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This topic will help those who are not law graduates. this is going to tell u about our "civil courts legal process". there are mainly two courts in india "civil and criminal". civil include cases like property, rent, lease, license, contracts, divorce, loans etc where punishment is fine or performance of incomplete act. 


Hierarchy of civil courts ; lower to upper: 

1. Civil judge junior division

2. Civil judge senior division

3. Additional / assistant judges

4. District judge

5. High court


Supreme Court


This above list may include / exclude any post. it is for general study. one thing important here is judge is the same person but when a civil case come before him he is called judge and in criminal cases he is known as magistrate.  And district judge known as session judge.


There are always two parties in any dispute before court first is "plaintiff" who files case and opposite party is called "defendant". 


First of all plaintiff will appoint a lawyer prepare his case and then present it before officer of court who will further as per rules of court present it before civil judge . 


That civil judge will order "notice" / "summon" to opposite party and fix a date  in near future.  it may be  a time period of 10 to 15 days. This summon/ notice has mentioned everything on it like judge name and future date.  Now the servant of court or through post this notice will  reach to opposite party.


 If opposite party receive it then servant of court come back and inform the clerk of judge about this. That clerk put copy of this confirmation of summon in the case file. so that when the judge check this file on relevant date come to know about result of his last orders regarding notice/ summon.


Now the opposite party after getting this notice/ summon will appoint a lawyer.  and at the fix date they will appear in the court.  now the lawyer of opposite party will file his" power of attorney"  and ask the court to provide him with the documents filed by the plaintiff. Now judge will order the plaintiff to provide defendant with the copy of case filed by you. Plaintiff will provide the copy to defendant before judge. and judge will fix a date for defendant to file "written statement"  means reply to the case filed against him. this date to file written statement may  range between 15 days to one month. 


Now on the fix date defendant will file the "written statement". one copy to judge and one for plaintiff. Now judge will order the plaintiff to file any reply against this written statement. and a future date is fixed for reply by the plaintiff. This may range between 10 to 20 days.


Now on the fix date plaintiff will file reply and copy will be given to defendant also. judge will ask the defendant does he want to file any reply or statement against this reply submitted by the plaintiff. if yes then opportunity / days  will be given and if no then next date will be fixed for "consideration"'  means little arguments by the both parties. Time will be given to prepare their consideration , time range 15 days to one month.


On the fix date of consideration lawyers of both parties will argue a little and present their case before judge. Judge will listen it for 2 to 5 minutes maximum. Now next date will be fixed for " legal issues". time range 15 days to one month.


now on the fix date both the lawyers and judge discuss and write down few legal issues like jurisdiction of court, proper parties to the suit, limitation period, dispute, rights and liabilities of the parties. after setting all issues judge will move the case on the stage of " evidence". Date will given to show your evidences regarding the dispute. Time range 20 days to one month.


On the fix date it is the plaintiff who will first introduce his evidences like witness, paper, documents etc, plaintiff will have to give written evidence also. one copy will be given to defendant also. now judge will ask the defendant's lawyer whether he want to ask questions from plaintiff's witness. if yes then defendant's advocate read out the written document provided by the plaintiff's lawyer. it will be  called " cross examination". And if not then next date will be fixed for  two things one for cross examination and second for plaintiff's evidence, if any. Date will be fixed 20 days to one month.


On next date plaintiff will provide further evidence to court and defendant's lawyer may go for cross examination. Next date will be fixed for same thing that is for cross examination or new evidence if any. Time allowed 20 days to one month.


On fix date if plaintiff has no evidence then opportunity will be given to defendant to move his witnesses, evidence. Time allowed 20 days to one month.


On fix date now defendant will start moving his witness and provide a copy to court about witness statement on which plaintiff will "cross examine" the defendant's witness. Next date will be fix by the judge to move new evidence and cross examination. Time allowed 20 days to one month.


On fix date if all work related to evidences finish then case will move to final arguments. it will take 6 months to one year. Case laws and judgments will be given to judge to support case. And at the end a day is fixed for final verdict.  it may be same day or may take again one, two or three months. 


After judgement time period of 30 days allowed to file an appeal in higher court { not high court but the higher court it may be of civil judge senior division or district judge or high court}


In appeal only laws and facts are taken in to consideration not the evidences. 


Above mentioned process is only for general knowledge purpose only. And about time period due to over burden on courts it is at least 10 years to complete a civil case.  and a lawyer can ask for reasonable number of dates / adjournment at every step of case and court has to provide him this for the sake of justice.  


There are lots of many things yet to be written and understand, may be in next article. Hope this will help students as well as seniors to understand functioning of civil courts in India.




Published by

advocate gaurav sharma
(advocate and cs)
Category Students   Report

5 Likes   33 Shares   9405 Views


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