24 June 2024


Supreme Court

Triloki Nath Singh vs Anirudh Singh (D) Thr. Lrs.




Bar under Order 23 Rule 3A of CPC to challenge a compromise decree in a separate suit applies to the stranger also

The question arises in the appeal for consideration is as to whether the decree passed on a compromise can be challenged by the stranger to the proceedings in a separate suit. Learned counsel for the Appellant-¬Plaintiff submits that, provision of Order 23 Rule 3A of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) is applicable only to the parties to the suit and the said provision does not apply to a stranger to the compromise decree, therefore, the remedy is always open to a stranger to the compromise decree to file a separate suit to ventilate his grievance in the appropriate proceedings. Further, submission is that, the High Court has committed a manifest error in dismissing the appeal at the motion stage to non¬-suit the Appellant¬ Plaintiff and make him remediless in questioning the compromise decree.

Finality of decisions is an underlying principle of all adjudicating forums. Thus, creation of further litigation should never be the basis of a compromise between the parties. Rule 3A of Order 23 of CPC put a specific bar that no suit shall lie to set aside a decree on the ground that the compromise on which the decree is based was not lawful. The scheme of Order 23 Rule 3 of CPC is to avoid multiplicity of litigation and permit parties to amicably come to a settlement which is lawful, is in writing and a voluntary act on the part of the parties. The Court can be instrumental in having an agreed compromise effected and finality attached to the same. The Court should never be party to imposition of a compromise upon an unwilling party, still open to be questioned on an application under the proviso to Rule 3 of Order 23 of CPC before the Court.

Indeed, the Appellant was not a party to the stated compromise decree. He was, however, claiming right, title and interest over the land referred to in the stated sale deed dated 6th January, 1984, which was purchased by him from Sampatiya¬ judgment debtor and party to the suit. It is well settled that, the compromise decree passed by the High Court in the second appeal would relate back to the date of institution of the suit between the parties thereto. In the suit now instituted by the Appellant, at the best, he could seek relief against Sampatiya, but cannot be allowed to question the compromise decree passed by the High Court in the partition suit. The trial Court in any case would not be competent to adjudicate the grievance of the appellant herein in respect of the validity of compromise decree dated 15th September, 1994 passed by the High Court in the partition suit.

The Appellant can only claim through his predecessor¬ Sampatiya, to the extent of rights and remedies available to Sampatiya in reference to the compromise decree. Merely because the Appellant was not party to the compromise decree in the facts of the present case, will be of no avail to the Appellant, much less give him a cause of action to question the validity of the compromise decree passed by the High Court by way of a substantive suit before the civil Court to declare it as fraudulent, illegal and not binding on him. The suit instituted before the civil Court by the Appellant was not maintainable in view of specific bar under Rule 3A of Order 23 of CPC as held in the impugned judgment. Consequently, the appeal is without substance and the same is accordingly dismissed.

Tags : Compromise decree Bar Legality

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