Inherent Powers of the Court- CPC & CrPC


Civil Procedure Code Code of Criminal Procedure Criminal Law LAW EXPLAINED
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The Inherent Powers of the Court are in addition to the powers specifically conferred on the Court by the code. The sense of ‘inherent’ is a permanent, absolute, inseparable, necessary or characteristic feature that resides in something. Inherent Power of the Courts is those powers that the court can apply to execute full and complete justice among the parties before it.

Inherent powers are those rights that are not immune to being excluded from the courts and can be brought by them by a judge to do absolute and fulfilled justice between the parties. Either civil or criminal, in the absence of a prohibition of proceedings, is to be considered to possess as essential inherent powers contained in its constitution, to do justice and, in the course of the administration of justice, to reverse the wrong. The court’s inherent powers to serve the ends of justice are fairly extensive. This article explores the inherent powers of the court under Civil Procedure Code, 1908 and Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 with the relevant provisions of the Code along with some important case laws.


Sections 148 to 153-A of the Code of Civil Procedure, enact the law relating to Inherent Powers of the Court in different circumstances.

In Manohar lal Chopra v. Seth Hiralal, 1 as Justice Raghubar Dayal rightly states, “The Inherent Power has not been conferred upon the Court, it is a power inherent in the Court by virtue of its obligation to do impartiality connecting the parties before it.

The scheme, on the other hand, is not based on intelligible pattern:

  • Section 148 to 153-A, deals the grant & enlargement of time.
  • Section 151, preserves inherent powers of the Court. It is a saving clause.
  • Sections 152, 153 & 153-A, deals with amendments in judgments, decrees, orders & in other proceedings.
  • Section 153-A, talks about declares a place of trial to be an open Court.
  • Section 150 provides for transfer of business along with section 22-25 (transfer of cases).


Section 148 specifically points out that the court has no authority if the time for performing a specific act has not been set or authorized that the court has not approved or permitted. This Court authority cannot be asserted as a right, being discretionary in nature. Section 148 provides that the court can extend for the performance of an act to a maximum duration 30days if it fixes or extends a definite time period. 2


This deals with Court costs charged. The court’s authority is unlimited and can only be exercised in the interest of justice. This section specifies the court to require a party to account for the deficiency in court fees owed on a complaint or appeal memorandum, etc., even after the expiry of the limitation period given for the filing of a complaint or appeal etc.3

According to Section 4 of the Court fees Act, 1870 provides that no paper chargeable with court fee beneath the Act shall be filed or recorded in any court of fairness except the required court fee is paid.


As per Section 150 of the CPC, “Except as otherwise given, when the business of any Court is assigned to any other Court, the Court to which the business is so transferred shall have almost the same jurisdiction and perform the same duties as those successively delegated to the Court through which the business was so assigned by or under this Code.”  4


Section 151 concerns with “Saving of inherent powers of the Court.” This Section specifies that ‘Nothing in the CPC shall be considered to restrict or otherwise influence the Court’s inherent power to render such orders as may be necessary for the purposes of justice or to restrict misuse of the Court’s process.5

Waiting for the law made by parliament or order from the higher judiciary is not mandatory for the court. The Court has the right or inherent power to make such an order that is not provided in terms of protection of justice laws or to test for abuse of the Court’s process.


  • Can issue temporary injunction in cases not covered by provisio of Order 39.
  • Can set aside illegal Orders.
  • Can add, delete or transpose any party to a suit.
  • Orders passed without jurisdiction.
  • Can revive execution applications.


  1. BY COURT: Where a court employs a procedure in doing something which it never intended to do & there is a miscarriage of justice, there is an abuse of process by the Court itself.

Remedied on the basis of (actus curiae nemineum gravabit), means an act of the Court shall prejudice no one.

  1. BY A PARTY: A party to litigation may also be guilty of an abuse of the process example- by obtaining benefits by practising fraud or the court, by circumventing the statutory provisions.


