Report No. 89
12.7. Quietus by Supreme Court.- Fortunately, the Supreme Court,1 has now settled the position and interpreted the Explanation to section 12 to mean that a person cannot get exclusion of the period that elapsed between pronouncement of the judgment and the signing of the decree, if he made the application for a copy only after preparation of the decree. In view of the latest judgment of the Supreme Court, the controversy has subsided. However, in order to express the intention and true meaning more clearly, we recommend a suitable change in the Explanation under discussion.2
1. Udayan Chinubhai v. R.C. Bali, AIR 1977 SC 2319.
2. See para. 12.13, infra, for the draft discussion.
12.8. Legal impediment to the preparation of a decree.- A situation may arise when there is a legal impediment to preparing a decree. When there is a legal impediment to prepare a decree on account for non-compliance with such direction or for other legally permissible reasons the law should allow relaxation. The point was adverted to in one case before the Supreme Court.1 We are recommending a suitable amendment2 inserting a specific provision on the subject.
1. Udayan Chinubhai v. R.C. Bali, AIR 1977 SC 2319 (2337), para. 35.
2. See para. 12.13, infra.
12.9. Order 20, rule 6A, Civil Procedure Co.-Effect of.- At this stage, we may also take notice of the newly added rule 6A to Order 20, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. In implementation of the recommendations of the Law Commission made in its Report, (on that Code)1 it has now been made obligatory upon the courts to prepare the decree as expeditiously as possible and, if it cannot be so done within 15 days from the date of the pronouncement of the judgment, the aggrieved party is enabled to obtain a certificate that the decree has not been drawn up.
The aggrieved party can in such case prefer an appeal treating the last paragraph of the judgment as a decree. Similarly, the decree holder can initiate the process of execution on the basis of the last paragraph of the judgment, which itself shall be deemed to be the "decree" for the purpose of execution. The amendment made in 1976 thus confers the status of a decree upon the copy of the last paragraph of the judgment, but that status comes to an end the moment a regular decree is drawn up.
1. Law Commission of India, 54th Report (Code of Civil Procedure, 1908), Chapter 20.
12.10. Amendment of section 12 regarding copy of the last paragraph of the judgment.- So far as the inter-connection of rule 6A of Order 20, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 with section 12, Limitation Act is concerned, it would be uncontroverted that the aggrieved party would as much be entitled to obtain an exclusion of time on account of delay in obtaining a copy of the last paragraph of the judgment (on the basis of which he can now take steps for filing an appeal), as he would be in obtaining a copy of the actual decree.
It is true that the party would be able to obtain a copy of the last paragraph of the judgment somewhat earlier than copy of the decree. Nonetheless, the copying section of the court is bound to take some time in supplying a copy of even the last paragraph of the judgment. To put the matter beyond the pale of doubt, we recommend that a suitable Explanation should be added to section 12 on the above point.1
1. See para. 12.13, infra.
12.11. Quasi-judicial tribunals.- One more change needed in section 12 concerns tribunals. We are of the opinion that the section should, by an express provision, be extended to quasi-judicial bodies, since there is no reason why the time taken in the various steps contemplated by the section should not be available in regard to appeals before such tribunals. It is desirable that the matter should be governed by a specific provision applicable to all such tribunals rather than be left to be dealt with on a case-to-case basis.
12.12. Marginal note to section 12 to be amended.- There is yet another point (though a minor one) on which section 12 will need amendment. The marginal note to section 12 speaks of "Exclusion of time in legal proceedings", and the expression "Legal proceedings" should be given a wide meaning so as to include proceedings before tribunals. This would mean amending the section.
If section 12 is to be amended so as to put it beyond doubt that the section is applicable to proceedings before tribunals,1 it would be better to amend the marginal note also. This is so because where the marginal note has not been amended despite the addition of matter in the section, sometimes controversies arise.2 Such controversies are worth avoiding wherever possible.
1. Para. 12.11, supra.
2. Tara Prasad Singh v. Union of India, (1981) 1 sq 53 (67).
12.13. Recommendation.- In the light of the above discussion, we recommend the following amendments to section 12:
(i) The marginal note to the section should be revised as unde.-
"Exclusion of time in legal proceedings, including proceedings before quasi-judicial tribunal."1
(ii) The present Explanation should be revised, and certain further Explanations should be added. The Explanations to appear before section 12 will now read as unde.-
"Explanation I.- Any time taken by the court to prepare the decree or order before an application for a copy thereof is made shall not be regarded as time requisite for obtaining the copy within the meaning of this section.2
(Section 12, Explanation 1)
Explanation II.- Where there is a legal impediment to the preparation of a decree or order on account of a direction in the judgment or non-compliance with the direction or for any other legally permissible reason, any time during which the decree or order cannot be prepared on account of such legal impediment shall be regarded as time requisite for obtaining the copy within the meaning of this section.3
Explanation II.-For the purposes of this section, 'decree' includes the last paragraph of the judgment, where it is proposed to use a copy thereof for the purpose permitted by rule 6A of Order XX in the First Schedule to Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.4
Explanation I.-For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the provisions of this section apply to proceedings before quasi-judicial tribunals, as they apply to proceedings before courts."5
1. Para. 12.12, supra.
2. Para. 12.9, supra.
3. Para. 12.8, supra.
4. Para. 12.10, supra.
5. Para. 12.11, supra.