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PRIMARY COURTS PROCEDURE [Cap.

18

CHAPTER 18
PRIMARY COURTS' PROCEDURE
Acts AN ACT TO REGULATE THE PROCEDURE IN PRIMARY COURTS AND TO MAKE PROVISION
Nos. 44 of 1979 FOR CONNECTED MATTERS.
[2nd July, 1979.]
Short title. 1. This Act may be cited as the Primary 5. Where it is made to appear to the Power of Court
Courts* Procedure Act. Court of Appeal on an application by one of of Appeal to
transfer case to
the parties or otherwise that any civil action District Court.
or proceeding instituted in a Primary Court
PART I
may owing to the circumstances or questions
GENERAL involved be more appropriately tried before
The civil and 2. The civil and criminal jurisdiction of the District Court having local jurisdiction, it
criminal juridication Primary Courts shall, subject to the shall be lawful for the Court of Appeal to call
of Primary Courts provisions of this and any other written law, for and inspect the record or journal of such
to be exclusive. be exclusive. action or proceeding and to stay the
proceedings in the Primary Court and to
Duty of courts 3. Where in any case, whether civil or make order transferring such case to such
in cases within criminal instituted before a District Court or District Court for hearing and determination.
exclusive a Magistrate's Court, it appears to such court Upon such order being communicated to the
juridication of at any stage of the proceedings that the case Judge of the Primary Court in whose court
Primary is one within the exclusive jurisdiction of a the action or proceeding is pending he shall
Courts. Primary Court, the court may stop the stop the further progress of the action or
further progress of the case and refer the proceeding and transmit the record of that
parties to such Primary Court, and where action or proceeding and all connected papers
such case is a civil case, may also make such to the District Court specified in the order.
order as to costs as may seem just. Thereupon such District Court shall proceed
Right of Court 4. (1) Where a criminal prosecution or to hear, try and determine such action or
of Appeal or proceeding for an offence within the exclusive proceeding as if it were an action or
Attorney- jurisdiction of a Primary Court is pending in proceeding instituted in that District Court
General to such court it shall be lawful, where it is and shall have and be vested with full power
direct transfer deemed to be appropriate in the and jurisdiction so to do.
of criminal case circumstances, for the Court of Appeal on an 6. Where it is made to appear to any Judge of the
to Magistrate's application by any party interested or for the Primary Court- Primary Court
Court. Attorney-General, to direct the transfer of to report cue
(a) in regard to any prosecution for any more
such prosecution or proceeding to a offence pending before it that in the appropriately
Magistrate's Court specified in such circumstances of the case the triable
direction. elsewhereto
offence cannot adequately be Court of
(2) Where a direction made under punished by any penalty which the Appeal for
subsection (1) is communicated to the Judge Primary Court is authorized by law order.
of the Primary Court in whose court such to impose; or
case is pending, he shall stop the further (b) in regard to any civil action or
progress of the case and transmit the case proceeding pending before it that
record and all connected papers to the the action or proceeding may more
Magistrate's Court specified in such appropriately be tried before a
direction. District Court,
(3) The Magistrate's Court referred to in it shall be the duty of the Judge of such
subsection (2) shall proceed to hear, try and Primary Court to suspend the further hearing
determine such case transferred to it as if it of the prosecution or civil action or
were a prosecution or proceeding instituted in proceeding, as the case may be, and to
that Magistrate's Court and shall have and report it to the Court of Appeal with a view
be vested with full power and jurisdiction so to obtaining an order under section 4 or
todo. section 5.

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Cap. 18] PRIMARY COURTS' PROCEDURE

Where case is 7. (1) Where it appears in the course of (3) Anything in this section shall not be
beyond any prosecution, civil action or proceeding construed as derogating from any special
jurisdiction before a P r i m a r y Court that such powers of punishment that may be given to a
duty to refer
party to prosecution, action or proceeding is not Primary Court by this or any other law.
competent within its jurisdiction, it shall bt the duty of
court. such Primary Court to stop the proceedings 9. Notwithstanding anything in this Act, sentence of
the Penal Code or any other written law to mprisonment
and to refer the party by whom the for term of less
prosecution, action or proceeding was the contrary, a Primary Court shall not days.
instituted to the competent court. sentence any person to imprisonment,
whether in default of payment of a fine or
(2) Where a Primary Court stops the not, for a term which is less than seven days.
proceedings in any prosecution, civil action or
proceeding and refers the party by whom the 10. A P r i m a r y Court may, in any Sentences of
prosecution, civil action or proceeding was circumstances in which it is empowered by detention in
instituted to the competent court under any written or other law to sentence an precincts of
subsection (1), that prosecution, civil action offender to imprisonment, whether in default court in lieu of
or proceeding shall not operate as a bar to the of payment of a fine or not, in lieu of imprisonment.
institution of a prosecution, civil action or imposing a sentence of imprisonment order
proceeding in the competent court in respect that the offender be detained in the precincts
of the same offence or matter. of the court until such hour on the day on
which the order is made, not being later than
PART II 4 p.m. as the court may specify in the order.
POWERS OF PUNISHMENT
11. (1) A Primary Court may award Power of
Sentences 8. (1) A Primary Court may pass any of such term of imprisonment in default of Primary Court
which a the following sentences- to sentence to
Primary Court
payment of a fine as is authorized by law in imprisonment
maypau. (a) imprisonment of either description for case of such default, provided that the term in default of
a term not exceeding three months; awarded is not in excess of the court's power payment of
fine.
(b) fine not exceeding two hundred and under this Act.
fifty rupees; (2) The imprisonment awarded under this
section may be in addition to a substantive
(c) whipping with a light cane if the sentence of imprisonment for the maximum
offender is under sixteen years of term awardable by the court under section 8.
age;
(d) any lawful sentence combining any 12. (1) A Primary Court may, in lieu of Community
two of the sentences aforesaid. imposing a sentence of imprisonment on icrvice order.
conviction of an accused person or in lieu of
(2) In the event of default of payment of imposing a sentence of imprisonment on an
any fine imposed on an accused the Judge of accused person in default of payment of a
the Primary Court may subject to the fine, enter an order hereinafter referred to as
provisions of thu Part- a " community Mmoe order " directing the
(a) where the amount of the fine does not accused person to perform stipulated service
exceed twenty-five rupees sentence at a named place in a State or
the accused to imprisonment of State-sponsored proiect or cbcwhtft.
either description for a term not (2) A community service order entered
exceeding seven days; under subsection (1) shall be carried out in
(b) where the amount of the fine exceeds such manner as the Judge of that court may
twenty-five rupees but does not direct.
exceed fifty rupees sentence the
accused to imprisonment of either (3) The duration of a community service
description for a term not exceeding order shall not be more than three months.
fourteen days;
(c) where the amount of the fine exceeds (4) If the convicted person in respect of
fifty rupees sentence the accused to whom a community service order has been
imprisonment of either description entered fails to attend at the place named or
for a term not exceeding one month. having attended fails to do the stipulated

