The Supreme Court allowed a civil appeal while holding that the Karnataka High Court disposed of a regular second appeal without properly addressing the substantial questions of law involved. The judgment of the High Court passed in Regular Second Appeal was called into question in the matter.

A two-judge Bench of Justice B.V. Nagarathna and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan noted that the second appeal has been disposed of as if it was a first appeal observing that, “In the instant case, we find that the High Court has not adverted to the substantial questions of law which may have been framed in the appeal inasmuch as there is no reference to the same in the impugned judgment. It is noted that the appeal is of the year 2011 and the impugned judgment is dated 06.01.2023. Perhaps the appeal may have been admitted on the framing of certain substantial questions of law which have been totally ignored by the High Court while disposing of the second appeal.”

The case involved a special leave petition and a regular second appeal under Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC).

Senior Advocate V. Chitambaresh appeared for the Appellant and M/S. Dharmaprabhas Law Associates (AOR) appeared for the Respondents.

The counsel for the petitioner argued that the High Court treated the second appeal as a regular first appeal, failing to address substantial questions of law that should have been framed and answered. The counsel for the respondent supported the High Court's judgment and contended that while no substantial questions of law were raised, the reasoning and conclusion of the High Court were justified.

The Court referenced Section 100 of the CPC, which outlines the conditions under which a second appeal can be entertained by the High Court – specifically when it involves a substantial question of law.

“In fact, it is the practice and a mandatory requirement that at the time of admitting the regular second appeal, substantial question(s) of law must be framed, on the basis of which the arguments must be advanced and a decision given thereon.”

The Court cited several previous judgments that reiterate the importance of framing and addressing substantial questions of law in second appeals. The Court emphasized that the High Court's jurisdiction in hearing a second appeal is founded on the formulation of a substantial question of law.

The Court noted that the High Court must frame substantial questions of law when admitting a second appeal and should not treat it as a first appeal.

The Court concluded that the High Court erred in not addressing the substantial questions of law and set aside the High Court's judgment, remanding the case for fresh consideration.

Cause Title: Bhagyashree Anant Gaonkar v. Narendra & Anr.

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