Suits by Indigent Person


Order 33 deals with suits filed by indigent persons. The provisions of Order 33 are intended to enable indigent persons to institute and prosecute suits without payment of any court fees. Generally, a plaintiff suing in a court of law is bound to pay court fees prescribed under the Court Fees Act at the time of presentation of plaint. But a person may be too poor to pay the requisite court fee. This order exempts such person from the court fee at the first instance and allows him to prosecute his suit in forma pauperis, provided he satisfies certain conditions laid down in the order.

An indigent person is defined in explanation one to Rule 1 according to which is a person is an ‘indigent’ person:

  • if he is not possessed of sufficient means to enable him to pay the fee prescribed by law for the plaint in such suit, or
  • where no such fee is prescribed, if he is not entitled to property worth one thousand rupees other than the property exempt from attachment in execution of a decree, and the subject-matter of the suit.

Contents of application:

As per Order 33 Rule 2, every application for permission to sue as an indigent person should contain the following particulars:

1. The particulars required in regard to plaints to suits.

2. A schedule of any movable or immovable property belonging to the applicant with the estimated value thereof; and

3. Signature and verification as provided in Order 6 Rules 14 and 15

The application should be presented by the applicant to the court in person unless exempted by the court. Where there are two or more plaintiffs, it can be presented by any of them. The suit commences from the moment an application to sue in forma pauperis is presented.

Rejection of application:

As per Order 33 Rule 5, the court will reject an application for permission to sue as an indigent person in the following cases:

1. Where the application is not framed and presented in the prescribed manner; or

2. Where the applicant is not an indigent person; or

3. Where the applicant has, within two months before the presentation of the application, disposed of any property fraudulently or in order to get permission to sue as an indigent person; or

4. Where there is no cause of action; or

5. Where the applicant has entered into an agreement with reference to the subject-matter of the suit under which another person has obtained interest; or

6. Where the suit appears to be barred by law; or

7. Where any other person has entered into an agreement with the applicant to finance costs of the litigation.

In the end the author would like to conclude the project, that my hypothesis was partially incorrect regarding the position of indigent person when he fails in the suit brought by him, the hypothesis is that an indigent person cannot be made liable to pay anykind of damages or compensation, but according to Order 33 Rule 11 of Code of Civil Procedure, an indigent person cannot be held liable for any kind of damages other than the court fee, i.e. if a person fails in his action as an indigent person then he is bound to pay the court fee of the respective court, and the remaining damages have to be borne by the State Government as if they had committed the wrong.

Whereas if indigent person won the case then he cannot be held liable to any kind of expenses, fee or damages.

By Rajat Malhotra@ lexcliq


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