Comparison of Powers under Section 397 and 482 of Crpc

There may be some overlapping between these two powers because both are aimed at securing the ends of justice and both have an element of discretion. But, at the same time, inherent power under Section 482 of the Code being an extraordinary and residuary power, it is inapplicable in regard to matters which are specifically provided for under other provisions of the Code. To put it simply, normally the Court may not invoke its power under Section 482 of the Code where a party could have availed of the remedy available under Section 397 of the Code itself. The inherent powers under Section 482 of the Code are of a wide magnitude and are not as limited as the power under Section 397. Section 482 can be invoked where the order in question is neither an interlocutory order within the meaning of Section 397(2) nor a final order in the strict sense. Reference in this regard can be made to Raj Kapoor v. State, (1980) 1 SCC 43. In that very case, this Court has observed that inherent power under Section 482 may not be exercised if the bar under Sections 397(2) and 397(3) applies, except in extraordinary situations, to prevent abuse of the process of the Court. This itself shows fine distinction between the powers exercisable by the Court under these two provisions. In that very case, this Court also considered as to whether the inherent powers of the High Court under Section 482 stand repelled when the revisional power under Section 397 overlaps. Rejecting the argument, the Court said that the opening words of Section 482 contradict this contention because nothing in the Code, not even Section 397, can affect the amplitude of the inherent powers preserved in so many terms by the language of Section 482. There is no total ban on the exercise of inherent powers where abuse of the process of the Court or any other extraordinary situation invites the court’s jurisdiction. The limitation is self-restraint, nothing more. The distinction between a final and interlocutory order is well known in law. The orders which will be free from the bar of Section 397(2) would be the orders which are not purely interlocutory but, at the same time, are less than a final disposal. They should be the orders which do determine some right and still are not finally rendering the Court functus officio of the lis. The provisions of Section 482 are pervasive. It should not subvert legal interdicts written into the same Code but, however, inherent powers of the Court unquestionably have to be read and construed as free of restriction. Amit Kapoor v. Ramesh Chander and another, (2012) 9 SCC 460.

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