Introduction To Summary Trial – Order 37

Summary procedure is a legal instrument for speedy disposal of civil suits and granting justice to plaintiff in cases of recoveries pending on defendant. This trial removes the hassles and lengthy procedures of a civil trial for bringing quick closure of recoveries claim. 


An Introduction to Summary Procedure Order No 37 CPC

Summary procedure is a legal instrument for speedy disposal of civil suits and granting justice to plaintiff in cases of recoveries pending on defendant. This trial is intended to unburden the civil courts and remove the hassles and lengthy procedures of a civil trial for bringing quick closure of recoveries claim.



A Detailed Introspection of Summary Trail under Order 37

  1. The summary procedure is delineated from Order37 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
  2. This applies solely to financial concerns, enabling people to seek speedy recovery of their unpaid financial amount, mostly in the cases of unpaid bills, loans, and similar nature transactions.
  3. The special highlight of Summary Trail is to get the speedy justice by denying the defendant to cause unnecessary hurdles and prolonging the trail by creating various frivolous defenses.
  4. The summary trail is very quick in nature, as it also provides very shorter timeframe for defendant to present a valid defense, either by self or represented by a lawyer.
  5. On successful evaluation of summary trail, the court passes a decree, which the defendant can’t challenge in other higher courts. Only on the basis of substantively strong claim and evidence, the same court which has pronounced the decree can set it aside.
  6. In summary trail, no other claim can be made by plaintiff that doesn’t lie under the ambit of order 37.



Essential Ingredients Required to Initiate Summary Procedure – Order 37 on a party

The plaintiff must be possessing any of the following in original form or as original document :

    1. Bill of Exchange
    2. Hundi
    3. Promissory Note
    4. Bank Check



Bill of Exchange: A bill of exchange is a written unconditional order by one party (the drawer) to another (the drawee) to pay a certain sum either immediately or on a fixed date for payment of goods and/or services received.  If the sum is to be paid immediately it is called a sight bill. Term bill is the bill of exchange where the sum is to be paid on a fixed date.


A bill of exchange  often includes three parties—drawee is the party that pays the sum, the payee receives that sum, the and drawer is the one that obliges the drawee to pay the payee


Hundi: A Hundi is an unconditional order in writing made by a person directing another to pay a certain sum of money to a person named in the order. It is a financial instrument evolved on the Indian sub-continent and used for trade and credit purposes.


Promissory note: A promissory note contains an unconditional promise to pay a certain sum to the order of a specifically named person or to bearer—that is, to any individual presenting the note. A promissory note can be either payable on demand or at a specific time. 


Special Attention: Failure to provide / submit any or all of the above mentioned documents in original form, invalidates the Summary Trial, and such suit automatically converts into a regular civil suit.


General Procedure of a Summary Trial

  1. Institution of a Summary Trial: It initiates with the plaint submitted to court (appropriate to the jurisdiction). The plaint shall contain the facts concerning the cause of action. Also to be enjoined with affirmation that the relief being sought falls under the ambit of Order 37.


  1. Procedure for the appearance of defendant—


Summon : In a suit to which this Order applies, the plaintiff shall, together with the summons under rule 2, serve on the defendant a copy of the plaint and annexures thereto and the defendant may, at any time within ten days of such service, enter an appearance either in person or by pleader and, in either case, he shall file in Court an address for service of notices on him.


  1. Leave to Defend :

Generally the defendant is not granted leave to defend.

This is a discretionary power of the court for allowing the defendant with leave to defend. The court has certain enumerated principles that are referred and validated with respect to the plain, to grant leave to defend.

  1. Non-Applicability of Leave to Defend:

In cases where defendant has not applied for leave to defend within the prescribed duration, the plaintiff is entitled for judgement forthwith.

  1. Dismissed / Favor Decree in summary suits

The plaintiff is entitled to a decree of a sum not exceeding the sum mentioned in plaint, together with interest and cost in following conditions:-


  • If the defendant does not enter an appearance (ex parte decree)
  • If the defendant has not applied for leave to defend
  • If the defendant has applied for leave to defend but it is refused
  • If the leave to defend is granted, then the suit proceeds as an ordinary suit and decree is granted as per the CPC.[13]



 Setting Aside Decree :

  • The decree passed by the court can’t be reviewed by any other court or High Courts.
  • Power to set aside decree— After decree for the Court may, under special circumstances set aside the decree, and if necessary stay or set aside execution, and may give leave to the defendant to appear to the summons and to defend the suit, if it seems reasonable to the Court so to do, and on such terms as the Court thinks fit.
  • Allow – civil case



Difference Between Summary Suits and Standard Civil Suits


Summary Suit

Civil Suit


Applicable only on suits related to bill of exchange, hundies, promissory notes, contracts,  , guarantees of financial recovery  nature

For any civil nature disputes and settlement

Applicability of Res Sub Judice

Not applicable if summary suit can be filed on the matter directly


The right of defendant to defend

The defendant gets a lesser chance to defend. The defendant can defend only in case if the court grants leave to defend.

The defendant has ample rights to defend basis the ambit of law and legal processes for the allegations mentioned in the suit. Also the defendant is empowered to file counter claims if the allegations are void or frivolous.

Ease of Getting Decree

Incase of nonappearance by defendant in stipulated duration specified by court the decree is immediately granted. Also in case the court refuses to grant leave to defend, then also the decree is granted forthwith.

Repeat / reminder summons are served to defendant(s) in civil suit, before an ex parte is decree is passed.

Setting Aside Ex Parte Decree

The defendant must prove valid and acceptable reason only for non-appearance. Setting aside decree is non common

Sufficient cause for non-appearance can be shown.



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