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Cross-Objections Under Order 41 Rule 22 Of Civil Procedure Code, 1908

Order 41 Rule 22 is a special provision permitting the respondent who has not filed an appeal against the decree to object to the said decree by filing cross-objections in the appeal filed by the opposite party. Filing of cross-objections by the respondent, however, is optional and voluntary.

The provision is permissive and enabling and not peremptory or obligatory.[1]
Where the suit is partly decided in favour of the plaintiff and partly in favour of the defendant and the aggrieved party (either the plaintiff or the defendant) files an appeal, the opposite party may adopt any of the following courses:
  1. He may prefer an appeal from the part of the decree which is against him. Thus there may be two appeals against the same decree; one by the plaintiff and the other by the defendant. They are known as "cross-appeals". Both these appeals will be disposed of together.
     
  2. He may not file an appeal against the part of the decree passed against him but may take objection against that part. Such objections are called "cross-objections".
     
  3. Without filing a cross-appeal or cross-objection, he may support the decree:
    1. on the grounds decided in his favour by the trial court; or
    2. even on the grounds decided against him.[2]
 
  1. Meaning
    The expression "cross-objection" has not been defined in the Code. Stated simply, cross-objections are filed by the respondent against the appellant in an appeal filed by the appellant against the respondent.
     
  2. Nature
    The expression "cross-objection" expresses the intention of the legislature hat it can be directed by the respondent by the appellant. One cannot treat an objection by a respondent in which the appellant has no interest as a cross-objection.

    The appeal is by the appellant against a respondent, the cross-objection must be an objection by a respondent against the appellant.[3]

    A cross-objection I like cross-appeal. It has thus all the trappings of an appeal. The mere distinction between the two lies in the fact that whereas cross-objections form part of the same record, cross-appeals are two distinct and independent proceedings.[4]
     
  3. Who may file cross-objections?
    Cross-objections can be filed by the respondent 1) if he could have filed an appeal against any part of the decree: or 2) if he is aggrieved by a finding in the judgement, even though the decree is in his favour.[5]

    Cross appeals and cross-objections provide two different remedies for the same purpose since the cross-objections can be filed on the points on which that party could have preferred a cross appeal.[6]

    The right to file cross-objections is substantive in nature and not merely procedural.[7]
     
  4. Against whom cross-objections may be filed?
    Ordinarily, cross-objections may be filed only against the appellant. In exceptional cases, however, one respondent may file cross-objections against other respondents; for example, when the appeal by some of the parties cannot effectively be disposed of without opening the matter as between the respondents inter se; or in a case where the objections are common as against the appellant and co-respondent.[8]

    Thus, where the relief sought against the appellant in cross-objections is intermixed with the relief granted to the other respondents in such a way that the relief against the appellant cannot be granted without the question being reopened between the objecting respondent and other respondents, cross-objections by one respondent against the other respondents may be allowed.[9]

    The principle that no decision can be made against a person who is not a party to the proceedings applies to cross-objections also. Hence, cross-objections cannot be allowed against a person whi is not a party to the appeal.
     
  5. When cross-objections can be filed?
    The provisions of Order 41 Rule 22 contemplates right to file cross-objections only when an appeal is filed and also when such appeal is admitted by the appellate court and notice is issued on the respondent.

    A stage of filing cross-objections arises only when an appeal is admitted and the court directs notice to be issued to the respondent. No cross-objections, hence, can be filed if no appeal is filed by the appellant or an appeal is filed but has not been admitted. Mere posting of preliminary hearing of an appeal is not enough. Similarly, prior to the service of notice of hearing of appeal by the court, no cross-objections would lie. That, however, does not make cross-objections suffer from legal infirmity.
     
  6. Cross-appeal whether may be treated as cross-objections
    An appeal filed beyond the period of limitation may be treated as cross-objections under Order 41 Rule 22. A cross-appeal may be treated as cross-objection only if such appeal is filed after the other appeal and not if it is before that appeal.[10]

     
  7. Form
    Cross-objections shall be in the form of a memorandum of appeal and they should be served on the party affected thereby or his pleader. A respondent can file cross-objectios as an indigent person.[11]
     
  8. Limitation
    Cross-objections can be filed within one month from the date of service on the respondent or his pleader of the notice of the date fixed for hearing of the appeal.[12] The appellate court may, at its discretion, extend the period within which cross-objections can be filed. The discretion, however, must be excercised judicially and so sufficient cause for delay being shown and is open to review by the superior court.
     
  9. Withdrawal or dismissal of appeal
    Once the respondent files cross-objections, even if the appeal is withdrawn or dismissed for default, cross-objections will be heard and decided on merits.[13]
     
  10. Procedure at hearing
    The appeal and the cross-objections should be heard together and they should be disposed of by a common judgement incorporating the decisions on both; the appeal as well as the cross-objections.[14]
     
  11. Court-fee
    Cross-objection is like an appeal. Court fee is, therefore, payable on cross-objection like that on memorandum of appeal.[15]
     
  12. Cross-objection by indigent respondent
    Provisions relating to appeal by indigent persons also apply to cross-objections. An indigent respondent, hence, may file cross-objections as an indigent person.[16]
     
  13. Omission to file cross-objections
    A party in whose favour a decree has been passed has a substantive and valuable right which should not be lightly interfered with. As an ordinary rule, therefore, in the absence of a cross-appeal or cross-objection by a respondent, the appellate court has no power to disturb the decre of the lower court so far as it is in favour of the appellant. This is. However, subject to the provisions of Order 41 Rule 33 of the Code.[17]
     
  14. Disposal of appeal and cross-objections
    The court should decide and dispose of appeal and cross-objections together by one judgment and such decision should be incorporated in one decree. This approach seeks to avoid contradictory and inconsistent decisions on the same questions in one and the same suit.[18]
     
End-Notes:
  1. R.22(1) Or.41 reads thus:
    "Any respondent, though he may not have appealed from any part of the decree, may not only support the decree but may also state that the finding against him in the Court below in respect of any issue ought to have been in his favour; and may also take any cross-objection to the decree which he could have taken by way of appeal provided he has filed such objection in the Appellant Court within one month from the date of service on him or his pleader of notice of the day fixed for hearing the appeal, or within such further time as the Appellate Court may see fit to allow."
  2. Ramanbhai Ashabhai v.Dabhi Ajitkumar Fulsinji, AIR 1965 SC 669
  3. Vadlamudi Venkateswarlu v. Ravipati Ramamma, AIR 1950 Mad 379.
  4. N. Jayaram Reddy v. Revenue Divisional Officer, 1979.
  5. R.22 (1).
  6. Explanation to R.22(1).
  7. Panna Lal v. Stateof Bombay, AIR 1963 SC 1516.
  8. Panna Lal v. State of Bombay, AIR 1963
  9. R.22(4)
  10. Nripjit Kaur v. Sardar Satinder Singh, AIR 1955 Punj 190.
  11. R.22(5)
  12. R.22(1)
  13. R.22(4).
  14. R.22(5).
  15. Superintending Engineer v. B. Subha Reddy. 1999.
  16. R.22(5).
  17. Choudhary Sahu v. State of Bihar. 1982.
  18. Krishan Gopal v. Haji Mohd. Muslim, AIR 1969.

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