Can a respondent be compelled to appear personally in civil proceedings

Tilak Marg Forum for Legal Questions Forums Consumer Laws Can a respondent be compelled to appear personally in civil proceedings

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Dr. Ashok Dhamija Dr. Ashok Dhamija 5 months ago.

  • Author
  • #4758

    I have authorised my cousin to appear and represent me in the proceedings since
    he stays in the same city where the proceedings are conducted. I am one of the respondents. The court has issued a direction for personal appearance of the respondent (not once) but on all the days when the proceedings are conducted
    and adjourned. It is very much onerous for me to appear personally every month.

    Can the Respondent demand costs of travelling (by reimbursement or advance payment)?

    Thanking you in anticipation of your reply.

  • #4769

    There are several provisions with regard to this issue in various Orders of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC). Let me explain them.

    For example, Rule 1 of Order 3 of the CPC lays down as under:

    1. Appearances, etc., may be in person, by recognised agent or by pleader.— Any appearance, application or act in or to any Court, required or authorised by law to be made or done by a party in such Court, may, except where otherwise expressly provided by any law for the time being in force, be made or done by the party in person, or by his recognised agent, or by a pleader appearing, applying or acting, as the case may be, on his behalf:

    Provided that any such appearance shall, if the Court so directs, be made by the party in person.”

    So, what this Rule provides is that while it is permissible for a party to appear through his pleader (i.e., advocate) or his recognized agent, if the court so requires he may have to appear in person.

    Sub-Rule (2) of Rule 1 of Order 5 of CPC lays down as under:

    “(2) A defendant to whom a summons has been issued under sub-rule (1) may appear—

    (a) in person, or

    (b) by a pleader duly instructed and able to answer all material questions relating to the suit, or

    (c) by a pleader accompanied by some person able to answer all such questions.”

    But, Rule 3 of Order 5 of CPC lays down an exception to the above rule, as under:

    3. Court may order defendant or plaintiff to appear in person.— (1) Where the Court sees reason to require the personal appearance of the defendant, the summons shall order him to appear in person in Court on the day therein specified.

    (2) Where the Court sees reason to require the personal appearance of the plaintiff on the same day, it shall make an order for such appearance.”

    Thus, the court has the power to require the personal appearance of the defendant if it sees reason for the same. But, in this regard, it is also relevant to keep in mind the condition imposed in Rule 4 of Order 5 of CPC, which is as under:

    4. No party to be ordered to appear in person unless resident with certain limits.— No party shall be ordered to appear in person unless he resides—

    (a) within the local limits of the Court’s ordinary original jurisdiction, or

    (b) without such limits but at a place less than fifty or (where there is railway or steamer communication or other established public conveyance for five-sixths of the distance between the place where he resides and the place where the Court is situate) less than two hundred miles’ distance from the Court House.”

    So, the end result is that subject to the conditions mentioned in Rule 4 of Order 5 of CPC, the defendant may be required to appear in person by the court even if he has appointed a recognized agent or pleader to appear on his behalf.

    So, depending on whether or not you satisfy the condition mentioned above, you may take further necessary action in your matter.


    Dr. Ashok Dhamija is a New Delhi based Supreme Court Advocate and author of law books. Read more about him by clicking here. List of his Forum Replies. List of his other articles. List of his Quora Answers.

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