Important Abbreviations Used in Courts that Lawyers Must Know

A special thanks to Mr. Logannathan on who's thread the article has been developed by - Content Writer Sunidhi Singh and Editor - Raghav Arora (LAWyersClubIndia).

The experts are requested to add to the same in the comment section in case we have missed any important abbreviations that there are.

There are a plethora of abbreviations used in Courts. Whether you read a judgment or the reference of a case law, abbreviations can be found in every nook and corner of the legal world and have an important role to play in legal documentation.

But do all of us understand what all those abbreviations actually mean and what are their full forms?

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In this article we will provide you with the full forms of the various kinds of abbreviations of case types used in Courts and explain their use. For the ease of understanding, all the case types have been categorized under specific jurisdictions which are as follows:

  1. Original Jurisdiction
  2. Writ Jurisdiction
  3. Appellate Jurisdiction

Under these categories, the abbreviations of case types are further divided into main and miscellaneous types.

APPELLATE SIDE

All the parties to any kind of proceedings can appeal against the decision of the lower court to the court of higher authority. Appeals are basically applications made to the higher courts for reviewing and reconsidering the order passed by the lower courts.

The following case types come under the appellate side of the Court:

Main Case Types:

1. First Appeal (A.S.)

When an appeal is made against the order passed by the court which had original jurisdiction for the particular case, it is called the first appeal. This is made to a superior court by the aggrieved party. For civil cases, Section 96 CPC provides for first appeal. It is only until the first appeal that both the questions to facts and law can be raised.

2. Second Appeal (S.A.)

A second appeal is filed against the first appeal. Under Section 100 CPC, it can only be filed in a High Court. In the second appeal, only a question of law can be raised and facts cannot be questioned.

3. Writ Appeal (W.A.)

In India, the High Courts & the Supreme Court have writ jurisdiction under which they can issue 5 writs – Habeas Corpus, Certiorari, Mandamus, Prohibition and Quo Warranto. When an appeal to the Supreme Court or High Court is filed under this jurisdiction, it is a writ appeal.

4. Original Side Appeal (O.S.A.)

The original side of a court, in terms of approaching, means that the party has directly come before the court before going through the lower courts. In the Original Side jurisdiction, the most important of cases involving pertinent questions of law are taken up. For eg. A dispute between two Govts. Against the decision of a Single Bench of High Court which has Original Jurisdiction in certain matters, an appeal to the division bench would be an Original Side Appeal.

5. Special Tribunal Appeal (S.T.A.)

(1). Section 11 of the Special Tribunal Act - Notwithstanding anything in the Code, an appeal shall lie as of right from any judgment, sentence or order, not being an interlocutory order, of a Special Court to the Supreme Court both on facts and on the law.

(2). Except as aforesaid, no appeal or revision shall lie to any court from any judgment, sentence, or order of a Special Court.

As is clear from the bare reading of the quoted section, an appeal from the judgment or order of a Special Tribunal to the Hon'ble SC is a Special Tribunal Appeal.

6. Civil Miscellaneous Appeal (C.M.A.)

Against certain orders passed in a suit before it is finally disposed of, an appeal is provided under Section 104 read with Order 43, Rule 1 C.P.C. These appeals in the District Courts are called Civil Miscellaneous Appeals.

Miscellaneous matters are supplementary and ancillary proceedings which do not constitute a civil matter. For eg - Going in appeal against a temporary injunction. Read the case of Macario Antonio Fransisco Vs Alex Fred D'Souza 1991 for better understanding.

7. Civil Miscellaneous Second Appeal (C.M.S.A.)

Simply, an appeal against the Civil Miscellaneous Appeal.

8. Letters Patent Appeal (L.P.A.)

This kind of appeal is made from the single bench to a larger bench but of the same court. It can be made to the larger bench of the High Court or the Supreme Court. High Courts were first created by Letters Patent in India in the year 1865. And the remedy against the judgment of a Court of Single Judge (Letter Patent Court) was an appeal to a bench of 2 judges. That is why it was named Letters Patent Appeal.

9. Special Tribunal Petition (S.T.P.)

A petition filed in a Special Tribunal Petition.

