Before 1859, there was no uniform codified law relating to procedure of civil
courts in India. In those days the crown courts at presidency towns and the
provincial courts at mofussils were governed by the different systems of civil
procedures by certain rules, regulations and special acts as, applicable to them
from time to time.
For the first time in 1859, uniform code of civil procedure
was introduced with passing of the Civil Procedure Code (Act/VIII of 1859), but
it did not serve the purpose since it was not applicable to the supreme courts
(Crown Courts under the Royal Charter) and Sadar Diwani Adalats (Principal
Courts under the Judicial Plan by the Governor General). After the passing of
Indian High Courts Act, 1861, the Supreme courts and Sadar Adalats were
abolished as in their place High Court were established in their place at
Madras, Bombay and Calcutta and the code of 1859 was made applicable to high
The code of 1859 was amended from time to time and was replaced with the
passing of Code of Civil Procedure 1877. The Code of 1877 also was amended in
1878 and 1879. In 1882, the third Code of Civil Procedure was enacted. The Code
of Civil procedure, 1882 also was amended several times and ultimately the
present Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 was passed overshadowing the defects of
the Code of 1882.
Meaning and Objects:
The law relating to the procedure of civil courts is
regulated/ governed by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the word 'Code'
literally means, a systematic collection of statutes, body of law so arranged
as to avoid inconsistency and overlapping.
Extent and application:
- The main object of Code of Civil Procedure is to consolidate and amend
the law relating to the procedure of civil courts in India.
- As such, it was enshrined in the preamble of the Code that it was
enacted to consolidate and amend the laws relating to the procedure to the
followed in court
- The civil courts having civil jurisdiction in India, it regulated the
action in civil courts and the parties before it to the day of realization
of its formity i.e. the execution of the decree and order
- In simple words, the aim of procedure law is to implement the principles
of substantive law. It ensure fair justice by enforcing the rights and
liability of the citizens.
The Code of civil Procedure is passed in 1908 and come
into force from 1st January 1909. The code extent to whole of India, except: the
state of Nagaland and tribal areas; provided that the state government concerned
may, be notification in the official gazette, extend the provision of this code
or any of them to the whole or part of the state of Nagaland or such Tribal
areas, as the case may be with such supplemental, incidental or consequential
notifications as may be specified in the notification.
Scope of the Code:
The code is exhaustive on the matters specifically dealt with
by it. However, it is not exhaustive on the points not specifically dealt with
therein. The legislature is incapable of contemplating all the possible
circumstances which may arise in future litigation and consequently for
providing procedure for them. With regard to those matters , the court has
inherent power to act according to the principles of justice, equity and good
The Code specifically provides that:
Nothing in this Code shall be
deemed to limit or otherwise affect the inherent power to the court to make such
as may be necessary for the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of the process
of the courts.
The code is the general law. It does not affect the local or special law in
force. In the event of any conflict between the Code and special law, the
special law would be prevail. However the provision of the Code would prevail if
the local or special law is silent.
Scheme of the Code: the code of Civil Procedure comprises of two parts:
- The body of the Code and;
- The Schedule.
The body of the code containing 158 sections divide into 12 parts forms the
first part. The second part containing the rules and orders form the schedule.
The first part i.e. the body lays down the principles relating to powers of the
courts, while the second part i.e. the schedule provides for the procedure,
method, manner and mode in which the jurisdiction of the courts may be
exercised. Originally, there were five schedules I, II, III, IV and V. but the
Schedule II, III, IV and V were replaced by the subsequent amendments of the
Code. The first schedule contains 51 orders. Each order contains rules.
number of rules vary from order to order. At the end of the rules, there are 8
appendices relating to Forms/Model Formats viz.
Salient features of the Code: there are following features:
- Pleading (plaint and written statement)
- Discovery, Inspection and Admission
- Supplemental proceedings
- Appeal, Reference and Review and
- The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 is one of the most important branches
of the procedural law and regulates the procedure to be adopted in all civil
courts having jurisdiction in India. It came into force from 1st January
- It comprises of two parts viz. i) the body and; ii) the schedule. The
body contains 158 sections divided into 12 parts constitutes the first part,
while the schedule containing rules and orders form the second part. The
schedule contains 51 orders. Each order contains rules.
- The Code is a territorial law. It extends to the whole of India except;
the state of Nagaland and tribal areas; provided that the state government
\concerned may, be notification in the official gazette, extend the provision of
this code or any of them to the whole or part of the state of Nagaland.
- It is significant to note that the Code made the procedure in Civil
Courts very simple for enforcement of rights, liabilities and obligations of
the citizens. In other words, the code provides mechanism for enforcement of
- The code is the general law applicable to the proceedings of all civil
courts without prejudice to the local or special law in force. In case of
conflict, the special will prevail over the code. However, the provisions of
the court shall apply if the local or special law is silent.
- The Code has been amended several times. It was amended more than 30
times during 1909- 1976. Recently it was amended in 1999
and 2002 vide the Court of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act, 1999 and the Code of
Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2002.
The acts of 1999 and 2002 i.e. the Code of Civil Procedure Amendment
(Act), 1999 and the Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2002 came into
force on the same day. The 1st July 2002.
The main object of the Acts is to ensure fair justice by eliminating
inordinate delay in disposal of the cases:
- Summons served to the defendant within 30 days from the date of filing
of the suit.
- The defendant through summons is required to appear before the Court and
answer the claim and submit file written statement 30 days. However, the
Court may extend the period of filing written statement upto 90 days.
- The penalty for default/ denial/non-appearance in response to the summon
has been enhanced upto Rs. 5,000/-
- If the decree for the payment of money is not executed, the judgment
debtor may be detained in civil prison for a period not exceeding three
months if the decree is for the payment of a sum exceeding Rs. 5,000/-. The period of
such detention is upto six months if the amount payable is above 2,000/- and
below 5,000/- and no order for the detention in the civil prison in respect of
the default upto Rs. 2,000/-.
- With regard to attachment in execution of a decree, salary upto 1,000/-
and two thirds of the remaining salary beyond Rs. 1,000/- shall not be liable to
- Provision has been made for settlements of disputes outside the Courts
viz. Arbitration, conciliation, Mediation, Lok adalats etc.
- Provisions has been made to provide compensation upto Rs. 50,000/- to the
defendant for the expenses incurred, loss or injury included the loss of
reputation caused to him against his arrest or attachment of his property.
- With regard to provision for the appeal:
- No appeal shall lie against the decree or order if the subject matter of
the original suit does not exceed Rs. 1,000/-
- Where an appeal is heard and decided by a single judge of a High Court
from an original or appellate decree or order, no further appeal shall be
- No second appeal shall lie from any decree if the subject matter of the
original suit is for recovery of money not exceeding Rs. 25,000/-.
- The court may adjourn the framing of issues for a period not exceeding
seven days, while examining the witnesses or examining the documents
presented before the court.
- A party to the suit shall not be granted more than three adjournments
during the hearing of the suit.
- When a judge is not pronounced at once, the Court shall endeavour to
pronounce the judgment within 30 days from the date of conclusion of the
hearing. However, in certain exceptional or under extraordinary circumstances,
the court may fix a day beyond 30 days but before 60 days from the date of
conclusion of the hearing.