PRIMARY COURTS' PROCEDURE ACT

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

PART I

GENERAL

2. The civil and criminal jurisdictions of Primary Courts to be exclusive.

3. Duty of courts in cases within exclusive jurisdictions of Primary Courts.

4. Right of Court of Appeal or Attorney-General to direct transfer of criminal case to Magistrate's Court.

5. Power of Court of Appeal to transfer case to District Court.

6. Judge of the Primary Court to report case more appropriately triable elsewhere to Court of Appeal for order.

7. Where case is beyond jurisdiction duty to refer party to competent court.

PART II

POWERS OF PUNISHMENT

8. Sentences which a Primary Court may pass.

9. Sentence of imprisonment for term of less days.

10. Sentences of detention in precincts of court in lieu of imprisonment.

11. Power of Primary Court to sentence to imprisonment in default of payment of fine.

12. Community service order.

13. Suspended sentence of imprisonment.

14. Sentence in case of conviction for several offences at one trial.

15. Payment of costs and compensation when complaint is frivolous or vexatious.

16. Payment of compensation upon conviction.

17. Court may order payment of the fine paid or part of it to injured party.

18. Power of court to permit conditional release of offenders.

19. Conditions of recognizance.

20. Power of court to vary conditions of recognizance.

21. Provision in case of offender failing to observe conditions of recognizance.

22. Whipping in certain cases.

23. Fine may be paid in installments.

PART III

OF THE MODE OF INSTITUTION OF CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS

24. Mode of institution of prosecution.

25. Institution of proceedings in Primary Court.

26. Issue of summons or warrant.

27. Power of court issue process.

28. Procedure when accused appears.

29. Withdrawal of charge.

30. Primary Court to transmit proceedings to Attorney-General when required.

31. Procedure at bearing.

32. Legal representation.

33. Procedure at trial.

34. Disposal of documents and productions.

35. Inspection of scene.

36. Absence of Judge.

PART IV

OF THE MODE OF INSTITUTION OF CIVIL ACTIONS

37. Institution of action.

38. Filing of plaint.

39. Pleadings.

40. Plaint to be numbered.

41. What causes of action may be joined.

42. Summons to issue.

PROCEEDINGS ON APPEARANCE

43. The defendant to appear and admit or deny the claim.

44. Examination of parties.

45. Of the claim in reconvention.

46. Fixing the case for trial.

47. Immaterial variance to be disregarded.

48. Legal representation.

49. Framing of issues.

50. Procedure at trial.

51. Claim in reconvention.

52. Power to summon witnesses and issue warrants.

OF DEFAULT OF APPEARANCE

53. Proceedings on default of appearance of plaintiff.

PART V

APPEALS FROM PRIMARY COURTS TO THE COURT OF APPEAL

54. Appeals.

55. Procedure on receiving appeal.

56. —

57. Hearing of the appeal.

58. Power of the Court of Appeal on appeals.

59. Judgment in appeal to be given in open court.

60. Order of the Court of Appeal to be certified to Primary Court.

61. Abatement of appeals.

62. Court of Appeal may call for record and make order.

63. Computation of time.

PART VI

STAMPS AND COSTS IN CIVIL ACTIONS

64. Stamp duty in civil actions.

65. Costs.

PART VII

INQUIRIES INTO DISPUTES AFFECTING LAND WHERE A BREACH OF THE PEACE IS THREATENED OR LIKELY

66. Reference of disputes affecting land.

67. Inquiry to be held in summary manner.

68. Determination and order of Judge of the Primary Court when dispute is in regard to possession.

69. Determination and order of Judge of the Primary Court when dispute is in regard to any other right.

70. Security for possession or exercise of any right may be ordered.

71. Order where no party appears.

72. For determination of judge of the Primary Court, material on which he may act.

73. Penalty for contravention of or failure to comply with order.

74. Order not to affect right or interest which may be established in civil suit.

75. Meaning of "dispute affecting land”.

76. Fiscal to executive orders of court.

77. Omitted.

PART VIII

Casus Omissus

78. Casus omissus.

44 of 1979,

49 of 1980.

