Understanding Legal Terms: A Beginner’s Guide

May 2, 2023, 11:52 am | Updated May 4, 2023, 2:13 pm IST
Understanding Legal Terms: A Beginner’s Guide
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Every entrepreneur, business owner, and average person should be familiar with a few basic legal terms. You can more readily understand a conversation with a lawyer or especially a cyber crime lawyer (as cyber crimes are major concerns these days) and comprehend legal concerns if you are aware of the definitions of the following legal terminology. Some of common/basic legal terms with their meanings or definition have been listed below:



An affidavit is a written declaration that is signed under oath by a party in the presence of a notary public or oath commissioner. In judicial proceedings, affidavits are used as evidence. A counter-affidavit is an affidavit submitted by a respondent in response to a petition. The reply affidavit is the petitioner's response to a counter.



An Appeal is a process through which a higher court can challenge the validity of a lower court or tribunal's ruling.



Arbitration is a private dispute resolution process where two parties can settle their differences without going to court.



When an authorized individual, such as a notary public or an oaths commissioner, authenticates a signature, it is known as through attestation.



Under section 2(e) Indian Contract Act, every promise, as well as every combination of promises, on the basis of reciprocal consideration is agreement.



The term “Alimony” refers to the financial support provided by the husband to his estranged wife.


Anticipatory Bail

A person who anticipates arrest on an incorrect charge of committing a non-bailable offence may petition before a competent court for a direction to police to promptly release such a person on bail in the event of arrest under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code. However, the decision to grant anticipatory bail is subjective and dependent on the specifics of the charges, their seriousness, the applicant's past behaviour, and the prospect of the applicant eluding prosecution.



It is a provision of a surety or security to appear for trial in exchange for a short-term release from custody under Section 205 of the Indian Penal Code.


Bailable Offence 

This indicates that an offence has been designated as being bailable, and that in the case of such an offence, bail may be requested as of right under Section 436 of the Criminal Procedure Code, subject to the fulfilment of specific criteria. When an accused person is arrested or detained for an offence that is subject to bail, the police are permitted to grant bail to the suspect.


Charge sheet  

It is the procedure by which the police officer in charge of the lockup enters the accusation or charges against the individual brought there in custody, whether they were arrested with or without a warrant.


Cognizable Offence/case     

It has been defined under Section 2 (c) of Criminal Procedure Code. Cognizable offence refers to an offence where a police officer has the power to make an arrest without a warrant and to launch an inquiry with or without the consent of a court.


Contempt of Court

A party can be found in contempt of court if they willfully ignore an order. This is considered "civil contempt" in accordance with the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. Criminal contempt is defined as any action that undermines the Court's authority or obstructs the administration of justice. Any person who disobeys a court may be punished by that court.



The term “Copyright” means the exclusive right to print or otherwise make copies of a literary work that has been published; that is, the right to restrict others from doing the same. The violation of this right is known as piracy. Original literary, artistic, dramatic, and musical works as well as recordings for films and broadcasts are all protected by copyright.



A contract is a legally binding agreement between two parties that is enforceable under section 2(h) of the Indian Contract Act.



A Decree means a decision made by the court.



Publication of a false or negative or derogatory comment about a person that harms that person's reputation in the eyes of society is considered as defamation under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code.



A deponent is a person who takes a deposition or makes an affidavit.



It refers to anything displayed; any document generated during a legal action and introduced in court to become part of the record and provide evidence for a judgment.


F.I.R (First Information Report)

It is an official record of a complaint made to the police in the event that a cognizable offence has been committed. It can be viewed as the initial stage in the police investigation of a cognizable offence.



Fraud or Criminal deceit is the use of false information to gain an unfair advantage or to harm another person's rights or interests.



It refers to mass murder of members of a certain race, religion, or other group.



It refers to the deliberate killing of a person by another person.



According to Section 124 Indian Contract Act, a contract of indemnity is something that provides security or protection against harm, loss, or damage, as well as exemption from penalties or liabilities that have already been agreed upon.


Non-Cognizable Offence

According to Section 2 (l) of Criminal Procedure Code, A Non-Cognizable Offence is an offence where the police lack the legal jurisdiction to detain the suspect without a court-issued warrant.


Non-bailable Offence

A Non-bailable offence signifies a crime for which bail can only be granted on the direction of a judge with appropriate jurisdiction. Under Sections 437 and 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the accused may request the granting of bail in specific circumstances. The Supreme Court of India has ordered that "Bail, not Jail" should be the controlling and guiding principles, although it is crucial to note that the issuance of bail in a non-bailable offence is subject to the judicial discretion of the Court.


Post mortem

It is an investigation of the deceased person to determine the true cause of death.

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