10. Contempt Appeal (CONT.A.)

An appeal against a Contempt Petition under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. A person may be sued under the said act in cases such as - Disobedience of any judgment or order of a court of law, scandalizing the court, etc. Section 19 and 20 of the Act are relevant for those who would want to read more about Contempt Petitions.

11. Cross Objection (CROSS.OBJ.)

Court passes a decree which is partly in favour of a party and partly not. For eg - In a suit for Rs. 10, 000/-, A (Petitioner) is awarded Rs. 7000/- to be paid by B (Defendant). A is satisfied with the decree and does not want to indulge in litigation any further. But B appeals against the award and contends that he is not liable to pay a single penny. Against this appeal, A can stand, and he will be posing a Cross-Objection. (O 41 R 22 - Relevant)

12. Trade Marks Appeal (T.M.A.)

An appeal against the order of the Registrar of Trademarks under the Trademarks Act 1999.

13. Trade Marks Second Appeal (T.M.S.A.)

An appeal against the order of the appellate authority passing order in a Trademark Appeal.

14. Tax Cases (T.C.)

This abbreviation is used to denote the particular judgment as one relating to taxes and the laws of taxation.

15. Tax Case Appeal (T.C.A.)

When an appeal is filed to a superior court by an aggrieved party against the original order of the court with lower authority, it is known as a tax case appeal.

16. Tax Case Revision (T.C.R.)

When an application is made before the same court for the revision of its judgment in cases of tax, it is known as a tax case revision.

17. Civil Revision Petition (C.R.P.)

When a petition of revision of the judgment is filed before the same court in a civil case, it is known as a civil revision petition.

18. Civil Revision Petition (PD) (CRP(PD))

When a review of the order or judgment of the same court is filed in the same court by the aggrieved party praying for corrections / amendments in the order. It is not a matter of right but of discretion of the court.

19. Review Application (REV.APPL.)

A review application is filed for the correction of any mistakes that may have been committed in a court's judgment. It is made to the same bench which gave the judgment. A review application has to be filed within 30 days of the passing of the judgment by which the person is aggrieved. Section 114 and Order 47 of CPC deal with review applications.

Miscellaneous Case Types

1. Miscellaneous Petition (M.P.)

The petitions which are filed other than the main case. These are miscellaneous as to the matter that they pertain to. Petitions for anticipatory bails or a petition under section 125 (3) of the CrPC may be termed as examples of miscellaneous petitions.

2. Habeas Corpus Petition (H.C.P.)

Habeas Corpus is one of the five writs which can be issued by the High Courts & the Supreme Court under Writ Jurisdiction. When a petition is filed asking for the production of a person in detention or custody along with the grounds for it, it is known as a habeas corpus petition.

3. Criminal Revision Case (CRL.R.C.)

When an application is filed by an aggrieved person for the revision of the judgment passed by the court, it is a criminal revision case. Applications of revision of criminal cases can only be filed in a High Court or a Sessions Court.

4. Criminal Appeal (CRL.A.)

A criminal appeal is an appeal made to a superior court against the order of the court of lower authority by the aggrieved party to the proceedings.

5. Referred Trial (R.T.)

In cases where the punishment inflicted is grave, the Sessions Court mandatorily needs to refer the trial to High Court for confirmation, even if the accused does not prefer an appeal against the order. Such trials are called Referred Trials. A reference may also be made by a lower court to its High Court when the case before the lower court involves a question as to the validity of a Law, Ordinance, Regulation, etc. which is inoperative or invalid but has not been so declared by the High Court or the Supreme Court. (Relevant sections - 366 and 395 of the CrPC) (Criminal Cases)

6. Criminal Original Petition (CRL.O.P.)

A petition filed under a provision of law which allows a court to hear a criminal matter originally (Not necessary to come in appeal). The terms 'Criminal', 'Original' and 'Petition' suggest the definition of a CRL.OP.

For eg - A petition to quash an FIR under section 482 CrPC invoking the original jurisdiction of the High Court.

Read - Subhashini Maryadasan Vs State (Inspector of Police), Chennai, 2018 for a quick reference.

7. Reference Case (R.C.)

A reference made by a lower court to the High Court under section 113 of CPC asking for the High Court's opinion on points where the law is not very clear.

