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Meaning of Caveat

The term caveat has no where been defined, but it is derived from a Latin word which means “beware”. 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 of intimation being given to the party lodging the caveat and interested in objecting to such relief.

Section 148-A of the Code gives a party the right to lodge a caveat.


The two underlying objectives of caveat are:

  1. 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 a proceeding instituted of about to be instituted. The provision of caveat gives the party an opportunity to be heard before an ex parte order is made.
  2. It seeks to avoid multiplicity of proceedings. In absence of such 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 an order.

Who may lodge a caveat?

Sub-section (1) of section 148-A prescribes the qualifications of a person intending to lodge a caveat. A person who intends to lodge a caveat must be a person claiming a right to appear before the Court in the hearing of the application, which the applicant might move for the grant of interim relief.

In Nirmal Chandra v. Girindra Narayana (AIR 1978 Cal 492) it was held that a caveat may be filed by any person who is going to be affected by an interim order which is likely to be passed on an application which is expected to be made in a suit or proceeding instituted or about to instituted in a Court. Thus, a person who is stranger to the proceeding cannot lodge a caveat

When can caveat be lodged?

A caveat may be lodged after the judgement is pronounced or order is passed. In exceptional cars however,  a caveat may be filed even before pronouncement of judgement or passing of an order. (Pashupati Nath v. Registrar, Coop. Societies, AIR 1983 Raj 191)

Further, the provisions of this section can only be attracted in cases where the caveator is entitled to be heard before any order is made on the application filed or proposed to be filed.

Rights and Duties

Sub-sections (2), (3), and (4) of section 148-A prescribes the rights and duties of caveator who lodges the caveat, of applicant who intends to obtain an interim order and of the court

(a) Of Caveator [Section 148-A (2)]

Sub-section (2) of section 148- A states that once a party is admitted to the status of caveator he has the duty to serve a notice of the caveat lodged by him by registered post on the person or persons by whom an application for an interim order had been or is expected to be made against the caveator.

This provision however is not mandatory.  In State of Karnataka v NIL ((1999) , 5 Kant LJ 637); where no notice could be served on account of uncertainty of the person likely to institute a suit, appeal or other proceedings, the Court may, at its discretion, dispense with the serve of notice of a caveat and permit a party to lodge a caveat without naming the party respondent.

(b) Of Applicant [Section 148 – A (4)]

Sub-section (4) of section 148 -A gives the duty of the applicant. 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. It was held in Employees Association v. RBI (AIR 1981 AP 246) that the provision of this sub- section makes it obligatory for the applicant to serve his application along with all copies and documents filed of intended to be filed in support of his application.

(c) Of Court  [Section 148 – A (3)]

Sub-section (3) of section 148 – A states that it is the duty of the court to issue a notice of that application on the caveator once a caveat has been lodged. This duty has been cast upon the Court for the purpose of enabling the caveator to appear and oppose the granting of an interim relief in favor of the applicant. Thus, it is the duty of the court to give sufficiently reasonable 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 of this defeats the very object of introducing this provision.

Hearing of Caveator

The intention behind enacting this providing of caveat is to enable the caveator to be heard beefier any pretty is passed and no orders are passed by the Court ex parte. Therefore, hearing of caveator is mandatory. Once a caveat is filed, it is a condition precedent for passing an interim order to serve a notice of the application to the caveator who is going to be affected by such order. In G.C. Siddalingappa v. G.C. Veeranna (AIR 1981 Kant 242)  it was held that unless that condition precedent is satisfied, it is not permissible for the cost to pass an interim order affecting the caveator, as otherwise it will defeat the very object of section 148-A.


Sub-section (5) of section 148 states that a caveat lodged under Section 148 – A (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. If it is not done, the caveat would come to an end.


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