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Stages of Civil Suit

Table of Contents
1 STAGES OF CIVIL SUIT ______________________________________________________ 1
1.1 Introduction ________________________________________________________________ 1
1.2 Procedures and Relevant Provisions _____________________________________________ 1
1.3 Institution of suit: ____________________________________________________________ 5
1.4 Contents of the Plaint ________________________________________________________ 5
1.5 Plaint review ________________________________________________________________ 6
1.6 Issue and service of summons __________________________________________________ 6
1.6.1 Summons for final disposition _________________________________________________________ 7

1.7 Appearance of Defendant _____________________________________________________ 7


1.8 Written Statement, set-off and claims by defendant ________________________________ 7
1.8.1 Contents of the Written statement _____________________________________________________ 7

1.9 Replication/Rejoinder by Plaintiff _______________________________________________ 8


1.10 Examination of parties by Court ________________________________________________ 8
1.11 Framing of Issues ____________________________________________________________ 8
1.12 Modification of issues ________________________________________________________ 9
1.13 Evidence and Cross-Examination of plaintiff_______________________________________ 9
1.14 Evidence and Cross-Examination of Defendant ____________________________________ 9
1.15 Final Argument ______________________________________________________________ 9
1.16 Judgement/ Decree _________________________________________________________ 10
1.17 Review of judgement ________________________________________________________ 10
1.18 Reference _________________________________________________________________ 10

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Stages of Civil Suit

1 STAGES OF CIVIL SUIT

1.1 Introduction

What Is Civil Litigation? When two or more parties become embroiled in a legal dispute
seeking money or another specific performance rather than criminal sanctions, civil
litigation is the result. They must instead head to the courtroom for trial so a judge or jury
can decide the matter.

A lawyer who specializes in civil litigation is known as a “litigator” or a “trial lawyer.”


He represents clients across a broad spectrum of associated proceedings, including
pretrial hearings and depositions, as well as arbitration or mediation before administrative
agencies or court personnel.

Arbitration and mediation are processes that attempt to guide the parties toward
settlement without the time and expense of going to court.

1.2 Procedures and Relevant Provisions

Normally a civil suit has to travel through 17 main stages from institution of the suit till its
judgment, they are as under :-
1) Institution of Suit
Order 4, 6 and 7
2) Issue of Summons
Order 5
3) Filing of Written Statement
Order 8
Section 30
4) Examination of Parties
Order 10

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10
5) Settlement of Disputes
Section 89
6) Discovery & Inspection
Order 11
7) Admission
Order 12
8) Production of Documents
Order 13
9) Framing of Issues
Order 14
10) List of Witness
Order 16
11) Summons to Witnesses
Order 16 R 1 (4)
12) Settling Date
Order 16
13) Evidence of Parties
Order 18 R 4
r/w Order 17
14) Exhibiting of Documents
Order 18 R 4 (1)
Proviso
07)
15) Cross-exam by parties
Order 18 R 4 (2)
16) Arguments
Order 18 R 2 (3A)
17) Judgment
Order 20

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Out of these 17 main stages the amended code does not speak about any time limit for
Examination of Parties – Order 10, Settlement of Disputes – Section 89, Production of
Documents – Order 13, Exhibiting of Documents – Order 18 R 4 (1) proviso and
Arguments – Order 18 R 2 (3A), but in the rest of the provisions the amended code has
given time limits in the provisions itself and we cannot ignore them so easily and without
any rare and exceptional circumstances.

Now once a party has filed the suit then he has to comply all the provisions one by one
within the stipulated time. If the table shown as above is effectively implemented then no
prejudice is likely to be caused to either of the parties and it will be a milestone in
disposing off the civil suit in a stipulated time and that too within the framework of law,
respecting the intention of the legislature. Now it is for us to decide whether to follow the
provisions or the practice while interpreting and implementing the provisions of amended
code.

In the amended code most of the provisions contains time limits for a particular stage.
Maximum of the provisions are mandatory in nature and in very few of them the
discretion lies with the court.

1. Plaintiff has to file the plaint complying the provisions in all respect as contemplated
under Order 4 r/w Order 6 and 7 of the code.

2. Plaintiff has to issue summons within 30 days from the institution of suit.

3. After the service of summons defendant has to file his written statement within 30 days
from the receipt of summons as per Order 8 R 1 of the code

4. No further time exceeding 90 days after date of service of summons be extended for
filing written statement as per proviso to Order 8 R 1 of the code.

5. Within 10 days from the filing of written statement court has to examine the parties so
as to explore the possibilities of compromise in between the parties and to refer the
matter of settlement under section 89 of the code.

