Has reading a legal document ever frustrated you? There are plenty of people sailing in the same boat. Legal jargons are hard to understand and even harder to decode when used in a technical sentence. The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 is no exception in this case whereby various such terms have been used which challenge an ordinary person.
The blog here attempts to simplify such difficult, tongue twister legal terminology used in the procedure - Civil Code. Understanding these terms may at least help decode some of the tricky sections, orders or rules in the CPC Code.
In general, it can be understood as the area in which power can be used. Legally speaking, it is the power or authority to entertain a particular matter in hand and decide through application of appropriate laws.
A court of appropriate jurisdiction alone can bring justice for parties before it. If the court entertains a matter without jurisdiction, either party may appeal against it. This leads to a waste of time for all the people involved since the decision is not binding over anyone. Jurisdiction is usually relative with courts, but not exclusive, since police stations, legislature, etc. also need to abide by it. Court’s jurisdiction is conferred based on territory, amount involved, subject matter, exclusive, etc.
As the name suggests, original jurisdiction comes as a nascent power of the court to take a matter into consideration, i.e. to initiate a matter judicially. On the contrary, appellate jurisdiction depicts a higher court’s power to hear a matter already decided by a lower court.
The Code of Civil Procedure lays the process for cases where a particular court has original jurisdiction to conduct the trial, and the ones whereby appeals can be made against the trial court’s decision. Talking about the hon’ble Supreme Court, it enjoys original, appellate as well as advisory jurisdiction. High courts, sessions courts as well as lower courts also have original as well as appellate jurisdictions in particular matters.
It is a latin maxim meant to put an end on relitigation. Hence, as per procedure, civil code restricts a matter between the same parties for the same cause decided by one court to be taken up by another court all over again. The idea behind this rule is not to waste the state resources over repetition of matter.
Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 lays the doctrine against relitigation in civil matters. It may be noted that appeals against a court decision do not count as res judicata since it is a completely separate process.
It may be understood as civil proceedings instituted in a court of law for the purpose of enforcing a civil right, or as a matter of redressal against a civil injury. It is initiated with the plaint or complaint, and concluded with the grant of relief sought or rejection of the suit, as the case may be.
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As the term suggests, plead means an emotional appeal to convince someone in one's favour. However, emotions do not have much say in the legal field as compared to the applicable laws. As defined under the Order 6 rule 1 of C.P.C., pleadings can be understood as “plaint or written statement”.
Hence, there is one party who brings a claim before the court of appropriate jurisdiction explaining the cause of action, known as plaintiff. The other one is known as a defendant since his/ her role is to defend against the claims of the plaintiff raised before the court. This legal conversation stating one’s stand before the court is termed as pleading.
A plaint can be understood as a legal document explaining the claims of the plaintiff in detail and the relief sought from a court of appropriate jurisdiction. In other words, it is the plaintiff’s version of facts regarding the cause of action initiated through the suit.
On the other hand, there is just another story coming through the defendant which is known as the written statement. It contains the point wise acceptance or denial for the plaintiff’s claims based on facts and law, as applicable.
The party who initiates the lawsuit through plaint is termed as plaintiff in legal terminology. On the other hand, the one against whom a civil case is instituted is called as defendant. If the claims of the plaintiff are accepted and proved before the court, the defendant may be ordered to act in accordance with the court’s decision. In case such claims are rejected/ not proved, things remain as it is.
During law school lectures of Civil Procedure Code, the lecturer explained these two terms in a way that “One is a fruit lying in front of you which you are able to see but can not eat, and the other one is given to you in hand to cherish, savour and munch on”.
As defined under section 2 (2) of CPC 1908, “decree means the formal expression of an adjudication which, so far as regards the Court expressing it, conclusively determines the rights of the parties with regard to all or any of the matters in controversy in the suit and may be either preliminary or final.” A decree may be preliminary, partly final, or final based on the stage of proceedings arrived at.
Judgment is the act of judging whereby the judge pronounces its decision after the trial is over. As they say, it is derived from a combination of ‘judge’ and ‘statement’. Judgment is the final decision of the court after hearing both sides in a legal suit, and reaching the conclusion after due application of laws.
In order to put the Indian Legal System in motion, one needs a right that is infringed due to another. Where there is a right, there is a remedy. Whether the remedy falls under civil, contractual, or criminal depends upon the existing statutes in India.
To understand this, examples can be taken from the law of torts. Suppose you run the only grocery shop in a particular residential area due to which, the sales are high. Someone else opens another grocery store in the same area and attracts more customers due to the variety of products. In such a case, you incur huge financial losses, but there is no cause of action against the store owner because everyone has the right to work and run a business until it follows the laws.
In another example, you have a constitutional right to vote. But someone at the polling booth restricts your entry without any legal explanation, this is infringement of your right and hence, cause of action arises.
There are steps like framing and settlement of issues under the procedure - civil code. When a civil suit is instituted with the court of law, the court has to segregate the pointers which need to be decided in the instant case. It may be a question of fact, law or a mixed one. The issues mainly surround the dispute due to which matter was brought in court for adjudication.
It may be understood as the call of authority to appear at a particular place. Suppose a lawsuit is initiated by the plaintiff. The other party may not have any clue regarding the legal proceedings. Hence, the court summons the other party to appear and revert to the claims of the plaintiff before the court.
