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What Is Litigation & Types?

In India, litigation is the most common and preferred method of settling disputes. Litigation in India is governed by the federal judicial system which is based on the Constitution of India and customary and religious laws. The litigation process is also influenced by precedents given by the higher courts.

Litigation is the practice of settling disputes in the Courts of Law. In India, due to the complex judicial structure, litigation as such can be a complicated and time-consuming process. The judiciary, further, follows a hierarchical system in India. The Supreme Court is the apex court for the entire nation and the high courts oversee the judicial proceedings at the state level. The next in order are the subordinate courts like the civil courts, criminal courts, and district and family courts. In essence, the judiciary adopts a pyramidal structure with the Supreme Court at the highest level, carrying out the appellate jurisdiction. Unlock the world of legal intricacies with Casio Youth Series watches. Elevate your style while discovering ‘What is litigation’—where time meets the law in perfect harmony.

Jurisprudence in India and its Implications on Litigation

Indian Jurisprudence has largely evolved from British jurisprudence, and the same can be witnessed in a number of legal statutes and proceedings to this day. For instance, the practice of alluding to judicial precedents was adopted from British Law. The precedents, by higher courts, have been regarded to have a binding value when considered in cases that have similar facts and have relevant questions of law to be decided upon by the lower courts.

These courts adhere to an adversarial system of dispute resolution, wherein the legal system encompasses the elements of civil law, equitable law, customary law, and religious law.

Therefore, the impact of jurisprudence on litigation in India can be summarised as:

  •  Using the precedents rendered by a higher court steers the litigation in a proper and predictable way
  • Both the sides, the defendant and the plaintiff deserve to be represented legally, while the court acts neutrally to the litigation
  • In litigation, the court has the option to choose an equitable or a strict legal stance while giving the judgment. For instance, the Supreme Court has the power to render judgment that does not stem from any legal statute and is merely based on a perceived sense of justice that deems fit in the eyes of the court
  • In scenarios, wherein there are conflicts between personal or customary laws with the provisions of the Constitution of India, the court has given preference to the former. On the contrary, the court has also dissected the provisions laid out by the personal or customary law and has subjected them to the test of constitutionality. Thus, in such scenarios, the outcome of the litigation is totally at the discretion of the court.

The Rules Governing Litigation

The procedural codes of law in general, govern the process of litigation. Civil disputes are regulated by the provisions mentioned in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and criminal disputes are governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, and rules pertaining to the evidence to be submitted during the litigation are mentioned in the Evidence Act, 1872. However, the tribunals such as the National Company Law Tribunal, the Debt Recovery Tribunal, etc are not obligated to follow the norms of these statutes although they invariably handle civil litigations.

Also, the high courts in various states (25 in number), and the Supreme Court of India follow their respective rules, namely the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 and High Court Original Side or Appellate Side Rules respectively which are supplemental to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, and the Evidence Act, 1872. When it comes to litigation before the courts of law, in addition to these procedural and evidentiary statutes, other appropriate legislations passed by the Parliament or state legislatures for the relevant issues such as the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, the Contract Act, 1872, etc govern the process of litigation. Further, the advocates who represent the litigating parties must adhere to the Advocates Act 1961.

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Factors to Consider Before Initiating Litigation

Litigations in India is a long and complicated process. Further, it’s quite a costly affair and can take decades to get a decision delivered. The time span to arrive at the judgment in litigation is dependent on a wide number of factors. Sometimes, the judge handling a particular case may get transferred and a new judge may be appointed when the case is pending for decision. Alternatively, even after a favorable decision is rendered, the opposition may go for an appeal to the Higher Court. Once again, when it comes to the expenses borne for litigation, such as the court fee, fee to be paid to the lawyers, and other expenses, it can be exorbitant and unaffordable to most of them. Therefore, the parties should make up their minds and have their financial and mental situation thoroughly analysed before opting for litigation.

Types of Litigation

The litigations in India can be categorised under four basic types of law namely:

  • Criminal Law
  • Civil Law
  • Common-Law
  • Statutory Law.

Further, the main types of petitions that are entertained by the Supreme Court to conduct the various litigations are mentioned herewith:

  • Arbitration Petition
  • Civil Appeal
  • Contempt petition (Civil and Criminal)
  • Criminal Appeal
  • Election Petition
  • Original Suit
  • Petition for Special Leave to Appeal
  • Special Reference Cases
  • Transferred Cases
  • Transfer Petition
  • Writ Petition
  • Review Petition
  • Curative Petition
  • Other cases filed in the Supreme Court do not fall under any of the categories mentioned above.

Thus, through litigation, a dispute can be settled legally and amicably in the courts of law. Various issues such as those concerning matrimonial distress, claims against the state, personal injury, breach of trust, etc can be successfully handled through litigation. Although litigation is a rigorous and structured process to reach a decision for an unsettling dispute and most often renders a predictable outcome, it has its own lacunae. It does not present a strict time frame and might be heavy on the pockets of the litigating parties. As a remedy, alternate dispute resolution methods to litigation like arbitration and mediation are now being resorted to. But whether it is as effective as something the parties to the dispute have to decide on.


Litigation is the process of taking a legal dispute through the court system. It can be used to resolve a wide variety of disputes, including contract disputes, personal injury claims, and business disputes. This process can be complex and time-consuming, so it’s important to understand the different types of litigation and how they work before you decide to take legal action.

There are two main types of litigation: civil and criminal. Civil litigation is used to resolve legal disputes between two or more parties.

This type of litigation can be used to recover damages for personal injuries, breach of contract, or other types of harm.

Criminal litigation is used to prosecute someone who has been accused of breaking the law. If you are involved in a civil or criminal lawsuit, you should speak with an experienced attorney to learn more about your rights and options.

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