12 February, 2016

Glossary of Common Legal Terms (C)

Cause List
List issued by the Registry of the matters to be heard by the court on any day. The bench, courtroom number and the position of the matter are indicated.
The cause list may take myriad forms: weekly list, advance list, supplementary list and the daily list.

Cause Title
Title of the case giving the number of the case and the names of the parties.

Where it is apprehended that an opposite party may file a case, a party may file a document requesting the court that no order be made in the case without hearing the caveator.

A party who files a caveat.

See writ petition.

It is the police report filed under Section 173(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 after making investigation into the commission of an offence.

Describes the nature of all proceedings which are not criminal.

Class Action
In a class action, a member of an identifiable group of persons files a petition. These persons form a class if they have a common grievance.

Cognizable offence
An offence in which arrest can be made without a warrant.

A commission is appointed by a court to ascertain or investigate facts needed to decide a case. A commission is usually given specific terms of reference. Members of a commission have been chosen from amongst experts, academics, social activists/workers, advocates, judges and others. Costs of the commission are usually borne by the State. Such commissions have often been appointed in PILs.

Contempt of Court
A party wilfully disobeying an order of a court can be held in contempt of that court. Under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 this is defined as ’civil contempt’. Any act that lowers the authority of the Court or interferes with the course of justice is defined as ’criminal contempt’. Each court has the power to punish anyone committing contempt of a court and in some cases the Court can issue suo motu notice of contempt. Under Article 129 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court is given the power to punish for contempt; under Article 215 of the Constitution the High Court is given similar powers.

When giving the final decision in a case, the Court can award costs to either party. Generally the losing party in a litigation is directed to pay the successful party. If the Court does not specify the amount of costs, they are determined by the Registry, taking advocates’ fees, court fees and expenses into account. A party is sometimes required to pay costs during the course of the litigation, for failing to comply with the Court’s directions.

Counter Affidavit
See affidavit.

Court Fees
These are mandatory charges payable by affixing judicial stamps on petitions, applications and various kinds of documents before they are filed in a court. It is only in legal aid matters that the petitioners are exempt from paying these fees.

Court Master
An officer of the court who occupies a seat just below the judges’ dias and assists in the conduct of proceedings.


Describes the nature of all proceedings involving a crime.

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