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PRIMARY COURTS' PROCEDURE [Cap. 18

service or is irregular in attendance or does (2) For the purpose of appeal aggregate
not work to the satisfaction of the person in sentences passed under this section in case of
charge or control of the place named or conviction for several offences at one trial
otherwise fails to comply with the order, then shall be deemed to be a single sentence.
it shall be lawful for the Primary Court to
revoke it and impose such sentence of (3) The provisions of sections 55 and 67 of
imprisonment as it thinks fit. the Penal Code shall apply to all offences
whatever.
(5) Throughout the duration of the
community service order, the person in 15. Whenever a Primary Court acquits or Payment of
discharges the accused and declares that the costs and
charge or control of the place named shall compensation
forward, every month to the Primary Court complaint was frivolous and vexatious, it when complaint
which entered the order, a report on the shall be lawful for such court to order the is frivolous or
complainant to pay- vexatious.
attendance and work of the convicted person
and stating whether the order is being or has (a) State costs in a sum not exceeding fifty
been complied with and such report shall be rupees; and
final and conclusive on such questions.
(b) compensation in a sum not exceeding
Suspended 13. (1) Where a Primary Court imposes fifty rupees to the accused or to
sentence of a sentence of imprisonment on an offender it
imprisonment. each accused if there are more than
may order that the sentence shall not take one accused.
effect unless during the period of eighteen
months from the date of the order the 16. Whenever any person is convicted of Payment of
offender commits another offence punishable any offence or where a Primary Court holds compensation
with imprisonment. upon
the charge proved but proceeds to deal with conviction.
the offender without convicting him, the
(2) Where a Primary Court makes an court may order the offender to pay within
order under subsection (1) of this section, the such time or in such instalments as the court
provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure may direct, such sum by way of compensation
Act relating to suspended sentences of not exceeding two hundred rupees to any
imprisonment other than subsections (1) and person affected by the offence as to the court
(2) of section 303 of that Act shall apply, shall seem fit. Any sum awarded under this
mutatis mutandis, to that order, and for that section and section 15 shall be recoverable as if
purpose the period of eighteen months it were a fine imposed by the court:
referred to in subsection (1) of this section
shall be deemed to be the tt operational Provided that if the offender is under the
period "referred to in those provisions. age of sixteen years, the court may if it thinks
fit order the payment under this section to be
Sentence in 14. (1) When a person is convicted at made by the parent or guardian of such
case of one trial of any two or more distinct offences offender.
conviction for
several offences the Primary Court may subject to subsection
at one trial. (3) sentence him for such offences to the 17. Whenever a Primary Court imposes a Court may
fine or passes a sentence of which fine forms a order payment
several punishments prescribed therefor of the fine paid
which the court is competent to inflict; such part the court may order the whole or any or part of it to
punishments when consisting of part of the fine recovered to be paid to the injured party.
imprisonment to commence, unless the court person affected by the offence.
orders them or a n y of them to run
concurrently, the one after the expiration of 18. Whenever a Primary Court holds Power of court
the other in such order as the court may that the charge is proved but is of opinion to permit
conditional
direct; that having regard to the character, release of
antecedents, age, health or mental condition offenders.
Provided that the aggregate punishment of the person charged or the extenuating
shall not exceed twice the amount of circumstances under which the offence was
punishment which such court in the exercise committed, it is inexpedient to inflict any
of its ordinary jurisdiction is competent to punishment or any other than a nominal
inflict. punishment or that it is expedient to

