Second Appeals Under Civil Procedure Code

Within the intricate framework of civil litigation in India lies a critical juncture where the pursuit of justice takes on a distinct form – the realm of second appeals under the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC). Here, the battle for truth and fairness enters a new phase that calls for a meticulous reevaluation of legal strategies and an unwavering commitment to the quest for justice.

This article tells you about second appeals, uncovering the nuances, significance, and procedures that define this crucial stage in the Indian legal system.

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What Is Second Appeal

A second appeal is a legal remedy available to parties dissatisfied with lower courts’ decisions in civil cases. It allows them to appeal to a higher court, usually the High Court, to review and reconsider the judgments or decrees passed by the lower courts.

Second appeal is primarily governed by section 100 of the CPC. This section outlines the conditions under which a second appeal can be filed. According to section 100 of the Civil Procedure Code:

  • A second appeal can be filed only if the case involves a substantial question of law. This means the appeal cannot be filed solely on questions of fact; it must pertain to a significant legal issue.
  • The High Court must be satisfied that the case involves a substantial question of law, and the lower court’s decision needs to be examined on this ground.
  • The party filing the second appeal must formulate the substantial question of law precisely in the memorandum of appeal.
  • The High Court can dismiss the second appeal if it is not satisfied that a substantial question of law is involved, or it can hear the appeal if such a question exists.

In essence, a second appeal is not an opportunity to reevaluate facts or evidence but is focused on legal issues and questions of law arising from the lower court’s decision. This provision ensures that only cases with genuine legal disputes are escalated to higher courts, streamlining the judicial process.

The Procedure for the Second Appeal

The procedure for filing and pursuing a second appeal under the Civil Procedure Code involves several steps. Here’s an overview of the process.

Grounds for Second Appeal

Second appeal is allowed only on substantial questions of law. This means that a party must demonstrate that there is a significant legal issue or question that needs clarification or adjudication.

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Review by Lower Appellate Court

Before filing a second appeal, the appellant (the party filing the appeal) should have exhausted all available remedies in lower courts, including the trial and the first appellate courts (usually the district or sessions court).

Preparation of Memorandum of Appeal

The appellant, through their lawyer, prepares a Memorandum of Appeal. This document outlines the grounds for the second appeal, along with a statement of facts and legal arguments. It should specify the substantial question(s) of law involved.

Filing of Second Appeal

The Memorandum of Appeal is filed in the High Court, having jurisdiction over the matter. The appeal is usually filed through an advocate-on-record (a lawyer registered to practice in the High Court).

Admission of Second Appeal

The High Court may decide whether to admit the second appeal. It will consider whether the case raises substantial questions of law and if it merits further examination. If the High Court is satisfied, it will admit the appeal for hearing.

Notice to Respondent

Notice is issued to the respondent (the opposing party) to respond to the appeal. The respondent can present their side of the case and contest the grounds of appeal.

Hearing and Arguments

The High Court conducts hearings where both parties present their arguments and evidence. The appellant argues the substantial question(s) of law, and the respondent counters these arguments.


After considering all arguments and evidence, the High Court delivers its judgment. It may dismiss the appeal, allow it, or modify the lower court’s decision.

Further Appeals

Suppose either party is dissatisfied with the High Court’s judgment in the second appeal. In that case, they can file an appeal in the Supreme Court of India, subject to the Supreme Court’s discretion and certain criteria.

Significance of Second Appeal

The second appeal under the Civil Procedure Code holds significant importance in the Indian legal system for several reasons. Five important reasons are:

1. Legal Interpretation and Clarity

Second appeal primarily deals with substantial questions of law. When a case involves complex or ambiguous legal issues, the High Court’s decision in a second appeal provides legal interpretation and clarity. This interpretation can set a precedent for similar cases in the future, guiding lower courts and legal practitioners.

2. Ensuring Fairness

It acts as a check on lower courts’ decisions. If a party believes a lower court has made a legal error, they can seek redress through a second appeal. This ensures fairness and upholds the principle of justice, allowing parties to rectify legal injustices.

3. Higher Judicial Scrutiny

Second appeal reaches the High Court, which is generally regarded as a higher forum with more experienced judges. This higher level of scrutiny can lead to more comprehensive and well-reasoned decisions, reducing the chances of legal errors.

4. Reducing Judicial Backlog

By focusing on substantial questions of law, second appeals help streamline the legal process. Cases that don’t involve significant legal issues are resolved at lower levels, reducing the burden on the High Court and the Supreme Court.

5. Protection of Rights

The availability of second appeals ensures that individual’s and entities’ Fundamental Rights and legal rights are protected. It acts as a safeguard against potential miscarriages of justice.


The concept of a second appeal under the Civil Procedure Code is vital in the Indian legal system. It embodies the principles of justice, fairness, and due process, allowing parties to seek a review of erroneous judgments that have a substantial impact on their rights and interests. Second appeals safeguard against miscarriages of justice, ensuring that the decisions made at the lower appellate levels are by the law and established precedents.

Suhani Dhariwal
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