Timely execution of decrees/awards

The Delhi High Court has updated its instructions on the execution of decrees and awards by with a direction to the subordinate courts to accelerate the proceedings within one year of their institution, citing the fact that an excessive wait would prevent decree holders from realisation of the decretal amounts.

Hon’ble Mr. Justice JR Midha modified guidelines prescribed in the Bhandari Engineers-I and Bhandari Engineers-II judgments, which were issued on December 5, 2019 and August 5, 2020, respectively.

Hon’ble Mr. Justice JR Midha observed:

“Delays and difficulty in enforcing decrees/awards weaken public faith in the justice system. Given that the decree-holders have previously prevailed in the case and obtained a decree/award in their favour, execution jurisdiction demands special attention and prompt resolution.”

The Court also observed “Justice is the ideal to be achieved by law. Justice is the goal of law. Law as it is, may fall short of ‘Law as it ought to be’ for doing complete justice in a cause. The gap between the two gives an occasion to the Court to develop the law by evolving juristic principles for doing complete justice according to the current needs of the society”

The High Court directed that the Executing Court must send the notice to the judgment-debtor on the date of hearing, attach the judgment-assists, debtor’s and direct the judgment-debtor to deposit the decretal amount within 30 days after receipt of the notification.

The Court also directed that the Executing Court shall direct the judgment-debtor to file an affidavit of assets on the date of the cause of action, the date of the decree/award, and the date of the swearing of the affidavit in Form 16A of Appendix E under Order XXI Rule 41(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure within thirty days of receipt of notice if the decretal amount is not deposited. The oral prayer/application of the decree-holder for issuance of such direction shall be considered sufficient compliance of Order XXI Rule 41(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure.

It was also directed that the Executing Court shall, in the first instance, send notice to the judgment-debtor to show cause why the decree should not be executed against him, if the execution proceedings are commenced after two years from the date of the decree/award.

The High Court also made it clear that the Executing Court has the authority to enjoin the judgment-debtor from transferring, alienating, disposing of, or otherwise parting with possession of any assets to the tune of the decretal award amount, except in the ordinary course of business, such as payment of salary and statutory dues.

The Court has further ordered that if the judgment-debtor fails to file the affidavit, the judgment-debtor be detained in civil prison for a period of not more than three months under Order XXI Rule 41(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure. However, the High Court clarified that before issuing the detention order, the Executing Court must give a show cause notice to the judgment-debtor and provide an opportunity for hearing.

In addition to the aforestated, the High Court has prescribed three affidavits for filing assets and income in the required formats.

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