When can a person intervene in a suit? Scope of intervention in India

When can a person intervene in a suit? Scope of intervention in India

The number of filing an application for intervention in a writ petition in Supreme Court of India is increasing these days. Whether it is constitutional matter or criminal or civil matter application for intervention is common now a days. The Supreme Court has allowed third party in many important cases to intervene in the matter to deliver justice. But many times court deny third party to intervene in a suit.

In this article we will look into when a person is allowed by court to intervene in a suit with the help various case laws and various provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, also we will look scope of intervention in India.  

Meaning of intervention

The meaning of intervention has its origin in Latin word interventionem which means to interrupt or to come in between. The legal definition of intervention according to Merriam-Webster legal dictionary is “the act or procedure by which a third party becomes a party to a pending proceeding between other parties in order to protect his or her own interest in the subject matter of the suit”[i].

Scope of intervention

Scope of intervention is different in India from other countries. In countries like Canada, USA, and some other countries scope of intervention is much wider than in India. In these countries intervention includes addressing court by third party as well as adding third party. In India it is divided as intervention and impleadment, intervention includes allowing third party to address court in a suit and impleadment includes adding party to a suit by court whenever it is necessary.

Intervention under the Code of Civil Procedure

Under Order 1 Rule 8A of the Code of Civil Procedure[ii], court can permit a person or group of persons to intervene in a suit if court is satisfied with the reason to intervene. Such a person can intervene even though he is not a party to the case. Court can allow such person or group of persons to address the court and give their opinion for the case.

Court allow only in following situations:

  1. When person or group of persons have direct interest in question of law in that particular suit.
  2. For cases where it is necessary for public interest.

In case of Ramaiah v. Shivlingaiah[iii], court held that for intervention in a suit, public interest has merit over direct interest in question of law arised in suit. In case of Razia Begum v. Sahebzadi Anwar Begum[iv], court held that for intervention in cases of movable or immovable property, there must be direct interest of person in question of law in the case. Court may not allow to intervene in a suit just on the basis of having identical issues in another case with one of the party[v].

Most of the time intervention application is filed in cases having interest of large public.

Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and Intervention

In India article 226 and 32 of the Constitution of India had created the concept of PIL.

If we look into the jurisprudence of the PIL, it allows any person from the common public to ask for the justice from court irrespective of fact whether he or she is related to that case or not. PIL has changed the legal system of today, the number of PIL matters is increasing every year.[vi]

The practice of intervention is very common in PIL cases. NGO or social work organizations file the application of intervention to address the court from their side.

Difference between Impleadment and Intervention

Impleadment is procedure of adding a party in a law suit under the Code of Civil Procedure. Order 1 Rule 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure allows court to add any party at any time in suit. Court may allow third party to enter into suit on the basis of certain criteria and tests laid down in various landmark cases. Court will also determine whether its a proper party or necessary party.

Proper party

Party without whom relief in suit can not be granted.

Necessary Party

Party whose presence is necessary during case.

It is easy to recognize the proper party in suit but while determining necessary party certain tests in case of Kasturi v. Uyyamperumal and others[vii], “it is now clear that two tests are to be satisfied for determining the question 3 who is a necessary party. Tests are – (1) there must be a right to some relief against such party in respect of the controversies involved in the proceedings (2) no effective decree can be passed in the absence of such party”

The basic difference between intervention and impleadment is, intervention allows only to join and address the court but impleadment has wider scope it allows directly become party in suit at any stage of case. In most of the cases intervention is allowed only at the point of filing the case. In India sometimes these concepts are used in the same way but still there is a difference between them.


In this article we discussed who can intervene in a suit. In India under in civil cases court may allow to intervene in two situations. First is when person or group of persons having direct interest in question of law in the case and second when it is necessary for public interest. The scope of intervention is narrow in India compared to other countries.

“The views of the authors are personal


[i] See https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intervention#legalDictionary. (last visited 20 September 2019).

[ii] Order 1 Rule 8 A. of the code of civil procedure Power of Court to permit a person or body of persons to present opinion or to take part in proceedings:

While trying a suit, the Court may, if satisfied that a person or body of persons is interested in any question of law which is directly and substantially in issue in the suit and that it is necessary in the public interest to allow that person or body of persons to present his or its opinion on that question of law, permit that person or body of persons to present such opinion and to take such part in the proceedings of the suit as the Court may specify.

[iii] Ramaiah v. Shivlingaiah, Writ petition No. 32026 of 2016 (GM-CPC).

[iv] Razia Begum v. Sahebzadi Anwar Begum, AIR 1958 SC 886.

[v] In case of Telefonaktiebolaget lm Ericsson (publ) v. Lava international ltd, Micromax Informatics Private Limited filed application for intervention on the basis of having similar issues in present case identical to case filed by Ericsson against Micromax. But court not allowed to intervene.

[vi] https://sci.gov.in/statistics (last visited 23 October 2019).

[vii] (2005) 6 SCC 733.

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