AUTHOR: PARAMVEER SINGH
Section 80 of CPC: Whenever the legal rights of any individual or group of individuals have been violated, The legal framework of our country provides us the right to sue that individual or group of individuals whosoever did such violation.
In the case where the suit lies between Individual v. Individual, the notice is not necessarily be given to the defendants by the plaintiff before the institution of the suit. On the other hand, this is not the case anymore when the government or any public officer comes into the picture. For instituting the suit against the government or any public officer who commits that particular act in the color of his office, provisions of Section 80 of CPC or Civil procedure Code shall have to be applied, where the plaintiff has to send a notice within the period of two months. Otherwise, the plaintiff cannot institute a suit in the court if notice is not given.
Nature of Section 80:
Section 80 of CPC, gives a rule of procedure. This section puts an obligation on the plaintiff to give prior notice to the government or against any public office before the institution of a suit in civil court.
Thus, this section describes two types of cases:
- The suit against the Government, and
- Suit against public officers in respect of acts done or purporting to be done by such public officers in colour of their office.
In State of Maharashtra v. Chander Kant
It was observed that the notice must be given in all the cases where the suit is instituted against the government. However, in the case of the suit instituted against the public officer, the notice must be given only where act purporting to be done by him in the discharge of his duty. Otherwise, no notice is required.
Section 80(1) of Civil procedure Code gives the name of the offices wherein the notice has to be in writing and delivered to or left according to the category they owe to:
- Firstly, where the suit is instituted against the central government: the notice has to be given in the office of the Secretary to that Government provided if the case is against railways.
- Secondly, where the suit is instituted against the Central Government which related to Railways: Here the notice has to be served at the office of the General Manager of that railway.
- Thirdly, where If the suit is instituted against the Government of Jammu and Kashmir: Here, the notice will be given to the office of the Chief Secretary to that Government or any other officer to whom the authority is given by that Government regarding this behalf.
- Fourthly, where the suit is instituted against any other State Government: Then the notice to be given in the office of a Secretary to that Government or to the Collector of the district.
- Lastly, comes the case of a public officer, delivered to him or left at his office, Where the cause of action was stated and other information like name, place of residence, and description of the plaintiff. The relief which the plaintiff is claiming has also mentioned.
Object of the notice:
Section 80 of CPC, was made keeping in mind the public interest where time and money both are saved. This section gives an opportunity to the government or to any public officer to attains the legal position, set right the claims asked by the plaintiff if those claims appear to be just and proper. After taking the legal advice, an appropriate decision must be given by the government within two months. The intention of the legislation is that money and time is not wasted on unnecessary litigation. This section also gives guidance to the public officer and the government to negotiate with the plaintiff who is being infringed, for the sake of justice to both the parties.
In Bihari Chowdhary v. State of Bihar, Supreme Court has held that
“The main object of this section is giving justice and the safeguarding the public interest by not allowing unnecessary litigation”.
The opinion of the Law Commission:
Section 80 of CPC has become the reason for hardship in many cases where immediate reliefs were-required to be given. This was noted by the Law Commission of India in its 14th report. Furthermore, the proper use of this opportunity was not made by the government or the public officer. The notice was remained unanswered by them and they use this provision as a technical defense.
Next 27th report of law commission of India came. These questions arose and some observations were made regarding the provision which no other country follows, governed by Anglo- Saxon system of law. It was further said that India is a democratic country which means there should be no distinction be made between the citizen and the state as mentioned in Section 80.
Following are the essentials required to draft a notice under Section 80 of CPC:
- The foremost essential is the name, description, and place of residence of the plaintiff who is giving the notice.
- Another important statement to be given i.e. statement of cause of action.
- The relief claimed by the plaintiff
- Summary regarding the legal basis is required for claiming the relief.
In the case of State of A.P. v. Gundugola Venkata, under this case, important points were mentioned which the court has to look into to check whether the essential requirements of the notice are followed or not. This is given as follows:
- Whether the details relating to name, description, and residence of the plaintiff have been given in such a manner to provide the authority the identification of the person giving the notice?
- Whether the cause of action and the relief claimed by the plaintiff has been put out in the notice as per the essential particulars?
- If the mode of delivery of written notice has been by actual delivery or left at the office of the appropriate authority mentioned in the section? And
- Whether the suit has been instituted after the expiration of two months after the service of notice and a statement stating that the notice has been so delivered or left is contained in the plaint?
A notice under section 80 of CPC is given which brings to the knowledge of government or any public officer against whom the suit has been filed and the act which they have committed has caused wrongful loss to the party filing the suit or in other words the legal right of the plaintiff is infringed and he has moved to the court to get redressal.
Section 80 per se doesn’t give a particular form in which the notice has to be served. But there are certain important things which have to be kept in mind while drafting it.
The initial and pertinent step is writing the letterhead– It includes the following things: names, addresses, and contact details of not only the plaintiff but also the advocates, the government, or any public officer. It should be specific and not vague to reach the concerned authority or officer within time.
After the writing of letterheads, details of the cause of action must be written.
Now the important point comes for which the plaintiff has moved to the court that is specifying the relief to be claimed by him and mentions the time period of 15 to 30 days within which the defendants has to make a reply. In the case of dishonour of notice, the future set of actions that will be taken by him has to be mentioned in this paragraph itself.
Signature– if the notice is drafted by the plaintiff himself then he has to put his signature on the notice. But if any advocate has drafted this notice then the signature of that advocate is necessary followed by the signature of the client i.e. plaintiff. This is estoppel against the person who is serving the notice if in case he denies giving details specified in the notice.
There can be no room left for the doubt that provisions given in section 80 of CPC are for the benefit of both parties where principles of justice are invoked. India is a democratic country but still, somewhere difference arises between the state and the citizens. These authorities are in habit of avoiding the notices given by the plaintiff which works as hardship and results in questions that are unanswered. Hence, it is advisable to take help from an advocate for drafting the notice so that there leads to no intricacies.
 (1977) 1 SCC 257
 AIR 1984 SC 1043
 AIR 1965 SC 11
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