Appellate: A Second Shot At Justice

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

The Supreme Court gets the appellate and advisory jurisdiction. Appeals are not only a curative device but also provide aggrieved parties with a legal pathway for the redressal of justice.

Judgements delivered by the lower courts are thoroughly scrutinised and reviewed by the superior courts. All reasonable efforts can be made to reach a justified decision.

An appeal is a mechanism for ensuring a judgement is free from errors, prejudice, and mistakes to inspire confidence in the administration of justice in the public’s minds.

Meaning of appeal

‘Appeal’ is neither interpreted under the CPC nor the CRPC, but both extensively use the d concept.

The courts depend heavily on the interpretation of the appeal provided by the ‘Black’s Law Dictionary’ stating the following:

‘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’.

‘Merriam-Webster Dictionary’ simply defines appeal 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 appealing cases

An appeal 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.

Appeals are used to question the lower court’s jurisdiction, confirm, reverse, or modify previous decisions to issue the new decision by the appellate court.

Such processes require additional time, effort, and expenses. Thus, the appellate courts should not consider cases with petty concerns and look out for the following essentials:

  • A decree or order:

    The appeal should be 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. 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

Suit 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.
The suit is the primary step towards achieving justice. An appeal is the continuation of the suit.
The suit is instituted in 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 the following:

  • Any party or person to the suit, aggrieved by the decision of the lower case, can appeal. If such a person passes away, his next of 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 case 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

The appeals is categorised as follows:

  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:

    It is an appeal against the appeal—provisions relating to the second appeal are contained in Section 100 of CPC.

An appeal can also be categorised as follows:

  • 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 re-appreciate 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 judgement passed by a lower 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.
  • A subordinate court exceeding its jurisdictions.
  • An aggrieved party dissatisfied with the decision passed.

Right of an appeal

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

The statutory right is something that is conferred by the statute. There is no 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 be 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, are used to correct errors committed by an inferior court while deciding the case. Appeals are a way of ensuring justice to the aggrieved party.

The right to appeal is a statutory right, which means that the appeals can be 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 is filed in the case of sheer miscarriage of justice. Within the purview of the judicial system, the appellate authority reviews the decision and provides 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, the person 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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