LCI Learning

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More


Law refers to a set of regulations acknowledged by a nation to govern the conduct and behavior of its citizens. It can be categorized into substantive law, which establishes the rights of individuals, and procedural or adjective law, which outlines the practices, procedures, and mechanisms for enforcing rights and responsibilities. When a court issues a ruling based on a decision or directive, it can be referred to as a judgment. An order is essentially a type of judgment, whereas a decree represents the final component of a judgment.


A decree, as defined in Section 2(2) of the Civil Procedure Code, refers to a formal expression of a court's decision that conclusively determines the rights of the parties involved in a lawsuit. It can be either preliminary or final. A preliminary decree necessitates further proceedings before the case can be dismissed and is typically issued in suits such as administration suits, dissolution of partnerships, partition, redemption of a mortgage, etc. On the other hand, a final decree signifies the complete disposal of the suit. A decree must be filed within 15 days from the date of the judgment, and the party in whose favor the decree is passed is known as the decree-holder. A decree encompasses the determination of any question under Section 144 of the CPC and the rejection of a plaint. However, it does not include orders of dismissal due to default or orders from which an appeal is available. Additionally, a matter must be judicially determined to be considered a decree, as stated in the case of Madan Naik V Hansubala Devi.

Adjudication refers to the legal process of resolving a dispute and formally pronouncing a judgment or decree by the court. It involves the examination of issues based on presented evidence after issuing a notice. In the case of Deep Chand V. Land Acquisition Officer, it was established that adjudication must be conducted by a court officer to be recognized as a decree.

Decrees can be either preliminary, final, or a combination of both. In situations where a court addresses multiple questions in the same decree, it can be part preliminary and part final. For instance, if a suit involves the possession of immovable properties and mesne profits, the first part of the decree is final, while the second part is preliminary, as the final decree on mesne profits requires an inquiry.

There is also a concept of deemed decrees, which do not fit the formal definition stated in Section 2(2) but are still considered decrees due to a "legal fiction." The concept of deemed decrees was elaborated upon in the case of East End Dwellings C. Ltd V. Fisbury Borough Council. It implies that although a person may not actually be something, they are treated as such by law. Deemed decrees are not covered under Section 2(2) and do not attract provisions like Section 96 of the CPC, which means that a regular appeal cannot be filed against a deemed decree, only a miscellaneous appeal is allowed.

A decree holds significant importance as it is required in all suits according to the CPC. It is an essential component of the final outcome of a case, following the judgment. It is important to note that an appeal can only be made against a decree, not a judgment. Therefore, the absence of a decree can make it difficult to initiate an appeal. Certain elements must be present in a decree, including a formal expression of the court's decision, a suit as the basis for the adjudication, a complete and final decision that cannot be altered, and a determination of the rights of the parties involved. Under Section 152 of the CPC, a decree can be amended through an application by the plaintiff or the respondent in cases of clerical errors or accidental omissions that do not result from gross negligence.


An order, as defined in Section 2(14) of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC), is a formal expression of a decision made by a civil court that does not qualify as a decree. Unlike a decree, an order is typically based on objective considerations. It is expected to provide a detailed analysis of the matter under consideration, including the issue at hand and the reasoning employed by the court in reaching the decision.


Indeed, there are several distinctions between decrees and orders, including:

  • Origin: Decrees are typically issued in suits that have commenced before the presentation of the plaint, whereas orders can stem from suits initiated through a plaint or proceedings initiated by a petition.
  • Determination of Rights: A decree conclusively determines the rights of the parties involved in one or more matters, while an order may or may not provide a final determination of such rights.
  • Preliminary Nature: A decree can be preliminary, indicating that further proceedings are required, whereas an order cannot be preliminary in nature.
  • Multiplicity: Generally, a suit can have only one decree, except in exceptional circumstances. However, multiple orders can be passed in the course of a suit.
  • Appealability: Unless expressly stated otherwise, every decree in a suit can be appealed against. In contrast, not all orders can be appealed against, as there are specific orders that can be subject to appeal.
  • Second Appeal: In the case of an appealable decree, a second appeal can be filed. However, no second appeal is permitted for an order, regardless of whether it is appealable or not.


In conclusion, the legal terms "decree" and "order" hold significant importance in the realm of civil law. While both represent formal expressions of decisions by a court, they differ in various aspects. A decree is passed in suits that have commenced before the presentation of the plaint, conclusively determining the rights of the parties involved. It can be either preliminary or final, and generally, only one decree is allowed per suit. On the other hand, an order can originate from a suit or through petition-based proceedings, and it may or may not provide a final determination of rights. Orders cannot be preliminary and multiple orders can be passed within a suit. The appealability also differs, as every decree can be appealed against, but not all orders are subject to appeal. Furthermore, a second appeal is possible in the case of an appealable decree, whereas no second appeal is permitted for an order. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for navigating the legal landscape and ensuring appropriate recourse within the civil justice system.

"Loved reading this piece by shentk?
Join LAWyersClubIndia's network for daily News Updates, Judgment Summaries, Articles, Forum Threads, Online Law Courses, and MUCH MORE!!"

Tags :

Category Others, Other Articles by - shentk