This article was written by Krati Gautam a student of National law university, Odisha
Caveat is an application filed by a legal person in a particular court of civil nature against one or more legal persons, seeking to be heard before passing any ex-parte order against him in any proceedings that may be filed by the said persons against him in that court. The caveat is live for 90 days from the date of filing and if in these 90 days no case is filed by opposite side than caveator has to file a fresh caveat petition as new in court. One has the caveat Application properly drafted and file it in the court, or engage the services to do the same. In the case of Nirmal Chand v Girindra Narayan, AIR 1978 Cal 492 as given by the Hon’ble Court:
“A caveat is a caution or warning given by a person to the court not to take any action or grant relief to the other side without giving notice to the caveator and without affording opportunity of hearing him”.
The notice of Caveat along with a copy of the caveat Application shall need to be sent to each person against whom the caveat has been filed. In case the other side files any case against one in the civil court, the court shall not grant any ex-parte order but issue him an urgent notice to appear before the court and reply. However, in such case, one has to be prepared to file his reply at a very short notice, and be also fully prepared to immediately argue the matter in the court. Caveat is not maintainable when filed in collusion. The recent example of caveat is when in December 2014 Actor Rajnikanth filed a caveat application to prevent the Madras High Court bench from passing any interim order in the “Lingaa” case without hearing his stand. He recorded the application anticipating a writ appeal by producer K.R. Ravi Rathinam, who had asserted the creators of “Lingaa” of stealing his script. This was after the refusal of a solitary judge to arrange a test into the charged robbery.
A caveat secures the caveator’s advantage. The caveat is as of now prepared to confront the suit or proceedings which are relied upon to be instituted by his opponent. Henceforth no ex-parte order should be gone against the caveator. The caveat evades variety of procedures. In this manner it spares the costs expenses and convenience of the courts as well as it saves the expense of the caveat too. A court must give a notification to the caveator or to his advocates. In the event that the opponent party records procedures/application for the interim orders, the court might not give any ex-parte interim order to the adversary party without listening to the caveator. If order is passed without informing the caveator then the order is unenforceable.
Notice upon the caveator filing the date of hearing of the application is a must. It is a mandatory under the Sec 148 A. The boon of caveat is that once caveat is filed the other party will be duty bound to tell the caveat about any legal proceeding taken against caveator. Caveat can be lodged in civil matter and not in 138 N.I. act case as the caveat is not maintainable in N.I. act. In civil matter if caveat is lodged then court cannot pass any order against the caveator without hearing him. In the execution of the decree 21, Orders 22 and 37 enact for the issue of a notice to the judgement debtor, under some given circumstances. This gives the meaning that in cases not covered by such provisions, notice of execution is not necessary. Therefore, the judgement debtor is not entitled to a notice of an execution of a decree at the initial stage by lodging a caveat anticipating such a execution. Also, caveat is a shield by using which person can prevent ex-parte order.
In Reserve Bank of India Employees Assosciation vs RBI, the plaintiffs documented a caveat in front of the court. The court before expiry of 90 days, issued a between time ex parte request against the offended parties without serving them a notification and without hearing. The ex parte interval request was held to be terrible by Supreme Court.
According to judgment delivered in Employees’ Asso. v. RBI (1981) court must notify caveator when any order is passed but in case interim order is passed without notifying, then such order is not without jurisdiction.
The caveat is also considered as boon in some way because in caveat if applied can only be filed to oppose the application, it cannot support the application. If a person has valid interest in the case which he thinks is going to be filed then if it opposes his interest than only he can file the caveat, he cannot file any caveat in the interest supporting it. Also the person who is total stranger to proceedings cannot file caveat. Section 148-A apply to trials court only and not appellate court which is a biggest disadvantage to a caveator.
The caveat is mainly a boon for the public as it rarely provides any rule that is distressing and harmful to any system or any person. The caveat is for securing the interest of caveator and any rule does not allow the caveator to misuse his rights because any stranger cannot file the petition and misuse it. However this rule also has some disadvantages to it such as caveator can only oppose the application but not support it. Undoubtedly the said parameters by interpretative procedure can be extended keeping in mind the end goal to viably do the authoritative expectation however at the same time, the key substance of the statutory procurements and its extremely workability can’t be put to a stake in this way invalidating the privilege of the candidate to the procedures and essentially making an outlandish possibility for the Courts to agree to the administrative order contained under sub-section (3) of Section 148-A of the Code.