Order XX – Judgment and Decree

Rule 1: Judgment when pronounced

(1) The Court, after the case has been heard, shall pronounce judgment in an open Court, either at once, or as soon thereafter as may be practicable and when the judgment is to be pronounced on some future day, the Court shall fix a day for that purpose, of which due notice shall be given to the parties or their pleaders:

Provided that where the judgment is not pronounced at once, every endeavour shall be made by the Court to pronounce the judgment within thirty days from the date on which the hearing of the case was concluded but, where it is not practicable so to do on the ground of the exceptional and extraordinary circumstances of the case, the Court shall fix a future day for the pronouncement of the judgment, and such day shall not ordinarily be a day beyond sixty days from the date on which the hearing of the case was concluded, and due notice of the day so fixed shall be given to the parties or their pleaders.

(2) Where a written judgment is to be pronounced, it shall be sufficient if the findings of the Court on each issue and the final order passed in the case are read out and it shall not be necessary for the Court to read out the whole judgment.

(3) The judgment may be pronounced by dictation in open Court to a shorthand writer if the Judge is specially empowered by the High Court in this behalf:

Provided that, where the judgment is pronounced by dictation in open Court, the transcript of the judgment so pronounced shall, after making such correction therein as may be necessary, be signed by the Judge, bear the date on which it was pronounced, and form a part of the record.


Rule 2: Power to pronounce judgment written by judge’s predecessor

A Judge shall pronounce a judgment written but not pronounced by his predecessor.


Rule 3: Judgment to be signed

The judgment shall be dated and signed by the Judge in open Court at the time of pronouncing it and, when once signed, shall not afterwards be altered or added, to save as provided by Section 152 or on review.


Rule 4: Judgments of Small Cause Courts

(1) Judgments of a Court of Small Causes need not contain more than the points for determination and the decision thereon.

(2) Judgments of other Courts—Judgments of other Courts shall contain a concise statement of the case, the points for determination, the decision thereon, and the reasons for such decision.


Rule 5: Court to state its decision on each issue

In suits in which issues have been framed, the Court shall state its finding or decision, with the reasons therefor, upon each separate issue, unless the finding upon any one or more of the issues is sufficient for the decision of the suit.


Rule 5-A: Court to inform parties as to where an appeal lies in cases where parties are not represented by pleaders

Except where both the parties are represented by pleaders, the Court shall, when it pronounces its judgment in a case subject to appeal, inform the parties present in Court as to the Court to which an appeal lies and the period of limitation for the filing of such appeal and place on record the information so given to the parties.


Rule 6: Contents of decree

(1) The decree shall agree with the judgment; it shall contain the number of the suit the names and description of the parties, their registered addresses, and particulars of the claim, and shall specify clearly the relief granted or other determination of the suit.

(2) The decree shall also state the amount of costs incurred in the suit, and by whom or out of what property and in what proportions such costs are to be paid.

(3) The Court may direct that the costs payable to one party by the other shall be set off against any sum which is admitted or found to be due from the former to the latter.


Rule 6-A: Preparation of decree

(1) Every endeavour shall be made to ensure that the decree is drawn up as expeditiously as possible and, in any case, within fifteen days from the date on which the judgment is pronounced.

(2) An appeal may be preferred against the decree without filing a copy of the decree and in such a case the copy made available to the party by the Court shall for the purposes of Rule 1 of Order XLI be treated as the decree. But as soon as the decree is drawn, the judgment shall cease to have the effect of a decree for the purposes of execution or for any other purpose.


Rule 6-B: Copies of judgments when to be made available

Where the judgment is pronounced, copies of the judgment shall be made available to the parties immediately after the pronouncement of the judgment for preferring an appeal on payment of such charges as may be specified in the rule made by the High Court.


Rule 7: Date of decree

The decree shall bear date the day on which the judgment was pronounced, and, when the Judge has satisfied himself that the decree has been drawn up in accordance with the judgment, he shall sign the decree.


Rule 8: Procedure where Judge has vacated office before signing decree

Where a Judge has vacated office after pronouncing judgment but without signing the decree, a decree drawn up in accordance with such judgment may be signed by his successor or, if the Court has ceased to exist, by the Judge of any Court to which such Court was subordinate.


