Legal Blog: July 2013

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Decree Holders entitled to Enjoy Fruits of the Decree Expeditiously : Supreme Court

Justice Anil R. Dave
Supreme Court of India
A 3 Judge Bench of the Supreme Court of India, in Satyawati Vs. Rajinder Singh And Anr., has observed that Decree Holders must enjoy the fruits of the decree obtained by them in an expeditious manner. The Bench, speaking through Justice Dave, has noted the unscruplous tactics used by Judgment Debtors to evade the process of law and eventually frustrate the entire efforts of a Decree Holder in getting the decree executed. The relevant Paras of the Judgment are reproduced hereinbelow:

2. In relation to the difficulties faced by a decree holder in execution of the decree, in 1872, the Privy Council had observed that 

.......the difficulties of a litigant in India begin when he has obtained a Decree......”. 

3. Even today, in 2013, the position has not been improved and still the decree holder faces the same problem which was being faced in the past. We are concerned with the case of the appellant-plaintiff who had succeeded in Civil Appeal No. 89 of 1993 in the Court of District Judge, Faridabad on 19th January, 1996. Decree was drawn in pursuance of the aforestated judgment but till today, the appellant- plaintiff is not in a position to get fruits of his success. 


13. It is really agonizing to learn that the appellant- decree holder is unable to enjoy the fruits of her success even today i.e. in 2013 though the appellant- plaintiff had finally succeeded in January, 1996. As stated hereinabove, the Privy Council in the case of The General Manager of the Raj Durbhnga under the Court of Wards vs. Maharajah Coomar Ramaput Sing had observed that the difficulties of a litigant in India begin when he has obtained a Decree. Even in 1925, while quoting the aforestated judgment of the Privy Council in the case of Kuer Jang Bahadur vs. Bank of Upper India Ltd., Lucknow [AIR 1925 Oudh 448], the Court was constrained to observe that 
“Courts in India have to be careful to see that process of the Court and law of procedure are not abused by the judgment-debtors in such a way as to make Courts of law instrumental in defrauding creditors, who have obtained decrees in accordance with their rights.” 
14. In spite of the aforestated observation made in 1925, this Court was again constrained to observe in Babu Lal vs. M/s. Hazari Lal Kishori Lal & Ors. [(1982) 1 SCC 525] in para 29 that 
“Procedure is meant to advance the cause of justice and not to retard it. The difficulty of the decree holder starts in getting possession in pursuance of the decree obtained by him. The judgment debtor tries to thwart the execution by all possible objections......” 
15. This Court, again in the case of Marshall Sons & Co. (I) Ltd. vs. Sahi Oretrans (P) Ltd. & Anr. [ (1999) 2 SCC 325] was constrained to observe in para 4 of the said judgment that 
“ appears to us, prima facie, that a decree in favour of the appellant is not being executed for some reason or the other, we do not think it proper at this stage to direct the respondent to deliver the possession to the appellant since the suit filed by the respondent is still pending. It is true that proceedings are dragged for a long time on one count or the other and on occasion, become highly technical accompanied by unending prolixity at every stage providing a legal trap to the unwary. Because of the delay, unscrupulous parties to the proceedings take undue advantage and person who is in wrongful possession draws delight in delay in disposal of the cases by taking undue advantage of procedural complications. It is also a known fact that after obtaining a decree for possession of immovable property, its execution takes long time.....” 
16. Once again in the case of Shub Karan Bubna alias Shub Karan Prasad Bubna vs. Sita Saran Bubna and Ors. [ (2009) 9 SCC 689] at para 27 this Court observed as under : 
“In the present system, when preliminary decree for partition is passed, there is no guarantee that the plaintiff will see the fruits of the decree. The proverbial observation by the Privy Council is that the difficulties of a litigant begin when he obtains a decree. It is necessary to remember that success in a suit means nothing to a party unless he gets the relief. Therefore, to be really meaningful and efficient, the scheme of the Code should enable a party not only to get a decree quickly, but also to get the relief quickly. This requires a conceptual change regarding civil litigation, so that the emphasis is not only on disposal of suits, but also on securing relief to the litigant.” 
17. As stated by us hereinabove, the position has not been improved till today. We strongly feel that there should not be unreasonable delay in execution of a decree because if the decree holder is unable to enjoy the fruits of his success by getting the decree executed, the entire effort of successful litigant would be in vain. 

18. We are sure that the Executing Court will do the needful at an early date so as to see that the long drawn litigation which was decided in favour of the appellant is finally concluded and the appellant- plaintiff gets effective justice. 
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