A caveat petition is used as a precautionary measure by someone when it is apprehended that a case might be instituted against them, and if an order is hence passed without hearing them out, their interests might be affected.
Analysis of Caveat Petition Under Section 148A of Civil Procedure Code
The term caveat is derived from the Latin term ‘cavere’ which translates to ‘warning’, or ‘let him beware’. In essence, a caveat is a provision, wherein an entry is made in the registry of the court to abstain from taking a specific action without giving prior notice to the person issuing the caveat. A caveat is an official notice served by the concerned party to the court or judge or any authorised officer, in opposition to certain actions that might be executed by them and might affect the interests of the former.
The provision of caveat is incorporated in the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), 1948 under Section 148A. A caveat is applicable only in civil proceedings and not in criminal proceedings or for petitions filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution.
Significance of Section 148A:
The intention of embedding this provision is to protect the interests of the caveator, who is likely to face any accusation or legal proceedings filed by the opponent. Additionally, the provision minimises the cost and convenience of the court as it averts the multiplicity of proceedings.
Section 148A- Right to Lodge Caveat:
Section 148A states the following:
- When an application is anticipated to be made or has been made, in a suit or proceeding in a court, any person who claims to have the right to appear in the court on the hearing of the respective application may lodge a caveat
- The caveator shall serve a caveat notice to the person by whom the application has been made or is expected to be made, as mentioned above.
- Once the caveat is filed, the court has the obligation to serve a notice to the caveator, if any application is filed in any suit or proceeding
- When an applicant is served a notice of caveat, the applicant has to furnish the caveator a copy of the application thus made, along with the copies of other documents that may be filed to substantiate the application
- A caveat is valid only for 90 days from the date of filing unless the application stated in subsection (1) has been initiated before the expiry of the stated period.
Who Can File a Caveat?
Only a person who claims the right to appear in the court, whether a party to the suit or not can file the caveat. It is pertinent to note that, while a third party can file the suit, a stranger to the suit cannot exercise this option. Any person who has the right to appear before the court, on learning about the application being filed, can lodge a caveat.
Alternatively, a person who is interested in the interim relief for which the application has been filed cannot lodge a caveat. Along with the caveat, a copy of the caveat shall be filed by the caveator, or by the advocate who is acting on behalf of the caveator and the same must be duly registered in the caveat register in the stipulated format.
Where Can the Caveat Be Lodged?
A caveat can be lodged in any of the civil courts, appellate courts or tribunals provided the respective court exercises original jurisdiction.
What Happens When a Notice is Not Served To the Caveator?
When the court or the applicant fails to serve the notice to the caveator, when it is ought to have been done, the order or decree that has been hence passed, becomes null and void.
Documents Required to File the Caveat:
- Caveat petition duly signed by the caveator. When an advocate is representing the caveator, the advocate can sign the petition and attach the vakalatnama along with the petition
- The caveat shall be recorded in the prescribed form in the caveat register which mentions the date and the number of proceedings and is maintained by the court
- While filing the caveat in the court, a copy of the application, proof of dispatch of notice with an explanation stating that a copy of the caveat petition has been issued to the parties of the suit to be attached
- When the caveat is being filed in the High Court, an affidavit should be attached along with the petition
- Prescribed court fee for the respective court has to be attached.