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SMT JANAKI & ANOTER versus MURARI LAL & OTHERS

High Court of Judicature at Allahabad

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Smt Janaki & Anoter v. Murari Lal & Others - SECOND APPEAL No. 2585 of 1974 [2005] RD-AH 1949 (16 August 2005)

 

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HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE OF ALLAHABAD

Reserved/Court No.24

Second Appeal No.2585 of 1974

Smt. Janki and another Vs. Murari Lal and others

******

Hon'ble V.C. Misra, J.

Heard Shri V.K.S. Chaudhary Senior Advocate assisted by Shri N.P. Singh learned counsel for the appellants-defendants and Shri Mithlesh Kumar Tiwari and Shri Kharak Singh learned counsel for the respondents.

1. This second appeal arises out of the judgment and decree dated 24.8.1974 passed by the District Judge, Bulandshashr in Civil Appeal No.314 of 1971 Murari Lal and others Vs. Smt. Janki and others arising out of Original Suit No.191 of 1969 between Murari Lal and others Vs. Smt. Ganga Devi and others, and also challenging the findings dated 24.3.1982 passed by the District Judge in the lower appellate Court.

2. The case of the appellant in brief is that Khazan Singh (husband of Smt. Ganga Devi defendant no.1), Chiranji defendant no.2 and Fatte (husband of Smt. Janki defendant no.3) were 3 real brothers. The dispute between Smt. Ganga Devi and Chiranji and Fatte (deceased) substituted by her legal heir Smt. Janki, arose on the allegation that Smt. Ganga Devi had remarried and lost all rights and title in the land in accordance with the provisions of Section 172 of U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act No.1 of 1951 (hereinafter referred to in short as the Act) although it was held by the revenue Court that though she was living with another person but no case of remarriage could be proved and she continued to be the tenure holder. Due to the dispute during consolidation proceedings in the area between the above said three co-tenure holders, the proposed Chaks of three branches were numbered as 89-A, 89-B and 89-C at one place. Plot no.89-C (in question) was proposed for Smt. Ganga Devi, which consisted of two parts, one the Bhumidhari portion of 4-14-13 bighas and another Sirdhari portion as 2-18-11 Bighas, total being 7-15-4 bighas. Smt. Ganga Devi allegedly deposited ten times rent for the Sirdhari plots of area 2-18-11 part of the plot no.89-C on 15.1.1969 and accordingly became Bhumidhar of the entire plot no.89-C consisting of total area of 7-15-4 bighas. On same date, i.e., 15.1.1969 Smt. Ganga Devi allegedly sold her part of plot no.89-C admeasuring 2-18-11 bighas in favour of Murari Lal plaintiff no.1 and Amar Singh plaintiff no.2 both sons of one Ganga Sahai who was the Pairokar of Smt. Ganga Devi. On 15.1.1969, Smt. Ganga Devi also sold an area of 0-13-19 in favour of one Dulli alleged to be the servant of Ganga Sahai in separate plot no.765. It is alleged that on 12.3.1969 Smt.  Ganga Devi entered into an agreement to sell, part of the agricultural land situated in plots nos.89-C and 725-C in favour of Murari Lal and others (sons of Ganga Sahai) for Rs.9,000/-. This execution of unregistered agreement was disputed by the appellants-defendants alleged to have been forged and not duly executed by her in accordance with law. It has also been alleged that she leased out her rest of the land to Ganga Sahai. On 2.6.1969, Smt. Ganga Devi admittedly sold her entire plots to Chiranji and Fatte (husband of Smt. Janki Devi-appellant-defendant).

3. Murari Lal and others (sons of Ganga Sahai) respondents-plaintiffs on 31.10.1969 filed an Original Suit No.191 of 1969 in the Court of Civil Judge for specific performance of contract regarding land admeasuring 4-14-13 bighas part of agricultural plot no.89-C and 0-8-0 of plot no.725.  In para-7 of the plaint, it has been stated that Smt. Ganga Devi-defendant no.1 had entered into a written agreement dated 12.3.1969 for sale of the said land and have received a sum of Rs.5,100/- in advance and only an amount of Rs.3,900/- remained in balance. In Para-9 of the plaint it has been stated that the plaintiff is ready to pay the balance amount of Rs.3,900/- and has always been ready and the sale deed may be executed on the basis of the said agreement. In para-10 it has been stated that the cause of action arose on 12.3.1969 the date of execution of the agreement of sale by defendant no.1 in favour of plaintiffs and thereafter on 2.6.1969 the date of the execution of sale deed by the defendant no.1 in favour of defendants no.2 and 3. In the written statement filed by defendants no.2 and 3, in paragraphs 4,5 and 6 objections were raised in terms with the provisions of Section 168-A of the U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, which reads as under: -

"168-A. Transfer of fragments.- (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of any law for the time being in force, no person shall transfer whether by sale, gift or exchange any fragment situate in a consolidated area except where the transfer is in favour of tenure-holder who has a plot contiguous to the fragment or where the transfer is not in favour of any such tenure-holder the whole or so much of the plot in which the person has bhumidhari rights, which pertains to the fragment is thereby transferred.

