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This article is written by Khushita Garg, of 1st Year of Army Institute of Law, Mohali, an intern under Legal Vidhiya


This article delves into the nuanced distinctions between judgments and orders within the framework of the Code of Civil Procedure of 1908. It examines the definition of ‘judgment’ and its role. Exploring the requisites outlined in Order 20, Rule 4(2), the article underscores the meticulous components that transform a judgment into a comprehensive legal document.
The narrative extends to the post-decision phase, elucidating the announcement, distribution, and subsequent review of judgments.

Moving forward, it introduces the definition of an ‘order’ as distinct from a judgment, rooted in Section 2(14), highlighting its pivotal role in legal proceedings. Essential characteristics of orders, including judicial decisions, jurisdiction, and formal expression, take center stage. The discussion further unfolds into the classifications of orders.

A comparative analysis between judgments and orders forms a significant portion of the article, exploring distinctions in purpose, content, appealability, and timing. The concluding section envisions future trends in judgment and order writing, emphasizing the impact of technology and evolving societal norms on legal documentation.

In a comprehensive exploration of legal terminologies, procedural aspects, and their practical implications, this article aims to provide a clear understanding of the roles and characteristics of judgments and orders within the legal landscape.


Civil Procedure Code of 1908, Judgement, Order, Section 2(9) of CPC. 


In the world of law, things can get confused especially when it comes to understanding judgments and orders that stand as pillars of justice. Consider them the architects of fairness, but sometimes, it takes time to see where one ends, and the other begins. A complete understanding of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, and more particularly the functioning of the courts hinges on comprehending the distinction between key legal terms such as Judgment and Order, each wielding significance in the judicial process. These entities possess unique characteristics that influence the course of legal battles and decide the fate of individuals seeking recourse. A Judgment is the final decision a court makes, determining the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved. It stands as the culmination of rigorous legal analysis, presenting a comprehensive adjudication on the merits of the case. The pronouncement of a Judgment signifies the climax of legal debates, rendering a decision that resonates far beyond the immediate dispute.

On the other hand, an Order is a directive issued by the court throughout the legal proceedings, guiding specific actions or decisions by the parties involved. From issuing injunctions to directing discovery processes, orders act as the guiding force, ensuring that legal proceedings unfold systematically. These directives maintain the rhythm of justice, allowing for the smooth progression of cases through the labyrinthine corridors of the legal system.  In the age of information, where legal proceedings are not confined to the courtroom, the dissemination of Judgments and Orders to the public contributes to legal literacy. Clarity in these pronouncements fosters understanding, empowering individuals to comprehend the intricacies of the justice system and fostering a sense of transparency and accountability.

In essence, the distinction between Judgment and Order becomes crucial not only for legal practitioners navigating the intricacies of courtrooms but also for individuals seeking justice. It is within this intricate dance of legal terminology that the fate of parties involved in a dispute is decided, and the broader principles of justice are defined. Thus, as we embark on this exploration of legal nuance, we unravel not just the definitions of Judgment and Order but also the profound impact they have on the very fabric of our legal system.


As per Section 2(9) of the Code of Civil Procedure of 1908, ‘judgment’ means the statement given by the Judge on the grounds of a decree or order. Judgment refers to the rationale supporting its decision and serves as a conclusive determination of a legal matter.

According to Order 20, Rule 4(2), a judgment is required to include a concise statement of the case, the issues to be determined, the court’s decision, and furnish a comprehensive elucidation of the reasons underpinning such decisions. Furthermore, Order 20, Rule 3 of the CPC mandates that a judgment should bear the judge’s signature and date at the time of its pronouncement in the court. Once signed, any amendments to the judgment are generally prohibited, except in cases involving accidental arithmetical errors, as specified in Section 152 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
The term ‘Judgment’ is not explicitly defined within the Indian Code of Criminal Procedure. However, Chapter 27 of the code specifically addresses matters about judgments and their delivery.
In the legal precedent of Surendra Singh v. State of U.P.[1], the Supreme Court of India defined Judgment as the ultimate decision of the court communicated to the involved parties and the broader public through a formal ‘pronouncement’ or ‘delivery’ in open court.

Once a judgment has been both dated and signed by the judge, alterations or revisions are permissible only under specific circumstances:

  • Arithmetical or Clerical Mistakes: Clerical errors pertain to mistakes made by clerks, while arithmetical errors encompass numerical inaccuracies such as those in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Corrections can be made for such mistakes.
  • Errors Due to Unintended Slips or Omissions: These errors occur when critical elements are inadvertently overlooked. Amendments are allowed on analysis (Section 152) or upon review (Section 114).


FollowingRule 4(2) of Order XX, the essential elements of judgment include:

1. Issued by the Presiding Officer: A judgment signifies the judicial decision of the court or presiding officer, elucidating the outcome of the legal proceedings.

2.  Written Form Requirement: A judgment comes into existence only when the presiding officer articulates the decision in writing. Oral pronouncements lack the status of a judgment.