Rule 9: Decree for recovery of immovable property

Where the subject-matter of the suit is immovable property, the decree shall contain a description of such property sufficient to identify the same, and where such property can be identified by boundaries or by numbers in a record of settlement or survey, the decree shall specify such boundaries or numbers.


Rule 10: Decree for delivery of movable property

Where the suit is for movable property, and the decree is for the delivery of such property, the decree shall also state the amount of money to be paid as an alternative if delivery cannot be had.


Rule 11: Decree may direct payment by instalments

(1) Where and in so far as a decree is for the payment of money, the Court may for any sufficient reason incorporate in the decree, after hearing such of the parties who had appeared personally or by pleader at the last hearing, before judgment, an order that] payment of the amount decreed shall be postponed or shall be made by instalments, with or without interest, notwithstanding anything contained in the contract under which the money is payable.

(2) Order, after decree, for payment by instalments—

After the passing of any such decree the Court may, on the application of the judgment-debtor and with the consent of the decree-holder, order that payment of the amount decreed shall be postponed or shall be made by instalments on such terms as to the payment of interest, the attachment of the property of the judgment-debtor, or the taking of security from him, or otherwise, as it thinks fit.


Rule 12: Decree for possession and mesne profits

(1) Where a suit is for the recovery of possession of immovable property and for rent or mesne profits, the Court may pass a decree—

(a) for the possession of the property;

(b) for the rents which have accrued on the property during the period prior to the institution of the suit or directing an inquiry as to such rent;

(ba) for the mesne profits or directing an inquiry as to such mesne profits;

(c) directing an inquiry as to rent or mesne profits from the institution of the suit until—

(i) the delivery of possession to the decree-holder,

(ii) the relinquishment of possession by the judgment-debtor with notice to the decree-holder through the Court, or

(iii) the expiration of three years from the date of the decree, whichever event first occurs.

(2) Where an inquiry is directed under clause (b) or clause (c), a final decree in respect of the rent or mesne profits shall be passed in accordance with the result of such inquiry.


Rule 12-A: Decree for specific performance of contract for the sale or lease of immovable property

Where a decree for the specific performance of a contract for the sale or lease of immovable property orders that the purchase-money or other sum be paid by the purchaser or lessee, it shall specify the period within which the payment shall be made.


Rule 13: Decree in administration suit

(1) Where a suit is for an account of any property and for its due administration under the decree of the Court, the Court shall, before passing the final decree, pass a preliminary decree ordering such accounts and inquiries to be taken and made, and giving such other directions as it thinks fit.

(2) In the administration by the Court of the property of any deceased person, if such property proves to be insufficient for the payment in full of his debts and liabilities, the same rules shall be observed as to the respective rights of secured and unsecured creditors and as to debts and liabilities provable, and as to the valuation of annuities and future and contingent liabilities respectively, as may be in force for the time being, within the local limits of the Court in which the administration-suit is pending with respect to the estates of persons adjudged or declared insolvent; and all persons who in any such case would be entitled to be paid out of such property, may come in under the preliminary decree, and make such claims against the same as they may respectively be entitled to by virtue of this Code.


Rule 14: Decree in pre-emption suit

(1) Where the Court decrees a claim to pre-emption in respect of a particular sale of property and the purchase-money has not been paid into Court, the decree shall—

(a) specify a day on or before which the purchase-money shall be so paid, and

(b) direct that on payment into Court of such purchase-money, together with the costs (if any) decreed against the plaintiff, on or before the day referred to in clause (a), the defendant shall deliver possession of the property to the plaintiff, whose title thereto shall be deemed to have accrued from the date of such payment, but that, if the purchase-money and the costs (if any) are not so paid, the suit shall be dismissed with costs.

(2) Where the Court has adjudicated upon rival claims to pre-emption, the decree shall direct,—

(a) if and in so far as the claims decreed are equal in degree, that the claim of each pre-emptor complying with the provisions of sub-rule (1) shall take effect in respect of a proportionate share of the property including any proportionate share in respect of which the claim of any pre-emptor failing to comply with the said provisions would, but for such default, have taken effect; and

(b) if and in so far as the claims decreed are different in degree, that the claim of the inferior pre-emptor shall not take effect unless and until the superior pre-emptor has failed to comply with the said provisions.


