Tuesday 14 November 2023

What are the requisites for a representative suit?

 In India, a representative suit, also known as a class action suit, allows one or more persons to sue or defend on behalf of a group of persons who have the same interest in the subject matter of the lawsuit. The primary purpose of a representative suit is to efficiently resolve common issues or rights of a large group of people. The requisites for a representative suit are outlined in Order 1, Rule 8 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. Here are the key requisites for a representative suit:

  • 1) Numerosity: There must be a large number of persons having the same interest in the subject matter of the suit. A representative suit is suitable when it is impractical for each person in the group to file an individual lawsuit.

  • 2) Common Interest: The persons represented in the suit must have a common interest in the subject matter. Their rights, interests, or claims should be similar or identical, and the outcome of the case should affect all of them in a similar manner.

  • 3) Identity of Interest: The person who files the representative suit (the "representative plaintiff") should have a similar interest to the other members of the group. They must adequately represent the interests of the entire class.

  • 4) Specific Authorization: The representative suit must be filed with the permission of the court. The court may grant permission if it believes that a representative suit is the most appropriate way to resolve the common issues involved.

  • 5) Notice to Class Members: Notice must be given to the other members of the class so that they are aware of the lawsuit and have the opportunity to opt in or opt out. The notice informs them that they will be bound by the outcome of the suit unless they choose to opt out and file their separate cases.

  • 6) Common Questions of Law or Fact: There should be common questions of law or fact that are common to the entire class. The resolution of these common questions will determine the rights and liabilities of all class members.

  • 7) Final and Binding Decision: The decision of the court in the representative suit will be final and binding on all class members. This means that the court's judgment will apply to all members of the class, whether or not they were actively involved in the lawsuit.

Representative suits are a mechanism to streamline the legal process and ensure that the rights and interests of a large group of individuals with similar claims are protected efficiently. 

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