Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Legal Notice under section 80 of CPC

Section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) mandates giving of a notice to the
Government or the public officer prior to the filing of the suit. The object of the notice under S. 80, C.P.C. is to give to the Government or the public servant concerned an opportunity to reconsider its or his legal position and if that course is justified to make amends or settle the claim out of court.

Section 80 of the CPC reads as: “(1) Save as otherwise provided in sub-s. (2), no suit shall be instituted against the Government (including the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir) or against a public officer in respect of any act purporting to be done by such public officer in his official capacity, until the expiration of two months next after notice in writing has been delivered to, or left at the office of

(a) In the case of a suit against the Central Government except where it relates to a railway, a Secretary to the Government;

(b) In the case of a suit against the Central Government where it relates to a railway. General Manager of that Railway;

(bb) In the case of a suit against the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Chief Secretary to that Government or any other officer authorised by that Government in this behalf;

(c) In the case of a suit against any other State Government a Secretary to that Government or the Collector of the District: and, in the case of public officer, delivered to him or left at his office, stating the cause of action, the name, description and place of residence of the plaintiff and the relief which he claims; and the plaint shall contain a statement that such notice has been so delivered or left.

(2) A suit to obtain an urgent or immediate relief against the Government (including the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir) or any public officer in respect of any act purporting to be done by such public officer in his official capacity, may be instituted, with the leave of the court without serving any notice as required by sub-section (1); but the court shall not grant relief in the suit, whether interim or otherwise, except after giving to the Government or public officer, as the case may be, a reasonable opportunity of showing cause in respect of the relief prayed for in the suit:
Provided that the court shall, if it is satisfied, after hearing the parties that no urgent or immediate relief need be granted in the suit return the plaint for presentation to it after complying with the requirements of sub-section (1).

(3) No suit instituted against the Government or against a public officer in respect of any act purporting to be done by such public officer in his official capacity shall be dismissed merely by reason of any error or defect in the notice referred to in sub-section (1), if in such notice

(a) The name, description and the residence of the plaintiff had been so given as to enable the appropriate authority or the public officer to identify the person serving the notice and such notice had been delivered or left at the office of the appropriate authority specified in sub-section (1), and

(b) The cause of action and the relief claimed by the plaintiff had been substantially indicated.”

Notice to be given to:
         i.            In the case of a suit against the Central Government except where it relates to a railway - a Secretary to the Government
       ii.            In the case of a suit against the Central Government where it relates to a railway - General Manager of that Railway

      iii.            In the case of a suit against the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir - the Chief Secretary to that Government or any other officer authorised by that Government in this behalf
     iv.            In the case of a suit against any other State Government - a Secretary to that Government or the Collector of the District
       v.            In the case of public officer - deliver to that public officer or left at his office

Essential requirements of sec. 80:
         i.            the addressee should be identified and must have received the communication;
       ii.            there should be no vagueness or indefiniteness about the person giving the notice, who must also be the person filing the suit and the notice must also give the details which are specified in S. 80;
      iii.            two months’ time allowed must expire before the suit is laid.


A notice u/s. 80 must be given only after the cause of action has arisen. A notice given before the cause of action has arisen is invalid. Notice under S. 80 need not be practically a copy of the plaint. It should be such as to give substantial information to the Government as to the basis of the claim and the relief which the plaintiff seeks.

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