(2) The transfer of any land contrary to the provisions of Sub-section (1) shall be void.

(3) When a bhumidhar has made any transfer in contravention of the provisions of Sub-section (1) the provisions of Section 167 shall mutatis mutandis apply."

The Additional Civil Judge vide order dated 22.9.1971, dismissed the Original Suit No.191 of 1969 filed by Murari Lal and others for specific performance of contract. The District Judge vide its order dated 24.8.1974 passed in Civil Appeal No.314 of 1971 allowed the appeal of Murari Lal and others with costs, holding, inter-alia, that the contesting defendants-respondents (now appellants) had full knowledge of the agreement to sell before the execution of the sale deed dated 2.6.1969 in their favour and, therefore, were not bonafide purchasers for value without notice and were thus not entitled to any protection under Section 41 of the Transfer of Property Act wrongly held by the lower Court which had no application to the present case of specific performance of contract and the agreement to sell could be specifically enforced against all the defendants. It decreed the Original Suit No.191 of 1969 of Murari Lal and others for specific performance of contract. Two months' time was granted to the defendants to execute the sale deed in terms of the said agreement. Since, the appellate Court had not decided the effect of Section 168-A of the U.P. Zamindari Abolition of Land Reforms Act raised by the defendants nos.2 and 3 and also dealt with in the Judgment passed by the lower appellate Court. This Court (Hon'ble K.M. Dayal, J.), vide order dated 30th of July 1981 framed the following issue and remitted to the lower appellate Court for decision :-

"Whether the sale deed dated 15.3.1969 (corrected as 15.1.1969) executed by Smt. Ganga Devi in favour of Dulli and Amar Singh was valid in view of Section 168-A of the U.P.Z.A. & L.R. Act, if so its effect ?"

The lower appellate Court allowed the parties to adduce necessary evidence in respect with the referred issue, the plaintiffs did not lead any evidence, however the defendants filed papers and led their evidence and recalled one Chiranji Lal defendant no.2 for re-examination. The lower appellate Court after hearing the parties vide its order dated 24.3.1982 decided the issue in affirmative assigning its reason, and submitted the same before this Court. The appellants filed their objections to the above said findings of the lower appellate Court and while challenging the same raised three further grounds.

An Original Suit No.277 of 1969 was filed on dated 26.6.1969 in the Court of Munsif by Ganga Sahai father of plaintiffs against Chiranji and others for injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with his alleged possession as sub tenant over the alleged leased out portion of the plot no.84-C in his favour. The Original Suit No.277 of 1969 was dismissed by the Court of Munsif vide order-dated 22.5.1972. Thereafter vide order dated 18.1.1973, the District Judge also dismissed the appeal of Ganga Sahai holding inter-alia, that the transfer of Ganga Sahai and Dulli was void being hit by Section 168-A of the Act. The Sub Divisional Magistrate in the proceedings under Section 145 Cr. P.C. at the instance of Amar Singh son of Murari Lal-respondents Vide order-dated 22.12.1969 upheld the possession of Chiranji and Fatte and directed Murari Lal and others not to disturb the possession of Chiranji and Fatte. The matter came up before this Court and vide order dated 15.11.1972 it held Chiranji and Fatte to be in possession of the land in question under Section 145 Cr. P.C. and confirmed the orders of the lower Courts.

4.  Learned counsel for the appellants has also submitted that the alleged contract of sale executed by Smt. Ganga Devi is a forged and fabricated document as per the statement of one Laxmi Kant attesting witness and also on the face of the record, as there is irregular spacing of the typed contents and specially the last line having been typed without any spacing since the alleged thumb of Smt. Ganga Devi existed on the said blank paper on which the alleged contract of sale has been typed out, though after the thumb impression, there was still ample of space left at the bottom of the page and the finding by the learned District Judge that it was so done to confine the deed to a single sheet is contrary to what is apparent on the face of the document and without any evidence. It is based on mere surmises and conjectures, and more so, this document does not contain the name of the deed writer and typist and has not been signed by the witness at the margin which is customary, but signed at the bottom of the document. It has also been submitted that Ganga Sahai father of the plaintiffs-respondents was doing pairvi on her behalf before the Consolidation Court, and he appears to have procured her thumb impression on blank papers and that her written statement in another case was inadmissible as evidence, as such, against the defendant-appellant since neither she was examined nor she entered in the witness box nor any affidavit was filed by her.  She never came to the Court and even the said written statement was filed through her counsel. He has referred to Section 18 of the Evidence Act, which refers that the statement made by the persons referred to therein, are admissions, if they are made during the continuance of the interest of the persons making the statement.  Her statement contained in the written statement was made after she had sold and parted with her whole property and had no proprietary interest left therein, thus, her statement made after parting her proprietary interest was not admissible against the defendant-appellant and the learned lower appellate court has grossly erred in relying upon the same.  No compelling reasons existed for the lower appellate court to upset the judgment and decree of the trial Court with regard to the defendant being bonafide purchaser for value without notice of the contract.  In fact, contract did not exist at that time and the suit was filed only after Smt. Ganga Devi had sold the property in favour of the appellants. Learned counsel for the appellants has further stressed that the Consolidation of Holding Rules are not applicable in the present case.

