Understanding Decree in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908: Definitions, Types, and Essential Components


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Understanding Decree in the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908: Definitions, Types, and Essential Components


In the realm of legal proceedings, a decree holds a pivotal role, as defined in Section 2(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. It is intricately connected to the judgment, offering a formal declaration or adjudication that conclusively determines the rights of parties involved in a suit. This comprehensive exploration delves into the various facets of decrees, encompassing definitions, types, the necessity of issuance, contents, and specific provisions for different cases.

Decree Defined

A decree, as per Section 2(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, invariably follows a judgment and is categorized into three types: preliminary decree, final decree, and partly preliminary & partly final. It serves as a formal pronouncement by the court, conclusively settling the rights of the parties concerning the disputed issues in the suit.

Deemed Decree

Beyond the explicit definition, a deemed decree includes the rejection of a plaint and certain aspects falling under Section 144 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. However, it excludes certain adjudications from which an appeal lies or orders of discharge or dismissal of default.

Kinds of Decrees

As per Section 2(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, decrees are classified into three distinct categories:

Preliminary Decree

In a general context, the term “preliminary” denotes preparation for the primary matter, initial stages, or preparatory actions. In the legal realm, a preliminary decree signifies a stage where further proceedings are necessary before the suit can reach complete disposition. It serves to determine the rights of the involved parties concerning the matters under discussion.

However, crucially, a preliminary decree does not entirely dispose of the suit. Instead, it outlines the rights and liabilities of the parties, leaving the actual decision to be realized in subsequent proceedings. This type of decree is typically employed when legal proceedings unfold in two distinct stages. The first stage involves the adjudication of the parties’ rights, and the second stage focuses on the execution or implementation of those rights.

Final Decree

In a broader context, the term ‘final’ conveys the notions of last, ultimate, conclusive, or decisive. In the legal domain, a final decree takes on the character of a decree that comprehensively resolves the suit, conclusively settling all questions under discussion between the involved parties. It reaches the status of being truly ‘final’ when the adjudication provided completely disposes of the entire suit, leaving no further matters for subsequent determination.

Partly preliminary and partly final Decree

A decree assumes a dual nature when it is described as partly preliminary and partly final, signifying that the court addresses two distinct questions within the same legal pronouncement. To elucidate, if the court issues a decree favoring one party while concurrently directing an inquiry for the other party, the initial aspect of the decree attains finality, while the subsequent part takes on a preliminary character, necessitating further legal proceedings.

For instance, consider a scenario in a property possession suit involving company ‘C.’ If the court issues a decree granting possession of the property to the plaintiff and simultaneously orders an inquiry into the affairs of company ‘C,’ the preceding portion of the decree achieves finality, while the latter part functions as a preliminary decree, demanding subsequent legal actions.

necessity of a Decree

In every legal suit, the Code of Civil Procedure mandates the issuance of a decree. Anchored in judgment, a decree not only emanates from it but also succeeds it, making it an indispensable and vital requirement. It stands as an absolute necessity, forming a crucial component of the conclusive resolution of a suit. Notably, an appeal can be lodged against a decree, distinguishing it from a judgment. The absence of a decree renders an appeal inert, incapable of being set into motion.

Contents of a Decree

A decree, seamlessly trailing a judgment, aligns with it and encompasses the following key elements:

Suit Identification

Inclusion of the suit’s distinctive number, assigned to each legal case, is imperative and must be explicitly indicated in the decree.

Party Details

The decree must comprehensively detail:

  • Names of all parties involved in the suit.
  • Accurate descriptions of each party.
  • Registered addresses of all parties participating in the suit.

Claims or Defense Particulars

Every decree is obligated to incorporate intricate details concerning the claims and defenses presented by the involved parties, elucidating the core aspects of the suit.

Granted Relief or Remedy

Particular emphasis should be placed on explicitly mentioning the relief or remedy granted to the aggrieved party. It is crucial to underline that the relief provided is a remedy and not a reward, thereby clarifying the purpose behind the granted relief.

Costs Incurred in the Suit

The decree should delineate the overall cost incurred during the suit, specifying:

The entity responsible for the costs.

