The term “caveat” has not been defined in the Code. The word (caveat) has been derived
from Latin which means “beware”. Section 148-A of the Code Civil Procedure deals with
the law relating to Caveat. A caveat is a caution or warning given by a party to the court
not to take any action or grant any relief to the applicant without notice or intimation being
given to the party lodging the caveat and interested in appearing and objecting to such
relief. It is very common in testamentary proceedings. It is a precautionary measure taken
against the grant of probate or letters of administration, as the case may be, by the person
lodging the caveat. The person filing or lodging a caveat is called Caveator.
Section 148-A, as inserted by the Amendment Act, 1976 is a salutary provision. It allows a
person to lodge a caveat in a suit or proceeding instituted or about to be instituted against
him. It reads as under:
Right to lodge a caveat.-
(1) Where an application is expected to be made, or has been made, in a suit or proceeding
instituted, or about to be instituted, in a court, any person claiming a right to application
before the court on the hearing of such application may lodge a caveat in respect thereof.
(2) Where a caveat has been lodged under sub-section (1), the person by whom the caveat
has been lodged (hereinafter referred to as the caveator) shall serve a notice of the caveat
by registered post, acknowledgment due, on the person by whom the application has been,
or is expected to be made, under sub-section (1).
(3) Where, after a caveat has been lodged under sub-section (1), any s filed in any suit or
proceeding, the court shall serve a notice of the application on the caveator.
(4) Where a notice of any caveat has been served on the applicant, he shall forthwith
furnish the caveator, at the caveator’s expense, with a copy of the application made by him
and also with copies of any paper or document which has been, or may be, filed by him in
support of the application.
(5) Where a caveat has been lodged under sub-section (1), such caveat shall not remain in
force after the expiry of ninety days from the date on which it was lodged unless the
application referred to in sub-section (x) has been made before the expiry of the said
The underlying object of a caveat is two fold:
Firstly, to safeguard the interest of a person against an order that may be passed on an
application filed by a party in a suit or proceeding instituted or about to be instituted. Such
a person lodging a caveat may not be a necessary party to such an application, but he may
be affected by an order that may be passed on such application..
Secondly, it seeks to avoid multiplicity of proceedings. In the absence of such a provision,
a person who is not a party to such an application and is adversely affected by the order has
to take appropriate legal proceedings to get rid of such order.
NATURE AND SCOPE
Section 148-A enacts that a caveat can be lodged in a suit or proceeding. Construing the
connotation in a narrow manner some High Courts have taken the view that no caveat can
be filed in a first or second appeal or in execution proceedings. But, as observed in Ram
Chandra Aggarwal v. State of U.P., the expression “Civil Proceedings” in Section 141 of
the Code includes all proceedings which are not original proceedings. Thus, the provision
relating to caveat would be applicable to suits, appeals as well as other proceedings under
the Code or under other enactments.” It is no doubt true that no order should be passed
against the caveator unless he is heard, but if the caveator is not present at the time of
hearing of the application and the court finds that there is a prima facie case in favour of
the applicant, ad interim relief can be granted by the court in his favour. Interim order
passed without giving notice to the caveator is not without jurisdiction and is operative till
it is set aside in appropriate proceedings.
WHO MAY LODGE CAVEAT?
A caveat may be filed by any person who is going to be affected by an interim order likely
to be passed on an application which is expected to be made in a suit or proceeding
instituted or about to be instituted in a court.
Thus, a person who is a stranger to the proceeding cannot lodge a caveat. Likewise, a
person supporting the application for interim relief made by the applicant also cannot file a
caveat. Generally, a caveat can be filed after the judgment is pronounced. In exceptional
cases, however, a caveat may be filed even before the pronouncement of the judgment
WHEN CAVEAT MAY BE LODGED?
A caveat may be lodged after the judgment is pronounced or order is passed. In exceptional
cases, however, a caveat may be filed even before pronouncement of judgment or passing
When a caveat is lodged, the court will serve a notice of an application on the caveator.
The section obliges the applicant who has been served with a caveat to furnish the
caveator, at the caveator’s expense, a copy of the application along with copies of papers
and documents submitted by him in support of his application.
RIGHTS AND DUTIES
Sub-sections (2), (3) and (4) of Section 148-A prescribe the rights and duties of the
caveator who lodges a caveat, of the applicant who intends to obtain an interim order and
of the court.
(a) Of caveator
Under sub-section (2) of Section 148-A, once a party is admitted to the status of a caveator.
It is his duty to serve a notice of the caveat lodged by him by registered post on the person
or persons by whom an application against the caveator for an interim order has been or is
expected to be made. Where no notice could be served on account of uncertainty of the
person likely to institute a suit, appeal or other proceeding, the court may, at its discretion,
dispense with the service of notice of a caveat and permit a party to lodge a caveat without
naming the party respondent.
(b) Of applicant
Sub-section (4) of Section 148-A provides that it is the duty of the applicant to furnish to
the caveator forthwith at the caveator’s expense a copy of the application made by him
along with the copies of papers and documents on which he relies. This provision thus
makes it obligatory for the applicant to serve his application along with all copies and
documents filed or intended to be filed in support of his application.
(c) Of court
Once a caveat had been lodged, under sub-section (3), it is the duty of the court to issue a
notice of that application on the caveator. This duty has been cast on the court obviously
for the purpose of enabling the caveator to appear and oppose the granting of an interim
relief in favour of the applicant. Although the expression “notice of application” has not
been defined in the Code, it would include the date of hearing. It must, there- fore, be taken
that it is the duty of the court to give a sufficiently reasonable and definite time to the
caveator to appear and to oppose the application filed by the applicant. This duty of the
court is in addition to the duty of the applicant under sub-section (4) and non-compliance
with it defeats the very object of introducing Section 148-A and the breach thercof vitiates
the order. Therefore, merely because the caveator refuses to accept the copy of the
application from the applicant, the court is not absolved from serving the notice of the
application to the caveator.
A caveat lodged under sub-section (1) will remain in force for 90 days from the date of its
filing. After the prescribed period of 90 days is over, caveat may be renewed.
1- The Code Of Civil Procedure by C.K.Takwani
2- Bare Act, CPC 1908
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