WRIT SIDE

Under the Writ Side, the following are the types of cases:

Main Case Types:

1. Writ Petition (W.P.)

Writ Petitions are the orders of the superior courts to the lower courts to do or not to something. Under Articles 226 and 32 of the Indian Constitution, writ petitions can be filed before the High Courts and the Supreme Court. Different kinds of Writ include - Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Certiorari, Prohibition, and Quo-Warranto.

2. Review Application (REV. APPL.)

Article 114 of the CPC talks about this with some of its limitations given in Order 47 of the same. Reflecting upon the provision here -

Any aggrieved person -

  • by a decree or order from which an appeal is allowed but from which no appeal has been preferred;

  • by a decree or order from which no appeal is allowed;

  • by a decision on a reference from a court of small causes,

may apply for a review of judgment to the court which passed the decree or made the order on any of the following grounds:

(1) discovery by the applicant of new and important matter or evidence which after the exercise of due diligence was not within his knowledge or could not be produced by him at the time when the decree was passed or order made.

(2) on account of some mistake or error apparent on the face of the record.

(3) for any other sufficient reason.

Miscellaneous Case Types

ORIGINAL SIDE

Main Case Types :

1. Civil Suit (C.S.)

To understand this we should understand the difference between a Case and a Suit. To under the same, read this conversation - https://www.lawyersclubindia.com/experts/difference-between-case-and-suit-14151.asp

Broadly, it is what is lodged in a court through stipulated instruments against a private person typically for money. The court awards compensation here, instead of imprisonment as is the case in Criminal 'Proceedings' (Suit is the term used for Civil matters)

The above link will surely give you all more clarity.

2. Insolvency Petition (I.P.)

An insolvency petition is a petition filed either by the creditor for the repayment of debt or the debtor for getting protection from the creditor. It is filed before the District Court of jurisdiction either where the debtor resides or has his business or is in custody.

3. Original Petition (O.P.)

The petition by the filing of which a suit gets instituted in a court of law is an original petition.

4. Company Petition (C.P.)

Generally a Petition filed by the creditors or shareholders against a Company that is not showing promising stability and the apprehension is that the money invested by the stakeholders may be lost.

5. Election Petition (ELEC. PETN)

Election petitions are petitions which challenge the election of a person to the Parliament or Legislature.

6. Testamentary Original Suit (T.O.S.)

Testament signifies the Testification of One Will or What he has determined in his mind. An original suit is one that comes to a court Originally, that is to say that it does not come by the virtue of an appeal from a lower court.

7. Original Matrimonial Suit (O.M.S)

A matrimonial suit is one in which the rights and liabilities or titles of two parties involved in a matrimonial tie are meant to be determined. When such suit is commenced through an instrument for the first time in a court, it is known as an Original Matrimonial Suit.

8. Original Applications (O.A.)

As the work 'Origin' suggests, it is a provisional, preliminary or initial application moved for any matter or relief in a Court of law.

Miscellaneous Case Types

1. Original Application (O.A.)

Does not need any explanation as the same has been explained above.

2. Application (APPLICATION)

An instrument used to move the court for a specific right, typically incidental, in a suit going on pertaining to the main matter before a Court of law.

3. Sub-Application (SUB-APPLICATION)

An application making part of a larger or the main application. For eg - A sub application may be made after an application for maintenance is made, in order to request the Court to increase the amount of maintenance.

4. Execution Petition (E.P.)

After a judgment is pronounced the two parties in a Suit / Proceeding become 'Judgment Holder' and 'Judgment Creditor'. The Judgment Debtor owes to the Judgment Creditor what Court awards to the creditor.

Now, after the judgement is pronounced, the award does not work itself out. The Decree holder has to apply for its execution in which the state machinery helps the Decree Holder. This instrument is called an Execution Petition.

5. Caveat (CAVEAT)

A caveat petition is filed by an individual when he/she has a fear that a case may be instituted against him/her. Section 148A CPC defines a caveat petition. Caveat means 'Beware'. This petition warns the Court that in case a case is filed against such person, court may kindly inform the person about the same without an action is taken against the person against whom a case filed.

Working on this piece, we have learnt a lot. The explanations to each abbreviation have been duly researched and then written upon. However, there are or may be few abbreviations that might need additions or subtractions. As juniors in the profession, we welcome all suggestions.

Hope this helps!

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Sunidhi Singh 
on 11 February 2021
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