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A stranger cannot be permitted to file an appeal unless he is aggrieved person: Supreme Court

The SC on Aug 21, 2020 {SRI V.N.KRISHNA MURTHY & ANR. vs SRI RAVIKUMAR & ORS.} 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. It was held that 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.

It was further observed by the SC Bench, comprising of Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Justice Krishna Murari & Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, that 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. It was held that the aforesaid provisions do not enumerate the categories of persons who can file an appeal.  It was held that 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 was held that 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.

In the present case, during the pendency of the suit proceedings, the appellants made an application under Order 1 Rule 10 (2) CPC for impleadment which was dismissed by the Trial Court. The order was challenged by filing a Writ Petition before the High Court which came to be dismissed as infructuous as the suit itself came to be decided, in the meantime - that order was finally assailed herein before the SC. 

Applying the tests laid down by precedents, the SC held that appellants can neither be said to be aggrieved persons nor bound by the judgment and decree of the Trial Court in any manner. It was held that the relief claimed in the suit was cancellation of agreement to sell. It was held that the sale deeds which were the basis of the claim of the appellants were executed on the basis of General Power of Attorney, and had nothing to do with the agreement to sell which was subject matter of suit. It was held that the judgment and decree of the Trial Court is in no sense a judgment in rem and it is binding only as between the plaintiffs and defendants of the suit, and not upon the appellants.

It was held by the SC that the appellants have thus failed to demonstrate that they are prejudicially or adversely affected by the decree in question or any of their legal rights stands jeopardized so as to bring them within the ambit of the expression ‘person aggrieved’ entitling them to maintain appeal against the decree. In view of the facts and discussions, it was held that there is no infirmity in the judgment of the High Court dismissing the application filed by the appellants seeking leave to appeal against the decree. The appeals, accordingly, were dismissed by the SC.

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