The expression “first hearing” has not been defined in the code. The first hearing of a suit means the day on which the court goes into the pleadings of the parties in order to understand their contentions. The machinery of the court is set in motion by the presentation of a plaint, which is the first stage in the suit. The second stage is the filing of the written statement by the defendant. The third important in the suit is framing & settlement of issues & the day on which such issues are framed is the first hearing of the suit. In cases in which no issue need to be framed for example a small cause suit, the first hearing would be the day on which the trial starts.
In Shiraj Ahmed vs Prem Nath Supreme Court stated the date first hearing of a suit under the code is ordinarily understood to be the date on which the court proposes to apply its mind to the contentions in the pleadings of the party to the suit and the documents filed by them for the purpose of framing the issue to be decided in the suit.
Thus the date when for the first time the case is called out for hearing and really gone into and not the date when the case was fixed for hearing but was not gone into framing the issues to be decided in the suit.
Thus the date when for the first time, the case is called out for hearing & really gone into and not the date when the case was fixed for hearing but was not gone into.
Order 10 Rule 1 provides that the court shall at the first hearing of the suit, ascertain from each party or his leader whether he admits or denies such allegation or facts as are made in the plaint or in the written statement, if any of the opposite party.
After recording admissions and denials, the court shall direct the parties to the suit to settle the matter out of court through conciliation, arbitration, meditation or Lok Adalat. If there is no settlement, the case will be referred back to the court.
Order 10 Rule 2 provides for oral examination of parties to the suit with a view to elucidating matters in controversy in the suit. The court, thus ascertains with precision the proposition of law or fact on which the parties are at variance & on such questions issue are required to be framed.
Disposal of Suit at First Hearing:
Order 15 lays down that the court may at once pronounce the judgement in following cases-:
- Where the parties are not at issue one any question of law or fact.
- Where one of the defendants is not at issue with the plaintiff, the court may pronounce judgement for or against such defendant.
- Where summons have been for final disposal & either party fails to bring evidence without a valid reasoning.