Report No. 163
Judgment and Degree
Q.38. Order 20, rule 1 (Pronouncing of the Judgment and giving copy, etc.): Clause 28 of the Bill, read with clause 32(i)
The Bill, in clauses 28 and 32(i), proposes certain material changes-
(i) in the course to be adopted by a trial court, when it pronounces judgment, regarding giving the parties a copy of the judgment, and preparation of the decree, etc. [Clause 28 of the Bill], and
(ii) in the requirements of the law relating to the copy of the decree, etc. that must accompany the filing of the first appeal [clause 32(i) of the Bill].
The proposals are fairly elaborate and relate to Order 20, rule 1(2), Order 20, rule 6A and rule 6B and Order 41, rule 1 of the code. It will be convenient, if the present law and the proposed amendments are analysed as under:
(a) Under existing Order 20, rule 1(2), a copy of the whole judgment shall be made available "for the perusal of the parties, etc." immediately after the judgment is pronounced. Under the proposal regarding Order 20, rule 6B, copies shall be made available to the parties, immediately "for preferring an appeal", on payment of charges specified by rules made by the High Court.
(b) Under present. Order 20, rule 6A(1) and (2), and rule 6A(2), the scheme is as under:
(i) The last paragraph of the judgment shall state precisely the relief granted.
(ii) The court shall endeavour to draw up the decree expeditiously and within 15 days, but, if the decree is not ready within 15 days, the par by desirous of appeal can obtain from the court a certificate and thereupon the appeal can be preferred without filing a copy of the decree. The last paragraph of the judgment will constitute the decree, for purposes of appeal and execution. In contrast, under the proposed scheme, the position will be as under:
(1) The decree must be drawn up within 15 days [Order 20, rule 6A(1), as proposed].
(2) Provision that last paragraph of the judgment should contain the precise relief, is omitted [Order 20, rule 6A(1), as proposed.].
(3) Copies of the Judgment must be available for preferring an appeal, [Order 20, rule 6B, as proposed].
(4) Appeal can be filed without filing a copy of the decree. Copy of the Judgment. [made available under point (3) above] is to be treated as the decree. But once the decree is prepared, the judgment ceases to have the effect of a decree. Order 20, rule 6A and Order 41, rule 1, as proposed]. [Order 41, rule 1 as proposed by clause 32(i) of the Bill].
In a rough and ready manner, it can be stated that the Bill wishes to place strict emphasis upon a timely preparation of the decree and (consequentially) deletes the facility of filing an appeal with copy of the last paragraph of the judgment. (pending preparation of the decree) However, the judgment can be treated as the decree, till decree is prepared.
The main question to be considered is, whether this altered scheme is an improvement on the present law, which is based on the extensive examination of the subject by the Law Commission in its 54th report and connected recommendation. Present law does not seem to have given rise to any serious complaint. It takes note of the realities - i.e. delay in the preparation of the decree and makes other connected provisions.
Incidentally, the present provision in Order 20, rule 6A(1). [Judgment to state the precise relief] is not only helpful for appeal, but also serves to improve the quality of judgment writing It compels the judge to focus and concentrate his mind on the relief, thus promoting the cause of clarity and precision. The proposed amendment seems to have missed this very important aspect also.
[See also Q.42, infra].