Civil law in India is guided by the Civil Procedure Code. The exact process is per the Section, Order, and Rule prescribed under the Civil Procedure Code. There is a stepwise procedure in the matter of civil law proceedings. There are other civil cases such as Banking Dispute under the Sarfesi Act, Consumer Protection Act, Insolvency, and Bankruptcy Code, which is not under the ambit of the Civil Procedure Code. Still, they follow the same procedure, which is being explained further.
Steps Involved in Filing a Civil Case
While filing a civil case may seem tedious, with the right help, it is not a difficult job. Find the best civil lawyers at Rest The Case and simplify the process. Below is the stepwise and detailed procedure required under Civil cases or Civil suits.
Step 1: Draft a Plaint/Petition
The first step required in the Civil Law for the institution of a suit is Plaint's filing. The drafting of the Plaint shall be done as per the requirement prescribed in CPC. The most important thing that must be kept in mind is that the facts and law shall contend in the Plaint so that Plaint shall look prima facie maintainable before the Court, under whose jurisdiction the Plaint has been filed.
The vital information which has to be furnished under Plaint are:
- the name of the Court in which the suit is brought
- the name, description, and place of residence of the Plaintiff
- the name, description, and location of residence of Defendant, so far as they can be ascertained
- 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
- a statement of the value of the subject matter of the suit for jurisdiction and of court fees, so far as the case admits
Step 2: Defendant's Appearance and Written Statement Filing
After the Plaint's admission, the court issues notice to Defendant; thereafter, Defendant enters the appearance before Ld. Trail Court. After that, Defendant has to file the written statement within the statutory period of thirty days from the date of receipt of the notice. The written statement is counter to the Plaint, which Plaintiff has filed. Under Order 8 Rule 1, the thirty-day statutory period can be extended for the next sixty days.
If the written statement has not been filed within ninety days, the Ld Trial Court can close the Defendant's right to file a written statement and proceed with due course of law.
Step 3: Time Limits and Consequences for Defendant's Appearance and Written Statement in Civil Cases
Although as per the order prescribed under the civil procedure code, there are time limits prescribed for the procedure required for proceeding with a suit. Once the Plaint is filed before the Court, and thereafter court issues the summons to the Defendant/ Respondent, thereafter the Defendant has to enter the appearance and also has filed the written statement within 30 days from the date of service of summons to the Defendant, which can be extended till 90 days as per order 8 rule 1 of CPC. If the Defendant fails to enter an appearance before the Court or fails to file the Written Statement, then in such cases, the Court has the power to proceed for ex-parte proceeding, i.e., the Court can proceed by closing the Defendant's rights.
Step 4: Exception
Under order 8 rule 1, if Defendant fails to file a written statement within 90 days, the written can be filed by Defendant by applying for condonation of delay. Defendant has given a valid reason for the delay to the Court. If the Court is satisfied that delay occurred due to valid reason, then in such case, the Court can accept the written statement being filed by Defendant, and the same can be taken on record.
Step 5: Filing a Rejoinder (Replication)
Although there is no filing of subsequent defense, once the written statement has been filed, if a plaintiff wants to file the Rejoinder, he can file the same but by seeking due permission of the Court and the filing of Rejoinder shall not exceed the limit of 30 days from date of grant of permission of the Court under Order 8 rule 6. The Rejoinder is also termed as Replication under Civil Law.
Step 6: Evidence Proceedings and Examination of Parties
Once the aforesaid steps are complete before the Court, the Trial Court proceed to Evidence of the case, firstly, the Court proceeds with the admission and denial of the documents, wherein both the parties with respect to their claim and defense have to admit and deny the specific documents which the Court has filed.
After the process of admission and denial, the court proceeds with the examination process wherein both the parties have to file the Evidence by way of affidavits, and the supporting documents which have been annexed in the Plaint as well as in the written statement shall be exhibited by the Plaintiff as well as the Defendant. Thereafter the cross-examination of the parties takes place.
Note:- If the Court has proceeded ex parte in a particular case, then the Court will proceed the matter with ex parte evidence, wherein only the Plaintiff has to file the Ex parte Evidence by way of AAffidavitand exhibit the documents which the Court has annexed.
Step 7: Presentation of Arguments by Parties
After completing the evidence process in a particular case, the Court proceeds to the final stage, which is the arguments wherein both the parties present their arguments before the Court based on the Plaint, written statement, and based on the examination of documents and parties before the Court.
If the Court proceeds ex-parte in any proceeding, then the Arguments take place as Ex-Parte Arguments.
Step 8: Court's Decision - Granting Decree or Dismissing Plaintiff's Claim
Once the Argument before the Court is complete, the Ld court, after going through the whole case and proceeding, reserves the order of the case and based on that, if a court finds that the claim of the Plaintiff is legitimate, it grants the decree on that basis.
If the Court finds that Plaintiff's claim is not legitimate, the Court shall dismiss the Plaintiff filed by Plaintiff.
Note: Even if the Court proceeded with Ex-parte, but at any stage, the Court found that the Plaint filed by the Plaintiff is not, maintainable or the claim of the Plaintiff is not a legitimate claim, then the Court can dismiss the Plaint, even after the Court has initiated ex-parte for the same.
How much does it cost to file a civil suit in India?
One has to incur various charges in a court proceeding, starting with Court fees. It is generally a nominal percentage of a claim in civil matters. Therefore, court fees and stamp fees can differ from case to case.
According to the Court Fees Stamp Act, here are some standard fees that one can incur -
- Copy of a Decree/Order - .50 paise
- Plaint for a suit of possession - Rs. 5
- Plain/writtern statement - Rs. 10 (for suit that exceed Rs. 5000 to Rs. 10,000
Fees charged by the court as per the value of the Suit -
- A suit that exceeds the value of Rs. 1,50,000-1,55,000 will be charged Rs. 1700 as court fees.
- A suit that exceeds the value of Rs. Rs. 3,00,000 to Rs. 3,05,000 will be charged Rs. 2450 as court fees.
- A suit that exceeds the value of Rs. Rs. 4,00,000 to 4,05,000 will be charged Rs. 2950 as court fees.
How long does a civil case take in court in India?
On official records, a criminal case is said to be decided within six months, and a civil case can take up to 3 years to come to disposal. However, the ground reality of pendency says things differently. On average, cases in High Court can take over three years, and subordinate courts are likely to take nearly six years to come to a conclusion.
Civil cases in India can take some time to resolve, and the process can sometimes get overwhelming. With the assistance of the right lawyer, the process of filing a civil suit can be eased. Wondering how to find a good lawyer near you? Rest The Case is here at your rescue.
Author: Bhaskar Aditya