What is a caveat ?
The general term caveat is derived from a Latin term “cavere” which means “warning”, “hint of caution”, or “let him beware”. According to the dictionary meaning , “a caveat is an entry made in the books of the offenses of the registry or court to prevent a certain step being taken without previous notice to the person entering the caveat”. In law, it is regarded as a notice or a precaution exercised especially in probate cases. It is introduced with an object that under court proceedings certain matters shall not be heard, action may not be taken, judgment or order may not be passed or issued without the hearing the person who has filed the notice of caveat. It is a precaution measure taken against the grant of probate by lodging a caveat and a person who lodges the caveat is called “caveator”.
As per the Civil procedure code section 148A governs the law related to caveat which was inserted after the recommendation made by the Law Commission by the Amendment Act of 1976  and has made the following provisions related to the right to lodge a caveat:-
(1)Where an application is expected to be made or has been made, in a suit or proceedings instituted, or about to be instituted, in a Court, any person claiming a right to appear before the Court on the hearing of such application may lodge a caveat in respect thereto
(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 application is 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 expense, with a copy of the application made by him and also with copies of any paper or document which has been, or maybe, 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 (1) has been made before the expiry of the said period.
What is the object of this section?
The underlying object of caveat is as follows:-
1. The caveat aids in safeguarding the interest of those against whom an order may be issued through an application filed by a party in suit or proceeding. It is not necessary that the person lodging the caveat is required to be a party to the suit. Those people who are affected by order but are not a party to the suit can also file an application of caveat.
2. Multiple proceedings are prevented as all those individuals who are interested in the subject-matter of the case as well as those who are affected by the orders even though not a party can club together with their agendas in the same proceeding .
What is nature and scope?
The application of caveat can be filed in a suit or a proceeding. However, some High Courts have viewed that during an appeal (whether first or second) or during the execution proceedings that the application of caveat cannot be entertained. But in the Supreme Court’s decision, the expression “Civil Proceeding” under section 141 included all kinds of proceedings which are not original proceedings . Thus an application of caveat can be filed in all suits, appeals, and proceedings under the Civil Procedure Code.
In cases where the caveator is absent in a proceeding the court shall find the prima facie case in the favor of the applicant, ad interim relief shall be granted by the court in his favor.
Who can lodge caveat?
According to the sub-section (1) of section 148-A, the requisite qualifications of a caveator are as follows:-
1. The right to appear before a court proceeding through the application of caveat must be done by a person, who moves the application for interim relief.
2. It can be filled by both necessary parties as well as the proper party .
3. A person who is affected by the order of the court even though not a party to the case is also eligible to file an application for a caveat.
When can a caveat be lodged?
Generally, a caveat is lodged, after the court has pronounced the judgment or issued an order. However, in exceptional cases, a caveat is filed before the pronouncement of the judgment or passing of the order .
When caveat does not lie?
This section is limited to cases where the Civil Procedure Code contemplates notice. Any other cases where such notices cannot be contemplated, it cannot be claimed by lodging a caveat. Such a construction would be held as inconsistent with the main purpose of the section.
What is the form of a caveat ?
There is no standard form provided by the Code regarding the caveat . It shall be prudent that caveat is to be filed in a petition form which contains all the specific details of the applications and shall also mention his right to appear before the court. It shall be pertinent to note that for the requirement of entries, a register is maintained by the Registry of the court or Stamp Reporter wherein all the filing of caveat is entered .
The court serves a notice of an application on the event of filing of a caveat to the caveator. The applicant is required to furnish the caveator the expense, a copy of the application along with supportive documents copies attached with the application .
Rights and duties
Section 148-A provides certain rights and duties of the caveator, applicant, and court.
The caveator is required to serve a notice of caveat lodged by him or her through a registered post to the person to whom an application against caveator for the purpose of grant of interim order has been expected to be made. In case of uncertainty, no notice is served and the court may at its discretion, dispense with the service of notice of caveat and permit caveat application without naming the respondent.
As discussed before, the applicant is required to furnish the caveator the expense, and a copy of the application along with supportive documents copies attached with the application. It is a mandatory duty of the applicant
After the application of the caveat is filed the court is required to issue a notice of that application to the caveator. The object of this duty is to enable the caveator the opportunity to appear before the court and provide his/her pleading regarding the interim relief in the favor of the applicant. The court is also required to provide sufficient and reasonable time to the caveator to appear or oppose the applicant filed.
The caveat shall remain in force for a period of 90 days from the date of its filling after which it shall be renewed.
Edited by Pushpamrita Roy
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
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2. Nirmal Chandra v. Girindra Narayan, AIR 1978 Cal 492
3. Nirmal Chandra v. Girindra Narayan, AIR 1978 Cal 492
4. Law Commission’ Fifth-fourth Report
5. AIR 1966 SC 1888
6. Siddalingappa V. G.C. Veeranna AIR 1981 Kant 242
7. Pashupati Nath v. Registrar, Coop. Societies, AIR 1983 Raj 191
8. S.284(4) Sch. V
9. Chandrajit v. Ganeshiya AIR 1987
10. Nova Granties (India) Ltd v. Craft (Bangalore) (P) Ltd., (1994) I Civ LJ 711 (Kant)