Inherent Jurisdiction of A Civil Court Section 151

This article explains the provisions related to inherent powers of court under CPC.

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ASSN: 8532706
  1. Introduction

Inherent powers are the power of court which are helpful in minimizing litigation, avoid multiplicity of proceedings and to render complete justice between two parties. Section 148 to 153B of CPC discusses the provisions of the Inherent powers of the Court. These provisions discuss the enlargement of time, payment of court fees, transfer of the business of one court to another court, end of justice, abuse of process of the court, amendment of judgement, decree, orders, and records, etc.[1]

Every court of law is constituted for administering justice between the parties. For imparting full and complete justice, each and every court must be deemed to possess, as a necessary corollary, all such powers to do right and undo wrong.[2]

  1. Meaning of Inherent Powers of Court

Meaning of �inherent� is existing in something as a permanent, absolute, inseparable, essential or characteristic attribute. Inherent powers of courts are those powers which may be applied by the court to perform full and complete justice between the parties before it. It is the duty of the Courts to serve justice in every case, whether given in this code or not, brings with it the important power to do justice in the absence of a definite or separate provision. This power is said to be the inherent power that is maintained by the court, though not conferred.�Section 151�of the Civil Procedure Code deals with the inherent powers of the court.[3]

  1. Provisions under the Code

The law relating to inherent powers of Court is mentioned in Section 148 to Section 153A of the Civil Procedure Code[4], which deals with the exercise of powers in different situations. Following are the provisions of Inherent powers of Courts:

  • Section 148�and�Section 149deals with grant or enlargement of time and Court fees;

Enlargement of time.- Where any period is fixed or granted by the Court for the doing of any act prescribed or allowed by this Code, the Court may, in its discretion, from time to time, enlarge such period, 4 [not exceeding thirty days in total,] even though the period originally fixed or granted may have expired.[5]

Power to make up deficiency of court-fees.�Where the whole or any part of any fee prescribed for any document by the law for the time being in force relating to court-fees has not been paid, the Court may, in its discretion, at any stage, allow the person, by whom such fee is payable, to pay the whole or part, as the case may be, of such court-fee; and upon such payment the document, in respect of which fee is payable, shall have the same force and effect as if such fee had been paid in the first instance.[6]

Transfer of business.� Save as otherwise provided, where the business of any Court is transferred to any other Court, the Court to which the business is so transferred shall have the same powers and shall perform the same duties as those respectively conferred and imposed by or under this Code upon the Court from which the business was so transferred.[7]

  • Section 151protects the inherent powers of the courts; and

Saving of inherent powers of Court.�Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or otherwise affect the inherent power of the Court to make such orders as may be necessary for the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of the process of the Court. [8]

  • Section 152,�153and Section�153A�deals with amendments in judgments, decrees or orders or in separate proceedings.

Amendment of judgments, decrees or orders.�Clerical or arithmetical mistakes in judgments, decrees or orders or errors arising therein from any accidental slip or omission may at any time be corrected by the Court either of its own motion or on the application of any of the parties.[9]

General power to amend.� The Court may at any time, and on such terms as to costs or otherwise as it may think fit, amend any defect or error in any proceeding in a suit; and all necessary amendments shall be made for the purpose of determining the real question or issue raised by or depending on such proceeding.[10]

Power to amend decree or order where appeal is summarily dismissed.�Where an Appellate Court dismisses an appeal under rule 11 of Order XLI, the power of the Court to amend, under section 152, the decree or order appealed against may be exercised by the Court which had passed the decree or order in the first instance, notwithstanding that the dismissal of the appeal has the effect of confirming the decree or order, as the case may be, passed by the Court of first instance.[11]

  1. Enlargement of time

Section 148 of the CPC states that where any term is fixed or awarded by the Court for the doing of any act provided by CPC, it is the discretionary power of the Court that Court may enlarge such period from time to time, even though the term originally fixed or awarded may have departed.

