How To File A Civil Suit In India?

Posted On : April 7, 2022
How To File A Civil Suit In India?
There are fundamental rights and there are constitutional rights, these can be enforced in the courts of law in India. There are specific acts and omissions that may be declared an offence as per the criminal laws. Then what makes up the matters in a civil suit process? Do you reach out to the police station for the same? How to file a civil suit in India? How to file a case in court without a lawyer in India? Read below for answers to all such questions to know how to file civil suit in court.
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When it comes to court matters, nobody wants to be involved in it unless there are some important interests at stake. And it is not always about monetary or proprietary matters. There is a world of variety when it comes to civil court matters. If you are curious about how to file a case in court in India, have a quick read here. Find answers to how to file a civil suit in India, list of documents in civil suit, how to file a case in court without a lawyer in India and much more.


What is a Civil Suit in India?

People generally explain the nature of civil suit process for matters that are not criminal in nature. There is no such list of specifications as to what matters can be regarded as civil. As per  law, a civil suit can be understood as a matter in which the right to property or to an office is contested.[1] The difference in civil and criminal laws regards the nature of act through which rights of another person are infringed.


Types of Civil Suits in India

There is no statutory classification of what is a civil suit in India. The matters depending upon the civil suit process are in practice usually divided under the below given umbrellas:

  • Damages under Tort - There is no written law of torts, however, there are claims under civil laws which are time and again accepted, established and modified by the courts of law. It includes acts like negligence, strict or absolute liability, etc.
  • Breach of Contract - When two parties agree on certain terms and one of them escapes the responsibilities mentioned in the contract.
  • Landlord-Tenant Issues - Tenancy agreements also have certain terms and rules to be followed by both the tenant as well as the landlord.
  • Equitable Claims - Sometimes it is not about the property or money but a certain act which infringes the plaintiff’s rights. Injunction orders (stay in layman language) restraining certain acts fall under this category.
  • Property Disputes - All such matters that involve a property and do not fall in any of the above categories are dealt with in this category.


How to File a Civil Suit in India?

The prerequisite to a civil suit is cause of action. There has to be infringement of a civil right against which remedy is available. Civil suit process starts with submission of Vakalatnama which mentions the appointment of the said lawyer through whom all representations will be made by the plaintiff.

There are majorly 7 steps in a civil case in India starting with filing the plaint and ends with judgment/decree. However, there are some other minor steps which the clients should know since matters civil in nature are usually time consuming and implementing the decision is way another task.

Consult with a civil lawyer in Kolkata to get real insights on how to file a suit in India.


What are the Steps in a Civil Case?


  1. Initiation - The party whose rights are infringed and initiates the cause of action is termed a plaintiff and has to hire an advocate, usually with experience in civil matters. He shall advice on whether the institution of matter is within the limitation period?, whether the said court has jurisdiction[2] as per CPC and start with the institution of matter in the court accordingly.
  2. Presentation of Plaint[3] - The plaint is presented before the Chief Ministerial Officer (Sherestedar) by the civil lawyers. A plaint contains details regarding both the parties and their connection with the cause of action for which civil suit process is initiated. It also assures compliance with the court jurisdiction, required court fee, suit within limitation, etc.
  3. Consideration of Plaint - The case is not barred by res-judicata[4] or lacks any cause of action. Limitation and jurisdiction are also analysed by the court at this stage. If everything is as per process, the court shall admit the civil suit. This is where the civil suit process presumes.
  4. Issue of Summons - The court shall summon the defendant[5] as per process. The defendant is given 30 days, or upto 90 days with the permission of court, submit a written statement[6] in reply to the plaint.
  5. Ex-Parte Proceedings - In case the defendant does not appear before the court while the summons are duly served, the court may issue an ex-parte decision. Order 8 rule 10 of CPC empowers the court to decide against the defendant if he does not file the written statement within a given time. It means that the civil suit process shall reach its decision without hearing the defendant because of his non-appearance. However, Order 9 rule 13 gives the defendant a chance to set aside the ex-parte decision.
  6. Interlocutory Orders[7] - In case of urgent relief, stay orders are commonly heard of.
  7. Written Statement - Defendant files a written statement as a reply against the pointers brought by the plaintiff in his plaint.
  8. Production of Documents - In this step, both the parties produce documents in support of their contention upholding their rights and interests in the cause of action.
  9. Examination of Parties by Court[8] - Court ascertains the cause of action by examining both the parties. This stage is also called the first hearing under the civil suit process. AT this stage, the court may direct parties for alternate dispute resolution[9] through conciliation, arbitration and mediation as the facts of the case allow.
  10. Inspection of Documents and Examination[10] - In this step, the court shall examine the list of documents in civil suit produced by the parties. The plaintiff and defendant at this time have the opportunity to admit any of the documents produced so that unnecessarily proving the same can be evaded.
  11. Framing of Issues[11] - The court analyzes the cause of action between the plaintiff and defendant respectively.
  12. Evidence - The plaintiff and defendant at this stage have to produce the evidence through a relevant list of documents in civil suit and witnesses in their support. Witnesses are summoned[12] and are examined[13], i.e. examination in chief. Cross examination is also followed by both the opposite parties.
  13. Argument and Judgment - While the court has plenty of evidence and has heard all the witnesses, both the parties are required to argue on the cause of action during the civil court process. This allows the parties to portray a clear contention before the court regarding the acts that bother the plaintiff's rights and how the defendant denies committing all such acts. The court judgment[14], i.e. a decision of the court is made accordingly which is followed by a decree.
  14. After-Process - Once the decree is proclaimed, the parties have the option to either accept or appeal against the same or go for revision or review, as the case may be.
  15. Execution of Decree[15] - The decree so proclaimed by the court has to be executed. It means execution of the relief sought by the parties.


How Much Does it Cost to File a Civil Suit in India?

The cost of filing a civil case in India includes various amounts. The overall civil suit costs include the civil lawyer fees, court fee, filing fee, charges of summon etc. Some of these amounts depend upon the cost of property or money under the matter involved. The court of jurisdiction, if it is lower court, district, high or Supreme court, and ease or difficulty of civil court process may also add to the costs.


How to File a Case in Court Without a Lawyer in India?

People often have this question ‘Can I file a civil suit without a lawyer in India?’ and how to file a civil suit yourself. The answer is yes and the law allows the parties to personally represent[16] throughout the civil suit process. The plaintiff may choose to represent himself and the interests are depicted accordingly in the plaints. However, the civil suit process has to be followed accordingly as if the representative is a legal professional.


[1] Explanation 1 to Section 9 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

[2] Section 15-20 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

[3] Section 26, Order 4, 6 and 7 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

[4] Section 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

[5] Section 27 and Order 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

[6] Order 8 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

[7] Order 38, 39 or 40 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

[8] Order 10 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

[9] Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

[10] Order 11 and 12 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

[11] Order 14 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

[12] Order 16 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

[13] Order 18 the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

[14] Order 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

[15] Order 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

[16] Order 7 rule 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

Written By:
Ridhi Khurana

Ridhi Khurana


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