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Caveat in Courts

The term "caveat" originates from the Latin word "cavere," which means "warning" or "let him beware." Essentially, a caveat is a provision that prevents someone from taking a specific action without prior notice to the person who issued the caveat. A caveat petition is an official notice served by a party to the court, judge, or authorized officer. It opposes certain actions that could potentially impact the interests of the party issuing the petition.

A caveat petition is a precautionary measure taken by someone when they believe that a case might be filed against them. It ensures that their interests are not adversely affected if an order is passed without allowing them to present their side of the story.

The Civil Procedure Code (CPC), 1908 includes a provision called Section 148A that allows for the use of a caveat. It's important to note that caveats are only applicable in civil proceedings and not in criminal proceedings or petitions filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution.

In the Indian Supreme Court, a "caveat" is a legal notice filed by an interested party to ensure they are given the chance to be heard before any orders or judgments are made in a specific case. If a person or organization anticipates that a case that affects their interests may be filed, they can file a caveat to notify the court and request to be informed and heard before any decisions are reached.

Caveats in the Supreme Court of India are filed under Order XL Rule 1 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013. This rule specifically deals with the filing procedure and requirements for caveats in the Supreme Court. It provides detailed instructions on how to file a caveat and the conditions that must be met for it to be accepted.

If you wish to file a caveat in the Supreme Court to safeguard your interests and make sure that your voice is heard before any orders or judgments are made in a particular case, it is crucial to follow the procedures and requirements detailed in Order XL Rule 1 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013. This involves submitting the required information and documents along with paying the applicable fees, if necessary, for filing the caveat.

Section 148A of the CPC

If someone believes that they have the right to appear in court for a specific application or proceeding, they can file a caveat. A caveat is filed when there is an expected or ongoing court case, and a person wants to claim their right to be part of it.

The person submitting the application or expected to submit it must receive a caveat notice from the caveator, as mentioned earlier.

After the caveat is filed, the court must notify the caveator if any application is submitted in a lawsuit or legal proceeding.

Once an applicant receives a notice of caveat, they must provide the caveator with a copy of the application and any other relevant legal documents that support their case.

The validity of a caveat lasts for 90 days from the filing date. However, this timeframe can be extended if the application mentioned in subsection (1) is initiated before the 90-day period expires.

Objective of Caveat

The primary aim of filing a caveat is to avoid exparte orders, which are court orders made without hearing the opposing party. When someone or an entity files a caveat, they essentially request that the court refrain from making any decisions in a specific case without giving them a chance to present their argument.

Caveats are often used when there is a possibility of a legal dispute, and the party submitting the caveat wants to safeguard their interests. This ensures that they won't be disadvantaged by a decision made without their involvement. Once a caveat is filed, if a relevant case is brought before the Supreme Court, the court must inform the party who submitted the caveat (also known as the caveator) and provide them with an opportunity to present their side in the proceedings.

The purpose of including this provision is to safeguard the caveator's interests in case they face any accusations or legal actions from the opponent. Furthermore, this provision helps reduce the burden on the court by avoiding multiple proceedings and minimizing costs and inconveniences.

Persons eligible to file a Caveat

Individuals who have standing in court, whether they are directly involved in the case or not, can file a caveat. It is important to clarify that while a third party can submit the application, someone completely unrelated to the case cannot avail of this option. Once informed about an impending application, any person with the right to appear before the court is entitled to lodge a caveat.

On the other hand, if someone is seeking interim relief related to the application, they are not allowed to submit a caveat. The caveator, or their representative advocate, must file the caveat along with a duly registered copy of it in the specified format in the caveat register.

Court where Caveat is to be filed

A caveat can be filed in any civil court, appellate court, or tribunal that has original jurisdiction. When someone anticipates legal action against them in the future, they can file a caveat petition in a Civil Court of original jurisdiction, Appellate Court, High Court, or Supreme Court. Civil Courts encompass Small Causes Courts, Tribunals, Forums, and Commissions.

Result of Notice being Not Served to the Caveator

If the court or applicant fails to serve the notice to the caveator when required, the order or decree that has been passed becomes null and void.

Documents Required for filing the Caveat

To file a caveat in court, there are certain steps to be followed: The petitioner or their advocate should sign the petition and attach the vakalatnama. The caveat should be recorded in the designated form in the caveat register, which includes the date and proceeding number. Along with filing the caveat, a copy of the application along with proof of dispatch of notice to relevant parties should be attached. If filing in a High Court or Supreme Court, an affidavit must also be submitted with the petition. The prescribed court fee for that specific court needs to be paid.

Procedure of filing a caveat

To file a caveat petition, you need to fill out a specific form which includes the name of the court where you're filing the petition. If there's already a suit, petition, or appeal filed, you should include its number along with your personal information as the petitioner. Also, provide the name and address of the opposing party and a detailed description of the matter for which you're filing the caveat petition.

In case of an appeal or writ petition, attach a copy of the decision against which you believe the opposing party might file an appeal or writ. Along with this, include one copy of a Vakalatnama. Once you've filed the caveat petition in court, it's important to serve notice to the opposing party via registered post. The specific costs associated with filing a caveat may vary between courts but are generally below INR 100.

A caveat is a legal petition filed by one party to notify the court that if the opposing party initiates any legal proceedings, they should inform the party who filed the caveat. This ensures that no ex parte orders or judgments are made without notifying the caveator. According to Section 148A of the Code of Civil Procedure, failing to notify the caveator before issuing an order or judgment renders it void. Only individuals involved in the legal proceedings can file a caveat.

This rule is outlined in Section 148A of the Code, which defines the rights and responsibilities of the caveator, applicant, and court in sub-sections (2), (3), and (4). To ensure the effectiveness of Section 148A, it is crucial to adhere to the rules stated in these sections. One mandatory requirement is for the court to hear the caveator's petition before issuing any interim order against them. The caveat petition remains valid for a period of 90 days from its filing, after which it can be renewed by the caveator if necessary.


Written By: Md.Imran Wahab
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

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