Judgment and Decree by Rashi Goel @Lexcliq

Judgment

The concept of judgment is defined under section 2(a) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 as the statement given by the judge on the grounds of order or decree. Section 33 of this act states that the court after hearing a particular case shall pronounce judgment and on such judgment, a decree shall follow.

Essentials of Judgment

  • Statement given by a Judge: A judgment is not more than a judicial decision given by a judge or a court.
  • Need to be in writing: An oral pronouncement of a case’s decision will not be considered as its judgment. When a judge reduces his judgment into writing then only the judgment will come into existence.
  • Grounds of Order or Decree: Each and every statement of a judge will not be termed as the judgment it will be called a judgment only if such decision will result in the decree or order. Findings recorded by the trial court without referring to any evidence of the parties and without discussing its legal effect after conscious application of mind would not withstand the test of the word judgment as defined in section 2(a) of C.P.C.

Pronouncement of Judgment

Crystallizing the judge’s intention into a formal shape in an open court leads the judgment to its final destination. Rule 1 of Order 20 deals with the pronouncement of judgment. It talks of a specific time frame for the declaration of the judgment in the open court. But there was no deadline prescribed for the pronouncement of judgment before the amendment in 1976 which led to a persistent demand everywhere in India for the imposition of a time for the declaration of judgment after the hearing of the case gets over. In this regard, The Supreme Court’s observation was that The Civil Procedure Code does not provide a time limit for the period between the hearing of arguments and the delivery of a judgment. Also, the judge has a discretionary power for the pronouncement of judgment for these sixty days but after that declaration becomes mandatory on the part of the judge.

 

Decree

The decree means the formal expression of an adjudication that conclusively determines the rights of the parties with reference to all or any of the matters in controversy within the suit. A decree may be either preliminary or final. It is defined under Section 2(2) of the CPC.

In order that a decision of a court may be a “decree”, there must be an adjudication and such adjudication must have been done in a suit. Also, it must have determined the rights of the parties with reference to all or any of the matters in controversy within the suit and such determination must be of a conclusive nature and there must be a proper expression of such adjudication. For a decision of the court to be a decree, there must be an adjudication, i.e. a judicial determination of the matter in dispute. If there’s no judicial determination of any matter, it’s not a decree. Thus, a decision on a matter of an administrative nature, or dismissing an appeal for want of prosecution cannot be termed as a decree inasmuch as it does not judicially deal with the matter in dispute.

In the definition, some orders which otherwise don’t constitute decree will also be included and certain orders which constitute decree are excluded from it. Merely because there exists some order captioned as a decree entailed even within the type of decree, it might not make such an order “decree” unless the court satisfied the requirement of section 2(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure. a decree or order becomes enforceable from its date, but in appropriate cases, the court passing the decree may prescribe the time where from the decree becomes enforceable from a future date. The policy of the law is to give a decent and liberal, and not a technical construction, enabling the decree-holder to reap the fruits of his decree. An order must satisfy the requirements of section 2(2) in order to become a decree. Merely labeling it as a decree does not make it a decree. Under section 2(2) of the code, the decree is of two types:

  • Preliminary Decree.
  • Final Decree.

The explanation in section 2(2) of the present Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 has been newly added and so also, the provision in the main definition that a decree may be either preliminary or final. In a preliminary decree, certain rights are conclusively determined and unless the preliminary decree is challenged in appeal, the rights so determined become final and conclusive and can’t be questioned in the final decree. A preliminary decree is one that declares the rights and liabilities of the parties leaving the particular result to be found out in further proceedings. Then, as a results of the further inquiries conducted pursuant to the preliminary decree, the rights of the parties are finally determined and a decree is passed in accordance with such determination. That is the Final decree. Both decrees are within the same suit and if the preliminary decree is set aside, the ultimate decree is superseded.

“Formal expression” means the recordation of the ruling of the Court on the matter presented before it, thus because the Court expressing it alludes to the very fact that the same issue can’t be adjudicated by or before the Court again but only before the highest forum i.e. an appellate forum. The word “deemed” usually implies a fiction whereby a thing is assumed to be something. According to the definition, the term decree shall be deemed to incorporate the rejection of a plaint and therefore the determination of any question within section 144.

A decree must be drawn separately after a judgment.

 

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