Rule 15: Decree in suit for dissolution of partnership

Where a suit is for the dissolution of a partnership, or the taking of partnership accounts, the Court, before passing a final decree, may pass a preliminary decree declaring the proportionate shares of the parties, fixing the day on which the partnership shall stand dissolved or be deemed to have been dissolved, and directing such accounts to be taken, and other acts to be done, as it thinks fit.


Rule 16: Decree in suit for account between principal and agent

In a suit for an account of pecuniary transactions between a principal and an agent, and in any other suit not hereinbefore provided for, where it is necessary, in order to ascertain the amount of money due to or from any party, that an account should be taken, the Court shall, before passing its final decree, pass a preliminary decree directing such accounts to be taken as it thinks fit.


Rule 17: Special directions as to accounts

The Court may either by the decree directing an account to be taken or by any subsequent order give special directions with regard to the mode in which the account is to be taken or vouched and in particular may direct that in taking the account the books of account in which the accounts in question have been kept shall be taken as prima facie evidence of the truth of the matters therein contained with liberty to the parties interested to take such objection thereto as they may be advised.


Rule 18: Decree in suit for partition of property or separate possession of a share therein

Where the Court passes a decree for the partition of property or for the separate possession of a share therein, then,—

(1) if and in so far as the decree relates to an estate assessed to the payment of revenue to the Government, the decree shall declare the rights of the several parties interested in the property, but shall direct such partition or separation to be made by the Collector, or any gazetted subordinate of the Collector deputed by him in this behalf, in accordance with such declaration and with the provisions of Section 54;

(2) if and in so far as such decree relates to any other immovable property or to movable property, the Court may, if the partition or separation cannot be conveniently made without further inquiry, pass a preliminary decree declaring the rights of the several parties interested in the property and giving such further directions as may be required.


Rule 19: Decree when set-off or counter-claim is allowed

(1) Where the defendant has been allowed a set-off or counter-claim against the claim of the plaintiff, the decree shall state what amount is due to the plaintiff and what amount is due to the defendant, and shall be for the recovery of any sum which appears to be due to either party.

(2) Appeal from decree relating to set-off or counter-claim

Any decree passed in a suit in which a set-off or counter-claim is claimed shall be subject to the same provisions in respect of appeal to which it would have been subject if not set-off or counter-claim had been claimed.

(3) The provisions of this rule shall apply whether the set-off is admissible under Rule 6 of Order VIII or otherwise.


Rule 20: Certified copies of judgment and decree to be furnished

Certified copies of the judgment and decree shall be furnished to the parties on application to the Court, and at their expense.


IMPORTANT CASE LAWS

1. Basis for delivering judgment:

Om Prakash v. Kimtu, (2005) 13 SCC 389 : “……..It is trite that the decision in a case cannot be rendered only on the basis of the judgment in another case which is not conclusive between the parties……obligatory on the part of the High Court to consider the other materials on record so as to arrive at a finding that the conclusions of the trial court as also of the first appellate court were not legally sustainable. Having not done so, in our opinion, the High Court fell into an error particularly so as it failed to formulate an additional substantial question of law in terms of sub-section (5) of Section 100 CPC.”


2. Manner in which decree shall be drafted:

Lakshmi Ram Bhuyan v. Hari Prasad Bhuyan, (2003) 1 SCC 197 : “…….The preparation of decree follows the judgment. The decree shall agree with the judgment. The decree shall contain, inter alia, particulars of the claim and shall specify clearly the relief granted or other determination of the suit. The decree shall also state the amount of costs incurred in the suit and by whom or out of what property and in what proportions such costs are to be paid. Rules 9 to 19 of Order XX are illustrative of contents of decrees in certain specified categories of suits. The very obligation cast by the Code that the decree shall agree with the judgment spells out an obligation on the part of the author of the judgment to clearly indicate the relief or reliefs to which a party, in his opinion, has been found entitled to enable decree being framed in such a manner that it agrees with the judgment and specifies clearly the relief granted or other determination of the suit.….


3. Discretionary power of Court in future ‘mesne profits’:

Gopalakrishna Pillai v. Meenakshi Ayal, AIR 1967 SC 155 : “…….a suit to which the provisions of Order 20 Rule 12 apply, the Court has a discretionary power to pass a decree directing an enquiry into the future mesne profits, and the Court may grant this general relief, though it is not specifically asked for in the plaint………”


CONNECTED SECTIONS

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