AN ACT to regulate the procedure in Primary Courts and to make provision for connected matters.

[Date of Commencement: 2nd July, 1979]

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Primary Courts' Procedure Act.

PART I

GENERAL

2. The civil and criminal jurisdictions of Primary Courts to be exclusive.

The civil and criminal jurisdiction of Primary Courts shall, subject to the provisions of this and any other written law, be exclusive.

3. Duty of courts in cases within exclusive jurisdictions of Primary Courts.

Where in any case, whether civil or criminal instituted before a District Court or a Magistrate's Court, it appears to such court at any stage of the proceedings that the case is one within the exclusive jurisdiction of a Primary Court, the court may stop the further progress of the case and refer the parties to such Primary Court, and where such case is a civil case, may also make such order as to costs as may seem just.

4. Right of Court of Appeal or Attorney-General to direct transfer of criminal case to Magistrate's Court.

(1) Where a criminal prosecution or proceeding for an offence within the exclusive jurisdiction of a Primary Court is pending in such court it shall be lawful, where it is deemed to be appropriate in the circumstances, for the Court of Appeal on an application by any party interested or for the Attorney-General, to direct the transfer of such prosecution or proceeding to a Magistrate's Court specified in such direction.

(2) Where a direction made under subsection (1) is communicated to the Judge of the Primary Court in whose court such case is pending, he shall stop the further progress of the case and transmit the case record and all connected papers to the Magistrate's Court specified in such direction.

(3) The Magistrate's Court referred to in subsection (2) shall proceed to hear, try and determine such case transferred to it as if it were a prosecution or proceeding instituted in that Magistrate's Court and shall have and be vested with full power and jurisdiction so to do.

5. Power of Court of Appeal to transfer case to District Court.

Where it is made to appear to the Court of Appeal on an application by one of the parties or otherwise that any civil action or proceeding instituted in a Primary Court may owing to the circumstances or questions involved be more appropriately tried before the District Court having local jurisdiction, it shall be lawful for the Court of Appeal to call for and inspect the record or journal of such action or proceeding and to stay the proceedings in the Primary Court and to make order transferring such case to such District Court for hearing and determination. Upon such order being communicated to the Judge of the Primary Court in whose court the action or proceeding is pending he shall stop the further progress of the action or proceeding and transmit the record of that action or proceeding and all connected papers to the District Court specified in the order. Thereupon such District Court shall proceed to hear, try and determine such action or proceeding as if it were an action or proceeding instituted in that District Court and shall have and be vested with full power and jurisdiction so to do.

6. Judge of the Primary Court to report case more appropriately triable elsewhere to Court of Appeal for order.

Where it is made to appear to any Primary Court—

(a) in regard to any prosecution for any offence pending before it that in the circumstances of the case the offence cannot adequately be punished by any penalty which the Primary Court is authorised by law to impose; or

(b) in regard to any civil action or proceeding pending before it that the action or proceeding may more appropriately be tried before a District Court, it shall be the duty of the Judge of such Primary Court to suspend the further hearing of the prosecution or civil action or proceeding, as the case may be, and to report it to the Court of Appeal with a view to obtaining an order under section 4 or section 5.

7. Where case is beyond jurisdiction duty to refer party to competent court.

(1) Where it appears in the course of any prosecution, civil action or proceeding before a Primary Court that such prosecution, action or proceeding is not within its jurisdiction, it shall be the duty of such Primary Court to stop the proceedings and to refer the party by whom the prosecution, action or proceeding was instituted to the competent court.

(2) Where a Primary Court stops the proceedings in any prosecution, civil action or proceeding and refers the party by whom the prosecution, civil action or proceeding was instituted to the competent court under subsection (1), that prosecution, civil action or proceeding shall not operate as a bar to the institution of a prosecution, civil action or proceeding in the competent court in respect of the same offence or matter.

