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Page no : 2

Preksha Goyal   14 May 2021

A pro forma defendant is a defendant named as a matter of formality, who has no direct responsibility for the harm alleged to have been done by him, but shares an interest with the other defendants, such as being a co-owner of property or successor in interest. For example, a co-owner named on a deed or an heir who has the right to inherit property may be named as a pro forma defendant. This is a term used mainly in Indian law.
A 'pro forma' defendant is joined as a party in a suit because his presence is necessary in order to enable the Court spectrally and completely to adjudicate upon the matters in controversy between the parties. He does not have the right to enjoy any special rights or privileges which are not available to others and is as bound by the decision of the Court as the other parties to the litigation. The aforementioned decision was given in the case of Gita Ram Kalsi vs S. Prithvi Singh and Ors.
The aforementioned case also held that people against whom no relief may be claimed but who are interested in the decision of the suit and whose rights may be adversely affected by granting the plaintiff the relief he claims. These are persons who are indirectly interested in the suit but do not stand to gain anything from it. Parties having a smaller interest even than the "proper parties" to the suit are frequently called "pro forma parties". These are persons against whom no relief is claimed, who cannot often be said to be interested in the issue that the suit is about and whose presence or absence would really make no difference to the Court in arriving at a correct decision.

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