between the three of them.

Anyone missing would lead the country into darkness and poverty and corruption.

Social evils will be at its peak if one of these is denied.

Even if there is an imbalance in one aspect the whole society is deemed of democracy.

Under this topic, a brief explanation is provided about how the government in order to reduce inequality and maintain justice provides legal assistance to poor people or people with limited means of looking for justice.


In forma pauperis is a Latin legal term meaning in the character or manner of a pauper.

It refers to the ability of an indigent person to proceed in court without payment of the usual fees as associated with the lawsuit or appeal

A pauper is basically a person who has no property or a person with nearly fewer means of living within the prescribed standard of the law of a particular country

If a person asserts in the court that he or she is a pauper and that particular person mentioned above has no means to pay the court fees than any appeal or suit will be admitted without any payment of court fee in the court.

These people in short have a right to all the legal services to be provided to them as it is for an ordinary person without having to pay for it.

India or any other country has people which have limited means in order to live healthy.

People having limited means does not mean that they shouldn’t be provided with justice or any other legal aid/legal assistance.

Legal assistance is every citizen’s birthright.

A democratic country stays balanced when there is a perfect proportion of justice, secularism, socialism and every single person should be able to enjoy the same rights as the other person.

Therefore, the court provides assistance to people who have fewer means or the ones who come under poverty.

This is necessary for a country like India where 70% of the primary sector population depends on the 17% profit earned by the agricultural means.

If these poor people in order to receive justice go to any private lawyer, this then would cost them a fortune so that’s why the government has provided legal assistance or Legal Aid in order to maintain equality.

Legal aid can be classified under three broad categories-[4]

  1. Constitutional.
  2. Professional.
  3. Statutory.

This article deals with legal provisions related to Legal Aid/ Assistance under the Civil Procedure Code,1908

Order 33 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908 provides for filing of Suits of an indigent person, it allows persons who are too poor to pay Court fees this order then allows them to institutes suits or any appeal without payment of requisite Court fees.

In order to realize or to come to the conclusion that which kind of people are allowed to file a pauper suit there are explanations and under order 33 certain rules with specified that under these rules if you qualify then can you file a pauper suit or not.

Then and only then the court will neglect the fees since this person doesn’t have the means to pay it.

In brief, a Pauper Suit is a Suit where a person with limited means to live or a poor person Is supported or assisted at public expense.

An impecunious contestant is permitted to sue or defend without paying costs.

An impoverished criminal defendant has a right to receive legal services without charge.


There are certain rules under which it is determined that the person wanting to file a Pauper Suit is actually an indigent or poor person or not.

Plaintiff petitioner’s solvency is the sole question to determine whether the plaintiff would be allowed to sue as forma pauperis. [ Abdul Hannan vs. Salma Khanam (1974) 26 DLR 337].

There are certain explanations and rules under ORDER 33 of CIVIL PROCEDURE CODE, 1908 which explains the people who are entitled to file a Partition Suit.


If the person has claimed /obtained any property after he has applied as an application to sue as an indigent person in the court then the Court will take into consideration the possession of such property under it, so as to analyze whether or not he is an indigent person.

Following are the rules under Order 33 of CIVIL PROCEDURE CODE, 1908[5]

Rule 1– Enquiry into the means of an indigent person.

The court appoints a Chief Ministerial officer in order to inquire about the person’s background and to check if any property is in possession of the person who has submitted an application to file a pauper suit as an indigent person. The court then may take his report into consideration or inquire on its own.

Rule 2– Contents of Application.

The applicant who has asked for permission to file a suit as an indigent person that person has to submit the schedule of movable or immovable property under his possession in any for the signing and verification of pleadings.

Rule 3– Presentation of Application.

The application should be presented to the court by the applicant himself. If in the case or in some matter he is unable to do so then an authorized emissary can be answerable or representable on behalf of him.

If at all there is more than one plaintiff then any one of them can appear on behalf of all.

Rule 4– Examination of Applicants.

In the Court of Justice, the applicant in order to prove himself as an indigent person witnesses is thereby Call upon in the Court to identify the person claiming himself an indigent person is actually true and valid.

Rule 5– Rejection of an application.

The court shall reject an application for permission to sue as an indigent person-

  1. If the conditions under rule 2 & 3 are not followed or precise.
  2. If the applicant is not an indigent person.
  3. If he/she has, within two months next before the presentation of the application disposed of any property fraudulently or in order to be able to apply for permission to sue as an indigent person.
  4. If his/her allegations do not show a cause of action.
  5. If he/she has an agreement relating to the matter of the suit and another person is interested in this action.
  6. If he/she has entered into an agreement with someone to finance the litigation.

Rule 6– Notice of day for receiving evidence of applicant’s indigency

If the court sees no reason to the application on any of the grounds stated in rule 5, the court will then hold a day for receiving any of such evidence as the application may adduce in proof of his indigency, and for hearing any evidence which may be adduced in disproof thereof.

Is the defendant allowed to defend in case of a Pauper Suit?

In the case of Pauper suit or be it any suit or an Appeal the defender is allowed to defend himself in the Court of Justice.

He/ She also can file an application for legal aid/ assistance in the court.

To be considered as a pauper in the court the same rules are applicable to him as they are applicable to the plaintiff.

The defendant is given equal opportunity and sufficient time to defend himself in the Court of Justice.



Pauper suit is of great help to people who have limited means of living. If these people go to the court and hire a private lawyer that might cost them a fortune.

So, in order to provide justice to every citizen of the country, the government has taken such measures for its people.

[1] https://bookriot.com

[2] https://poemhunter.com

[3] https://www.clcbd.org

[4] https://legalserviceindia.com

[5] https://www.aaptaxlaw.com

[6] AIR  1955 Mad 571.

This Article is Authored by SADAKHATOON SHAIKH, 2nd Year B.A.LLB Studnet at A.K.K.NEW LAW ACADEMY.

Also Read – What are the Documents Required to File a Partition Suit?

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