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discharge the offender conditionally as on being satisfied that the conduct of that
hereinafter provided, the court may without person has been such that the recognizance
proceeding to conviction- s h o u l d be d i s c h a r g e d , discharge the
(a) order such offender to be discharged recognizance.
after such admonition as to the
court shall seem f i t ; 21. (1) If the court before which an Provision in
offender is bound by his recognizance under case of offender
(b) order such offender to pay State costs
not exceeding fifty rupees; section 18 to appear for conviction and failing to
sentence is satisfied on information that the observe
(c) order compensation under section 16 ; offender has failed to observe any of the conditions of
(d) discharge the offender conditionally on conditions of his recognizance it may issue a recognizance.
his entering into a recognizance summons for the attendance of the offender
with or without sureties to be of and his sureties (if any) before it.
good behaviour, and to appear for (2) If upon such summons the attendance
conviction and sentence when called of the offender and his sureties (if any)
on at any time during such period, cannot be procured the court may issue a
not exceeding eighteen months, as warrant for such purpose.
may be specified in such order ;
(3) When the offender appears or is
(e) deal with the offender under the brought before the court before which the
provisions of the Probation of offender is bound by his recognizance to
Offenders Ordinance. appear for conviction and sentence that court
on being satisfied after summary inquiry that
Conditions of 19. A recognizance under section 18 may
recognizance. he has failed to observe any condition of his
contain such conditions as the court may, recognizance may forthwith convict and
having regard to the particular circumstances sentence him for the original offence; or, if
of the case, order to be inserted therein with the case was one in which the court in the
respect to all or any of the following first instance might under the Children and
matters :- Young Persons Ordinance, have ordered the
(a) for prohibiting the offender from offender to be sent to an approved or certified
associating with thieves and other school, and the offender is still apparently
undesirable persons, or from under the age of sixteen years, make such an
frequenting undesirable places; order.
(b) as to abstention from intoxicating
liquor, w h e r e the o f f e n c e was 22. In lieu of ordering any male person Whipping in
d r u n k e n n e s s or an offence under the age of sixteen years to be fined or certain cases.
committed under the influence of imprisoned, a Primary Court may order such
drink; person to be whipped in accordance with the
provisions of the Corporal Punishment
(c) generally for securing that the offender
Ordinance and section 294 of the Code of
should lead an honest and
Criminal Procedure Act:
industrious life;
(d) providing that the offender, with his Provided that a Judge of a Primary Court
surety or sureties, if any, shall shall not have power to order more than six
appear in chambers before the strokes with a light cane to be inflicted on any
Judge of the Primary Court at such such person.
intervals as may be specified in the
order; 23. (1) Where a person has been Fine may be
sentenced to a fine only and to imprisonment paid in
(e) directing the payment of compensation in default of payment of the fine a Primary instalments.
and State costs as provided in Court may do all or any of the following
sections 16 and 18. things :-
Power of court 20. The court before which any person is (a) allow time for the payment of the fine;
to vary
conditions of bound by his recognizance under this Act to
recognizance. appear for conviction and sentence may vary (b) direct payment of the fine to be made
the conditions of the recognizance, and may, by instalments;

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PRIMARY COURTS' PROCEDURE [Cap. 18

(c) direct that the person liable to pay the numbered in the order in which it was
fine shall be at liberty to give to the received, and shall form the commencement
satisfaction of the court a bond. of the proceedings in respect thereof.
with or without a surety or sureties,
for the payment of the fine or any 26. (1) Where proceedings have been Issue of
instalment thereof. instituted in a Primary Court, the court shall, summons or
if an offence is disclosed issue summons on warrant.
(2) Where a fine is directed to be paid by the person or persons accused where such
instalments and default is made in the person or persons are not already before
payment of any one instalment the same court.
proceedings may be taken as if default had
been made in the p a y m e n t of all the (2) If the summons cannot be served or
instalments then remaining unpaid. the accused person or persons are absconding
or likely to abscond, the court may issue a
PART III warrant.

OF THE MODE OF I N S T I T U T I O N 27. Every Primary Court shall for the Power of court
OF C R I M I N A L PROSECUTIONS purpose of the exercise of its jurisdiction have to issue process.
full power to issue summons, warrants and
Mode of 24. Every c r i m i n a l prosecution or other processes on persons accused before it
institution of proceeding for an offence triable by a and on witnesses and other persons whose
prosecution.
Primary Court shall be instituted in the attendance the court considers necessary and
Primary Court within the local limits of to compel the production of documents as
whose jurisdiction the offence was nearly as may be in the manner provided for
committed: in the Code of Criminal Procedure Act in
respect of cases instituted in a Magistrate's
Provided that where an offence is Court.
committed partly within the local limits of a
Primary Court and partly within the local
limits of another Primary Court, a criminal 28. (1) When the accused appears, the Procedure
prosecution or proceeding in respect of that Judge of the Primary Court shall- appears. when accuscd
offence may be instituted in any of such
courts. (a) on the basis of the particulars in the
complaint frame a charge ; and
Institution of 25. (1) A criminal prosecution or
proceedings in proceeding may be instituted in a Primary
Primary (b) read and explain the charge to him and
Courts. Court by presenting or transmitting a written ask him if he has cause to show
complaint duly signed to the court by the against it and if he makes an
complainant or the complainant may state his unqualified admission of guilt, pass
case orally to the Judge of such court who sentence or make other order
shall reduce it into writing and obtain the according to law.
complainant's signature to it or cause it to be
reduced into writing and signed and the (2) If the accused does not make an
statement so taken down in writing shall be unqualified admission of guilt or if he refuses
the complaint in the case : to plead or if he pleads not guilty, the
Judge shall proceed in the manner set out in
Provided that where the complainant is a section 31.
local authority, the complaint may be signed
by the chief executive officer of such local 29. (1) It shall be lawful for the Withdrawal of
authority or by any officer of such local complainant at any time before the verdict is charge.
authority duly authorized to appear on behalf given to move to withdraw the complaint and
of such local authority. In this proviso " local thereupon the Judge shall allow the motion
authority " shall have the same meaning as in and acquit the accused.
the Constitution.
(2) If the complainant is absent without Absence of
(2) Every such complaint shall be dated excuse on any day the case is called in open complainant
and sealed with the seal of the court and court whether for the hearing or for any other