In simple words, when a term is fixed by provision for the doing of any act, the Court has the power to extend such period up to 30 days. This power is exercisable in the deficiency of any specific provision to the contrary which reduces or rejects or withholds the period. The power is limited to the extension of the time fixed by it and is of a discretionary nature.[12]

  1. Payment of court fees

The Section 149 of the Code authorizes the court to allow a party to make up the deficiency of court fees payable on a plaint, memorandum of appeal, etc. even after the expiry of the period of limitation prescribed for filing of such suit, appeal etc. Under the provisions of S. 149, C.P.C., as a practice, the courts grants time for payment of the court-fee on coming to an adverse conclusion on a pauper application. Section 4 of the Court Fees Act, 1870 provides that no document chargeable with court fee under the act shall be filed or recorded on any court of justice, unless the requisite court fee is paid.[13]

  1. Transfer of Business

Section 150 of the CPC states that unless there is a different arrangement in place, when the functions or responsibilities of one court are transferred to another court, the receiving court will have the same authority and responsibilities as the original court.

In other words, if Court A�s tasks and powers are transferred to Court B, Court B will assume the same legal authority and duties that were originally designated for Court A under the CPC.[14]

  1. Inherent Powers of the Court

Section 151 gives the courts an inherent power to secure ends of justice. Thus, the court can recall its own orders and corrects it�s mistakes; set-aside an�ex parte�decree against the party; can issue temporary injunctions not covered by the provisions of Order 39; can add, delete, or transpose any party to a suit, etc. However, what would meet the ends of justice would always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case and the requirements of justice.[15]

Further, the powers under this section can also be exercised to prevent abuse of the process of a court. Such an abuse can be committed either by the court or a party.

Ends of Justice and Abuse of Process of the Court

The object of inherent power of the court is to do justice and to undo wrong in case of abuse of process of court fraud or misrepresentation by a party upon the court or where there is absence of rule of procedure in the circumstances of a particular cases.[16]

The Code of Civil Procedure is not exhaustive and Section 151 does not confer any power but only indicates that there is power to make such orders as may be necessary for the ends of justice or to prevent an abuse of the process of the court. It is in the ends of justice to avoid needless expense and inconvenience to parties. So that Court will not refuse relief merely because an application therefore is made under a wrong section or because there is some technical defect.[17]

The abuse of the process of the court may be the result of an act of the court itself (default of its officers) or may be done by the party (misrepresentation). In all such cases, the court is empowered to remedy the wrong.
The exercise of such inherent power can only be invoked where the court is satisfied that the provisions of the Code are not sufficient to meet the exigencies of the case-Justice Asutosh Mookerjee in the case of�Ghuznavi v/s Allahabad Bank Ltd[18].[19]

When Can A Court Exercise Inherent Powers?

In the following circumstances, and cases a Court can exercise its inherent powers:

  • Section 151 does not confer a new power to the court, but makes a statutory recognition of inherent power of the court to do certain things ex debito justice. The inherent power can be involved only for the attainment of the ends of a substantial justice.
  • Section 151 provides only an extra-ordinary procedure, and action under this section, it is not in any sense obligatory.
  • Section 151 could only be involved where no other remedy is available. It does not confer any substantive right on parties but is only meant to get over the difficulties arising from rules of practice.
  • To consolidate suits and appeals including appeal to his Majesty in council, now the Supreme court, even without the consent of the parties.
  • To order joint trial of suits.
  • To ascertain whether the proper parties are before it.
  • To entertain the application of a third person to be made a party.
  • To allow a defence in forma pauperis.
  • To say the drawing up of the court�s own orders or to suspend their operation, it the necessities of justice so require.
  • To apply the principles of res judicata to cases not falling under Section 11 C.P.C.
  • To add a party.
  • To punish summarily by imprisonment contempt of courts.
  • To transpose parties.
  • To refuse permission to a co-plaintiff to withdraw from a suit in a case when he does not ask permission to institute a fresh suit on the same cause of action or impose terms upon him.
  • To stay proceedings to its own order in view of an intended appeal.
  • To decide question of jurisdiction though a result of its inquiry it may turn out that the court has no jurisdiction over the suit.
  • To restore a suit dismissed for default in cases not provided for by a rule 9 of order 9.
  • To order a refund of court-fee paid by inadvertence.
  • To stay a suit where it does not come within section 10 (Res subjudice).
  • To grant temporary injunction where it does not fall under Order 39.
  • To reconstruct its record where they are lost by accident; etc, etc.[20]


These inherent powers conferred upon the courts can only be exercised�ex debito justitiae�only in absence of express provisions in the Code. They cannot be exercised in conflict with what had been expressly provided in the Code �or against the intentions of the legislature. They cannot be exercised in conflict with what has been expressly provided in the Code or against the intentions of the legislature. And they have to be exercised in very exceptional circumstances.[21]

The restrictions on these powers are not because they are controlled by the provisions of the Code, but because it should be presumed that the procedure provided by the legislature is dictated by the interest of justice (Manohar Lal Chopra v. Seth Hiralal).

