Issue and Service of Summons:
The next-step after the admission of the plaint is for the plaintiff to apply to the court for the issue of summons to the defendant to appear and answer the claim of the plaintiff. The summons has to be served in the prescribed manner.
After the summons has been served on the defendant, the defendant may, at or before the first hearing, or within such time as the court may permit, present a written statement of his defence dealing with each allegation in the plaint and stating with respect to each allegation whether the same is admitted or denied.
Every party to a suit is entitled to know the nature of his opponent’s case, so that he may know before-hand what case he has to meet. He is also entitled to obtain admissions from his opponent to facilitate the proof of his own case. This is termed as discovery, which may be by administering interrogatories to the opponent or by requiring him to disclose the document by affidavit.
First Hearing and Striking of Issues:
On the day fixed in the summons for the defendant to appear and answer, the suit is heard if both the parties are present, unless the court adjourns it to a later date.
If neither party appears when the suit is called on for hearing, the court may dismiss the suit. If the plaintiff appears and the defendant does not appear the plaintiff will be required to prove the service of summons on the defendant and on such proof of service an ex parte decree may be passed on the plaintiffs proving his case. Where the defendant appears and the plaintiff does not appear, the court may dismiss the suit, unless the defendant admits the claim.
At the first hearing of the case when both the parties are present the court goes through the plaint, the written statement and answers to interrogatories, if any, and then examines the parties and records their admissions and denials.
Only the substance of such examination forms part of the record and is not evidence in the suit. The object of such examination is to ascertain from the party or his pleader which material facts in the pleading of either party are admitted or denied by the other. On such ascertainment the court strikes issues which have to be determined to dispose of the case.
If it is found that the parties are not at issue on any question of law or fact the court delivers the judgment.
Production of evidence and argument:
If, however, the parties are at issue, as is generally the case, a date is fixed for hearing when the party having the right to begin states his case and produces his evidence in support of the issue. Then the other party states his case, produces his evidence and addresses the court on the whole case.
After the case has been heard the court shall pronounce judgment in open court, either at once or it may reserve its judgment and deliver the same on some further date, due notice whereof shall be given to the parties or their pleader. (S. 33).
After the judgment is pronounced the successful party applies to the court for the drawing up of the decree, which is drawn up by an officer of the court.
Execution is the final stage of the suit. It is the means employed in due process of law to make a decree or order of a court effective. The successful party makes an application in writing to the executing court when proceedings in execution are commenced.