PART II

POWERS OF PUNISHMENT

8. Sentences which a Primary Court may pass.

(1) A Primary Court may pass any of the following sentences—

(a) imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding three months;

(b) fine not exceeding two hundred and fifty rupees;

(c) whipping with a light cane if the offender is under sixteen years of age;

(d) any lawful sentence combining any two of the sentences aforesaid.

(2) In the event of default of payment of any fine imposed on an accused the Judge of the Primary Court may subject to the provisions of the Part—

(a) where the amount of the fine does not exceed twenty-five rupees sentence the accused to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding seven days;

(b) where the amount of the fine exceeds twenty-five rupees but does not exceed fifty rupees sentence the accused to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding fourteen days;

(c) where the amount of the fine exceeds fifty rupees sentence the accused to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one month.

(3) Anything in this section shall not be construed as derogating from any special powers of punishment that may be given to a Primary Court by this or any other law.

9. Sentence of imprisonment for term of less days.

Notwithstanding anything in this Act, the Penal Code or any other written law to the contrary, a Primary Court shall not sentence any person to imprisonment, whether in default of payment of a fine or not, for a term which is less than seven days.

10. Sentences of detention in precincts of court in lieu of imprisonment.

A Primary Court may, in any circumstances in which it is empowered by any written or other law to sentence an offender to imprisonment, whether in default of payment of a fine or not, in lieu of imposing a sentence of imprisonment order that the offender be detained in the precincts of the court until such hour on the day on which the order is made, not being later than 4 cause. as the court may specify in the order.

11. Power of Primary Court to sentence to imprisonment in default of payment of fine.

(1) A Primary Court may award such term of imprisonment in default of payment of a fine as is authorised by law in case of such default, provided that the term awarded is not in excess of the court's power under this Act.

(2) The imprisonment awarded under this section may be in addition to a substantive sentence of imprisonment for the maximum term awardable by the court under section 8.

12. Community service order.

(1) A Primary Court may, in lieu of imposing a sentence of imprisonment on conviction of an accused person or in lieu of imposing a sentence of imprisonment on an accused person in default of payment of a fine, enter an order hereinafter referred to as a "community service order” directing the accused person to perform stipulated service at a named place in a State or State-sponsored project.

(2) A community service order entered under subsection (1) shall be carried out in such manner as the Judge of that court may direct.

(3) The duration of a community service order shall not be more than three months.

(4) If the convicted person in respect of whom a community service order has been entered fails to attend at the place named or having attended fails to do the stipulated service or is irregular in attendance or does not work to the satisfaction of the person in charge or control of the place named or otherwise fails to comply with the order, then it shall be lawful for the Primary Court to revoke it and impose such sentence of imprisonment as it thinks fit.

(5) Throughout the duration of the community service order, the person in charge or control of the place named shall forward, every month to the Primary Court which entered the order, a report on the attendance and work of the convicted person and stating whether the order is being or has been complied with and such report shall be final and conclusive on such questions.

13. Suspended sentence of imprisonment.

(1) Where a Primary Court imposes a sentence of imprisonment on an offender it may order that the sentence shall not take effect unless during the period of eighteen months from the date of the order the offender commits another offence punishable with imprisonment.

(2) Where a Primary Court makes an order under subsection (1) of this section, the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act relating to suspended sentences of imprisonment other than subsections (1) and (2) of section 303 of that Act shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to that order, and for that purpose the period of eighteen months referred to in subsection (1) of this section shall be deemed to be the operational period referred to in those provisions.

14. Sentence in case of conviction for several offences at one trial.

(1) When a person is convicted at one trial of any two or more distinct offences the Primary Court may subject to subsection (3) sentence him for such offences to the several punishments prescribed therefor which the court is competent to inflict; such punishments when consisting of imprisonment to commence, unless the court orders them or any of them to run concurrently, the one after the expiration of the other in such order as the court may direct:

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