December 28, 2023
symbolizing justice and order

There are a lot of impoverished people in India who cannot afford to eat twice a day. Therefore, how can we expect them to be able to obtain justice from the court under these circumstances without financial support? Equal opportunity and equality before the law are guaranteed to all Indian citizens by Indian law. The law has an obligation to help anyone in need of legal assistance at no cost. The CPC has included provisions for the impoverished person under order 33 in order to ensure equitable justice for all Indians.

The process for an impoverished individual to file a lawsuit is outlined in order 33 cpc. It gives those who are unable to afford court costs the ability to file lawsuits without having to pay the required court expenses.   

order 33 cpc rule: Indigent Person

Any individual who satisfies the requirements listed in Order 33 Rule 1 is considered to be indigent. These conditions include:

  • Not being able to pay the legal court fees for the plaint in suit; and
  • Not being entitled to any property worth 1000 rupees in cases where no fees are prescribed.

order 33 cpc: Procedure

  • After notifying the defendant and the government pleader, the court will set a date for hearing any evidence that may be presented in rebuttal of the applicant’s evidence of indigence and for receiving any evidence that the applicant may offer as proof of his indigence. This will happen if the court finds no reason to reject the application on any of the grounds listed in Rule 5.
  • Following a hearing whereby the parties’ witnesses are cross-examined and the applicant or his representative completes thorough documentation of their testimony, the court has the authority to grant or deny the applicant’s request to file a lawsuit on behalf of an indigent person.
  • In the event that the application is accepted, it becomes the plaint in the lawsuit and is numbered and recorded. After that, the lawsuit is handled normally, but the plaintiff is not required to pay any court costs.
  • Order 33, Rule 9 allows the court to revoke the plaintiff’s right to file a lawsuit on the basis of indigency upon the defendant’s motion. If a person who is eligible to file a lawsuit on behalf of the poor is not represented by a pleader, the court may assign one to him based on the specifics of the case.
  • In the event that the plaintiff prevails in the lawsuit, the court will calculate the approximate amount of court costs that he would have had to pay if he had not been permitted to file as an impoverished person. The State Government will be entitled to collect this amount from any party that is required by the decree to pay it.
  • However, in a scenario when an indigent individual files a lawsuit against the government to recover the whole contractual amount and the plaintiff wins, a decision is issued in their favor. The State Government of the defendant was ordered to cover the plaintiff’s costs since the defendant was found liable for the court fees that the government had to pay. As a result, the lawsuit filed against the plaintiff to recover court costs could not be maintained.

order 33 cpc cases

  • In the case of UOI v Khader International Construction, the definition of an impoverished individual was deliberated by the Honorable Supreme Court. The court noted that an indigent person is one who does not have enough money (apart from property that is immune from attachment in the execution of a decree and the suit’s subject matter) to cover the legal fee that the plaintiff in such a suit must pay.

If no such charge is specified and the individual in question is not entitled to any property worth a thousand rupees aside from that which is immune from attachment during the execution of a decree and the suit’s subject matter, then they would be considered impoverished.

  • In the case of Lakshmi v Vijaya Bank, in a petition submitted in accordance with Order 33, Rules 1 and 7, R.V. Revanna claimed to be an impoverished individual. The petitioner was questioned by the respondent, who denied that he was impoverished. The petitioner passed away before his cross-examination began, leaving his wife and kids behind. The petitioner’s wife then submitted an application to be allowed to file the lawsuit on their behalf.

The trial court noted that as the ability to suit as an indigent person is a personal right, the legal representatives would not be allowed to replace the applicant in the event of their death. Nonetheless, the high court granted the legal representative’s application and permitted them to file the petition on behalf of an indigent party.

It is not widely known that these provisions exist, nor that free legal aid services are accessible. Therefore, each and every person needs to make an effort to raise awareness among the weaker segments of society about free legal aid services. Furthermore, it’s thought that those who have been wronged would suffer more because free legal aid services would lower the caliber of advocacy provided by the advocates.

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