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Civil Court — Meaning

June 26, 2021

Civil Court:—

Ss. 3 and 9 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908  — The terms “tribunal”, “court” and the “civil court” have been used in CPC differently. All “courts” are “tribunals” but all “tribunals” are not “courts”. Similarly all “civil courts” are “courts” but all “courts” are not “civil courts.” Civil court is a body established by law for administration of justice. Different kinds of law exist constituting different kinds of courts. Which courts would come within the definition of the civil court has been laid down under CPC itself. Civil courts are constituted under statutes, like the Bengal, Agra and Assam Civil Courts Act, 1887. Pecuniary and territorial jurisdiction of the civil courts are fixed in terms thereof. Jurisdiction to determine subject-matter of suit, however, emanates from Section 9 CPC. Civil courts contemplated under Section 9 CPC find mention in Sections 4 and 5 thereof. Some suits may lie before the Revenue Court, some suits may lie before the Presidency Small Cause Courts. CPC itself lays down that the Revenue Courts would not be courts subordinate to the High Court. The word “civil court” vis-à-vis a court must be construed having regard to the text and context of the statute, Nahar Industrial Enterprises Ltd. v. Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corpn.(2009) 8 SCC 646.

Civil Proceedings:—

Arts. 132 and 133(1) of the . Constitution of India — A proceeding in which relief is claimed against action of revenue authorities is included in the civil proceeding and not in “other proceeding” within the meaning of Art. 132(1), and an aggrieved party’s right to appeal to the Supreme Court from orders in those proceedings is exercisable in the same manner as it would be in the case of a decree, order or judgment in any other civil proceeding. The character of the proceeding depends not upon the nature of the tribunal which is invested with authority to grant relief, but upon the nature of the right violated and the appropriate relief which may be claimed. A civil proceeding is therefore one in which a person seeks to enforce by appropriate relief the alleged infringement of his civil rights against another person or the State, and which if the claim is proved would result in the declaration express or implied of the right claimed and relief such as payment of debt, damages, compensation, delivery of specific property, enforcement of personal rights, determination of status etc. The expression “civil proceedings” covers all proceedings in which a party asserts the existence of a civil right conferred by the civil law or by statute, and claims relief for breach thereof, S.A.L. Narayan Row v. Ishwarlal Bhagwandas, AIR 1965 SC 1818, 1821: (1966) 1 SCR 190: (1965) 57 ITR 149: (1965) 2 ITJ 264.  Term “civil proceeding” includes all proceedings affecting civil rights, which are not criminal. Ramesh v. Gendalal Motilal Patni, AIR 1966 SC 1445: (1966) 3 SCR 198. The expression “civil proceedings” covers all proceedings which directly affect civil rights. Arbind Kumar Singh v. Nand Kishore Prasad, AIR 1968 SC 1227: (1968) 3 SCR 322.

Civil Consequences:—

Covers infraction of not merely property or personal right but of civil liberties, material deprivations and non-pecuniary damages. In its comprehensive connotation every thing that affects a citizen in his civil life inflicts a civil consequence. “Civil rights” have been defined to be such as belonging to every citizen of the State or country … they include … rights capable of being enforced or redressed in a civil action…. Even an administrative order which involves civil consequences must be made consistently with the rules of natural justice, D.K. Yadav v. J.M.A. Industries Ltd.(1993) 3 SCC 259: 1993 SCC (L&S) 723. The expression “civil consequences” encompasses infraction of not merely property or personal rights but of civil liberties, material deprivations and non-pecuniary damages. Anything which affects a citizen in his civil life comes under its wide umbrella, Sahara India (1) v. CIT(2008) 14 SCC 151.

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