3. Grounds of Decree or Order: Not every statement of grounds qualifies as a judgment; it must have the potential to result in a decree or an order to be considered as such.

4. Pronounced in Open Court: The judgment should be declared in open court, following the completion of evidence and ensuring transparency in the legal process.

5. Integral Interpretation: To glean its meaning accurately, a judgment must be interpreted as a cohesive whole, considering all its components collectively.

6. Language Criteria: The language of the judgment must align with either English or the designated language of the court, ensuring clarity and uniformity.

7. Delivered in the Presence of Both Parties: To maintain fairness and transparency, the judgment must be read aloud to the parties involved and delivered in the presence of both sides participating in the lawsuit.

In the case of Balraj Taneja v. Sunil Madan[2], the Hon’ble Supreme Court emphasized that a judgment should stand as a self-contained document that should distinctly present the case’s facts, the nature of the dispute addressed by the Court, and how it sought resolution and the judgment must transparently articulate the reasoning process through which the Court arrived at its conclusion and decreed the suit.


The court delivers its judgment either right after the hearing or on a later designated day, with notice to the parties. The aim is to pronounce the judgment within 30 days of concluding the hearing, except in extraordinary cases, where an extension of up to 60 days is allowed.


Copies of the judgment will be provided to the involved parties immediately following its announcement. Access to these copies, to file an appeal, requires payment of charges as specified by the High Court.


Reviewing a judgment involves a thorough reexamination of the case’s facts and the initial decision. Section 114 of the Code grants the court substantive power for review, with Order 47 (Rules 1-9) outlining the limitations and conditions for this process. The court exclusively holds the inherent authority for such reviews.

Key Rules under Order 47 of the Civil Procedure Code:

Rule  1 –  Application for Review of Judgment

Rule  2 –  Recipient of Review Application

Rule  3 –  Review Application Form

Rule  4 –  Rejected Applications

Rule  5 –  Review Application in Multi-Judge Courts

Rule  6 –  Rejected Applications under Rule 5

Rule  7 –  Non-Appealable Rejection Order, Objections to Granted Applications

Rule  8 –  Registration of Granted Applications, and Order for Re-Hearing

Rule  9 –  Limitations on Certain Applications

This section of the Civil Procedure Code outlines the procedural aspects and regulations surrounding the application for the review of a judgment.

In the case of Nagaraj v. State of Karnataka[3], The Supreme Court discussed the principles governing the review of judgments. The Court emphasized that a review is not an appeal in disguise and reiterated that the grounds for review are limited to errors apparent on the face of the record or new material that could not have been considered earlier.


A Judgment Debtor refers to an individual held legally responsible for settling a debt or compensating the judgment creditor as mandated by a court’s judgment. In straightforward terms, a person against whom a monetary judgment has been issued is recognized as a Judgment Debtor.
As per Section 2(10) of the Code, a Judgment Debtor is broadly defined as any individual against whom a decree has been pronounced or an enforceable order has been issued.
In United Commercial Bank Ltd. v. Bank of India[4], the Supreme Court of India discussed aspects related to the liability of a judgment debtor and the principles governing the execution of a decree.


The term ‘order’ lacks a specific definition within CrPC and acquires its meaning from CPC. According to Section 2(14), an ‘order’ refers to the expression of any decision by a Civil Court that does not qualify as a decree. An order, whether conveyed verbally or in written form by the court or a judge, directs specific actions within legal proceedings such as hearings, trials, and appeals.

The objectives of court orders include:

1. Compelling a plaintiff or defendant to take specific actions.

2. Establishing or scheduling court dates.

3. Clarifying the legal relationship between parties in the lawsuit.

It is crucial for the order to be officially entered, filed, or included in the court’s minutes.


Following are the essentials of order-

1. Judicial Decision: An order involves the judicial determination of facts in alignment with the presented evidence.

2. Jurisdiction of Civil Court: Orders must be rendered by the judge of a Civil Court and are distinct from decisions made by administrative tribunals.

3. Formal Expression: The court’s decision, constituting an order, must be formally expressed, and articulated in writing with precision. The language used should be deliberate, facilitating effective execution.

4. Exclusion of Decree: An order, by definition, excludes a decree from its scope. Any court adjudication classified as a decree cannot simultaneously be categorized as an order.

5. Written Form Requirement: Similar to judgments, orders must be documented in writing, ensuring clarity and precision in their expression.

6. Capable of Execution: An order from the court must be practicable and capable of execution, emphasizing its enforceable nature.

7. Non-Conclusive Nature: Unlike judgments, orders need not possess a conclusive nature. They may address specific matters without providing a final resolution to the overall case.

In the landmark case of Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala[5], while primarily addressing constitutional issues, the Supreme Court extensively discussed the essentials of orders within the broader legal framework, offering valuable insights into the fundamental aspects that must be observed in the issuance of orders across diverse legal contexts.


  • Appealable Orders: These are those against which an appeal is permissible. Examples of appealable orders include those mentioned under Section 104 and Order 43 Rule 1 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC).
  • Non-Appealable Orders: Non-appealable orders are those against which a party cannot file an appeal.