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Cap. 18] PRIMARY COURTS' PROCEDURE

purpose the Judge ef the Primary Court may the Attorney-General or a State Counsel or
acquit the accused unless he thinks proper to any attorney-at-law specially or generally
postpone the case for some other day. On authorized by the Attorney-General but in
ordering such postponement the Judge may the absence of such representation the public
order a sum not exceeding fifty rupees to be officer himself or any other public officer of
paid to the accused as costs : the Department interested in the prosecution
or with the permission of the court, an
Provided however that if the complainant a t t o r n e y - a t - l a w may conduct the
appears in reasonable time and satifies the prosecution :
Judge of the Primary Court that his absence
was due to sickness, accident or some other Provided further that an officer of any
cause over which he had no control, such Municipality, Urban Council, Town Council
Judge shall cancel any order made under this or Village Council may appear in person or
subsection. by an a t t o r n e y - a t - l a w to conduct the
prosecution in a n y case in which the
(3) The accused may, for reasons to be Municipality, Urban Council, Town Council
recorded in writing, be discharged by the or Village Council is interested.
Judge at any time before verdict;
33. (1) The trial in a Primary Court Procedure at
Provided, however, that the Judge may in
shall be held in the manner provided for in trial.
his discretion consult the Attorney-General,
the Code of Criminal Procedure Act for trials
prior to such discharge.
in a Magistrate's Court.
Primary Court 30. The Judge of a Primary Court shall (2) The provisions of sections 279 and 283
to transmit w h e n e v e r required in w r i t i n g by the
proceedings to
of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act shall
Attorney- Attorney-General forthwith transmit to the apply to every judgment of a Primary Court
General when Attorney-General the proceedings in any and the provisions of sections 289 and 290 of
required. criminal case in which a trial has been or is that Act shall apply to every sentence of
being held before him : imprisonment passed by a Primary Court.
Provided that the Attorney-General shall
return the record to the Court not later than 34. ( I ) At any stage of the trial, the Disposal of
one month after it is received by him. Primary Court may make such order as it documents and
thinks fit for the disposal of any document or productions.
Procedure at 31. (1) It shall be the duty of the Judge other property produced before it.
bearing. of the Primary Court to inquire orally into (2) When an order is made under Stay of disposal
the charge and, where appropriate by all subsection (1) in a case in which an appeal order pending
lawful means to endeavour to bring the lies, such order shall not (except when the
parties to an amicable settlement. If the property is livestock or is subject to speedy
parties agree to compound such offence or and natural decay) be carried out until the
offences the Judge shall notwithstanding period allowed for presenting such appeal has
anything to the contrary in any other taw, passed, or when such appeal is presented
allow them to do so and make a record of the within such period, until such appeal has been
terms on which the case was compounded and disposed of,
after the accused has complied with such
terms, record the fact and acquit the accused. 35. The Judge of the Primary Court may, inspection of
(2) If the parties refuse to compound the if he deems it necessary, at any stage after scene.
case, then the Judge shall proceed to try the the appearance of parties, adjourn the
case. hearing of the trial until he has had an
opportunity of inspecting the scene of the
Legal 32. Every accused person and every offence or any property in respect of which
representation. c o m p l a i n a n t shall be entitled to be the offence is alleged to have been
represented by an attorney-at-law ; committed. Notice of the time and place of
such inspection shall be duly given by the
Provided, however, that a public officer Judge to the parties, and such notice shall
who has filed a complaint in his official state that the parties are entitled to be
capacity shall be entitled to be represented by present at the inspection.

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PRIMARY COURTS' PROCEDURE [Cap.18
Absence of 36. In the event of the absence of the 41. The plaintiff may unite in the same What causes of
Judge. Judge of a P r i m a r y Court without plaint two or more causes of action when they action may be
joined.
arrangements being made for an acting all arise-
Judge, it shall be competent for the Registrar (a) out of the same transaction or
of the court to call and postpone to any other transactions connected with the
date all such cases, whether instituted under same subject of action ; or
this Part or Part IV, as may be fixed before
the court for the period during which the (b) against thesame defendant or
Judge is absent. defendants.
But it must appear on the face of the plaint
PART IV that all the causes of action so united are
consistent with each other, that they entitle
the plaintiff to the same kind of relief, and
OF THE MODE OF INSTITUTION OF CIVIL that they affect all the parties.
ACTIONS

Institution of 37. Subject to the pecuniary or other 42. Upon such plaint being filed as Summons to
action. limitations prescribed by any law, action may aforesaid the Primary Court shall appoint a issue.
be instituted in the Primary Court within the day for the appearance of the defendant, and
local limits of whose jurisdiction the plantiff shall inform the plaintiff thereof; and shall
or defendant or where there are two or more also issue a summons for the appearance of
plaintiffs or defendants, any one of them the defendant.
resides.
Filing of plaint. 38. An action may be instituted in a PROCEEDINGS ON APPEARANCE
Primary Court by presenting or transmitting
a written statement in plain or concise 43. (1) At the place and on the day The defendant
language duly signed to the court by the specified in the summons the defendant shall to appear and
admit or deny
plaintiff or the plaintiff may state his case be called upon to admit or deny the plaintiffs the claim.
orally to the Judge of such court who shall claim.
reduce it into writing and obtain the
plaintiffs signature to it or cause it to be (2) If the defendant shall admit the claim, if the
reduced into writing and signed and the the Judge of the Primary Court shall enter dependant
statement so taken down in writing or the such admission on the record and shall admlts the
statement presented or transmitted to the require the defendant to sign the same and claim.
court shall be deemed to be the plaint in the enter judgment for the plaintiff:
case.
Provided that it shall be lawful for a
Pleadings. 39. The pleadings in a Primary Court defendant who cannot conveniently attend
shall be limited to the following :- the court, to forward his admission to the
Registrar of the court signed by himself in
(a) the plaint of the plaintiff; the presence and under the attestation of an
attorney-at-law known to him and upon the
(b) the answer and claim in reconvention
(if any) of the defendant; receipt and entry of such admission the Judge
shall enter judgment for the plaintiff
(c) the plaintiffs reply to the defendant's accordingly.
claim in reconvention.
(3) If the defendant shall deny the claim. If the
But where there is no claim in reconvention the Judge of the Primary Court shall fix the dependant denies
there shall be no further pleadings beyond the case to be called for a pre-tnal hearing. the claim.
answer.
(4) On the day fixed for pre-trial hearing
Plaint to be 40. The plaint shall bear the names and the Judge of the Primary Court shall
numbered. residences of the parties and the date on wherever appropriate endeavour by every
which it is filed and shall be numbered in the lawful means to conciliate the parties and
order in which it was filed. settle the dispute.
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Cap. 18] PRIMARY COURTS' PROCEDURE

