Section 100 of CPC :Supreme Court on Second Appeal

Supreme Court on Second Appeal under Section 100 of CPC


The Supreme Court on Thursday (21.09.2023) held that High Courts while exercising their jurisdiction of Second Appeal under Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) should ordinarily frame substantial questions at the stage of admission. However, if it is framed at a later stage, the Court must give parties adequate time to meet and address them before deciding the appeal. This ruling was given in the case of Suresh Lataruji Ramteke V. Sau. Sumanbai Pandurang Petkar, Civil Appeal No. 6070 Of 2023.

Background of the Case

A bench of Justice BR Gavai and Justice Sanjay Karol was considering an appeal against an order passed in Second Appeal by the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court. After framing substantial questions of law, the Court proceeded to hear the appeal on the same day and reversed the findings of fact concurrently recorded by the both courts below and dismissed the plaintiff’s suit for specific performance.

Criticism by the Supreme Court – Section 100 of CPC

The Supreme Court criticized the manner in which the appeal was disposed in haste without giving parties an adequate opportunity of hearing:
The haste with which the Court proceeded to dispose of the appeal without proper and adequate opportunity to address arguments cannot be appreciated. The governing statute lays considerable emphasis on hearing the parties on all questions and the same is reflected in various pronouncements of this Court. The approach adopted by a Court in disposing of such appeals must abide by the same.

The Court referred to a catena of judgments to hold that the second appeal is a step-­by-­step process, involving framing of substantial questions at the admission stage, the appeal will then be admitted for hearing, and after hearing a reasoned judgment is pronounced. However, in the case at hand, these steps were not followed properly, the Court observed.

Principles for Second Appeal under Section 100 of CPC

The Supreme Court observed that framing of a substantial question of law is essential for High Courts to exercise their jurisdiction of Second Appeal under Section 100 of the CPC. The Court made it clear that if such a question is altered, deleted or a new one is added, the Court must hear the parties before deciding the appeal.
A Court sitting in second appellate jurisdiction is to frame substantial question of law at the time of admission, save and except in exceptional circumstances. Post such framing of questions the Court shall proceed to hear the parties on such questions, i.e., after giving them adequate time to meet and address them. It is only after such hearing subsequent to the framing that a second appeal shall come to be decided.

The Supreme Court observed that the parties were not given time to prepare and address arguments on the questions framed by the Court as required under Section 100 of the CPC.
Section 100(5) CPC suggests that there is a gap between framing of the questions at admission and hearing, as the proviso thereto gives an opportunity to the Court to frame additional questions at the time of hearing, on which the parties would have to be heard as well. Meaning thereby, that the questions framed at the time of admission, at such point of subsequent framing of questions are already known to the parties and they have had time to prepare to address arguments on the same. It is during the arguments that a further important issue is discovered and a question in that regard is framed, with the parties then being granted time to meet that question as well.


The Supreme Court pointed out that the High Court did not follow the proper procedure for disposing of a second appeal under Section 100 CPC and remanded the order back to the High Court for fresh consideration.