As a whole, civil lawsuits are cumbersome, since they involve an abundance of procedures. Parties involved serve various documents and petitions on each other. Caveat petitions are one of these. Caveat, which means ‘let a person beware’ in Latin, originated in the late 16th century. People use caveat petitions when they are afraid that a case might be filed against them and want to be notified of any action that might be taken against them by the court.
When a caveat petition is filed, it can be inferred that certain actions cannot be taken without first notifying the person who filed it. Section 148A of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) of 1908 was introduced in 1976 under the Civil Procedure Code (Amendment 104) Act.
In Nirmal Chand v. Girindra Narayan, the Court attempted to define the word caveat, even though it is not defined in the CPC. As stated, a caveat is a warning issued by a person to the court, directing the court to refrain from taking action or granting relief to the other party without giving the caveator an opportunity of being heard.
Advantages of Filing a Caveat Petition:
These are some of the advantages of a caveat petition that serves as a warning to the court:
- During court proceedings, a caveat serves as armor for the caveator. Caveats are armed to counteract the suit or proceedings initiated by the opponent once they are brought in
- An ex-parte order cannot be granted against a caveator once it is filed, as the caveat is intended to bypass numerous legal procedures
- procedures, saving unnecessary expenses and making the courts more convenient.
- By filing the caveat, the caveator is kept informed of the proceedings until the end
- Upon the opposition’s application to the court seeking temporary relief, the party will not be granted an ex-parte interim order without giving the caveator an opportunity to respond.
- Without notifying a caveator, a court order cannot be enforced.
Procedure for Filing a Caveat:
In all of these courts, the rules pertaining to the filing of the petition are similar, whether it be in the Civil Court of original jurisdiction, the High Court, or the Supreme Court. Caveators are expected to submit their basic details such as their name and address, along with those of any potential applicants, appellants, or plaintiffs, the subject matter of the case, the nature of any legal actions they anticipate bringing in the future, and details of earlier proceedings upon which the results of the current legal proceedings may be based.
Caveat petitions must be signed by the caveator and presented to the court officer along with the vakalatnama, or the undertaking, of the advocate who will represent the caveator’s case.
Requisites of a Caveat Petition:
- The name and the address of the Court where the petition is being filed
- Name of the appellant or the plaintiff
- Name and address of the caveator
- The petition/appeal number
- The details about the suit or appeal, for which the caveat is being filed.
The caveat petition must be filed within:
Caveats remain in force for 90 days after filing. If an application is filed within this time period, the caveator must be notified. The Court or applicant is not required to inform the caveator about an application filed after the expiration of this time period if it is filed after this time period has expired.
In any event, the caveator has the option to submit a fresh caveat after the expiry of the time period, and if he or she does so, he or she will be informed about the applications filed during that time period.