Report No. 100
Section 80, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, and Cognate Provisions
2.1. Notice under section 80(1), Code of Civil Procedure.-
We first address ourselves to the statutory provisions requiring a prospective plaintiff to give a notice of suit before commencing litigation against the Government or public officers. By virtue of section 80(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, a prospective plaintiff must give two months' prior written notice of any suit which he intends to file against the Government, or against any public officer for an act purporting to be done by the latter in his official capacity, if such a notice is not given, or the notice (even if given) is erroneous or defective, the suit must be dismissed. This is the gist of the provision contained in section 80(1) of the Code. By the amendment made in this section in 1976, some relaxation of the provisions of the section has, no doubt, been made, by inserting sub-sections (2) and (3), which will be adverted to presently.1
But these amendments touch only the fringe of the section. The hardship caused be the section-a section which has been held to be mandatory and "to admit of no exceptions or implications"--continues substantially unabated. The hardship results not so much from the existence of a statutory provision requiring prior notice of litigation, as from the fact that the apparently harmless section has, in practice, been the source of innumerable controversies and has afforded an opportunity for the raising of technical objections by the Government on almost every conceivable ground. The frequency with which such objections are raised will be apparent from illustrative cases, discussed later in this Chapter.2
1. Paras. 2.2 and 2.3, infra.
2. Paras. 2.5 to 2.10, infra.