General Principles of Civil Procedural Law in Nepal
As per Chapter 2 of the national civil procedural law code 2074, a court must follow the following general principles when hearing and adjudicating civil cases.
1. Hearing to be held on an open bench:
It means that the court proceedings should be held on an open bench where the public, including the media, is able to observe them. The purpose of an open bench hearing is to ensure transparency in the judicial process and uphold the principle of justice and fairness.
In addition to ensuring that the proceedings are conducted fairly and impartially, it gives the public confidence in the legal system.
2. Hearing to be made by a competent court:
This means a court that has jurisdiction and authority to hear and decide the case. Courts that are competent refer to those that have the legal authority to handle a particular case based on a number of factors, including the subject matter, jurisdiction, and other relevant factors. An enforceable and legally valid decision is ensured by the competence of the court.
3. Question of entitlement or disentitlement to be settled by a court only:
Disputes involving entitlement or disentitlement must be handled by a court of law only.This principle emphasizes that disputes regarding entitlement or disentitlement, such as rights, privileges, or claims, should be resolved by a court. As a result, individuals cannot decide unilaterally which rights they are entitled to or which they are not entitled to. They must seek a legal remedy from the courts.
4. Dispute relating to legal status to be settled by a regular court only:
This principle states that disputes involving legal status, such as rights, obligations, or duties, should be handled in a regular court, rather than by an alternative method. In order to ensure appropriate interpretation and application of the law, legal status issues require a formal judicial process.
It is the responsibility of regular courts to handle such disputes and provide appropriate legal remedies.
5. Equal treatment of parties involved:
As a result of the principle of equal treatment, all parties in a legal proceeding are treated equally and impartially. It implies that each party should have the same opportunity to present their case, provide evidence, and challenge the arguments and evidence presented by the opposing party.
In order to prevent bias and discrimination in the legal process, equal treatment seeks to uphold fundamental principles of justice.
6. One to have locus standi to make a plaint:
Locus standi refers to the legal standing or the right of an individual or entity to bring a claim or initiate legal proceedings in court. Those with a direct interest in a dispute or who are directly affected by it are entitled to bring a lawsuit or make a complaint. By doing so, it prevents frivolous or baseless lawsuits and ensures that the parties initiating legal action have a legitimate stake in the matter.
7. Jurisdiction not to be in a vacuum:
As a result of this principle, a court’s exercise of jurisdiction should be based on well-defined legal principles, rather than arbitrary or vague considerations. A court’s jurisdiction refers to its authority to hear and decide a case.
This principle requires that the court’s jurisdiction should be established by clear laws, rules, or legal precedents, ensuring that the court’s powers are exercised within the limits of the legal framework.
8. Not to be allowed to avoid making decisions:
This principle states that courts cannot avoid making decisions on matters that fall within their jurisdiction by evading or avoiding making decisions. Disputes must be resolved by courts based on the applicable laws and the evidence presented.
By adhering to this principle, the court avoids shirking its responsibilities and ensures that all parties in a legal proceeding receive a decision.
9. Opportunity to be given for compromise or mediation:
It promotes the use of alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, negotiation, and compromise, to resolve legal disputes. It encourages the court to provide an opportunity for the parties involved to explore settlement options and reach a mutually agreeable solution.
Dispute resolution methods that use alternative methods are often less time-consuming, less costly, and more conducive to maintaining relationships.
10. Principle of res judicata to be followed:
Once a final judgment has been reached, the principle of res judicata prevents the same matter from being re-litigated between the same parties. The purpose of this principle is to protect the finality of court decisions and to improve judicial efficiency.
The parties cannot bring back the same issue in subsequent proceedings once the court has made a final decision on a matter.
11. Right of appeal:
It is the right of a party to challenge a lower court’s decision in a higher court if they believe that an error or injustice has occurred. An aggrieved party may request a review of a lower court’s decision if they believe there has been an error or injustice.
In order to uphold the principles of justice and fairness, lower court decisions must be subject to scrutiny and correction if necessary, which is why appeals are essential.