There is a marked difference in the expressions used by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (in short, “CPC”) in Section 2(3) and Order XXI Rule 10. The term ‘decree holder’ is defined in Section 2(3) CPC. The expression used is ‘holder of a decree’ in Order XXI Rule 10 CPC. At first blush, it may appear to be synonymous. But, there is a legal distinction between these two expressions. The expression ‘holder of a decree’ occurring in Order XXI Rule 10 CPC takes in a transferee of a decree and a legal representative of the decree holder also.
Order XXI Rule 16 CPC deals with an application for execution by transferee of a decree. Such a person also comes within the expression ‘holder of a decree’.
The expression ‘holder of a decree’ in Order XXI Rule 10 CPC takes in parties other than whose name appear on the decree. Likewise, a legal representative of the decree holder, though his name may not be inscribed in the decree, can execute it as provided in the CPC. A transferee is also entitled to execute the decree.
See Also : Dhani Ram v. Sri Ram (AIR 1980 SC 157)
The term ‘decree holder’ defined in Section 2(3) CPC takes in persons whose names appear on the record as the persons in whose favour the decree was made. It includes persons who have been recognized by the court by order as the decree holder from the original plaintiff or his representative.
See Also : Paupayya v. Narasannah (ILR 2 Madras 216)
The sum and substance of the legal principles to be borne in mind regarding the terms ‘decree holder’ and ‘holder of a decree’ can be stated like this. The term ‘decree holder’ denotes a person
(i) in whose favour a decree has been passed
(ii) in whose favour an order capable of execution has been passed and
(iii) whose name appears in the decree, either as plaintiff or defendant, and the following conditions are satisfied:
(a) the decree must be one capable of execution and
(b) the said person, by the terms of the decree itself or from its nature, should be legally entitled to seek its execution.
Similarly, the term ‘holder of a decree’ takes in not only the ‘decree holder’, but other rightful persons like transferee of a decree, legal representative, etc.
[The above discussion on the terms ‘decree holder’ and ‘holder of a decree’ is extracted from a latest judgment of the Kerala High Court in Somavally Vs. Prasanna Kumar judgment dated 26 June, 2015 authored by Justice A. Hariprasad.]