When Cannot A Court Exercise Inherent Power?

  • The object of Sec. 151 is to provide justice and to undo wrong in case of abuse of process of Court of fraud or misrepresentation by a party upon the court, or where there is absence of rule of procedure in the circumstances of a particular case. By involving the inherent powers, a court should not cause damage to this object
  • The inherent powers cannot be involved where there is specific provision in the code.
  • The code cannot exercise inherent power to grant interim relief which properly ought to be granted only by the decree after determination of the points in controversy.
  • To compel parties to submit to medical examination or blood test.
  • To appoint a commissioner to seize account-books in the possession of the plaintiff.
  • To consider or review an order.
  • To set aside an ex parte decree.
  • To strike a defence.
  • To restore suit dismissed for default for non-payment of court-fee under Rule 11(d) of Order 7.
  • To refund court-fee on a review application when the review is granted on a ground other than mistake of law fact; etc. etc.[22]

  1. Amendment of judgement, decrees, offers and other records

Section 152 of the Code allows the court to correct any clerical or arithmetical mistakes in a judgement, decree or orders arising from any accidental slips, either on its own motion (suo moto) or on the application of any of the parties. This section is based on two principles:

The act of court shall prejudice no man;

It is the duty of the court to see that their records are true and they represent correct state of affairs.[23]

Section 153 confers a general power on the court to amend defects or errors in �any proceeding in a suit� and to make necessary amendments for the purpose of determining the real question of issue between the parties in a suit.

Section 153-A provides that where the appellate court dismisses an appeal summarily under Order 41 Rule 11, the powers of amendment can be exercised only by the court of first instance.[24]

  1. Conclusion

The Inherent Powers of the Court under the Civil Procedure Code serve as a vital tool to ensure justice prevails in situations not explicitly covered by the CPC�s provisions. While Section 151 of the CPC empowers the court to take actions necessary to prevent abuse of the legal process, it is not a carte blanche authority.

These inherent powers of court are subject to well-established limitations. They cannot supersede specific provisions of the CPC, nullify its provisions, or be invoked when alternative remedies exist. Courts must exercise these powers judiciously, adhering to the overriding objective of upholding justice.

In essence, inherent powers of court are a necessary supplement to the CPC, stepping in to address unique and unforeseen circumstances that demand the court�s intervention while preserving the integrity of established legal procedures.[25]

[1] Gauraw Kumar, �Inherent Powers of the Court under CPC, 1908�, available at: https://blog.ipleaders.in/inherent-powers-of-the-court/ (last visited on November 5, 2023)

[2] C K Takwani; Civil Procedure Limitation and Commercial Courts; p.800 (Eastern Book Company, Lucknow, Ninth Ed, 2023)

[3] Supra note 1

[4] The Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (Act No. 5 of 1908)

[5]Id. s.148

[6] Id. s.149

[7]Id. s.150

[8] Id. s.151

[9] Id. s.152

[10] Id. s.153

[11] Id. s.153A

[12] Supra note 1

[13] Sneha Priyadarshini and Mrs. V. Udayavani; �Inherent Powers of Court under Civil Procedure Code� 120 International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics 2502 (2018).

[14] Law Bhoomi, � Inherent Powers of Court under CPC�; available at: https://lawbhoomi.com/inherent-powers-of-court-under-cpc/ (last visited on November 14, 2023)

[15] Legal Vidhya;�Inherent Powers of Court under CPC�; available at: https://legalvidhiya.com/inherent-powers-of-court-under-cpc/ (last visited on November 14, 2023)

[16] Mohd Aqib Aslam, �Inherent Powers Of Court Under Code Of Civil Procedure 1908�; available at: https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-7145-inherent-powers-of-court-under-code-of-civil-procedure-1908.html (last visited on November 14, 2023)

[17] Mohd Aqib Aslam; �Inherent Jurisdiction of a Civil Court Section 151�; available at: https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-1795-inherent-jurisdiction-of-a-civil-court-section-151.html (last visited on November 14, 2023)

[18] (1917) I.L.R. 44 Cal. 929 F.B

[19] Supra note 16

[20] Supra note 15

[21] Supra note 14

[22] Supra note 15

[23] Supra note 14

[24] Supra note 14

[25] Supra note 13