Importance of Court Summons and Notices

Posted On : September 13, 2022
Importance of Court Summons and Notices
Receiving a summons is the most important stage before a legal suit since it may influence a decision. Hence, although it is not an order of the court it is vital that one responds to a summons.
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Table of Contents

The steps to be followed whenever you receive a summon from the Indian courts-

1. Look through the summon attentively and understand if you need an answer or other action. In many cases, it is suggested that an answer be sent to the other party. An advocate can help you reach that decision.

2. Consult an advocate and present all the information you have regarding the issue; he will draft a response for you and send the summon on your behalf.

3. Depending on your answer, the other party can take the matter to the Indian court or do a settlement outside the Indian court; in both cases, ensure the advocate you consulted is well informed about the matter.

It is always advisable to answer a summon so that you may clear your side of the matter or dispute. Kindly seek an advocate’s advice, and you should avoid answering such summon on your own because it might have repercussions in the future. Summon is sort of a warning to whom it is sent. It is the summon to the person, i.e., making someone aware of the things he might not be aware of. It states a wrong/mistake one may have committed and the legal penalty/amount you would be subjected to if the sender of the summons resorts to litigation. Before relying on or taking action against the summon, it is always advisable to consult an advocate. If you have an Indian court summons, say to testify, yes. You had better respond, or the Indian court could issue a warrant.

Reply to the Summons

The summon should be replied to within the stipulated time, and if not replied to within the stipulated time, it can prove to be beneficial to the addressee. After receiving the summon, the following points must be kept in mind:

  • Attentively look through the summon– It is important to properly look through the summon to understand the issue and concerns that the other party raises. If the receiver of the summon feels that the concerns raised in the summoning could be resolved amicably, then immediately, a conversation should be initiated.
  • Contacting the Advocate– If the contents of the summon are unclear, then a profound advocate must be contacted who can further legal action. Also, the receiver should keep a record of the time of receiving the summon, which will be advantageous even if the matter is taken to the Indian court by the opposite party.
  • Briefing the advocate– This step must be done attentively, and the matter must be escalated to the appointed advocate. The advocate must be provided with all the necessary information about the facts, time, place, events, etc., that are related to the issue. This helps the advocate draft a proper answer representing the receiver’s side of an argument.
  • Sending the answer– The answer summons are sent either through a registered summon or courier once the advocate drafts the answer summon on your behalf. The advocate keeps a copy of the answer summons for future reference.

What happens if the person doesn’t respond to a summon?

If the person to whom the summon is sent doesn’t respond to it in a stipulated time, then the aggrieved party files a suit in the appropriate Indian court of Law. Once the suit is filed in the Indian court, the order will be sent to the respondent by the Indian court to appear before the Indian court and answer the charges which are against them by the respondent.

Advantages of a summon

  • Warning– A summons acts as a warning against the offender as it ensures that the offender is aware of the duties that must be performed by him or otherwise face the consequences of non-compliance.
  • Resolution of dispute– A fair chance is given to both parties to resolve their dispute, which can be through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration without dragging the matter before the Indian court.
  • Amicable settlement– The litigation process is money and time-consuming; thus, it is preferable to directly settle the matter via the summon, which is a much easier and quicker process.

Summon must mention the following points

1.Name and address of the parties– The summon must mention the name and address of the party to whom the summon has to be sent.

2.Facts and grievances– The facts and grievances caused to the sender must be mentioned in the summon sent by the sender in paragraphs and points.

3.Compensation– After stating the facts, the summon must mention the amount of compensation claimed for the inconvenience caused. Sometimes the summon mentions an alternative mode of redressing the dispute. It is compulsory to bring up the laws under which the compensation has to be claimed.

4.Signature– At the end of the summon, there should be a signature and stamp of the advocate who sends the summon on behalf of the client.

The Procedure of Sending a Summon

1.You can either draft a summon yourself, or you can take the advocate’s assistance. Though, it is advisable to engage a qualified advocate, as one should be extremely cautious with the language used and the choice of words. While drafting a summon, you should be cautious of using any fact that might later work against you in the Indian court. Once a summon is sent, it cannot be changed, and if you use any contradictory statement in the Indian court, then it might weaken your case.

2.The summon must be addressed to the person you have grievances against.

3.A summon must be sent on plain paper or on the letterhead of an advocate.

4.You must categorically mention in the summon the time period in which the addressee must respond to the summon. The time period can be 30 to 60 days. The time period must be stipulated within which the other party is expected to fulfill the demands.

5.The summon should be signed by the advocate as well as the sender.

6.The summon must be sent either through a registered post or courier. It is usually advised to ensure that the acknowledgement is retained.

Mistakes to be Avoided While Answering to a Summon

  1. Time: The most common mistake is not answering a summon on time. The sender should try to answer the summon as soon as possible and within the stipulated time as mentioned in the sender’s summon. Or else, the person who is sending can take the harsh acts.
  2. Answer: The mistake the party makes is that they do not answer in a proper and prescribed manner. The summon should be properly replied to; if the party is unable to understand the terms of the summon, a professional advocate should be consulted.
  3. Sections: The mistake that is made is that the party forgets to mention the sections under which it is sending the summon. The party must be aware of the relevant sections under which it is sending the summon.
  4. Date: The people forget to mention the date in the summon. It is very important to mention a date in the summon.
  5. Sign: If the party consults an advocate, then it should not forget that both the party’s and an advocate’s signature is required.
  6. Address: The present address of the sender should be mentioned so that it reaches the proper person at the proper time. Bringing slowdown may take action against the party later.
  7. Contact: The sender’s present working phone number should be addressed.

Tips to Provide a Proper Response- What to do when you receive a summon?

1.The first thing to do after receiving a summon is to call the sender of the summon with the aim of resolving the dispute amicably.

2.Though it is not mandatory to answer a summon,it is still advisable to send an appropriate answer to the summon.

3.If case one fails to send an answer to a summon, the other party may use that as an advantage, and while drafting the petition, they may blame for not adhering to the requirements of the summon, for which reason the case has been filed.

4.If, in one’s opinion, the facts that have been stated in a summon are not true, and he needs to contest a summon. He can take consultation from an experienced advocate, seek his assistance, and draft a proper answer to the summon, denying the contents stated in the summoning. The summon must be sent via registered post or courier.

5.While sending an answer to the summon, check whether the claim in the summon is time-barred or not. If the claim is time-barred, then one should only answer that the claim is not within the limitation period.


Receiving a summons is the most important stage before a legal suit since it may influence a decision. Hence, although it is not an order of the court it is vital that one responds to a summons.


Written By:
Kishan Dutt Kalaskar Retired Judge

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