HIGHER JUDICIAL SERVICE EXAMINATIONCIVIL

Whether a stranger can be permitted to file a civil appeal in any proceedings?

Section 96 and 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure provide for preferring an appeal from any original decree or from decree in appeal respectively. The aforesaid provisions do not enumerate the categories of persons who can file an appeal. However, it is a settled legal proposition that a stranger cannot be permitted to file an appeal in any proceedings unless he satisfies the Court that he falls with the category of aggrieved persons. It is only where a judgment and decree prejudicially affects a person who is not party to the proceedings, he can prefer an appeal with the leave of the Appellate Court. Reference be made to the observation of this Court in Smt. Jatan Kumar Golcha v. Golcha Properties Private Ltd. [1970 (3) SCC 573] :-

“It is well settled that a person who is not a party to the suit may prefer an appeal with the leave of the Appellate Court and such leave should be granted if he would be prejudicially affected by the Judgment.”

Supreme Court in State of Punjab & Ors. v. Amar Singh & Anr. [1974 (2) SCC 70] while dealing with the maintainability of appeal by a person who is not party to a suit has observed thus :-

“Firstly, there is a catena of authorities which, following the dictum of Lindley, L.J., in re Securities Insurance Co., [(1894) 2 Ch 410] have laid down the rule that a person who is not a party to a decree or order may with the leave of the Court, prefer an appeal from such decree or order if he is either bound by the order or is aggrieved by it or is prejudicially affected by it.”

In Baldev Singh v. Surinder Mohan Sharma and Ors. [JT 2002 (9) SC 235], this Court held that an appeal under Section 96 of the Civil Procedure Code, would be maintainable only at the instance of a person aggrieved by and dissatisfied with the judgment and decree. While dealing with the concept of person aggrieved, it was observed in paragraph 15 as under:-

“A person aggrieved to file an appeal must be one whose right is affected by reason of the judgment and decree sought to be impugned.”

In A. Subash Babu v. State of A.P. and Anr. [JT 2011 (8) SC 483]], Supreme Court held as under:-

“The expression ‘aggrieved person’ denotes an elastic and an elusive concept. It cannot be confined that the bounds of a rigid, exact and comprehensive definition. Its scope and meaning depends on diverse, variable factors such as the content and intent of the statute of which contravention is alleged, the specific circumstances of the case, the nature and extent of the complainant’s interest and the nature and extent of the prejudice or injuries suffered by him.”

The expression ‘person aggrieved’ does not include a person who suffers from a psychological or an imaginary injury; a person aggrieved must, therefore, necessarily be one, whose right or interest has been adversely affected or jeopardized (vide Shanti Kumar R. Canji v. Home Insurance Co. of New York [1974 (2) SCC 387] and State of Rajasthan & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. [1977 (3) SCC 592]).

In Srimathi K. Ponnalagu Ammani v. The State Of Madras represented by the Secretary to the Revenue Department, Madras and Ors. [66 Law Weekly 136], this Court laid down the test to find out when it would be proper to grant leave to appeal to a person not a party to a proceeding against the decree or judgment passed in such proceedings in following words:-

“Now, what is the test to find out when it would be proper to grant leave to appeal to a person not a party to a proceeding against the decree or judgment in such proceedings? We think it would be improper to grant leave to appeal to every person who may in some remote or indirect way be prejudicially affected by a decree or judgment. We think that ordinarily leave to appeal should be granted to persons who, though not parties to the proceedings, would be bound by the decree or judgment in that proceeding and who would be precluded from attacking its correctness in other proceedings.”

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