Examination of 44. (1) The parties may at this stage of accord with the pleadings and the court may
parties. the proceedings be examined orally by the allow an adjournment if necessary to the
Judge of the Primary Court with a view to- adverse party in consequence of new
(i) ascertaining the points at issue questions being raised in the issues but an
between them and of dispensing amendment of pleadings shall not be allowed.
with any unnecessary evidence, and
50. (1) The trial shall be held in the Pocedure at
(ii) inducing the parties to an amicable manner prescribed in the Civil Procedure trial.
settlement, removing the cause of Code for trials in regular actions in a
disagreement between them and District Court.
conciliating them.
(2) The provisions of the Civil Procedure
(2) If every lawful endeavour to conciliate Code relating to judgments and decrees and
the parties had failed the court shall fix a the execution of decrees shall, mutatis
date for the defendant to file his answer. The mutandis, apply to judgments and decrees of
answer shall be filed, mutatis mutandis, in a Primary Court.
the manner set out in section 38.
51. Where in any proceeding before any Claim in
Of the claim in 45. If the defendant pleads a claim in Primary Court any defence or claim in reconvention.
rcconvcntion. reconvention with his answer, the plaintiff
reconvention of the defendant involves matter
shall be called upon to admit or deny the
beyond the jurisdiction of the court, such
same. If he denies the claim in reconvention,
defence or claim in reconvention shall not
the plaintiff shall be required .forthwith,or at
affect the competence or duty of the court to
such further time as the court shall fix, to
dispose of the matter in controversy so far as
plead thereto, and the provisions of section 38
relates to the demand of the plaintiff and the
shall, so far as applicable, mutatis mutandis. defence thereto, but any relief exceeding that
apply to the p l a i n t i f f ' s reply to the which the court has jurisdiction to grant shall
defendant's claim in reconvention :
not be given to the defendant upon any such
Of the reply Provided that the plaintiff shall not set out claim in reconvention :
thereto. in his reply new matter amounting to a new
Provided always that in such case it shall
cause of action if he could have pleaded the be lawful for the Court of Appeal or any
same in his original plaint.
Judge thereof, if it shall be thought fit, on the
application of any party to the proceeding, to
Fixing the case 46. After the answer is filed, or, if the direct that the action be transferred from the
for trial. answer discloses a claim in reconvention, court in which it shall have been instituted to
after the plaintiffs reply, if any, thereto is the District Court having jurisdiction over the
filed, the Judge of the Primary Court shall whole matter in controversy; and in such case
fix the case for trial. the Judge of the Primary Court shall
transmit the record to the District Court
Immaterial 47. A variance between an allegation in a specified in the order and the proceeding shall
variance to be pleading and the proof shall be disregarded as be continued and prosecuted in the District
disregarded. Court as if it had been originally commenced
immaterial unless such proof discloses a new
cause of action, or the court is satisfied that therein.
the adverse party has been misled thereby tc
his prejudice. 52. (1) The Primary Court shall have Power to
jurisdiction to summon and examine all summon
witnesses and
Legal 48. Every party to an action or witnesses touching the causes being tried or issue warrants.
representation. proceeding shall be entitled to legal heard by it and if necessary to issue warrants
representation. for the apprehension and production before it
of any party or witness and to deal with them
according to law.
Framing of 49. The court shall at the trial frame the
issues. issues on which the right decision of the case And also jurisdiction to order any party or
appears to depend after questioning the witness or other person to produce or cause to
parties and ascertaining the matters on which be produced any document or thing before it
they are at variance- Issues need not strictly provided there is no bar or privilege under

