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The concept of precept in CPC has significantly influenced the execution of decrees in the legal landscape. This legal instrument empowers courts to issue directives to other competent courts, instructing them to attach the property of judgment debtors within their jurisdiction. 

By doing so, precepts in CPC prevent debtors from disposing of assets and safeguard the interests of decree-holders. However, it is essential to understand that a precept does not initiate immediate execution but serves as a preliminary step before formal execution proceedings. 

What is Precept in CPC?

A precept in CPC is a directive or order issued by the court that has issued a decree to another competent court, instructing it to attach any property owned by the judgment-debtor. According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a precept can be described as a “command,” “order,” “writ,” or “warrant.”

Ordinarily, the court responsible for executing the decree is the same court that passed it. However, certain situations may arise where the court faces challenges executing the decree. For example, the judgment debtor might not possess sufficient property within the court’s jurisdiction to satisfy the decree, or the debtor could reside outside the court’s jurisdiction, making it impossible to execute a warrant against their person.

To address these circumstances, Section 38 of the Civil Procedure Code stipulates that the decree may be executed either by the court that issued it or by the court to which it has been transferred for execution.

Historical Background of Precepts in the Civil Procedure Code

The concept of precepts in the legal system was introduced by the Civil Procedure Code of 1908. Prior to this, there was a significant case known as ‘Saboda Prosad Mullick v. Luchmeeput Singh Deogur‘, reported in 14 moo Ind app 529, where the Judicial Committee supported an order from a decreeing Court in East Burdwan. 

The order directed the decree to be sent for execution to three different Courts. Two of these Courts were instructed to attach the property of the judgment-debtor within their respective jurisdictions, while the third Court was to await the outcome of execution.

Precepts under Section 46 of the Code

Section 46 of the Civil Procedure Code empowers the Court to issue a precept to any other Court that is competent to execute the decree. The precept in CPC instructs the Court to attach any property of the judgment-debtor specified in the precept that lies within its jurisdiction.

Once the Court receives the precept, it proceeds to attach the specified property following the prescribed procedures for attachment of property during the execution of a decree. The attachment made by the Court, as per the precept, remains in effect for a period of two months unless the court issuing the precept extends this duration. Alternatively, the attachment period ends if, before the two months expiry, the decree has been transferred from the original court to the executing court and the decree-holder has made an application for the sale of the property.

The implementation of precepts in the Civil Procedure Code streamlines the process of executing decrees by allowing one court to issue instructions to another competent court, particularly in situations where the judgment debtor’s assets are spread across different jurisdictions. This enables more efficient execution of decrees and facilitates the enforcement of court orders.

Object of Precepts in CPC

The object of the provision under Section 46 of the Civil Procedure Code is to prevent the judgment debtor from disposing of their property before the decree-holder has the opportunity to transfer the decree to the appropriate court and initiate execution proceedings against the said property.

A precept under Section 46 is necessary when the judgment debtor’s property lies within the jurisdiction of another court, and it is essential to prevent the judgment debtor from selling or dealing with the property in a way that could harm the decree-holder’s interests. It serves as a precautionary measure to safeguard the degree-holder’s rights until the proper proceedings for the sale of the property can be initiated through a formal application.

Does Precept in CPC Transfer the Decree to Another Court?

Importantly, a precept in CPC issued under Section 46 does not transfer the decree to the court to which the precept is issued. Instead, the attachment resulting from the precept keeps the judgment debtor’s property in a state of limbo until the decree can be fully executed. 

This is evident from the proviso to Section 46 itself, which states that an attachment under a precept cannot last for more than two months unless the period is extended by the court that passed the decree or until the decree is transferred to the court receiving the precept in CPC for execution.

Application for Precept in CPC

After the attachment is carried out following a precept under Section 46 of the CPC, there are further essential steps that need to be taken before the decree can be fully executed:

  • Application for Transmission of Decree: The first step is to make an application under Section 39 of the Code to the Court that originally passed the decree. This application seeks the transmission of the decree to the Court that will be responsible for executing the decree.
  • Application for Execution: Subsequently, an application for the execution of the decree must be made to the Court to which the decree has been transferred.

It is important to note that the attachment carried out through a precept in CPC does not automatically trigger execution proceedings. A separate application for execution must be made in the proper form and only upon such application, the actual execution process can commence. 

Therefore, the order that issues a precept is not a directive for execution, and the attachment resulting from the precept in CPC is not considered an attachment in the context of execution proceedings.

To clarify, an order of precept under Section 46 is primarily aimed at facilitating the execution of the decree, and it should not be mistaken for a step in the actual execution proceedings itself.


The concept of precept in CPC plays a vital role in facilitating the execution of decrees in the legal system. By issuing a precept, the court can instruct another competent court to attach the judgment debtor’s property, preventing disposals that could harm the decree-holder’s interests. 

However, it is essential to recognise that a precept in CPC is not an execution order itself but serves as a preparatory step before the formal execution process. Through this mechanism, the law aims to ensure the effective enforcement of court orders and safeguard the rights of decree-holders in a structured and efficient manner.

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