Stages of a Civil Suit [CPC 101]
Whether you wish it or not there is a 90% chance that you will face a civil suit in your lifetime, as 80% of our cases arise out of suits of civil nature. Therefore, it is wise to know the key steps of a civil suit.
A civil suit is a long process to follow, people often wonder why a civil suit take so much time? because there are so many stages to follow. To understand a civil suit It is better to look at the steps of the procedure of a civil suit to have an overall idea of the procedure. The procedure of civil suit is guided by the code of civil procedure, 1908.
Primarily a civil suit stages can be segmented into three-part.
- Pre-trial Stage
- Trial Stage
- Post-trial Stage
To initiate a civil suit it needs to be presented before a court to hear it and find the conflicting areas and prefetch the proper documents and list of evidence etc.
A civil suit must be instituted with a plaintiff that sufficiently describes the situation, shows the cause of action and seeks proper remedies. This is guided under section 26, Order 4 Rule 1 as well as Order 6 and 7
After the initiation via plaint, summons must be duly served within 5 days to the defendants by the cost of the plaintiff so that the other party can appear before the court to defend himself and bring the real picture of the suit. According to tor section, 27 – 32 and the rules are mentioned under Order 5 of the Code.
After getting the summons the defendant needs to reply to the claim of the plaintiff the defendant can accept the claim or deny the claims. Also, he can ask for set-off or raise a counter-claim in the matter of money suit. This written document is known as “Written Statement”. The procedure is described under Order 6 and Order 8 of CPC.
At this point, after getting the information from both parties some dispute could be solved but if it remains the same then the procedure of ADR took place.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
At this stage it is mandatory to initiate an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) so that parties can solve their dispute out of the court, it is preferred to prevent a long procedure and to save both time and money of both parties. The procedure and rules of ADR under CPC is mentioned in section 89A to 89E. 89 B is specifically important for Mediation under CPC.
Framing of Issue
If ADR does not solve the dispute then those unsolved issues have to be framed; basically, Issues are those key questions of which the answer is needed to reach a verdict. The court would carefully analyse the context and create those questions, this is known as issue framing. Afterwards, the court would try to get the answer of those questions by the production of documents and evidence produced before him. The related procedure is described under Order 14 rule 1-6
Examination, admission, inspection etc.
Before proceeding the pre-trial step or at the trial step the court may order some other additional steps if required, such as;
- Examination of parties (Order 10): Here the court may examine the party or his representative by asking some questions.
- Discovery and Inspection of documents (Order 11): The court may ask for discovery or inspection of documents.
- Admission (Order 12): Any party can request to admit certain matters to the other party.
- Production, Impounding and return of documents (Order 13): The court can order for production of any document and after the production, If there is any reason to believe that any such document is improper, irrelevant and unacceptable the court may order impounding of those documents and shall return if after due action is taken.
- Commission (Section 75, Order 26 & rule 9): In some occasions, the court may need to understand the real scenario of the subject matter by visiting and observing a certain location which might not be possible for the court, as a result, the court may appoint a commission to do such job on behalf of him.
- Prevention and inspection (Order 39 – rule 7): The court may order prevention and inspection of the subject matter if it thinks fit.
Setting date for peremptory hearing
After the framing of the issue, the court will set a date for the Peremptory Hearing (PH) also known as Final Hearing under Order 14 rule 8
The trial stage can be considered the main part of a suit, where the court hears witnesses, take evidence, considers documents and finds the answers of the issues.
Peremptory hearing (PH) is the part where evidence is taken, this procedure can be divided in several parts. This process must be concluded within 120 days from the start of this process (Order 18, Rule 19)
- Opening the case (Order 18, Rule 1): The presentation of evidence began with the plaintiff unless the defendant has already accepted the plaintiff’s claim.
Examination, Cross-examination and re-examination of witnesses.
Here at first any of the party can call their witness to testify before the court, this is called Examination in chief. After that, the other party can question that witness to prove him wrong or question his capability as a witness, this is known as Cross-Examination. If that witness due to the presser of the opposite party or any other reason loses his track from his stand or get confused with the party of which he is a witness can question him again for clarification, this is called re-examination. The procedure of examination has given under section 135 to 165 of The Evidence Act, 1872
After taking evidence and before the judgment parties argue before the judge on the point of law and fact based on the documents and evidence they have received during the trial. Parties try to convince the judge to their favour. This is known as an argument. Argument is the final chance to win a case.
After the case has been heard by the court shall pronounce the judgment, and on such judgment, decree shall follow (section 33). the court will provide the judgement of the suit within 7 days (Order 20 rule 1) Judgment is the explanation of the decree or the decision of the court which includes decree and order. A decree is a formal expression of an adjudication which conclusively determines the right of the party regarding all or any of the matters in controversy in the suit. On the other hand, Order means the formal expression of any decision of a Civil Court which is not a decree.
Post Trial stage
Execution of Decree
The main part of the judgment is the decree after the judgment is given if the opposite party does not follow it automatically then the decree-holder needs to file for the execution of the decree. Details of execution of decree are given under section 36 to 47 and under order 21 of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
Appeal, Review, Revision
It is obvious that some party is going to lose the case when the other wins. The party losing the case is defined as a judgment debtor, the judgment debtor can be aggrieved by the judgment, in some cases, the decree-holder (who wins the case) can also be aggrieved for some reason. Such an aggrieved party may think the judgment treated him unfairly or there was some serious mistake at that situation there are several options open for him to get the proper justice. Namely; Appeal, Review, Revision.
Appeal is the power of superior court to change/correct the judgment of its subordinate court where is there is a significant mistake or error of law. Procedure of appeal has given under section 96 to 112 of the code and under Order 41 and Order 43
Review is another procedure to get the proper justice, here the application is presented before the same court who gave the judgment to review and reconsider its judgement. The procedure of review has given under section 114 and order 47 of the code.
Revision is like appeal, presented before a superior court. Revision shall apply where there is an error of law and/or occasioning failure of justice but no legal guideline for appeal. The procedure of revision has given under section 115 of the code of Civil Procedure.
Hope this article will help you understand your case little more the before. We are going to add a number of articles to describe every step in details, stay with us for more. You may also visit our Bangla Article on this topic if you prefer it.