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any other law in force for the time being (5) When an action has been dismissed Plaintiff may
be granted
which excuses non-production of such under the provisions of subsection (1) or permission to
document or thing. subsection (4) and the plaintiff has by institute a fresh
affidavit or otherwise with notice to the action.
(2) The provisions of the Civil Proceduredefendant satisfied the Judge of the Primary
Code relating to summons and warrants shallCourt that he was prevented from appearing
apply as nearly as possible to summons and by accident, misfortune, or other unavoidable
cause, the Judge may grant to the plaintiff
warrants issued under subsection (1) of this
section and section 42. permission to institute a fresh action upon
such terms as may be fixed by the court, and
OF DEFAULT OF APPEARANCE where permission is so granted the action
Proceedings on 53. (1) If upon the day specified in the dismissed under subsection (1) or subsection
default of summons for the appearance of the defendant (4) shall not operate as a bar to the
appearance of
plaintiff. or upon any day fixed for the hearing of the institution of a fresh action.
action the plaintiff shall not appear or
sufficiently excuse his absence, the plaintiffs (6) An appeal shall not lie against any An appeal from
judgment or order entered under this section judgment or
action may be dismissed. order by
for default of appearance, anything in this default not
Provided that if the defendant appears ami or a n y other law to the contrary available.
when called upon under section 43 shall notwithstanding.
admit the claim of the plaintiff, the Judge of
the Primary Court shall enter judgment for
PARTY
the plaintiff according to law.
APPEALS FROM PRIMARY COURTS TO THE
On default of (2) If upon the day specified in the
appearance of COURT OF APPEAL
summons or upon any day fixed for the
defendant. 54. (1) Subject to subsection (4) every Appeals.
hearing of the action the defendant shall not
appear or sufficiently excuse his absence, appeal from a judgment, conviction, sentence,
while the plaintiff appears the Judge of the decree or final order of a Primary Court shall
Primary Court, upon due proof of service of be by petition and presented to the Judge of
the summons, notice, or order requiring such the P r i m a r y Court, save as otherwise
appearance, may enter judgment by default provided in subsection (5), within fourteen
against the defendant. days of the date of entering of the judgment,
conviction, sentence, decree or final order
Judgment by (3) If the d e f e n d a n t shall within a
default may be reasonable time, after such judgment, by appealed against.
opened up in
certain cases. affidavit or otherwise, with notice to the (2) Such petition of appeal shall be in
plaintiff satisfy the Judge of the Primary writing and state shortly the grounds of
Court that he was prevented from appearing appeal and be signed by the appellant or his
in due time by accident, misfortune, or other attorney-at-law.
unavoidable cause, or by not having received
sufficient information of the proceedings, and (3) Every such petition of appeal shall
that he did not absent himself for the purpose bear a stamp to the value of five rupees but
of avoiding service of the summons or notice, where the appellant is the Attorney-General
and that he has a good and valid defence on such stamp shall not be necessary.
the merits of the case, then the Judge may set
aside such judgment and any proceedings had (4) An appeal shall not lie from an
thereon, and may admit the defendant to acquittal by a Judge of the Primary Court
proceed with his defence upon such terms as except at the instance of or with the written
the Judge may think fit. sanction of the Attorney-General.
If neither parly (4) If upon the day specified in the (5) Where the Attorney-General prefers
appears action summons or if upon any day fixed for the an appeal against any judgment, sentence or
to be dismissed. final order pronounced by a Primary Court in
hearing of the action neither party appears
when the case is called the Judge of the any criminal case or matter or where the
P r i m a r y C o u r t s h a l l enter j u d g m e n t appeal is from an acquittal with the sanction
dismissing the plaintiffs action, but without of the Attorney-General, the time within
costs. which the petition of appeal must be

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Cap. 18] PRIMARY COURTS' PROCEDURE
preferred shall be twenty-eight days from the 58. Upon appeal the Court of Appeal Power of the
date of entering of the judgment, sentence or may- Court of Appeal on
appeals.
order. (a) in a criminal case -
Procedure on 55. (1) The Judge of the Primary Court (i) affirm the judgment,
receiving shall certify on the face of the petition of conviction, sentence or final
appeal. order appealed from and
appeal the date on which it was received,
cancel the stamp and with the least possible dismiss the appeal; or
delay cause the petition of appeal and the (ii) allow the appeal and set aside
record of the case to be forwarded to the the judgment, conviction,
Court of Appeal. sentence or final order
appealed from and order a
(2) If the appellant had been committed to retrial or acquit the
prison in pursuance of the judgment, sentence appellant or make such other
or final order appealed from, he shall order as may be
forthwith on lodging his appeal be released on appropriate; or
bail to appear before the Primary Court on
any date notified to him and abide the order (iii) vary the judgment, conviction.
in appeal. If such appellant fails to furnish sentence or final order
the bail ordered he may be remanded to the appealed from or reduce or
custody of a Superintendent of Prisons. enhance the sentence or the
nature thereof; where the
56. (1) The Registrar of the Court of sentence is enhanced, the
Appeal shall on reciept of the record number sentence shall not exceed the
and register the appeal and cause sufficient sentence which a Primary
copies of the record and petition of appeal to Court could impose ; or
be prepared. The appeal shall thereafter be (iv) where the appeal is from an
entered on the list of appeals and shall come order of acquittal reverse
on for hearing on a day of which at least one such order and direct a new
month's notice shall have been given to the trial;
appellant and the other parties.
(b) in a civil case -
(2) The parties to the appeal shall be
entitled to a copy of the record and the (i) affirm the judgment, decree or
petition of appeal on payment therefor at the order and dismiss the
rate of twenty-five cents for every folio of one appeal; or
hundred words: (ii) allow the appeal and set aside
the judgment, decree or
Provided that the Attorney-General shall order; or
be issued his copy of the record and petition
of appeal free of any charge. (iii) vary the judgment, decree or
order; and
Hearing of the 57. (1) At the hearing all parties shall be (iv) order costs in an amount which
appeal. entitled to appear or be represented by their seems to the court to be
respective attorneys-at-law. reasonable.
(2) When the appeal comes on for hearing, 59. (1) On the termination of the Judgment in
the appellant if present shall be first heard in hearing of the appeal the Court of Appeal appeal to be
support of the appeal and then the given in open
shall either at once or on some future day court.
respondent, if present, shall be heard against which shall then be appointed for the
it. purpose, deliver judgment in open court.
(3) If the appellant does not appear to (2) On the day so fixed, if the court is not
support his appeal, the Court of Appeal shall prepared to give its judgment, a yet further
consider the appeal and may make such order day may be appointed and announced for the
thereon as it may deem fit. purpose.

