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Author: Atharva Nikam

National Law University, Mumbai

We currently live in a society, where a complex legal framework is established. There are various legislation and acts, which protect us from any type of wrongdoing. Disputes among individuals, varies in intensities, like there are criminal, civil, and various others. Civil disputes are the most basic form of disputes that arise between individuals, or between individuals and third parties. These disputes tend to redress private wrongs such as breach of contract, encroachment, negligence, nuisance, etc. This article focusses on how we can file a civil lawsuit, in order to ensure protection of our civil rights. A civil suit starts or begins since the moment, a person’s legal right is violated by another person or business. Since, his right is violated, the injured person asks the court, for relief, by filing a complaint against the party which has violated his rights. In civil matters, the injured party is known as plaintiff and the other party, which violates the rights, is known as defendant.

The first step, while initiating the suit against the defendant, is by filing a ‘plaint’. A plaint is a written complaint or an allegation, filed by the plaintiff against the defendant. The plaint comprises of the following things: name of the court, the name and personal addresses of both the parties, the subject matter (specifically mentioning how and under which section did the plaintiff approach the court), the content and at last the verification of the information, provided by the plaintiff. These all are the things, which should be mentioned in the plaint, filed by the plaintiff. After composing the plaint, the plaintiff needs to decide, how is he / she going to represent themselves in the court, i.e., will they be needing an advocate or not. If the plaintiff, choses an advocate to represent themselves in the court, then it also needs to compose a ‘Vakalatnama’. ‘Vakalatnama’ is a written document, which states that this advocate will be representing the plaintiff, in this particular case. After this, the plaint is filed before the Chief Ministerial Officer (Sherestedar), paying appropriate amount of the court fee. Different amount of fees is required, for filling different types of documents. Thus, a civil plaint is hereby filed in the court of law.

The proceedings of the court, begins if the court thinks that there is merit in this case. As it always known, court does not take trivial matters, which lacks the merit. Also, we cannot arbitrarily file the suit in any court. The court, under which we have territorial and pecuniary jurisdiction, will only accept and handle our suit. As the matter proceeds further, the court gives a notice to the defender to represent his / her side, on a particular date of hearing. The broad issues of the case, will be made by the court, and it is these issues on which, the court will hear the arguments from both sides. After listening to the arguments presented by both the sides, the court on final day of hearing will announce its verdict. If any party, is dissatisfied with the verdict then, it has always the power to appeal, in the next court of hierarchy.

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