  • Final Order: A final order determines the rights of the parties involved. In this order, the court disposes of all claims, making decisions about the rights and liabilities of all parties to the suit.
  • Interlocutory Order: An interlocutory order settles any intervening matters related to the case. These orders address temporary issues during the litigation process and are also referred to as interim orders. They include provisional orders passed by the court throughout the legal proceedings.

In the case of Manohar Lal Chopra v. Rai Bahadur Rao Raja Seth Hiralal[6], The honorable apex court held that an interlocutory order, which does not finally determine the rights of the parties, is not appealable. The decision provides insights into the characteristics that classify an order as interlocutory and establishes the principle that only final orders can be subject to appeal.


The following table highlights key differences between judgments and orders.

Basis of DifferenceJudgmentOrder
DefinitionA judgment is an official pronouncement made by a judge based on a decree or order.It serves as the formal declaration of any decision rendered by a Criminal Court that does not qualify as a decree.  
PurposeA judgment signifies the court’s ultimate decision, encompassing a comprehensive assessment of presented evidence, arguments, and procedural considerations. It is justified based on the entirety of the case, including the decree and order issued concerning the matter.    An order, on the other hand, is issued when immediate or urgent action or implementation is necessary. This may involve measures such as prohibiting the sale or exploitation of the property at the center of the case by any party or ensuring the security of the property or any involved parties.
ContentIt includes the court’s findings, legal conclusions, and the final disposition of the case.  An order can cover a wide range of issues, such as issuing injunctions, granting or denying motions, and directing specific actions to be taken by the parties.    
AppealabilityA judgment can be appealed before the designated superior court as provided by the legal provisions.    There are two categories of orders: appealable and non-appealable.
TimingTypically rendered at the end of the trial proceedings.Issued throughout the proceedings, addressing various procedural and substantive matters as the case unfolds.
Grounds of DecisionThe grounds of a decision are inherent in a judgment, as it includes a statement elucidating the basis for the decision rendered.    In the case of an order, there is a requisite discussion on the relevant issue for which it is issued. However, an order does not necessarily entail an accompanying explanation or grounds.
FinalityIt represents the final resolution of the case, indicating the court’s conclusive decision on the matter.    An order may be issued at different points in a case and may not necessarily represent the final resolution. Some orders are interlocutory and address interim matters, while others may contribute to the final judgment.

In the case of Ujjam Bai v. State of Uttar Pradesh[7], The Supreme Court of India clarified that while an order is an expression of any decision of a civil court that is not a decree, a judgment conclusively determines the rights of the parties in the suit.


The integration of technology into legal proceedings will continue to influence judgment and order writing. Future trends may witness a shift towards more inclusive language, addressing contemporary social issues, and accommodating diverse perspectives in judgments and orders. Electronic filing systems, virtual courtrooms, and online legal research platforms have become commonplace. Evolving norms, values, and public opinions necessitate a flexible approach in legal writing.


In conclusion, the distinction between a judgment and an order in legal proceedings is crucial for understanding the varied roles they play in the justice system. A judgment represents the final and comprehensive decision of the court, detailing the grounds and providing a conclusive resolution to a case. On the other hand, an order is a directive issued during proceedings, addressing specific matters as they arise but may not signify the ultimate resolution. This differentiation encompasses factors such as appealability, content, timing, and legal consequences, underscoring the nuanced and significant differences between these two essential components of judicial decision-making.


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  2. CASEMINE, https://www.casemine.com/ (last visited 6 Jan. 2024)
  3. FINOLOGY, https://blog.finology.in/Legal-news/judgment-decree-order-difference (last visited 6 Jan. 2024)
  4. IPLEADERS, https://blog.ipleaders.in/distinguishing-order-decree-judgement-cpc-1908/ (last visited 7 Jan. 2024)
  5. LAW WITH SHAHEEN, https://lawwithshaheen.com/decree-judgment-and-order-under-cpc/ (last visited 7 Jan. 2024)
  6. LEGAL SERVICE INDIA, https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-14219-judgment-vs-decree-v-s-order-same-or-different-.html (last visited 8 Jan. 2024)
  7. SCC ONLINE, https://www.scconline.com/ (last visited 8 Jan. 2024)
  8. THE LEGAL COURT, https://thelegalcourt.com/blog/order-judgment-decree (last visited 9 Jan. 2024)

[1] Surendra Singh v. State of U.P., AIR 1954 SC 194

[2] Balraj Taneja v. Sunil Madan, AIR 1999 SC 3381

[3] Nagaraj v. State of Karnataka, (2019) 17 SCC 394

[4] United Commercial Bank Ltd. v. Bank of India, (1981) 1 SCC 121

[5] Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, (1973) 4 SCC 225

[6] Manohar Lal Chopra v. Rai Bahadur Rao Raja Seth Hiralal, AIR 1962 SC 527

[7] Ujjam Bai v. State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1962 SC 1621

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