Appellate: A Second Shot At Justice

Human judgements are fallible. Despite best efforts and the provisions ensuring a fair trial and justice, mistakes and errors cannot get ruled out completely. Therefore, the Code provides for the appeals, enabling the superior courts to review, revise, and correct the judgements given by the lower court.

The Supreme Court gets the appellate and advisory jurisdiction. Appeals are not only a curative device. Instead, it serves a purpose of utmost importance. It provides the aggrieved parties with a certain satisfaction.

The fact that the judgements delivered by the lower courts are thoroughly scrutinised and reviewed by the superior courts. It, in a way, shows the aggrieved parties that all the reasonable efforts get made to reach a justified decision.

So, an appeal is a mechanism ensuring a judgment to be free from errors, prejudice, and mistakes—intending to inspire better confidence in the administration of justice in the public’s minds.

Meaning Of Appeal

Interestingly, the expression ‘appeal’ is neither interpreted under the CPC nor the CRPC, but both extensively use the said concept.

The Courts depend heavily upon the interpretation of the appeal provided by the “Black’s Law Dictionary”. It states that:

“the complaint to a superior court for an injustice done or error committed by an inferior one, whose judgment or decision the Court above is called upon to correct or reverse. It is the removal of a cause from a Court of inferior jurisdiction to one of superior jurisdiction, to obtain a review and retrial”.

Whereas the “Merriam-Webster Dictionary” simply defines it as “a legal proceeding by which a case is brought before a higher court for review of the decision of a lower court.”

Essentials of An Appealing Cases

An Appeals is a complaint to courts higher in the hierarchy when there’s justice miscarriage or errs in the justice on the questions of law and facts.

The purpose of the appeals is to question the lower court’s jurisdiction, confirm, reverse or modify the previous decisions to issue the new decision by the appellate court.

Such a process requires additional time, effort and expenses. Thus, the appellate courts must not consider cases with petty concerns and look out for the following essentials:

  • A decree or order:

    It is a must that the appeal gets filed against the decree/order given by an inferior bench involving a question of fact or law.

  • Aggrieved Party/Person:

    The person filing the appeal must be a party to the said case before the original law of court. The presumptive heirs or statutory next to kin can initiate or maintain the appeal if the person demises. The person filing the appeal is commonly known as an Appellant.

  • Appellate Court:

    The Appellate Court or Court of Second Instance is the institution legally enabled to hear the appeals.

Difference between Suit and Appeal

A suit is an action or proceedings initiated in a court of law involving issues of law and fact.An Appeal is the curative and reviewing mechanism of the suit already instituted in a court of law.
It is the primary step towards achieving justice..It is the continuation of the suit.
The suit gets instituted in the lower courts.Appeals are filed with the Courts higher in the hierarchy and having appellate jurisdiction.

Who Can File an Appeal?

An appeal can be instituted by:

  • Any party or person to the suit, aggrieved by the decision of the lower case, can appeal.

    If such a person demises, his next kin can file or maintain the appeal under section 146 of CPC,1908.

  • Any person or party who is a part of such a suit by the transferee of the interest can appeal. But must get their name associated with the suit.
  • In the instance of fraud committed during the sale, an auction purchaser can file an appeal against such sales order.
  • Section 96 of the Code, 1908 empowers a person or a party to the suit deeply affected by the judgement given by an inferior court to file an appeal.

Categories of Appeal

Broadly, the appeals get categorised as:

  1. First Appeal-

    Section 96 of CPC provides for the first appeals. It refers to the appeal against the decree or order passed by the court exercising original jurisdiction.

  2. Second Appeal-

    As the name suggests, it is an appeal against the appeal—provisions relating to the second appeal get contained in Section 100 of CPC.

Other than these two broad heads, an appeal can also get categorised as:

  • An appeal from an order
  • An appeal from the original decree
  • An appeal from appellate decree/order
  • An appeal to the Supreme Court

Duties of an Appellate Court

  1. Duty to provide finality:

    The Appellate Court must hear an appeal with utmost devotion and apply their judicial minds to provide finality to the appeal and do justice to the aggrieved party.

  2. Duty to adhere to Section 99, CPC 1908:

    The Appellate Court must strictly adhere to section 99 of the code.

    It states that “a decision that is otherwise correct and based on facts should not be disturbed for technical reasons, so it is the responsibility of the appeal court not to intervene with a decision for technical mistakes, to avoid undermining the ends of justice and acting as a way of litigation circuitry.”

  3. Duty to reappreciate the evidence:

    The Court must appreciate the pieces of evidence presented before a subordinate court to look out for errors, if any, committed by the subordinate court while appraising the said evidence.

  4. Duty to record reasons:

    The Appellate Court must record the reasons for reversing the judgment passed by an inferior Court.

Grounds for an Appeal

  • Error in the judgement passed by the subordinate Court.
  • An important question of law or fact left out while deciding the case
  • The subordinate court exceeded its jurisdictions.
  • The aggrieved party was dissatisfied with the decision passed.

Right of an Appeal

Right to an appeal is a misconstrued concept. Many might consider the right to appeal as an inherent or procedural right, but, amusingly, it is a statutory and substantive right.

The statutory right is something that gets conferred by the statute. There won’t be any right to appeal if the law does not provide for it.

Contrary to the right to institute a suit, an inherent right, an appeal can only get initiated if the appeal statute provides so. When a statute confirms the right to appeal, it offers the Appellate Court’s installation where the appeal shall lie.


Appeals, perceived as the curative mechanism, is a way to correct the error committed by an inferior court while deciding the case. Hence, it’s a way of ensuring justice to the aggrieved party.

The right to appeal is a statutory right which means that the appeals can get filed when the Statue permits so. The first appeal is discussed under the Code, 1908 and against the original decree or order. If the aggrieved person/part is still not satisfied, they can resort to a second appeal.

The concept of appeal requires additional time and effort and thus, shall get filled in the cases of sheer miscarriage of justice. The Appellate Authority shall apply their judicial mind and provide a final decision with the utmost consideration.

FAQs Regarding Appellate

Is appeal a new trial?

No, the appeal is the continuation of the previous suit.

Can new pieces of evidence and witnesses be introduced in an appeal?

Yes, but by the discretion of the court under exceptional circumstances.

Will the court hear an appeal in every case?

No. in some instances, one has to seek the permission of the court to appeal through “Leave to Appeal.”

Can bail be granted during the pendency of an appeal?

Yes, the Apex Court and the High Court have the powers to grant bail under such circumstances.

Is the right to appeal an inherent right?

Right to appeal is the creation of statute and can neither be inherent right nor natural right.

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