HM Journal

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Summary Suit under order 37 of CPC

A suit, under the legal system, is a proceeding for the enforcement of civil or substantive rights. A certain cause of action may have resulted in the plaintiff to file a suit and hence it is necessary for the plaintiff to mention all the necessary facts while filing for a suit. For any suit to be unprejudiced, the rules of Natural Justice apply. Hence in regular/ ordinary suits, the defendant has a right to defend his case and doesn’t need to apply for a leave from the Court. These suits are filed for any matter of civil nature.

But what about cases where defendants are not heard? Do they breach the very fundamental principle of Natural Justice? “No man should be condemned unheard” means that everyone has a right to be heard. Everyone has a right to defend themselves.

However, under Order 37, Rule 1 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, a suit can be filed where the defendant is not entitled to defend himself. Such a suit is called a Summary Suit. A summary suit is a civil remedy filed for recovery of money. This legal process ensures effective judgement of specific cases where the defendant does not have any reasonable defence. The defendant has to file for a leave from Court within 10 days from the date of the service of summons on him  to defend himself, which the Court may or may not reject. To make defense in a Summary Suit, the cause must be a “special cause” as opposed to a “sufficient cause”. A special cause is generally more stringent and limited.

The object of a Summary Suit is to prevent unreasonable hindrance of justice. This suit can be instituted under two categories:

  1. Under suits based on Bill of Exchange, Hundies and Promissory Notes;
  2. Under suits to Recover debt, Liquidated demand in money which is payable by the defendant on written Contract, and on Guarantee.  

Thus, the saying “Justice Hurried is Justice Buried” is not true in all cases. Summary Suit is an exceptional legal remedy where justice is served in an expedient manner.

Written by Darshni Gala, Rizvi Law College, Mumbai

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