Meaning of Summons
Meaning of summons definition has been provided under Order V Rules 1 to 30 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908. And, in Criminal Law summons meaning is provided under Chapter VI and sections 61 to 69 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.
The general meaning of summons is that it is an intimation document issued by a Court ordering a specific person to appear before the court at a specific time to defend himself against the suit filed by the plaintiff. The summons can be followed by the Civil Courts as well as Criminal Courts.
Meaning of summons in English is defined as an order of the court of justice to appear personally before the court that issued the summons against the defendant. Meaning of summons in Hindi is “अदालती सम्मन“. Meaning of summons in Marathi is “न्यायालयाचे समन्स“
As per Black’s Law Dictionary, the meaning of summons is a writ stating an action is commenced against him in court.
Therefore, whenever a party (plaintiff) filed a suit against another party (defendant). The defendant has to be informed that the suit is filed against him and it is done by the court by way of issuing a summons along with a copy of the suit to the defendant. It is necessary after receiving the summons to the defendant to appear before the court of justice to defend himself. This is the main purpose of issuing the summons to the defendant.
However, the meaning of summons is an intimation document to the defendant issued by the court of justice to give knowledge about the suit filed against him and to appear before the court of justice to defend himself. The intimation document i.e. summons is always sent with the copies of suit to the defendant.
Object of Summons
The objective of summons is that a defendant to whom a summons has been issued by the court to appear before the court issued the summons and to answer all the questions in the form of allegations made by the plaintiff against him, defendant may appear as;
- By a pleader duly instructed and able to answer all the material questions relating to the suit,
- By a pleader accompanied by some other person able to answer all such questions.
Summons in Civil Law
The meaning of Summons in Civil Law has been provided under Order V of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
a) Issue of Summons
It is provided under Order V Rule 1 of CPC, When a suit has been duly instituted, a summons may be issued to the defendant to appear and answer the claim and to file the written statement of his defence, if any, within thirty days from the date of service of summons on that defendant.
b) Service of Summons
i) Service of Summons on Defendants
Save as otherwise prescribed, where there are more defendants than one, service of the summons shall be made on each defendant. Service is to be on the defendant in person when practicable or on his agent. Wherever it is practicable, service shall be made on the defendant in person, unless he has an agent empowered to accept service, in which case service on such agent shall be sufficient.
ii) Outside Local Limits
The summons may be sent by the Court by which it is issued, whether within or without the State, either by one of its officers or by post or by such courier service as may be approved by the High Court, by fax message or by Electronic Mail service or by any other means as may be provided by the rules made by the High Court to any Court (not being the High Court) having jurisdiction in the place where the defendant resides.
iii) Service on Defendant in Prison
Where the defendant resides out of India and has no agent in India empowered to accept service, the summons shall be addressed to the defendant at the place where he is residing and sent to him or by post or by such courier service as may be approved by the High Court, by fax message or by Electronic Mail service or by any other means as may be provided by the rules made by the High Court, if there is postal communication between such place and the place where the Court is situated.
iv) Service in Foreign Country
Service of a summons in the foreign country is provided under rule 26 as,
(a) in the exercise of any foreign jurisdiction vested in the Central Government, a Political Agent has been appointed, or a Court has been established or continued, with power to serve a summons, issued by a Court under this Code, in any foreign territory in which the defendant actually and voluntarily resides, carries on business or personally works for gain, or
(b) the Central Government has, by notification in the Official Gazette, declared in respect of any Court situate in any such territory and not established or continued in the exercise of any such jurisdiction as aforesaid, that service by such Court of any summons issued by a Court under this Code shall be deemed to be valid service,
the summons may be sent to such Political Agent or Court, by post, or
Otherwise, or if so directed by the Central Government, through the Ministry of that Government dealing with foreign affairs, or in such other manner as may be specified by the Central Government for the purpose of being served upon the defendant; and, if the Political Agent or Court returns the summons with an endorsement purporting to have been made by such Political Agent or by the Judge or other officer of the Court to the effect that the summons has been served on the defendant in the manner hereinbefore directed, such endorsement shall be deemed to be evidence of service.
v) Service on Civil Public Officer
Under rule 27, it provided that where the defendant is a public officer (not belonging to the Indian military, naval or air forces, or is the servant of a railway company or local authority, the Court may, if it appears to it that the summons may be most conveniently so served, send it for service on the defendant to the head of the office in which he is employed, together with a copy to be retained by the defendant.
vi) Service on Soldiers, Sailors, Airman
Under rule 27, it provided that where the defendant is a soldier, sailor or airman, the Court shall send the summons for service to his commanding officer together with a copy to be retained by the defendant.
c) When the Person Summoned is not Found or Rejects
Under rule 17 of order V, it is provided that where the defendant or his agent or such other person as aforesaid refuses to sign the acknowledgement, or where the serving officer, after using all due and reasonable diligence, cannot find the defendant, who is absent from his residence at the time when service is sought to be effected on him at his residence and there is no likelihood of his being found at the residence within a reasonable time.
Further, there is no agent empowered to accept service of the summons on his behalf, nor any other person on whom service can be made, the serving officer shall affix a copy of the summons on the outer door or some other conspicuous part of the house in which the defendant ordinarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain, and shall then return the original to the Court from which it was issued.
Meaning of summons is that it is an intimation document issued by a Court ordering a specific person to appear before the court at a specific time to defend himself against the suit filed by the plaintiff. The summons can be followed by the Civil Courts as well as Criminal Courts.
- The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (C-21) Bare Act with Short Notes
- Code of Civil Procedure with Overview Flowchart Latest Amendments – CPC Bare Act 2021 Edition
- Code of civil procedure C. K. Takwani – 2021
- Civil Procedure With Limitation Act, 1963 – 8/Edition
- Universal’s The Code Of Civil Procedure, 1908 (2020 Edition)
- Code of Civil Procedure & Indian Evidence Act Chart ( CPC chart ) – Laminated Wall Chart