6. If parties fail to compromise the matter then court has to keep the matter for discovery
and inspection within the time span of 7 – 10 – 10 – 3 days, as per Order 11 of the code.

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7. Then to adjourn the matter for admission within the time span of 15 days as per Order
12 of the code.

8. Then parties have to file the original documents prior to framing of issues within the
time span of 7 days, as per Order 13 of the code.

9. Court has to frame the issues within 15 days as per Order 14 of the code.

10. Parties have to file the list of witnesses within 15 days from the date of framing of
issues as per Order 16 of the code.

11. Plaintiff has to issue summons to the witnesses either for adducing evidence or for
production of documents within 5 days of filing of list as per Order 16 R 1 (4) of the
code.

12. Parties have to settle the date of evidence as per Order 16 of the code.

13. Plaintiff has to file the affidavits of all his witnesses within 3 adjournments as per
Order 18 R 4 r/w Order 17 of the code.

14. Court has to exhibit the documents considering their proof and admissibility with a
reasoned order as per proviso to Order 18 R 4 (1) of the code.

15. Cross examination of the plaintiff and his witnesses on day to day until all the
witnesses in attendance have been examined as per Order 18 R 4 (2) r/w Order 17 R 2 (a)
of the code.

16. Defendant has to issue summons to the witnesses either for adducing evidence or for
production of documents as per Order 16 R 1 (4) of the code.

17. Defendant has to file the affidavits of all his witnesses within 3 adjournments as per
Order 18 R 4 r/w Order 17 of the code.

18. Court has to exhibit the documents considering their proof and admissibility with a
reasoned order as per proviso to Order 18 R 4 (1) of the code.

19. Cross examination of the defendant and his witnesses on day to day until all the
witnesses in attendance have been examined as per Order 18 R 4 (2) r/w Order 17 R 2 (a)
of the code.

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20. Parties have to conclude their arguments within 15 days from the completion of their
respective evidence as per Order 18 R 2 (3A) of the code.

21. Court has to delivered judgment forthwith or on or before 30 days and not exceeding
60 days from the date of conclusion of the arguments as per Order 20 R 1 of the code.

1.3 Institution of suit:


Every suit is commenced when the plaintiff files a plaint to the court. Plaint is filed as a
pleading. The case is registered by the court and logged in its records. It is possible that
court decides to consolidate the suit with an ongoing trial as well.

1.4 Contents of the Plaint


The plaint should contain the following:

 name of the court where suit is brought

 name, decryption, and place of residence of plaintiff

 name, decryption, and place of residence of defendant

 where the plaintiff or the defendant is a minor or a person of unsound mind, a


statement to that effect;

 the facts constituting the cause of action and when it arose;

 the facts showing that the Court has jurisdiction;

 the relief which the plaintiff claims;

 where the plaintiff has allowed a set-off or relinquished a portion of his claim, the
amount so allowed or relinquished; and

 a statement of the value of the subject-matter of the suit for the purposes of
jurisdiction and of court fees, so far as the case admits.

 In money suits - the damages (in form of money)

 Identification of property if the subject matter of suit is related to immovable


property.

 Proof of defendant's liability.

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 Relief which the plaintiff seeks

 List of documents being submitted with the plaint.

1.5 Plaint review


The court will review the plaint and can reject the plaint in following situations:

 where it does not disclose a cause of action;

 where the relief claimed is undervalued, and the plaintiff, on being required by the
Court to correct the valuation within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do
so;

 where the relief claimed is properly valued, but the plaint is returned upon paper
insufficiently stamped, and the plaintiff, on being required by the Court to supply
the requisite stamp-paper within a time to be fixed by the Court, fails to do so;

 where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law

1.6 Issue and service of summons


Once the suit is registered, summons are send to the defendant to appear in court on a
specified date. The summons shall be signed by the judge and sealed with the seal of
court. The summons is accompanied by plaint as well.

The court, if sees fit, may also require the plaintiff to be present as well during the
appearance of defendant.

The court may require the party to appear in person only if they

 They reside within the local limits or the court's ordinary jurisdiction

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 They reside at place less than fifty or (where there is railway or steamer communication
or other established public conveyance for five-sixths of the distance between the place
where he resides and the place where the Court is situate) less than two hundred miles
distance from the Court-house

If the defendant is not required to appear in person then the defendant may send a pleader
to represent his case.

1.6.1 Summons for final disposition


If the court deems fit, the summons can be sent for final disposition (instead of settling
the issues). If the summons is sent for the final disposition, then the summons would
mention this and would also direct the defendant to produce all the documents, evidence,
and witnesses to support his case.

