Koppi Setty v. Ratnam Pamarti Venka [2007 SC]

Judgment Summarized by Delhi Law Academy – Jaipur

Appellant filed SLP in Supreme Court that High Court had no jurisdiction to set aside concurrent findings of the Courts below u/s 100 of CPC and that also without formulating substantial question which is mandatorily required under the amended S. 100 of CPC.

Provision was amended because of report of Law Commission in 1973. Report said that any rational system of law should have only two hearings on questions of facts, one by trial court and the other by 1st appellate Court as a search for absolute truth must be put under some reasonable restraint to reconcile it with the doctrine of finality.

Finality is absolutely necessary to give certainty to law to avoid delay. All would agree that at a certain stage questions of facts decided by the courts should be allowed to rest without further appeal. It may be harsh to some litigants but is necessary in the larger interest. An unqualified right of first appeal may be necessary for the satisfaction of a defeated litigant but a wide right of 2nd appeal is more a luxury.

Allowing 2nd appeal only on question of law is for having uniformity on legal issues in the whole State whose decisions on questions of law is binding on all subordinate Courts, tribunals and authorities in the State and thus facilitates the predication of law. There are huge arrears in High Courts. Primary cause is the laxity with which 2nd appeals are admitted without serious scrutiny of law. It is the bounden duty of High Courts to admit 2nd appeal within scope of S. 100, CPC. which has been drastically curtailed and narrowed down.

 Now High Courts have jurisdiction only in a case where substantial questions of law are involved and those questions have been clearly formulated in the Memo of Appeal. At the time of admission of appeal High Court must formulate questions of law & appeal can be decided only on those questions. Legislative intent was clear as it never wanted 2nd appeal to become “third trial on facts” or “one more dice in the gamble.”

A class of Judges has been believing that when there had been serious mis-appreciation of facts by lower courts it is their duty to interfere in the interest of justice, forgetting that justice has to be administered in accordance with law.

A large number of cases are brought to our notice where High Courts u/s 100, CPC are disturbing concurrent findings of facts without formulating substantial question of law.  Eventually this Court has to set aside these judgements and remit the said cases for de novo deciding after formulating, substantial questions of law. Litigants find it both extremely expensive and time consuming. This is one of the reasons of delay in administration of justice in civil matters. Case remitted for early decision.