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PRIMARY COURTS' PROCEDURE [Cap. 18

(3) A Judge may pronounce a judgment 63. In computing the time within which Computation of
written and signed by another Judge, but not an appeal shall be preferred under this Part time.
pronounced. the day on which the judgment, decree,
sentence, conviction, or final order appealed
Older of the 60. (1) Whenever a case is decided on against was pronounced or entered shall be
Court of appeal the Court of Appeal shall certify its included, but all public holidays shall be
Appeal to be
certified to order under its seal to the Primary Court and excluded.
Primary Court. shall return to such court the record and
petition of appeal accompanied by a copy of PART VI
the reasons given for the order. STAMPS AND COSTS IN CIVIL ACTIONS
(2) The Primary Court to which the order
of the Court of Appeal is certified shall 64. All documents filed in a civil action Stamp duty ia
thereupon make such orders as are instituted in a Primary Court shall be exempt civil actions.
conformable to the order so certified and if [ 2,49 of 1980.]
from the payment of stamp duty under the
necessary the record shall be amended in Stamp Ordinance:
accordance therewith.
Provided, however, that in any such action,
Abatement of 61. Every appeal in a criminal case shall there shall be affixed to the plaint of the
appeals. finally abate on the death of the accused. plaintiff, the answer of the defendant and the
plaintiffs reply to the defendant's claim in
Court of 62. (1) The Court of Appeal may of its reconvention, as the case may be, a stamp to
Appeal may own motion or on application by any
call for record the value of one rupee.
and make aggrieved party call for and examine the
order. record of any case whether already tried or 65. Every Primary Court shall have Costs.
pending in a Primary Court for the purpose power upon the determination of a civil
of satisfying itself as to the legality or action to award to a plaintiff or defendant
propriety of any sentence or order passed costs in an amount which seems to the court
thereon or as to the regularity of the to be reasonable.
proceedings of such court.
PART VII
(2) In any such case, the Court of Appeal
may make any of the orders referred to in INQUIRIES INTO DISPUTES AFFECTING
section 58. LAND WHERE A BREACH OF THE PEACE IS
(3) An order under this section may not be THREATENED OR LIKELY
made in a criminal case to the prejudice of
the accused unless he has had an opportunity 66. (1) Whenever owing to a dispute Reference of
of being heard either personally or by his affecting land a breach of the peace is disputes
attorney-at-law. threatened or likely- affecting land.

(4) Anything in this section shall not be (a) the police officer inquiring into the
construed to authorize the Court of Appeal to dispute-
convert a finding of acquittal into one of
conviction. (i) shall with the least possible
(5) Except as hereinbefore provided, a delay file an information
party shall not have any right to be heard regarding the dispute in the
either personally or by attorney-at-law before Primary Court within whose
the Court of Appeal when exercising its jurisdiction the land is
powers of revision: situate and require each of
the parties to the dispute to
Provided that the court may, if it thinks fit,
enter into a bond for his
when exercising such powers, hear any party
appearance before the
cither personally or by attorney-at-law. Primary Court on the day
(6) The provisions of section 60 shall immediately succeeding the
apply in respect of the orders made by the date of filing the information
Court of Appeal in the exercise of its powers on which sittings of such
of revision. court are held ; or

I/ 1 8 5
PRIMARY COURTS' PROCEDURE

(ii) shall, if necessary in the Provided that where the information has
interests of preserving the been filed by a police officer, the notice
peace, arrest the parties to referred to in the preceding provisions of this
the dispute and produce subsection shall also require that the person
them forthwith before the interested shall, in addition to appearing in
Primary Court within whose court, file affidavits setting out his claims and
jurisdiction the land is annexing thereto any documents (or certified
situate to be dealt with copies thereof) on which he relics.
according to law and shall
also at the same time file in (5) Where any affidavits and documents
that court the information are filed on the date fixed for filing them, the
regarding the dispute; or court shall, on application made by the
parties filing affidavits, grant such parties
(b) any party to such dispute may file an time not exceeding two weeks for filing
information by affidavit in such counter-affidavits with documents if any. The
Primary Court setting out the facts Judge of the Primary Court shall permit such
and the relief sought and specifying parties or their attorney-at-law to peruse the
as respondents the names and record in the presence of the Registrar for the
addresses of the other parties to the preparation of the counter-affidavits.
dispute and then such court shall by
its usual process or by registered (6) On the date fixed for filing affidavits
post notice the parties named to and documents, where no application has
appear in court on the day specified been made for filing counter-affidavits, or on
in the notice-such day being not the date fixed for filing counter-affidavits.
later than two weeks from the day whether or not such affidavits and documents
on which the information was filed. have been filed, the court shall before fixing
the case for inquiry make every effort to
(2) Where an information is filed in a induce the parties and the persons interested
Primary Court under subsection (1), the (if any) to arrive at a settlement of the
Primary Court shall have and is hereby dispute and if the parties and persons
vested with jurisdiction to inquire into, and interested agree to a settlement the
make a determination or order on, in the settlement shall be recorded and signed by
manner provided for in this Part, the dispute the parties and persons interested and an
regarding which the information is filed. order made in accordance with the terms as
settled.
(3) On the date on which the parties are
produced under subsection (1) or on the date (7) Where the parties and persons
fixed for their appearance under that interested (if any) do not arrive at a
subsection, the court shall appoint a day settlement, the court shall fix the case for
which shall not be later than three weeks inquiry on a date which shall not be later
from the date on which the parties were than two weeks from the date on which the
produced or the date fixed for their case was called for the filing of affidavits and
appearance directing the parties and any documents or c o u n t e r - a f f i d a v i t s and
persons interested to file affidavits setting out documents, as the case may be.
their claims and annexing thereto any
documents (or certified copies thereof) on (8) (a) W h e r e a p a r t y or person
which they rely. interested is required to enter an appearance
under this Part he may enter such appearance
(4) The court shall, not later than one by an attorney-at-law.
week of the filing of the information, cause a
notice to be affixed in some conspicuous place (b) Where a party fails to appear or
on the land or part of the land which is the having appeared fails to file his affidavit and
subject-matter of the dispute announcing that also his documents (if any) he shall be
a dispute affecting the land has arisen and deemed to be in default and not be entitled to
requiring any person interested to appear in participate at the inquiry but the court shall
court on the date specified in such notice, consider such m a t e r i a l as is before it
such date being the day on which the case is respecting the claims of such party in making
next being called in court: its determination and order.

