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Judgment and decree – (Short notes)

June 14, 2021


  1. Introduction
  2. Judgment – Meaning
  3. Decree – Meaning
  4. Order and Judgment 
  5. Judgment, decree and order

Introduction:- Generally speaking, a judgment adjudicates on the rights of the parties as they existed before the suit in which it was obtained. Judgment means the statement given by the judge of the grounds of a decree or order, as seen from Section 2(9), Civil Procedure Code, 1908 . A judgment is an affirmation of a relation between a particular predicate and a particular subject. So, in law, it is the affirmation by the law of the legal consequences attending a proved or admitted state of facts. Its declaratory, determinative and adjudicatory function is its distinctive characteristics. Its recording gives an official certification to a pre-existing relation or establishes a new one on pre-existing grounds. It is always a declaration that a liability, recognised as within the jural sphere, does or does not exist. A judgment, as the culmination of the action, declares the existence of the right, recognises the commission of the injury or negatives the allegation of one or the other, Gurdit Singh v. State of Punjab(1974) 2 SCC 260. Section 33 of the Code of Civil Procedure,1908 says that the Court, after the case has been heard, shall pronounce judgment, and on such judgment a decree shall follow.

Judgment Meaning:- A judgment means a decision in an action whether final, preliminary or interlocutory which decides either wholly or partially, but conclusively in so far as the Court is concerned the controversy which is the subject of the action. It does not include a decision which is on a matter of procedure, nor one which is ancillary to the action, even though it may either imperil the ultimate decision or tend to make it effective, Gokul Chand D. Morarka v. Company Law Board, ILR (1972) 2 Del 369. 

A judgment means a statement given by a Judge of the grounds of a decree or order, State of T.N. v. S. Thangavel(1997) 2 SCC 349: 1997 SCC (L&S) 518. The “judgment” of the court was, where the final result was announced orally but the “judgment”, as defined in CPC embodying a concise statement of the case, the points for determination, the decision thereon and the reasons for such decision, was finalised later on, K.V. Rami Reddi v. Prema(2009) 17 SCC 308

“Judgment” means the statement given by the Judge of the grounds for a decree or order. What a judgment should contain is indicated in Order 20 Rule 4(2) of Civil Procedure Code (India). It should be a self-contained document from which it should appear as to what were the facts of the case and what was the controversy which was tried to be settled by the court and in what manner. The process of reasoning by which the court came to the ultimate conclusion and decreed the suit should be reflected clearly in the judgment, Balraj Taneja v. Sunil Madan(1999) 8 SCC 396. The expression “judgment” means a final adjudication by the Court of the rights of the parties and that an interlocutory judgment even if it decides an issue or issues without finally determining the rights and liabilities of the parties is not a judgment, however cardinal the issue may be, Tarapore & Co., v. V/O Tractors Export, AIR 1970 SC 1168.  The final operative act is that which is formally declared in open court with the intention of making it the operative decision of the court. That is what constitutes the “judgment”. A judgment is the final decision of the court intimated to the parties and to the world at large by formal “pronouncement” or “delivery” in open court. It is a judicial act which must be performed in a judicial way, Surendra Singh v. State of U.P., AIR 1954 SC 194, 196, 197: 1954 SCR 330: 1954 Cri LJ 475. 

 “Judgment” indicates the termination of the case by an order of conviction or acquittal of the accused and a judgment is to be rendered in strict adherence to the provisions of Chapter XXVII CrPC. Further, the “judgment” is a formal intimation of the decision and its contents formally declare the decision in a judicial way in open court. In other words, it is a declaration of the mind of the court at the time of pronouncement. It is also clear that passing sentence without recording the judgment would amount to an illegality. Pronouncing sentence before completing the judgment, that is, before preparing the essential part of the judgment, makes the sentence illegal and vitiates the conviction, Yakub Abdul Razak Memon v. State of Maharashtra(2013) 13 SCC 1

 Judicial determination; decision of a court. The several species of judgments are either: — (aInterlocutory, given in the midst of a cause, upon some plea, proceeding or default, which is only intermediate and does not finally determine or complete the action. (bFinal, putting an end to the action by an award of redress to one party or discharge of the other, as the case may be.   The word “judgment” cannot refer to the various interlocutory orders and judgments that may be passed during the hearing of the suit; and so the word “judgment” cannot be given the meaning assigned to it by Section 2(9) of the Civil Procedure Code. It cannot mean in the context the statement given by the judge on the grounds of a decree or order. It must mean a judgment which finally decides all matters in controversy in the suit, Nachiappa Chettiar v. Subramaniam Chettiar, AIR 1960 SC 307. Judgment means a decision or order of a court or tribunal imposing a sentence, according to Article 1(a), Transfer of Sentenced Persons – India and Australia.

Decree – Meaning :- ‘Decree’ means the formal expression of an adjudication which, so far as regards the Court expressing it, conclusively determines the rights of the parties with regard to all or any of the matters in controversy in the suit and may be either preliminary or final. It shall be deemed to include the rejection of a plaint and the determination of any question within Section 144 (of CPC) but shall not include— (a) any adjudication from which an appeal lies as an appeal from an order or (b) any order of dismissal for default, according to Section 2(2), Civil Procedure Code, 1908 . A formal expression of an adjudication which the court conclusively and finally determines the rights of the parties with regard to all or any of the matters in controversy in the suit, Deep Chand v. Land Acquisition Officer(1994) 4 SCC 99.  An edict, a law. The term was also used for the judgment of a court of equity. 

Order and Judgment — Order means the formal expression of any decision of a Civil Court which is not a decree, as seen from Section 2(14), Civil Procedure Code, 1908. For an order to be a “judgment” it is not always necessary that it would put an end to the controversy in the suit or should terminate the suit. It must mean a decision which affects the merits of the question between the parties by determining some right or liability and such a decision might be either final, preliminary or interlocutory. An order in a proceeding under Or. 21, R. 90 of Civil Procedure Code, is a “judgment” in as much as such a proceeding raises a controversy between the parties therein affecting their valuable rights and the order allowing the application certainly deprives the purchaser of rights accrued to him as a result of the auction sale, Radhey Shyam v. Shyam Behari Singh(1970) 2 SCC 405.

Judgment, decree and order — In regard to decisions of civil courts in suits governed by the Civil Procedure Code or appeals therefrom, the term “judgment” refers to the grounds of a decree or order, “decree” refers to the formal expression of an adjudication in a suit and “order” refers to formal expression of any decision of a civil court which is not a decree. In regard to the decisions of the High Court and the Supreme Court in writ jurisdiction, the term “judgment” is normally used to refer to the “judgment and order”, that is the grounds for the decision and the formal expression of the decision, as was observed in Sanjay Singh v. U.P. Public Service Commission(2007) 3 SCC 720: (2007) 1 SCC (L&S) 870.

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