The source or property from which these costs are derived.

The allocation or portions detailing how the costs have been or are to be disbursed.

Date of Judgment Pronouncement

The decree is obligated to specify the date on which the judgment was officially pronounced or delivered, closely following the pronouncement date and serving as a chronological reference for the subsequent decree.

Judge’s Signature Requirement

The decree must bear the indispensable and essential signature of the judge who delivered the judgment. The judge’s signature stands as a requisite element, signifying the official endorsement and validation of the judicial decision.

Drawing up of a Decree

According to Rule 6A in Order XX of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, it is stipulated that a decree must be prepared within a 15-day timeframe following the judgment. Failure to draft the decree within this specified period allows for the filing of an appeal without the necessity of submitting a copy of the decree.

Decrees in Specific Circumstances

Recovery or Repossession of Immovable Property (Real Estate): In legal scenarios pertaining to the recovery or repossession of immovable property (real estate), the decree must encompass a detailed description of the property, ensuring its recognition and identification.

Movable Property (Personalty): For decrees concerning movable property (personalty), the specific monetary amount to be paid serves as an alternative in cases where delivery is hindered for reasonable or appropriate reasons.

Payment of Money: In instances of a decree for the payment of money, the court holds the authority to order the decretal amount’s payment to be either postponed to a future date or made in installments, with or without interest.

Suits for Recovery or Repossession of Immovable Property: In suits seeking the recovery or repossession of immovable property, the court may issue a decree either for possession of the property or for the recovery of past rents or mesne profits. Mesne profits refer to profits obtained by a tenant in wrongful possession, recoverable by the landlord, constituting a final decree in rent or mesne profits disputes following a specified inquiry.

Specific Rules

Rule 12A: This rule mandates that a decree for the specific performance of a contract for the sale or lease of immovable property (real estate) must specify the precise period within which the purchaser or lessee must make the payment.

Rule 13: In lawsuits involving an account of any property, movable or immovable, and its administration under a court decree, Rule 13 necessitates the court to pass a preliminary decree, directing the taking of accounts and necessary inquiries before the final decree.

Rule 14: In pre-emption suits, Rule 14 requires a decree to specify a particular day for the payment of purchase money, and if not paid, dismissal of the lawsuit with costs. In cases of rival claims, the decree must dictate the proportionate effect of each claim or defense.

Partnership Dissolution and Accounts: In cases involving the dissolution of partnership or partnership accounts, a preliminary decree can be passed, specifying exact shares, dissolution date, and directing necessary actions. Similarly, in suits between principal and agent, a preliminary decree may precede a final decree, guiding the process of account-taking with special directions.

Partition of Property: In decrees for the partition of property, especially immovable property subject to revenue payment to the government, the court shall declare the rights of the parties involved and direct partition or separation, often carried out by a collector.

Further Inquiry for Partition: When separation or partition requires further inquiry, the court may pass a preliminary decree defining rights and providing necessary directions before issuing a final decree.

Counterclaim Involvement: A decree where the defendant has been allowed leave to start with a counterclaim against the initial claim of the plaintiff shall state with what amount is due to the plaintiff and what amount is due to the defendant thereafter.

Frequently asked questions

What is a decree in the context of legal proceedings?

In legal proceedings, a decree is a formal declaration or adjudication by the court that conclusively determines the rights of parties involved in a suit. It follows a judgment and categorizes into preliminary decree, final decree, or partly preliminary & partly final decree.

What are the types of decrees according to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908?

The Code of Civil Procedure classifies decrees into three types:
Preliminary Decree
Final Decree, and
Partly Preliminary and Partly Final Decree.

What is the difference between a preliminary decree and a final decree?

A preliminary decree decides the rights of parties but does not completely dispose of the suit, requiring further proceedings. In contrast, a final decree comprehensively resolves the suit, leaving no further matters for determination.

When is a decree deemed to be passed?

A decree is deemed to be passed when it follows a judgment and conclusively settles the rights of parties. Certain aspects, such as rejection of a plaint or matters under Section 144, are also deemed decrees.

Read More

Res Judicata Under Section 11 CPC 1908

Res Sub Judice Under Section 10 CPC 1860

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