Write a detailed note on caveat.
Indian Justice System is based upon the principles of natural justice and follows the rule of ‘Audi alteram partem’ which means that every person has right to be heard. According to this rule, it is duty of court to hear all the parties and after hearing all the parties, the court must determine the rights and liabilities of all the parties. According to this rule, court cannot determine the rights and liabilities of parties without hearing any interested party and if the court do such thing, then the court violates the principles of natural justice and because of this, the decision given by the court considers null and void.
The concept of ‘Caveat’ is based upon the rule ‘Audi Alteram Partem’. The term caveat has not been defined in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. The general meaning of term Caveat is “Beware”. According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, a caveat is an entry made in the books of the offices of a registry or court to prevent a certain step being taken without previous notice to the person entering the caveat.
According to the provisions of Indian Legal System, it is a caution or warning given by a party to the court not to take any action or grant any relief to the applicant without notice or intimation being given to the party lodging the caveat and interested in appearing and objecting such relief.
Section 148- A of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, deals with the provisions of Caveat. According to this section, if any suit or proceedings has been instituted in the court or about to be instituted in the court and any application has been made in that suit or proceedings or about to be made in that suit or proceedings then in such a case, any person has right to lodge a caveat in respect of that application and claim a right to be heard before granting any relief to the applicant. Basically, it means that if a person has fear that any application may be filed by another person in any suit or proceedings and if the court grants the relief without hearing the former person then that relief may affect his rights then in such a case, the former person can claim by lodging a caveat that if any application may be filed then a notice must be given to him and an opportunity must be given to him to represent his facts.
In the leading case of Nirmal Chandra v. Girindra Narayan (Cal 1978), the Hon’ble court stated that the main object of this provision is to safeguard the interest of a person against an order that may be passed on an application filed by the party in a suit or proceeding instituted or about to be instituted. This section affords an opportunity to such party of being heard before an ex parte order is made. Moreover, it seeks to avoid multiplicity of proceedings by giving right to third person who is not a party to a suit to file an application in the suit for protecting his rights instead of filing another suit.
According to section 148- A of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, if a person files an application of caveat then after representing the application, it is necessary for the caveator to serve a notice of caveat to the another party who has filed an application in the suit or who is about to file an application in the suit. According to this section, if a person files an application of caveat then after representing the application, if any party to the suit files any application then it is necessary for the court to serve a notice of the application to the caveator and it is also a responsibility of the applicant to serve a copy of application to the caveator alongwith the copies of any paper or document which has been filed by him in support of his application.
According to Section 148- A of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, if a person files an application of caveat in any court, that application remains in force till the expiry of ninety days. After the expiry of ninety days started from the date of filing an application, the application ceases to remain in force. This rule is applicable only when application is not filed by another party to the suit during aforesaid period. But if the application is filed by the party to suit before the expiry of ninety days, then in such a case, it will not cease to remain in force.
In the leading case of Employees Assn. v. RBI (AP 1981), the Hon’ble court held that it is no doubt true that no order should be passed against the caveator unless he is heard, but if the caveator is not present at the time of hearing of the application and the court finds that there is a prima facie case in favour of the applicant, ad interim relief can be granted by the court in his favour. Interim order passed without giving notice to the caveator is not without jurisdiction and is operative till it is set aside in appropriate proceedings.
In the leading case of Ram Chandra Aggarwal v. State of U.P. (SC 1966), the Hon’ble court held that the expression “Civil Proceedings” in section 141 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, includes all proceedings which are not original proceedings. Thus, the provision relating to caveat would be applicable to suits, appeals as well as other proceedings under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, or under other enactments.
According to the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the application of caveat can be filed by any person who is going to be affected by an interim order which may be passed by the court on an application filed by the party to the suit in any suit or proceedings. According to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, there is no particular mode of an application of caveat. It may be in the form of petition and it is necessary for the caveator to specify in the application the nature of the application which has been filed by another party or which may be filed by another party and also the right to appear before the court at the hearing of abovesaid application.