How Judgment, Decree and Order are Different?

21 Jul 2021  Read 122737 Views

There are certain differences between Judgement, Decree and Order. The decisions given by the court of law are either orders or decrees. A decree is followed by a judgement that is pronounced by the court after hearing the case. It is important to note that decree and order are analogous to each other. A judgment is passed by the court of law on the ground of decree or order.


Under Section 2(9) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 a “judgement” means the statement given by the Judge on the grounds of a decree or order. Judgement refers to the reasoning given by the court in order to support the decision. A judgement is said to be the final decision of the court on the said matter in the form of suit towards parties. Order 20, Rule 4(2) states that a judgement shall contain a concise statement of a case, point for determination, the decision thereon and all the reasons for such decisions. Order 20, Rule 3 of CPC says that the judgement must be signed and dated by the judge while declaring it in the court. Once it is signed by the judge, the judgement is not allowed to be amended except in cases where there are arithmetical errors due to accidental omission. The provision for the same is stated in Section 152 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

Judgement when Pronounced

The Court, after hearing the case shall deliver the judgment in the open court, soon after the completion of the hearing or on another day fixed by the court for that purpose, of which due notice will be given to the parties and their pleaders. In cases, where the judgement is not delivered on the same day, every attempt shall be made by the Court to pronounce the judgement within 30 days from the date on which the hearing was concluded. There is an exception to this rule where, under extraordinary circumstances, the judgment might be extended to 60 days.

Essentials of a Judgement

A judgement should possess all the essentials of the case, reasoning and the basic contention on which the judgment is delivered.

  1. Essentials of the judgment other than that of the Small Causes Court

  • A concise statement of the case

  • Point for determination

  • Decision thereon

  • Reason for such decision

  • Relief Granted

  1. Judgment of Small Causes Court

  • Point for determination

  • Decision thereon

Review under Code of Civil Procedure

The provisions of review of a judgement are mentioned in Section 114 of the Code. The main objective is to examine the facts and judgements of the case again. Even though this section does not contain the limitations and conditions for the review, the same is laid down in Order 47 of the Code which contains 9 rules imposing the various conditions. The following are the 9 rules:

  • Application for the review of Judgement

  • To whom the application for review may be made

  • Form of the application

  • Application when rejected

  • Application for review in Court consisting of two or more Judges

  • Application when rejected under Rule 5

  • Order of rejection not appealable. Objection to order granting application

  • Registry of granted application

  • Bar of certain application


Under Section 2(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, “decree” means the formal expression of an adjudication which conclusively determines the rights of the parties with regard to all or any of the matters in controversy in the suit and may be either preliminary or final.  A decree must include:

  • Rejection of a plaint

  • Determination of any question under Section 144 of the Code.

A decree shall not include:

  • Any adjudication from which an appeal lies as an appeal from an order

  • Any order of dismissal for default.

Essential Elements of a Decree

  • There should be an adjudication: It is the most essential feature of a decree. A former decision of the Judge on the dispute should be there. In the absence of such judicial determination, there can be no decree. 

  • Suit: This proceeding is instituted in the Court of Law by filing a plaint in the civil court. Similar to adjudication, there is no decree without a civil suit. There are specific provisions that treat certain applications as suits like proceedings under Hindu Marriage Act, Indian Succession Act.

  • Determining the rights of the parties: The adjudication should determine the rights of the parties in a dispute. The term parties refer to the plaintiff (person instituting the suit) and the defendant (person against whom the suit has been filed). 

  • Determination must be conclusive in nature: The determination held by the Court should be conclusive relating to the rights of the parties. The provisional decisions are not considered decree.

  • There must be a formal expression: To be a decree, there must be a formal expression of adjudication. In other words, the court must formally express its decision in the manner laid down by law.

Types of Decree

There are three types of decree as recognised by the Civil Procedure. They are:

  • Preliminary Decree - It is passed in cased in which the court has to first adjudicate upon the right of the parties and further proceedings need to take place before the suit is in a position to be completely disposed of. 

  • Final Decree - A final decree is where a suit is completely disposed and all the questions in controversy between the parties are finally settled and there is nothing remaining to be decided on. A decree may be final in two ways:

  1. Where no appeal is filed against the decree within the prescribed time 

  2. Where the matter has been decided by the decree of the highest court.

  3. Where the decree completely disposed of the suit.

  • Partially preliminary and partially final decree - A decree can be said to be partially preliminary or partially final when it only determines the rights of the parties, while the rest is left to be worked out in the further proceedings.


Section 2(14) of the Code defines “order” as the formal expression of any decision of a Civil Court which is not a decree.

Essential Elements of an Order:

  • Formal Expression

  • Formal Expression should not be a decree

  • The decision must be pronounced by a civil court.

Types of Order

  • Appealable Orders: Orders against which an appeal lies. Orders mentioned under Section 104 and Order 43 Rule 1 of the CPC are examples of appealable orders.

  • Non-Appealable Orders: Orders against which a party cannot file an appeal. 

Orders can also be classified into:

  • Final Order - The Order which finally determined the rights of the parties.

  • Interlocutory Order - Provisional orders passed by the Court in the course of the litigation.


With this, a proper distinction can be done between judgement, decree and order now. The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 defined both decree and order. While a decree deals with the adjudication, suits, rights of the parties and a formal expression, an order may or may not clearly ascertain the rights of the parties to the suit. Judgements are the final decisions of the court.

About the Author: Antalina Guha | 29 Post(s)

Antalina Guha, is in the  5th year of B.A. LL.B course in Ajeenkya DY Patil University, with a core interest in Intellectual Property Rights and Criminal law.

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