Question: Can a civil court exercise its inherent powers under Section 151 to set aside an order contrary to the terms of a statute and judicial precedents? Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Can a civil court exercise its inherent powers under Section 151 to set aside an order contrary to the terms of a statute and… Read More »

Question: Can a civil court exercise its inherent powers under Section 151 to set aside an order contrary to the terms of a statute and judicial precedents? Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Can a civil court exercise its inherent powers under Section 151 to set aside an order contrary to the terms of a statute and judicial precedents?] Answer If there is a specific provision laid down in the statute, the Court cannot make use of its inherent powers under Section 151 of the Civil...

Question: Can a civil court exercise its inherent powers under Section 151 to set aside an order contrary to the terms of a statute and judicial precedents?

Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Can a civil court exercise its inherent powers under Section 151 to set aside an order contrary to the terms of a statute and judicial precedents?]

Answer

If there is a specific provision laid down in the statute, the Court cannot make use of its inherent powers under Section 151 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 which can be resorted to only in cases where there is no provision of law to meet a particular case.

Section 151 of the Code has not created any new power but has preserved the power to act in the ends of justice and to prevent abuse of the processes of the Court which the Courts had been exercising from before. As observed by their Lordships of the Judicial Committee while discussing Section 13 of the Civil Procedure Code in Gokul Mandar v. Pudmanand Singh, ILR 29 Cal 707 (PC),

“the essence of a Code is to be exhaustive on the matters in respect of which it declares the law, and it is not the province of a Judge to disregard or go outside the letter of the enactment according to its true construction.”

It is impossible, however, for the Civil Procedure Code or for any statute to provide for all matters which may arise or the entire variety of situations that may have to be dealt with.

The inherent power has been preserved in order to enable the Courts to deal with matters and situations which are not covered by any specific provision of the Code. It is, therefore, neither practicable nor desirable to define the limits or to enumerate the circumstances in which this power can be exercised. As, however, the power is, of necessity, very wide, the Courts have to be very cautious and vigilant in exercising it. It may also be safely laid down that the Court has no inherent power to override expressions of the Code.

Further, in the absence of some special circumstances which amount to an abuse of the process of the Court, it cannot grant relief in the exercise of its inherent power when the ends of justice can be served by another remedy provided by the Code which is available to the party concerned. The mere fact that the procedure for following the other remedy is longer or more costly will not entitle the Court to disregard this rule because its order will not be necessary either “in the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of the process of the Court.”

In a case before the Full Bench of the Madras High Court, Alagasundaram v. Pichuvier, AIR 1929 Mad 757, Wallace J., who delivered the judgment of the Bench observed:

“I think we should not be justified in laying down any general principle that an ordinary civil Court has inherent power to set aside its own order and to interfere in any case in which it thinks a failure of justice has occurred when the aggrieved party has another remedy by which it can be set aside, even though the remedy is not as summary or as cheap.”

Thus, it is clear that the Court could not “override the express provisions of law by a resort to inherent powers under Section 151, Code of Civil Procedure, nor can the Court ignore the specific provisions for dealing with a case by a resort to inherent jurisdiction either under Section 151 or Section 152, Code of Civil Procedure.”


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Updated On 2022-04-08T05:05:45+05:30
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