From Justice Definitions Project

What is 'Prayer'

Prayer is an antiquated term of art used to describe a formal request for judicial judgment, relief, or damages at the end of a pleading.[1] A prayer is a request for judgment, relief, or damages at the end of a complaint or petition. It is a statement of what the plaintiff wants from the court.[2]

Legal provision(s) relating to 'Prayer'

Order 6 Rule 17 of Civil Procedure Code,1908: Amendment of Pleadings : The Court may at any stage of the proceedings allow either party to alter or amend his pleadings in such manner and on such terms as may be just, and all such amendments shall be made as may be necessary for the purpose of determining the real questions in controversy between the parties. Thus, even prayers can be amended under this rule.

Types of 'Prayers'

Prayer for Relief

A prayer for relief is a formal request in a legal document, usually at the end of a complaint or petition, where the plaintiff outlines the specific remedies or actions they are seeking from the court. This can include damages, injunctions, or other forms of legal or equitable relief.

Prayer for Damages

This type of prayer seeks monetary compensation for specific harms or losses suffered by the plaintiff. Damages can be categorized into various types, such as compensatory, punitive, nominal, or special damages, depending on the nature of the claim.

Prayer for Injunctive Relief

A prayer for injunctive relief requests the court to issue an injunction, which is a court order restraining or compelling a party to take or refrain from a certain action. This is often sought when monetary damages are insufficient to remedy the harm.

Prayer for Declaratory Relief

This prayer seeks a court declaration clarifying the legal rights and obligations of the parties involved in a dispute. Declaratory relief is sought when there is uncertainty or disagreement over the interpretation of legal rights.

Prayer for Specific Performance

A prayer for specific performance asks the court to compel a party to fulfill a specific contractual obligation rather than seeking monetary damages. This is common in cases involving unique or irreplaceable items.

Prayer for Writ of Mandamus

This prayer seeks a writ of mandamus, a court order compelling a government official or agency to perform a duty that they are legally required to fulfill. Mandamus is typically requested when there is a clear legal right to the performance of the duty.

Prayer for Writ of Prohibition

A prayer for a writ of prohibition asks the court to prohibit a lower court or tribunal from proceeding with a particular action, typically when the petitioner believes the lower court is exceeding its jurisdiction.

Prayer for Writ of Certiorari

This prayer seeks a writ of certiorari, a request for a higher court to review the decision of a lower court. Certiorari is often sought when there are concerns about legal errors or irregularities in the lower court's decision.

Case Laws on 'Prayer'

Sajjan Singh v. Jasvir Kaur & Ors[3]

he Supreme Court observed that appropriateness of prayer sought is not an issue that should be considered while deciding an application seeking rejection of plaint under Order VII Rule 11 of Code of Civil Procedure. The court iterated that whether an appropriate prayer should have been sought, is a matter ultimately to be decided in the suit and not an issue to be considered while deciding the application under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC, in the manner in which it had been done in the facts and circumstances arising in the instant case.

Usha Balashaheb Swami & Ors vs Kiran Appaso Swami & Ors[4]

In this case, the Apex court held that a prayer for amendment of the plaint and a prayer for amendment of the written statement stand on different footings. The general principle that amendment of pleadings cannot be allowed so as to alter materially or substitute cause of action or the nature of claim applies to amendments to plaint. It has no counterpart in the principles relating to amendment of the written statement.

  3. CIVIL APPEAL No. 4221 of 2023 (Arising out of SLP(C) No.9921/2019) 6 July, 2023
  4. AIR 2007 SUPREME COURT 1663
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