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PRIMARY COURTS' PROCEDURE [Cap. 18
Inquiry to be 67. (1) Every inquiry under this Part direction that any party specified in the order
held in shall be held in a summary manner and shall
summary
shall be restored to the possession of the land
manner. be concluded within three months of the or any part thereof specified in such order.
commencement of the inquiry.
69. (1) Where the dispute relates to any Determination
(2) The Judge of the Primary Court shall and order of
right to any land or any part of a land, other
deliver his order within one week of the than the right to possession of such land or Judge of the
conclusion of the inquiry. Primary Court
part thereof, the Judge of the Primary Court when dispute is
shall determine as to who is entitled to the in regard to
(3) Pending the conclusion of the inquiry any other right
it shall be lawful for the Judge of the Primary right which is the subject of the dispute and
Court to make an interim order containing make an order under subsection (2).
any provision which he is empowered to make (2) An order under this subsection may
under this Part at the conclusion of the declare that any person specified therein shall
inquiry. be entitled to any such right in or respecting
the land or in any part of the land as may be
specified in the order until such person is
Determination 68. (1) Where the dispute relates to the deprived of such right by virtue of an order or
and order of possession of any land or part thereof it shall decree of a competent court, and prohibit all
Judge of the
Primary Court be the duty of the Judge of the Primary Court disturbance or interference with the exercise
when dispute is holding the inquiry to determine as to who of such right by such party other than under
in regard to was in possession of the land or the part on the authority of an order or decree as
possession.
the date of the filing of the-information under aforesaid.
section 66 and make order as to who is
entitled to possession of such land or part 70. An order made under this Part may Security for
thereof. also contain such other directions as the posession or
Judge of the Primary Court may think fit exersise of any
(2) An order under subsection (1) shall with regard to the furnishing of security for right may be
declare any one or more persons therein the exercise of the right of possession of the ordered.
specified to be entitled to the possession of land or part of it or for the exercise of any
the land or the part in the manner specified in right in such land or with regard to the sale of
such order until such person or persons are any crop or produce or the manner of
evicted therefrom under an order or decree of exercise of any right in such land or the
a competent court, and p r o h i b i t all custody or disposal of the proceeds of the
disturbance of such possession otherwise sale of any crop or produce.
than under the authority of such an order or
decree.
71. Where the parties to the dispute do Order where no
(3) Where at an inquiry into a dispute not appear before court or having appeared party appears.
relating to the right to the possession of any or been produced do not file any affidavits
land or any part of a land the Judge of the whether with or without documents annexed
Primary Court is satisfied that any person the court shall-
who had been in possession of the land or part (a) in a case where the dispute is in regard
has been forcibly dispossessed within a to possession make order permitting
period of two months immediately before the the party in possession to continue
date on which the information was filed in possession, and
u n d e r section 66, he m a y m a k e a (b) in a case where the dispute is in regard
determination to that effect and make an to any other right, make order
order directing that the party dispossessed be permitting the status quo in regard
restored to possession and prohibiting all to such right to continue.
disturbance of such possession otherwise than
under the authority of an order or decree of a 72. A determination and order under this For
competent court. determination
Part shall be made after examination and of Judge of the
(4) An order under subsection (1) may consideration of- Primary Court,
material on
contain in addition to the declaration and (a) the information filed and the affidavits which he may
prohibition referred to in subsection (2), a and documents furnished; act.

I / 187
A13-
Cap. 18] PRIMARY COURTS' PROCEDURE
(d) such other evidence on any matter 75. In this Part " dispute affecting land " Meaning of
arising on the affidavits or includes any dispute as to the right to the "dispute
documents furnished as the court possession of any land or part of a land and affecting land"
may permit to be led on that the buildings thereon or the boundaries
matter; and thereof or as to the right to cultivate any land
(c) such oral or written submission as may or part of a land, or as to the right to the
be permitted by the Judge of the crops or produce of any land, or part of a
Primary Court in his discretion. land, or as to any right in the nature of a
servitude affecting the land and any reference
to " land" in this Part includes a reference to
Penalty for 73. Any person who acts in contravention any building standing thereon.
contravention of or fails to comply with an order made
of or failure to
comply with under this Part shall be guilty of an offence 76. The Fiscal of the court shall where Fiscal to
order. and shall on conviction by a Judge of the necessary execute all orders made under the executive orders
Primary Court be liable to imprisonment of provisions of this Part. of court.
either description for a term not exceeding six
months or to a fine not exceeding one
thousand rupees or to both such
imprisonment and fine. PART VIII
Casus Omissus
Order not to 74. (1) An order under this Part shall
affect right or 78*. If any matter should arise for which
not affect or prejudice any right or interest in Casus
interest which no provision is made in this Act, the omissus.
maybe any land or part of a land which any person
provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure
may be able to establish in a civil suit; and it
established in
civil suit. Act governing a like matter where the case or
shall be the duty of a Judge of a Primary
proceeding is a criminal prosecution or
Court who commences to hold an inquiry
proceeding and the provisions of the Civil
under this Part to explain the effect of these
Procedure Code governing a like matter
sections to the persons concerned in the
where the case is a civil action or proceeding
dispute.
shall with such suitable adaptations as the
(2) An appeal shall not lie against any justice of the case may require be adopted
determination or order under this Part. and applied.

* Section 77 omitted.

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