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Civil and Criminal Proceedings can be conducted simultaneously: Says SC


In a recent case, Civil Petition No.2000L of 2020, the Supreme Court has held that the general rule is that theย  initiation of criminal proceeding does not bar a civil court to take cognizance of the same matter on civil side. The Court referring to Section 9 and Order 7 Rule 11 of C.P.C,ย  said that a civil court has plenary jurisdiction in civil matters and it can only be barred to hear such matters of civil nature if the law provides so either expressly or impliedly. The judgment further holds that decision of s civil court as to rights, title or status may have substantial bearing on the constituent ingredients of the offence being tried in the criminal proceeding. Thus, proceedings in the civil case cannot be stayed for the sake of criminal case in a connected matter. Another important issue which the Court dilated upon is that standard of proof in civil and criminal proceedings are different and both of these proceedings sets different principles regrading the proof in a dispute. The civil law does not sets high standard to prove a case nor it does require to prove a document beyond any shadow of doubt. On the other hand, criminal law does require higher standard and to prove an offence beyond any iota of doubt. Thus, divergent judgments may come out on both sides.

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