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Report No. 44

Appendix I

Working Paper Circulated by The Law Commission in May, 1971

Subject:-Appellate Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in regard to civil matters under Article 133 of the Constitution.

This note deals with a proposal regarding the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in regard to civil matters under Article 133 of the Constitution. The proposal is to repeal sub-clauses (a) and (b) of clause (1) of the Article, and thereby limit this jurisdiction to cases in which the High Court certifies that the case is a fit one for appeal to the Supreme Court under sub-clause (c), without reference to the amount or value of the subject-matter of the dispute.

2. The Government of India had in 1969 introduced a Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the object of which was to enhance the amount mentioned in sub-clause (a) from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 1,00,000. This Bill1 was passed by the Rajya Sabha on the 3rd August, 1970, but owing to the dissolution of the Lok Sabha before it could consider the Bill, the Bill lapsed. A copy of the Bill, as passed by the Rajya Sabha, is attached for reference. (Annexure A).

1. The Supreme Court (Enhancement of Valuation for Civil Appellate Jurisdiction) Bill, 1970

3. Article 133, as is well known, was based on the provisions of sections 109 and 110 of the Civil Procedure Code which formerly regulated appeals to the Privy Council. The important differences between the Article and the sections were

(i) the enhancement of the pecuniary limit from ten thousand rupees to "twenty thousand rupees or such other sum as may be specified in that behalf by Parliament by law";

(ii) the right of appeal, formerly restricted to decrees and final orders passed on appeal by the High Court, now made available against "any judgment, decree or final order in a civil proceeding of a High Court", thus including final orders passed by a High Court in the exercise of its revisional jurisdiction;

(iii) the right of appeal on a certificate of fitness, which was formerly available against any order of the High Court, now restricted to final orders of the High Court.

1. (a) Narayan Rau v. Ishwar Lal, (1966) 1 SCR 190: AIR 1965 SC 1818.

(b) Ramesh v. Gondola!, (1966) 3 SCR 198: AIR 1966 SC 1445 (1448).

(c) Arbind Kumar v. Nand Kishore, (1968) 3 SCR 322: AIR 1968 SC 1227.

4. The raising of the pecuniary limit to Rs. 20,000 in the Constitution was obviously made in view of the depreciation of the rupee, but it was by no means proportionate to the fall in the purchasing power of the rupee. No appreciable fall in the number of appeals to the Supreme Court could have been expected from the small increase in the pecuniary limit, because the Constitution, for the first time, conferred extensive writ jurisdiction on High Courts under Article 226. If this proceeding in appeal would be to the Supreme Court against a judgment decree or final order in such proceeding it can be classified as "a civil proceeding"; and it is now well-settled2 that it can be so classified if it deals with civil rights conferred either by civil law or by statute.

Appellant Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in Civil matters Back

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