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Difference between Trial and Civil Application

Difference on the basis of Meaning
The word "trial" is used both in civil and in Criminal matters. In civil, it is used to determine the fact in issue before the court of law. In criminal matters, trial is a process of determining innocence or guilt of an accused. Determining the fact in issue and determining the innocence on guilt of an accused is by way of examination of witness adduced by both sides.

In Ritesh Tewari and Another v. State of U.P. and Others (2010) 10 SCC 677 this Court reproduced often quoted quotation which reads as under:
  • Every trial is voyage of discovery in which truth is the quest.
Civil application as the name suggests is only used for civil matters .Civil application Also called plaint is a legal document in which a plaintiff appeals to the court to grant him a remedy for any legal injury caused to him is called plaint and the suitor or the person who files the suit is known as plaintiff. Plaint is also called 'suit'. The judicial process starts with the institution of a suit by presenting a plaint.

The process of extracting truth in the systym of administration of justice is called tria. Pleadings are nothing but claims, counterclaims, allegations and defences put forth by the contesting parties. The term 'application' in its spirit means legitimate expectation of a party submitted in writing for assessment by the Court armed with jurisdiction to grant reliefs and enforce the same.

Difference on the basis of Objective
The term 'trial' basically means the Court's decision or a judicial judgement by the Court so as to decide the person's guilt or innocence.

The process of trial as enumerated in our Indian Constitution Art. 21 and also in certain enactments is that "trial is a right of a person", which should be conducted fairly i.e., trial of a court should be a "fair trial". Right to get a fair trial is a basic fundamental right of every person.

The concept of fair trial includes fair and proper opportunities to adduce evidence on they behalf before the court of law to prove their case.

Whereas civil appeal means an appeal brought to the Court of Appeal in a civil proceeding, including a family proceeding, or a proceeding under the Divorce Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. 3 (2nd Supp.);

The object of the suit is not only to resolve the disputes for the present but to settle the issue once for all. To achieve this goal, the suit should be perfect and complete.

Difference on the basis of The Process
Before trial could commence, there are certain guidelines and principles to be followed to conduct a fair trial. They are:
  1. Accused shall be informed the details of the accusation made against him, such information must be communicated in his own language.
  2. Accused shall have free assistance of an interpreter, if he cannot understand the language used in court.
  3. Accused shall be given adequate time to engage his counsel. If he reports that he has no means to engage counsel on his behalf, the court should provide free legal aid counsel to the accused.
  4. Accused shall have adequate time and facilities for preparation of his defense.

The other most important principle while conducting trial is that prosecution must establish guilt of the accused beyond all reasonable doubt, hence the burden of proof always lies on the prosecution. Therefore, accused has right to remain silent.

A Court of Session cannot directly take cognizance of the offence which is triable under their jurisdiction. The procedure for a trial before Court of Sessions is divided into many parts:
  1. Section 225: The very first step of the process is to conduct a trial by a Public Prosecutor.
  2. After the first step, under section 226 the prosecutor opens his/her case by presenting their opening statements and also explains the charges of the offence against the accused.
  3. After listening to the statements made by the accused as well as the prosecution and after taking a note of the documents and records related to the case, if the judge thinks that the whole components were not enough to proceed against the accused, the judge under section 227 discharges the accused.
  4. If the judge thinks that the documents, records and the statements of both the parties were adequate enough to lay down the grounds for further proceedings against the accused, the judge frames a charge under section 228. Now, here two concepts come into the picture that is the jurisdiction of the Court, if the case is not triable by the Court of Session, then the judge might transfer the case to the higher authority i.e. the Chief Judicial Magistrate or any other Magistrate of the first class, and if the Court has the jurisdiction over the case, then the judge shall proceed by framing the charges against the accused.
  5. If the accused has pleaded guilty for the offence committed by him, then the judge shall record and on his own judgement may convict the accused.
  6. The judge fixes a date if the accused has refused to plea for the examination of the witnesses associated with the case.
  7. After the date has been fixed, on that date the prosecution can be asked by the judge for the evidences which require their in-support. At this step, the cross-examination of the witnesses can also take place depending upon the judge's discretion. This whole step is mentioned in the Section 231.
  8. Section 232 of the code talks about the acquittal of the accused, if the examination of the accused, statements made by the prosecution as well as the defence fails to prove the charges against the accused.
  9. If the accused is not acquitted, then under section 233 he may be called and might also be required to bring evidences in his favour.
  10. Section 234 and 235 explains the part of arguments and deciding that whether the accused should be held liable or be released respectively.

The plaint shall contain the following particulars:
  1. The name of the court in which the suit is brought;
  2. The name, description, and place of residence of the plaintiff;
  3. The name, description, and place of residence of the defendants, so far as they can be ascertained;
  4. Where the plaintiff or the defendant is a minor or a person of unsound mind, a statement to that effect;
  5. The facts constituting the cause of action and when it arose;
  6. The facts showing that the court has jurisdiction;
  7. The relief which the plaintiff claims;
  8. Where the plaintiff has allowed a set-off or relinquished a portion of his claim, the amount so allowed or relinquished;
A statement of the value of the subject-matter or the suit for the purposes of jurisdiction and the court fees so far as the case admits.

The above guidelines apply to all suits filed under Civil Procedure Code. On the basis of above guidelines, the structure of the plaint can be broadly divided into four parts.
They are:
  • Heading.
  • Descriptive particulars of the parties.
  • Body of the plaint.
  • Relief portion.

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