Since these two (plaintiff and defendant) are not the only parties for resolving , even witnesses are called for appearance through summons. Ignorance of summons may be an invitation for issuance of warrants against the person so summoned.
When in the court of law, mere claims are not sufficient to get the matter decided in your favour. You have to convince the court and prove in favour of your claims beyond doubt. For that matter, you need evidence. Hence, if it is a property title dispute in Kolkata, civil lawyers in Kolkata may ask you to bring a copy of property registration or sale deed, or any other document proving that the title of such property belongs to you. Sometimes, what may be relevant evidence in a particular case is not understandable to an ordinary person, hence, legal assistance is required.
In general, execution may be understood as the process of putting a plan into action, or giving effect to something. Under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, rights are settled through a decision and such rights are given effect through the process of execution. Part 2 of the CPC Code starting with section 36 deals with the various facets of execution.
Understanding the English meaning, it is connected with or related to money. The term pecuniary is associated with jurisdiction when a certain value of subject matter as a limitation is fixed for a particular court as per applicable laws. Henec, if a court has pecuniary jurisdiction of Rs 5 lakh and a matter related to cheque bounce penalty is initiated worth Rs 8 lakh, it goes beyond jurisdiction and even if decided by such court, it will be subject to higher court of original jurisdiction as per value.
The term territorial is derived from ‘territory’ which means a particular area of land. There is a fixed territorial jurisdiction for particular courts. For example, if a property is located in Haryana and a dispute arises, the courts in Haryana, specifically empowered in the particular district will have jurisdiction to try such matter, unless one of the parties (preferably defendant in civil matters) resides in another city and brings a plea for conduct of trial in another city or state.
The term when used under the procedure of Civil Code particularly depicts property matters. When dealing with matters related to a property, whether real or intellectual, the court may be required to restrict its use or possession by a particular person and have its own control while the matter is pending for disposal or vice versa. In such cases, the court may pass attachment orders regarding that property.
Attachment of property may be proceeded with during trial when the matter is still pending, or after judgment when it is decided and needs to be executed, as the case may be.
Alienation in general can be understood as separating, disconnecting or withdrawing something from another. Alienation of property under CPC hints at disposing of or transferring the rights in a property to another person.
So when a joint property is sold, it is alienated. And if someone having interest in such property has been negatively affected by such alienation of property, a cause of action arises.
When a matter comes before the court, especially civil matters whereby subject matter is located outside the court, it can not be expected to be physically present in all such locations. Hence, the court may entrust this task to another body termed as ‘commissions’. Such a commission may be tasked with examining a person, investigating locally, holding a scientific, technical, or expert investigation, etc.
Suppose you find a valuable asset whose owner is unknown to you, and two people at the same time claim to be the rightful owners, who will you handover such asset?
This is the dispute in case of interpleader suits whereby the plaintiff does not have a problem with the defendants. Rather, the dispute lies with the defendant. Interpleader suits are usually concerned with the rightful owners of a disputed property.
Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Part 5) provides for arbitration and other modes of alternative dispute resolution. Arbitration particularly aims at out-of-court settlement whereby the parties choose a person and appoint him/ her as arbitrator. Such arbitrator hears the claims of both the sides just like the judge, applies the suitable laws and ends up with a conclusion. Arbitration procedure enjoys liberty from procedural obligations in a court for a speedy solution.
The term here is self explanatory whereby disputes are being decided outside court. Again, section 89 of the CPC Code encourages out-of-court settlement. There are various modes of dispute resolution laid there like arbitration, mediation, conciliation, lok adalats, etc.
In general, appeal may be understood as a genuine or earnest request. However, in legal terms, appeal is bringing a lower court’s decision before a higher court for reconsideration. Part 7 of Procedure - Civil Code lays the provisions related to appeals against original decree, final decree, preliminary decree, etc.
Legal matters are not at all simple, they are very much complicated. One of the reasons is the series of formalities that need to be complied with. There are chances when a cause of action is brought before the court, proper court fee is not paid, or the matter does not fall under the jurisdiction of the court. In such cases, it is most likely to be dismissed by the court.
In this case, the court did not look at what the dispute was, whether laws supported the case or whether the person’s rights are infringed. Hence, the case was not decided on merits but technical formalities.
A case which is decided on merits has been looked into facts and applicable laws before reaching any conclusion.
When a matter is decided by a court of civil jurisdiction, there are three Rs which can be approached based on the suitability of circumstances.
‘Reference’ is made by a subordinate court to the hon’ble high court in case of doubts as to a question of law. Section 113 of Civil Procedure Code lays the process for Reference.
Where there is a mistake or error on the face of judgment, the court which decided a particular matter may ‘Review’ the same. Section 114 of CPC lays the process to be followed under review.
‘Revision’, as the term suggests, refers to rectification of a mistake. As per section 115 of Civil Procedure, the high court may take up the records and re-examine the matter decided by a subordinate court in lack of jurisdiction.
In general, exemption can be understood as immunity from a particular rule or obligation which otherwise has to be duly followed. The Code of Civil Procedure also lays provisions for exemption from arrest, detention, personal appearance, or otherwise.
Legal terminology is hard to understand. However, legal processes are harder to grasp and implement. However, lawyers make it all happen in total compliance with consistency and hard work. Whenever in doubt regarding the legal terms, it is always better to approach an expert.