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Report No. 79

10.7. Small cases.-

So much as regards the principle underlying section 100. While the section permits a second appeal on a substantial question of law, practical considerations impel the law to place certain limitations even in this respect. For example, in cases where the amount involved is not large, the policy of the law is that at a particular stage halt should be called, and the parties should not be burdened, or even be tempted to burden themselves, with further expense. The quest for justice is not something abstract. It has also to bear the impress of a certain amount of pragmatism. It is because of these considerations that limitations have been placed on the right of appeal when the amount involved is not large.1

It is plain that in such matters a line has to be drawn somewhere. The point at which the line is drawn may appear to some to smack of arbitrariness, but such a charge would perhaps be always there, whenever we have to draw a line at some point. While determining the point at which the line is drawn, the law has to keep in view all the relevant factors, including the need for finality, the cost to be incurred and the imperative of ensuring that the cost should not be disproportionate to the stakes actually involved.

Section 102 of the Code accordingly bars a second appeal in any suit of a nature cognisable by courts of small causes when the amount or value of the subject matter does not exceed rupees three thousand. The amount of rupees three thousand was increased from rupees five hundred as a result of the amendments made in 1956 and 1976. These amendments seek to ensure that the time and energy of the courts should not be wasted by over-litigious individuals.

1. Section 102, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

10.8. No change for the present.-

We have in an earlier Chapter dealt at some length1 with the question as to whether we should have a right of second appeal on a substantial question of law. It would not, therefore, be desirable to cover the same ground over again. Not much time has elapsed since the amendment referred to above in section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure. It is obvious that the impact of the amendment would be visible only after the passage of some time. It is apposite that we should for the time being watch the situation.

1. Paras. 4.10 to 4.13, supra.

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