In India, civil law is concerned with disputes between individuals, organisations, or both, in which the rights and liabilities of the individual or organisation are adjudicated. In some legal cases, additional to the remedies sought, the victim may be awarded compensation under provisions of law or judicial precedents.

English Law (common law countries like the United Kingdom and the United States), Roman law (broader concepts of law), and sections of India ruled by Portugal and France – Portuguese law and French law – have all contributed significantly to the history of Civil Law in India. India is governed by the Common Law tradition, which means that judgements are followed as judicial precedent, the authority of investigation is vested in the investigative agency, and the judge’s position is that of a neutral adjudicator. Civil law, Islamic law, and other systems are used in places where the administration of justice differs from the common law system.

 

The guiding concept of Civil Law is that there is a remedy for every wrong. The Code of Civil Procedure is India’s general procedural law for civil cases. The Code of Civil Procedure is the procedural law in Civil Legislation, while the substantive law can be the Hindu Marriage Act, Indian Succession Act, Indian Contract Act, and so on. The Indian Evidence Act covers substantive law pleading, evidencing, and process.

Important Steps in Filing a Suit under Civil Law, and the Related Provisions of CPC:

Section 9 of the Code of Civil Procedure gives the Civil Court the authority to try any civil issue under its jurisdiction that is not specifically prohibited by law.

Jurisdiction:

To adjudicate the case, the civil court/tribunal must have territorial and pecuniary jurisdiction. The proceedings before the civil court are governed by the Civil Procedure Code and substantive law. The provisions of the Act govern hearings before tribunals.

Plaint:

The filing of the plaint is the initial step in initiating a Civil Court case. The plaint must include a factual statement of the plaintiff’s case, the cause of action, and the relevant court’s jurisdiction. The plaint must be accompanied by the supporting documentation.

Rejection of the plaint:

The conditions under which a plaint can be rejected are described in Order 7, Rule 11, CPC.

Written Statement:

The defendant responds to the plaint with a written statement and, if relevant, a Cross Suit.

Rejoinder:

The plaintiff has the opportunity to file a rebuttal if there is a need.

Miscellaneous applications:

The parties have the right to file applications for particular remedies or directions under the appropriate sections of the CPC (e.g., Section 151 of the CPC).

Evidence-Plaintiff:

The Plaintiff presents the oral and documentary evidence first, which is referred to as plaintiff’s evidence. The defendant gets an opportunity to cross-examine the plaintiff.

Evidence-Defendant:

After the plaintiff, the defendant presents oral and documentary evidence, which is referred to as defendant’s evidence. The plaintiff gets an opportunity to cross-examine the plaintiff.

Evidence-Rebuttal:

The plaintiff can adduce rebuttal evidence after the defendant’s testimony, but it cannot be used to fill in the gaps in original evidence. Once again, the defendant gets an opportunity to cross-examine the plaintiff;

Arguments:

The plaintiff raises the arguments first, followed by the defendant and the rebuttal arguments can be raised by the plaintiff.

Decree and Judgment:s

The Civil Suit is concluded by the Civil Court’s judgement and decree. In the eyes of the law, a judgement without a decree is unenforceable.

Execution:

The trial court’s judgment and decree are implemented by the executing court’s order. The trial court’s judgment and decree can be implemented by the trial court by various means.

Reference:

If there is an ambiguity in the statement of the law, the Trial Court might invoke Section 113 of the CPC to seek clarification from the High Court on any substantive or procedural aspect of law.

Review:

The court’s ability to reconsider its judgement under Section 114 is quite limited. It is primarily intended for the correct typographical errors or the provisions set forth in Section 114 of the CPC, such as an error apparent on the face of the record.

Revision:

When there is no right of appeal or when the case is covered by the mandate of section 115, CPC, it can be invoked.

First Appeal/Civil Appeal:

By applying the provisions of the CPC, it is preferred against the trial court’s judgment and decree before the District Judge.

Second Regular Appeal:

It is filed before the Hon’ble High Court under section 100 of the Civil Procedure Code for adjudication of substantial questions of law.

Petition for Special Leave:

It is brought before the Supreme Court on pure questions of law.

Limitation:

It applies to the filing of a lawsuit as well as appeals, reviews, and other related cases. Although there is no court discretion to condone a delay in filing a suit, there is judicial discretion to condone a delay in filing appeals or reviews.

Few examples of Suits are given below:

Suit for declaration and injunction, if necessary: the declaratory matters are brought in the civil court to seek adjudication under civil law to determine the individual’s or organization’s rights and liabilities. Property law, which includes title suits, is a major area of litigation. In intestate succession, the property among legal heirs gets distributed according to personal laws applicable upon the individuals, and civil courts have jurisdiction to conduct the trial. The civil courts can adjudicate matters concerning Transfer of property such as sale, mortgage, lease, and so on under the requirements of the Transfer of Property Act. The Indian Contract Act governs contracts and agreements, and civil courts have jurisdiction.

Suit for permanent, mandatory, or interim injunctions based on valid grounds such as ownership: Order 39, Rule 1, 2, and 3 can be invoked to obtain injunctions under the Specific Relief Act. It is a type of discretionary remedy granted to the plaintiff in order to prevent the plaintiff from suffering irreparable loss. The trial court is required to consider three points:

  • whether there is a prima facie case for the plaintiff;
  • whether the plaintiff has the better of the balance of convenience; and
  • If the plaintiff’s request for an interlocutory injunction is denied, if he will suffer irreparable harm.

Other Civil proceedings before tribunals:

Petition for Eviction or Mense Profit before Rent Controller: Tenancy disputes are normally adjudicated by Rent Controllers in accordance with the Rent Control Act. Eviction might also be filed for non-payment of rent and/or personal necessity, or it can be governed by the Rent Agreement.

Land acquisition proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act: The acquisition of land is conducted by the Deputy Collector under the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act. The land acquisition processes gets challenged before the High Court;

Company disputes are adjudicated by the Company Tribunal under the Company Act, and appeals are heard by the NCLAT.

Consumer Forum: Depending on the pecuniary jurisdiction, consumer cases are resolved before the consumer redressal forum, which includes the District, State, and National Consumer Forums.

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