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Summary Suits | A pathway to time-bound litigation?

This article has been written by Mr. Ishan Mankotia, a student of CHRIST (deemed to be University).


What is Summary Suit? 

In the realm of legal proceedings, the concept of summary suits holds significant importance, offering a streamlined approach to resolve disputes swiftly and efficiently. This article aims to delve into the various facets of summary suits, elucidating their significance, procedural aspects, applicable cases, and potential avenues for improvement. 


Why Summary Suit? 

A summary suit is an expedited legal mechanism tailored to address cases where the facts are clear, and there is no substantial dispute over the essential elements of the case. The primary objective of instituting summary suits is to facilitate a quicker resolution without the need for prolonged trials, reducing both time and resources involved in the legal process. 


Cases in which Summary Suits Can be Filed 

Summary suits find relevance in several categories of legal disputes: 

  • Debt Recovery: Cases involving straightforward claims for the recovery of dues, where the evidence of debt is clear and uncontested. 
  • Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Summary suits are applicable in cases of eviction, especially when there is no dispute regarding the grounds for eviction and the tenant’s non-compliance with lease terms. 
  • Commercial Disputes: Matters related to dishonored cheques, unpaid invoices, or breach of contract involving evident and undisputed facts. 


Procedure of Summary Suits 

The procedure for instituting a summary suit typically involves the following steps: 

  • Filing of Plaint: The plaintiff files a plaint, presenting the claim along with supporting documents to substantiate the case’s validity. 
  • Summoning the Defendant: After the plaint is filed, the defendant is summoned to appear in court within a specified period. 
  • Evidence Submission: Both parties present their evidence in support of their claims or defenses. However, the process is expedited compared to a regular trial. 
  • Expedited Judgment: Based on the evidence presented, the court delivers a judgment, aiming for a prompt resolution of the dispute. 

Request of Leave to Defend in a Summary Suit 

In certain jurisdictions, defendants in a summary suit can request leave to defend. This provision allows the defendant to present their case and dispute the claims made against them. The court then evaluates the validity of the defense before proceeding with the judgment. 


Suggestions/Improvements That Can Be Brought 

  • Clarity in Criteria: There should be clear guidelines outlining the specific criteria for cases eligible for summary suits to avoid ambiguity. 
  • Provision for Conciliation: Integrating alternative dispute resolution methods within summary suits could expedite resolutions further, fostering a more amicable settlement. 


Case Laws Related to Summary Suits 


 In this case the plaintiff firm had invested in the equity shares and compulsory convertible debentures of the defendant firm. The plaintiff was willing to invest only in the projects which have fixed returns, which was and is not permissible under the FDI policy but by interposing Vinca (an Indian Company) the amounts received by the plaintiff were invested in OPCDs of Amazia and Rubix bearing 14.5% returns. Despite various reminders sent to the defendant for rectifying the defaults under the debenture trust deed Amazia and Rubix failed to pay the amount due under the debenture trust deed. Then the plaintiff filed a summary suit against the defendant. Then the court granted the leave to defend only if the defendant deposits the sum of 418 crores to the court within three months from the date of judgement.



In this case the petitioner company seeks winding up of respondent company ie. Pranik shipping and services limited on the grounds that it is unable to pay its debts. The total claim was Rs 1,42,50,000. This claim was made on the basis of  decrees passed by the court in summary suit number 2969 of 2007, summary suit number 1954 of 2008 and summary suit number 1955 of 2008. The court held that the respondent company will be liable to pay the total amount of Rs 1,42,50,000 to the petitioner company. The company petition is disposed of in the aforesaid terms.



In this case the appellant challenges the order passed by the company judge while disposing of the petition in exercise the power under section 443 of companies act 1956. The contention of the appellant is that the amount which was disposed in summary suit number 1076 of 2004 could not have been allowed to be withdrawn by the company judge in the proceedings under the companies act. It is not necessary to go into the rival contentions sought to be raised in this regard suffice to observe that since the amount was directed to be deposited in summary suit no. 1076 of 2004 it would have been appropriate to approach the in the said summary suit in case the respondent is desirous of withdrawing the amount rather than inviting the order by the company judge.



In conclusion, summary suits serve as an essential tool within the legal framework, offering expeditious resolutions in cases where the facts are straightforward. By minimizing procedural complexities and expediting judgments, these suits ensure timely justice while saving valuable resources. Enhancements in criteria clarity and alternative dispute resolution avenues could further refine this mechanism, ensuring a more effective and accessible legal process for all involved parties. 

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