THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, 1908

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The Code of Civil Procedure was first introduced in the year 1859. Ever since, it has been updated a couple of times, i.e., in the years 1877, 1879 and 1882. Finally, in 1908, the Act was passed and came into force on 1st January 1909. It was drafted by a Committed which was headed by Sir Earle Richards. The Code has been enacted to consolidate and amend the laws relating to procedure for redressal of disputes. It extends to the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir and the State of Nagaland and tribal areas.

The Code of Civil Procedure is a procedural law and is not for the most part intended to create new rights or take away the existing ones. It only regulates the procedure of Civil Courts. It regulates the actions of the parties and the courts before them, from the day an action is brought, to the day the final order is passed. The Act consists of two parts. Part I has 158 Sections and Part II has 51 Orders and Rules. While the Sections contains the main principles and may only be amended by the Legislatures, the Orders and Rules contains the detailed procedure regarding the subject dealt with in the Sections, and may be amended by the High Court also. These Orders and Rules should be read along with the Sections, and in case of any ambiguity regarding the interpretation of these, the Section will triumph.

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The Code applies to proceedings in all Civil Courts in India. However, specific provisions in any special or local law have been saved by Sections 4 and 5.Thus, if anything in the Code is in conflict with anything in any special or local law, the Code shall not prevail to that extent as to override the inconsistent provisions. Some of the most important provisions of this Act are, Pecuniary jurisdiction (no court shall have the jurisdiction over suits that has amounts that exceeds the original jurisdiction of that court), Res Judicata (no court shall hear a suit in which the matter in a former suit between the same parties has already been tried and order passed by another competent court), courts in which suits can be tried, power of Supreme Courts to transfer cases, etc. A suit is instituted by presenting a Plaint to the Court having the jurisdiction. The parties to suit should also be determined. This involves provisions like Joinder, Non-joinder and Mis-joinder of parties. Summons should be issued to the defendant to appear and answer the claim. After this, procedure involves parties appearing before the court, framing of issues, filing written statements, affidavits, and pleadings, and then finally passing an order. Sometimes a suit is also withdrawn.
After an order is passed, the party can file an Appeal before a higher court. Sometimes, a lower court may refer a case to the High Court when an important issue of law arises in the suit and is called a Reference. A High Court may revise the decision made by a subordinate court if it feels that the court has acted ultra vires the jurisdiction or failed to exercise its jurisdiction. It is called a Revision. Lastly, an aggrieved party may file for the Review of an order. This can be done only in the same court and before the same judge that passed the order.

The Act has undergone several amendments since its enactment in1908. Among these, the amendments brought about through three recent Amendment Acts, which is in 1976, 1999 and 2002 have made many radical changes. Some of the amendments of 1976 were, making the Doctrine of Res Judicata more effective, second appeals would be allowed to the High Court only if there is a substantive question of law prevailing, etc. The Amendment Act of 1999 was enacted in order to reduce delays faced by litigants during various procedures.
The latest amendment was in 2002. Some of the amendments of 1999 was criticized and the Amendment Act of 2002 seeks to address these provisions and also put forth other measures for reducing delays.

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