Section 152 of the CPC concern with the “Amendment of judgments, decrees and orders.” According to Section 152 of the CPC, the Court has the power to modify textual or arithmetical errors in judgments, decrees or orders or defects resulting from an unforeseen delay or imperfection (either by its own actions or by the application of either of the parties).6

It is based on two principles

  • Court should not Prejudice
  • Duty of court to see that:
  • Their records are true.
  • They represent the correct state of affairs.


Section 153 corresponds with the “General Authority to amend.” This provision empowers the court to correct any mistake and error in any suit proceedings, and any appropriate changes shall be made for the purpose of resolving the problems posed or in connection with that proceeding.7

Authority to amend a decision or order whereby the appeal is summarily dismissed and the place of trial to be considered open is specified in Sections 153A and 153B of CPC, 1908.

Inherent Powers of the Court are very wide and residuary in nature. These powers can be exercised ‘ex debito justitiae’ (what a person is entitled to as of right) only in the absence of express proviso in the code.

In this case8 observed & lay down the correct principles regarding the ambit & scope of the Inherent powers.

“The inherent power of a court is in addition to & complementary to the powers expressly conferred under Code. But that power will not be exercised if it’s exercised if its exercise is inconsistent with, any of the powers expressly or by necessary implication conferred by the other provision of the code.”


The exercise of innate forces brings with it other barriers, such as:

  • They can only be applied if specific provisions in the Code are deficient;
  • They can be implemented in unusual or uncommon cases;
  • They cannot be used in conflict with what was expressly mentioned in the Code;
  • The Court must follow the method indicated by the legislature while exercising the power;
  • The Courts can not exercise authority or by statute, entrust it to them;
  • To abide by the Res Judicata principle, i.e. not to open up the issues that have already been finally decided;
  • Choosing a mediator to refresh an award;
  • No fundamental rights of the parties shall be stripped of;
  • To bar a party from bringing proceedings before a court; and
  • To put separately an order, this was legal at the instant of its issuance.


Under Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, the Court’s intrinsic power has been given in the provision of Section 482. This provision was introduced by the 1923 Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act because the High Courts were unable to make full justice even though the illegality was clear. Under this section the inherent jurisdiction can be exercised, except in three cases, namely:

  • To guarantee the ends of justice.
  • To put off the abuse of the process of the court.
  • To give effect to an order under CrPC.

In this case, 9 its has been recognized that the judicial pronouncements must judicial in nature, and should not normally depart from sobriety, moderation and reserve.

Assistance under Section 482 is not excluded by any limitation since the power is conferred to protect the ends of justice. Consequently, the mere fact that the revision petition was filed at a belated stage cannot provide validity to an order which is patently illegal or suffers from the neglect of process of the court. 10


The legislature will never even be able to form laws by predicting every possible situation. Therefore, in order to encounter such situations, some inherent powers must be vested with the Courts. This has to be done to achieve the ends of justice. It is very clear that doing the same thing should not contravene the provisions laid down in CPC and CrPC. These laws lead to clear and impartial judicial procedure. Therefore making these provisions show the affirmative approach.


  1. AIR 1962 SC 527.
  2. Section 148 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
  3. Section 149 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
  4. Section 150 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
  5. Section 151 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
  6. Section 152 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
  7. Section 153 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.
  8. Ram Chand & Sons Sugar Mills (P) Ltd. V. kanhayalal Bhargava, J. Subha Rao, 1966.
  9. K. Lakshamanan v. A. K. Srinivasm, 1999 Cri LJ 1521.
  10. Enforcement Directorate v. Ajay bakliwal, 2003 Cri LJ 1813.


  1. K. Takwani: Civil Procedure Code, 1908, (8th edition, reprint 2019), Eastern Book Company.
  2. V. Kelkar: Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, (6th edition, reprint 2019), Eastern Book Company.
This blog is written by Akriti Sharma, Banasthali University

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