Sunday, September 30, 2012

Duty of a Court When Party is Not Represented by a Pleader

It is common knowledge that a party to a civil suit need not necessarily be represented by a lawyer. Order 3 Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure clearly states that the party may also choose to appear in person or he may appoint a recognized agent to appear on his behalf.

Rule 2 of the same Order identifies people who may qualify as “recognized agents” of the party to the suit. Although the decision not to engage a lawyer/pleader is that of the party himself, the CPC makes it incumbent on the Court to inform the party of some of his rights when he is not represented by a pleader.

One such duty of the Court is found in Order 20, Rule 5A of the Code. Order 20 of the Code deals with “Judgment and Decree”. Rule 5A goes on to state that except where both parties are represented by pleaders, at the time of pronouncement of the judgment the Court shall inform the parties of the forum before which an appeal lies from the judgment of the Court and the limitation period for filing the appeal.

This is to ensure that parties which are not represented by lawyers do not lose out on an opportunity to prefer an appeal merely because they do not have the benefit of a counsel.

Rule 5A, in fact, goes on to require the Court to record the information that was given to the parties. I guess the law is not so unfair after all, at least on paper. 

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