1.7 Appearance of Defendant


The defendant needs to appear in the court either personally, or by a representative on the
date mentioned in the summons. If the summons was for final disposal, then the
defendant needs to present evidence, documents, and any witnesses to support his case.

1.8 Written Statement, set-off and claims by defendant


The defendant needs to submit a written statement on or before the day of appearance.
The defendant can also claim a set-off or can make a counter-claim in his written
statement. If the defendant does not file written statement then court may take the
decision based on plaint itself. If the court requires that the written statement must be
filed, and defendant does not do so, then the court may take an decision against the
defendant.

1.8.1 Contents of the Written statement


If the defendant relies on any document for his/her defense, set-off, or counter-claim,
then those documents should be mentioned in a list and attached along with the written

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statement. These documents are supposed to be presented to court with the written
statement. If the defendant does not possess those documents then he/she should specify
in whose possession those documents are.

It should be noted that if any document is not mentioned in the list, it cannot be accepted
as evidence in the court unless specifically allowed by the court.

The written statement must individually address all the allegations that the defendant
does not agree with in the plaint.

The written statement should also mention the amount claimed by the defendant as set-
off claim.

1.9 Replication/Rejoinder by Plaintiff


The written statement can also include the details of counter-claim. This counter-claim is
treated as plaint. All the documents upon which the counter claim is based should be
presented to the court with the counter-claim. The plaintiff may file a written statement
against the counter-claim.

1.10 Examination of parties by Court


On the first hearing the court will ask each party whether the allegations are true or false.
This can be asked orally by the judge. The response is recorded by the judge in writing.

1.11 Framing of Issues


At the first hearing of the suit court frames the issues pertaining to the suit. Issues arise
when the allegations of a party are denied by other. Each such allegation (which is denied
by other party) shall be a issue and in the end judgement is given individually on the
issues. Issue can be issue of fact, or issue of law. The court can form the issues by
looking at the plaint and written statement, or it may interrogate the parties, witnesses and

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or look at documents in order to determine the issue. For this the court may be adjourned
further unless the court can frame the issues. The issues are formally recorded by the
court. However, if the defendant makes no defense in the first hearing then issues may
not be formed and judgement may be given.

1.12 Modification of issues


The court may amend or remove any issues before passing a decree as it seems fit.
Though an application can also be filed with the court by either party for amendment of
issues.

1.13 Evidence and Cross-Examination of plaintiff


The plaintiff has the right to begin, whence he/she has to submit the evidence. Unless the
defendant agrees to allegations made by the plaintiff, but disagrees with the relief sought
then defendant has the right to begin. The plaintiff has to state his case in front of the
judge. 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. The plaintiff will be
cross-examined by the defendant's lawyer. The witnesses from plaintiff's side also have to
appear in the court, who are also cross-examined by the defendant's lawyer.

1.14 Evidence and Cross-Examination of Defendant


The defendant also presents his side of the story supported by the witnesses and evidence
from his side. The evidence needs to be be marked earlier by the court, otherwise it will
not be considered by the court. The plaintiff's lawyer will then cross-examine the
defendant.

1.15 Final Argument


Once the evidence has been submitted and cross-examination is conducted by the
plaintiff and defendant, both sides are allowed to present a summary of their case and
evidence to the judge in the Final argument session.

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1.16 Judgement/ Decree


After the final arguments, the court may give the judgement on the same day or may
adjourn the court for a further date. If the court does not give the judgment immediately,
then it tries to give the judgement within 15 days. However, if the judgement is not
pronounced within 30 days of final hearing then the court needs to record he reason for
doing so. The judgement is dated and signed by the judge, and the copy of judgement is
given to both parties. The judgement contains the decisions taken by court on all the
issues that were framed by the court in the beginning. The judgement also includes the
set-off, menus profits or any other claims to be made to either of the parties.

The party in whose favor the judgement is passed is known as decree holder, and the
party against whom the judgement is passed is called the judgement debtor.

1.17 Review of judgement


If a party is not satisfied with the judgement, then it can file an application for review of
the judgement. If the court feels there are not sufficient grounds for the review, then it
may reject the application. The court may also reject the application if it was based on
some new evidence unless strict proof is provided that the party was earlier unaware of it.
Also, when a application for review is received by the court, it shall send a notice to the
other patty in order for him/her to appear and present his side. If the application is
granted and a judgement has been passed, it cannot be reviewed further.

1.18 Reference
.https://natalyakamal.wordpress.com/2016/07/23

Book: Civil procedure Code 1908 by (Nadeem Shaukat)

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