The Code of Civil Procedure (hereinafter ‘CPC”) was enacted first implemented in the year 1859 alongside the Indian Penal Code by the 1st Law Commission. The whole purpose of the Act was to differentiate the criminal law procedures from the civil suits. Due to its rigidity, the Act of 1859 was amended several times till the 1900s. In order to reinstate the position, the civil code was re-enacted in 1908 and was in force on 1st January, 1909. Till date, all the civil suits are governed under this act. The main objective of the Act, like every institute of law, is to facilitate justice in the society. Moreover, being a procedural act, it aids a variety of statutes such as contracts law, partnership, transfer of property, company law, sale of goods, etc.
STRUCTURE & FEATURES
CPC is written in two parts where Part I constitutes section 1 to 158 and Part II comprises Orders, Appendices, and the forms. The Act is procedural in nature and aims to aid the civil laws in the country. Once the suit has been initiated, the rights as well as the remedies of both the parties will be governed under it. Any civil suit is bound to observe the procedures established by the Act in order to ensure uniformity throughout the country.
Civil Suit: All the cases initiated before the civil courts and governed under CPC will be termed as Civil Suit. The person initiates the proceedings is known as Plaintiff and the person against whom the proceedings have been initiated is known as the Defendant. A formal cause of action used to start the proceedings is the plaint and the response filled is known as the Written Statement.
Res-Judicata: Under section 9, the Code gives the civil courts power to adjudicate all the suits unless expressly barred in accordance with the law. The principles of putting an end to litigation in a matter, rights of the parties have been substantially decided by the Court, the same cannot be reopened by the original parties or their successors in appeal. Res-Judicata does not preclude appeals, review or revision, these are the remedies provided by the statute.
Decree: A decree can be stated as a formal expression of adjudication which regulates the rights of both the parties. The decree will come into enforcement as soon as the judgment has been pronounced.
Execution: It constitutes the lengthiest provisions of the act. The term execution has not been defined in the Code but in lucid language, it can be stated as giving effect to the particular judgment pronounced in the case. The provisions of execution range from section 36 to 74. Moreover, Order XXI also deals with the provisions of the execution of the judgment.
Review: Under the Code, Section 114 gives the court power to review. Moreover, Order 47 also states the conditions for the review. Any person considers himself aggrieved:
- By a decree or Order from which an appeal is allowed, but from which no appeal has been preferred;
- By a decree or Order from which no appeal is allowed; or
- By a decision on a reference from a Court of Small Causes.
Revision: Under section 115, the code gives the court power to entertain revision petition is certain circumstances through its revisional jurisdiction. The foremost objective of this jurisdiction is to avoid a subordinate court from acting contrary to their jurisdiction and in furtherance of justice and stop the abuse and misuse of the jurisdiction.
From time to time, the Code has been amended for better implementation of the procedures throughout the civil courts in the country. Out of all the amendments, the article will be dealing with limited developments in the Code.
The amendment of 1976 was responsible to bring major development under the CPC. The content varied from introducing the principles of natural justice in order to govern civil suits to speedy disposals of the suits. In order to achieve the speedy adjudication, the procedures were simplified so that the layman can understand the technicalities. Another chief amendment to the Act was made in the year 2002. During this time, restrictions were imposed for the number of adjournments, Moreover, the time to file the written statement was reduced to 90 days.
Since the code was implemented in 1908, it has been efficiently handling and dealing with the civil cases in the country. Leaving aside the broad principles which earlier were discussed, the code also deals with suits involving money, injunctions, state’s liability, caveats, etc.
There is no doubt with regards to the efforts the legislature has taken to bring procedural uniformity throughout the country. The code ensures an efficient procedural system to achieve speedy justice. However, at ground level, the picture is not as good as it sounds. The Act implemented in 1908 witnessed many flaws in its system which were corrected through amendments over the years. Moreover, the complicated procedure placed by the code stretches the trials for over a decade long that definitely defeats the entire objective of it. Instead of making the life of a layman simple, the Code has entangled everyone in rigid and painstaking procedure. The burden shall not fall only on the legislature. The judiciary has also took their sweet time to adjudicate disputes. It is high time for both Bar and the Bench to take active part in adjudicating the disputes at a speedy and efficient manner.
Pranav Tomar is currently pursuing BA LLB from Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala. He has been associated with different organisations as a research writer where he has authored various blogs.