CPC Sections - Code Of Civil Procedure 1908

The Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) is a code that regulates the procedure to be followed in courts in a civil case. It is divided into two parts: the first part contains 158 sections and the second part is comprised of the First Schedule that contains 51 Orders and Rules. The sections provide provisionsregarding the general principles of jurisdiction, whereas, the orders and rules state the procedure and method to govern civil proceedings in India. It is a procedural law that prescribes the procedure and machinery to be followed by the courts for the enforcement of the rights and liabilities in a civil issue.

Historical Background of Code of Civil Procedure

Before 1859, there were Crown Courts in Presidency towns and Provincial Courts in Mofussil. The courts in Mofussil areas were governed by different systems of civil procedure based on various rules and regulations which were changed frequently to fit in the changing needs and circumstances.The Legislative Council of India to provide uniformity in regulating the civil procedure in India enacted the first code of civil procedure in 1859 which received the assent of the Governor-General on 23rd March 1859. However, the code could not serve the purpose due to its inapplicability to the Supreme Courts (Crown Courts under the Royal Charter) and the Sardar Diwani Adalats (Principal Courts under the Judicial Plan by the Governal General).

Thereafter, the Indian High Courts Act and the Supreme Court Act establishing High Courts in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata were passed in the year 1861 and the Sardar Diwani Adalats were abolished. The code of 1859 was also made applicable to the High Courts, however, due to the irregularities of the code it was replaced by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1877 which was again amended in 1878 and 1879. Later, the code of 1877 was replaced by the Code of Civil Procedure 1882 which also lacked in overcoming the drawbacks of its predecessors and ultimately the present Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 was passed after removing all the defects of the previously enacted codes.

FAQs related to the Code of Civil Procedure

What are the powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure?

Courts duty to do justice in all cases, whether provided for or not, carries with it the necessary power to do justice in the absence of express provision. This power is referred to as the inherent powers of the court provided under Section 151 of the Civil Procedure Code. A civil court has vast powers and the law related to the same has been enumerated under section 148 to section 153A of the Civil Procedure Code.

  • Section 148 clearly points out that the court has no application when the time has not been fixed or granted for doing a particular act that has not been prescribed or allowed by the court. This power of the court, being discretionary in nature cannot be claimed as a right. Section 148 provides that the court, may extend to a maximum period of 30 days, when a definite time period is fixed or granted by it, for doing an act.

  • Section 149 deals with payment of court fees. The power of the court is discretionary and must be exercised only in the interest of justice. This section certifies the court to allow a party to make up for the deficiency of court fees payable on a plaint or a memorandum of an appeal etc., even after the expiry of the limitation period that is provided for the filing of a suit or an appeal etc.

  • Section 150 of CPC relates to the ‘Transfer of businesses’, and provides thus: "when the business of any court is transferred to any other court, the transferee court will exercise the same power or discharge same duties conferred or imposed by CPC upon the transferring court".

  • Section 151 states that the inherent powers of the court can be used to secure the ends of justice under section 151 of the CPC. The scope of the exercise of these powers, under Section 151 of CPC can be illustrated by a few cases, such as-
    1. The court may recall its orders and correct any mistakes;
    2. An illegal order, or orders passed without a jurisdiction can be set-aside.
    3. The court has the power to hold a trial ‘in camera’ or prohibit any publication of its proceedings.

  • Section 152, 153 and 153A of the Civil Procedure Code relates to the application of the inherent powers for effecting amendments of judgments, decrees, orders or other records.

2. What is the difference between Indian Penal Code, Civil Procedure Code and Criminal Procedure Code?

Indian Penal Code is a substantive law. A substantive law is a law which defines the rights and liabilities in civil law and crimes and punishment under the criminal law. Therefore, Indian Penal Code is the law that stated the punishable offences, along with their punishments or penalty or both. It explains all possible crimes and their related punishments. Under this code, the punishments are divided into five major sections, i.e. death, imprisonment for life, imprisonment in general, forfeiture of property and fine.

The Code of Civil Procedure and the Criminal Procedure Code are a procedural law. A procedural law is a law which lays down the set of procedures for enforcing substantive law. Therefore, Criminal Procedure Code is the law that describes the overall procedure which is to be followed by the Courts in a criminal case. It deals with the set of rules that direct the series of proceedings that take place during a criminal offence. It aims at setting up the necessary machinery for investigating cases, arresting criminals, presenting criminals before the courts, collecting evidence, imposing penalties or punishments on the accused, the entire procedure regarding bail, and so on.

Similarly, the Code of Civil Procedure is also a procedural law. The main purpose of the Civil Procedure Code is to enumerate the procedure and practices to be followed by the civil courts in India. It provides the provisions to be followed in a civil suit, such as provisions regarding filing of a suit, sending of summons, provisions for interim injunction during the pendency of a suit and appealing against an order, etc.

3. What is the limitation period for filing a civil suit?

Limitation for filing a suit depends upon the subject matter of the suit, for example if the case is related to redemption of mortgaged property then the limitation for filing a suit is 30 years, however, the limitation in general for filing a civil suit is 3 years.

For every appeal, there is a limited period, within which appeal should be filed. Such a limitation is provided under the Limitation Act, 1963. If appeal has to be made in case of a decree passed by lower court in civil suit, the limitation is:
1. Appeal to High Court - 90 days from the date of decree or order.
2. Appeal to any other court - 30 days from the date of Decree or order.

4. What is the procedure for filing an appeal in a civil suit?

In case there are more than one plaintiffs or defendants, then any one of them can file an appeal against all of them respectively.Merely because an appeal is filed, does not mean that the order or decree of lower court is stayed. In case of temporary stay of decree or order, it has to be specifically asked, and stay will operate only if court grants it.In case of execution of decree, the court, which passed the decree, can itself stay the execution for time being on sufficient reasons shown.The court may require the appellant to deposit some sort of security.The appellate court may, on the day fixed for hearing the appellant dismiss the appeal, or issue notice to the opposite party to appear on next day.

If on the first day of hearing, appellate court issues summons to the opposite party, then:
1. It shall fix a date for next hearing, and such date shall be published in the court house.
2. Notice shall also be sent to the lower court, whose decree or order has been appealed.
3. To appellant is required to file “Process Fee“which is very nominal, and on such filing, the notice shall also be sent to opposite party.
4. In case of appeal, the one who files the appeal is known as appellant, and against whom it is filed, is known as "Respondent".

5. What is the difference between an Order, Decree and Judgment?

In a civil suit, several facts might be alleged and the court may be required to rule on several claims. In simple terms, a decree is the ruling of the court regarding the claims of the parties of the suit. For example, in a suit between A and B, A may claim that a particular property P belongs to A. After hearing all the arguments, the court will rule in the favour of either A or B. The final decision of the court regarding this claim i.e. whether the property belongs to A or B, is a decree.

According to Section (14) of the Civil Procedure Code, the formal expression of any decision of a civil court which is not a decree is an order. In a suit, a court may take certain decisions on objective considerations and those decisions must contain a discussion of matters at issue in the suit and the reasons which led the court to pass the order. However, if those decisions fall short of a decree, they are orders.

A judgment, on the other hand, means a statement given by the judge of the grounds of a decree or order. Every judgment must contain- a concise statement of the case, the points for determination, the decision thereon, and the reasons for the decision. According to Rule 6A of Order 20, the last part of the judgment should precisely state the relief granted. Thus, a judgment is a state prior to the passing of a decree or an order. After a judgment is pronounced, a decree shall follow.