Caveat literally means “let him beware”. It is a caution registered in a public court or office to indicate to the officials that they are not to act in the matter mentioned in the Caveat without first giving notice to the Caveator. Certain examples of a Caveat are: in connection with the grant of marriage licenses, dealings with land registered in the land registry and probably one of the most important instances is Caveat in probate proceedings. The office of a Caveat in probate proceedings is to arrest the proceedings until the truth of the facts alleged or affecting the validity of the will can be determined, and it ensures to the benefit of all parties interested in the subject.
A Caveat protects the Caveator’s interest. The Caveator is ready to face the suit or a proceeding which is predictably to be instituted by his opponent. For this reason, no ex-parte order can be passed against the Caveator.
No form is prescribed for the Caveat. The Caveator must file a Caveat in the form of an application or petition before the court. He must submit the cause of action giving the name and description of the opponent along with the petition. The copy of the application will be then sent to the opponent party in advance by registered post, acknowledgement due before filing it in the Court. A Caveat remains in force for 90 days from the date of filing.
Some of the important points to be remembered while filing a Caveat:
- A Caveat can be filed only to oppose the application and not support it.
- It is mandatory under the law, to give notice to the Caveator about the filing and the date of hearing of the application.