The learned counsel for the appellants has further submitted that at the time when the appeal had been filed in 1974 the necessary amendments in Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure had not been made and therefore, no substantial question was required to be framed by the Court while admitting the appeal, more so, in terms of the saving clause Section 97 (2) clause (m) in the Central Act 104 of 1976. However, in my view the following substantial questions of law arise from the pleadings for consideration by this Court:-

(1) Whether by sale deed dated 15.1.1969 of a part of Plot no.89-C by Smt. Ganga Devi in favour of Amar Singh and Murari Lal which was of a transfer of a fragment in a consolidation area was thus void in terms of the provisions of Section 168-A of the Principal Act, and thus rendering the decree for specific performance of contract of sale and transfer of the other remaining fragment of Plot No.89-C as illegal ?

(2) Whether in the absence of the averments made in the plaint that the plaintiff had been and was still "ready and willing" to perform the essential terms of the alleged agreement which was to be performed by him in terms of clause (c) of Section 16 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 and Form-48 given in Appendix 'A' of the Order 48 Rule 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the plaint ought to have been dismissed ?

Learned counsel for the respondents has submitted that no substantial question of law arises from the pleadings of the case and, therefore, in terms of the decisions delivered by this Court in the case of Deena Nath Vs. Sreedhar Dayal Pathak and another reported in 2003 (2) AWC, page 1002, the appeal deserves to be dismissed.

5.     Heard learned counsel for the parties at length and looked into the record of the case and find that, it is not disputed that plot no.89-C (in question) falling in the share of Smt. Ganga Devi consisted of two parts, one bhumidhari and the other sirdhari portion. After deposit of the ten times of the rent for the sirdhari plot, she became bhumidhar of entire plot no.89-C consisting of total area of 7-15-4 bighas on 15.1.1969 she sold a part of the plot in favour of Murari Lal and Amar Singh, plaintiffs no.1 and 2. The sale deed dated 15.1.1969 executed by Smt. Ganga Devi transferring a part of plot No.89-C in a consolidation area admeasuring 2-18-11 in favour of Murari Lal and Amar Singh being a fragment of the total area of the Bhumidhari land admeasuring 7-15-4 bighas was barred under the provisions of Section 168-A (I) of the Principal Act which had an over-ridding effect and the said transfer through the alleged sale deed dated 15.1.1969 stood void in terms of the provisions of Sub clause (2) of Section 168-A of the Principal Act on the date of the alleged transfer. However, the Court also finds that the Act No.1 of 1951 has been subsequently amended by U.P. Act No.27 of 2004. It received the assent of the Governor on 20.8.2004 and was published in the U.P. Gazette on 23.8.2004. One of the objects and reasons for amendment was with a view to safeguard the interest of tenure holders by "omitting the provision relating to restriction of transfer of fragments to avoid its adverse effect."

Section 4 of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 2004 reads as under :-

4. Omission of Section 168-A. - Section 168-A of the principal Act shall be omitted.

Section 11 of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 2004 reads as under :-

11. Special Provisions, - It is hereby declared that any transfer of a fragment which had become void under Section 168-A as it stood before the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to have been voidable (sic) and any person may get such transfer validated by depositing such fee and within such time and in such manner as may be notified by the State Government :

Provided that the above provisions shall cease to be in force after expiry of one year from the date of commencement of this Act.

However, again a subsequent amendment Act (U.P. Act No.13 of 2005), which received the assent of the Governor on March 24, 2005 and published in U.P. gazette on 29th March 2005 was brought in effect.

Section 4 of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 2005 reads as under :-

4. Special provision -

(1) It is hereby declared that any transfer of such fragment as had become void under Section 168-A as it stood before the commencement of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 2004 (U.P. Act No.27 of 2004) and had not been entered in revenue records in favour of State Government shall be deemed to have been voidable and any person may get such transfer validated by depositing such fee and within such time and in such manner as may be notified by the State Government :

Provided that the provisions of this sub section shall cease to be in force after expiry of one year from the date of commencement of this Act.

(2) Section 11 of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 2004 (U.P. Act No.27 of 2004) shall be omitted.

6. In terms of the above said amendments in the present case, the sale deed dated 15.1.1969 executed by Smt. Ganga Devi in favour of Amar Singh and Murari Lal being void under Section 168-A as it stood before the commencement of the Act 2004, was deemed to have been voidable in terms of Section 11 of the special provisions and further amended by Act No.27 of 2004 by which Section 11 has also been omitted as it stood and has been replaced by Section 4 of U. P. Act No.13 of 2004, in terms of which the alleged sale deed dated 15.1.1969 alleged to have become void stands voidable in the case of transfer of such fragment, provided, it has not been entered in the revenue records in favour of the State Government, on the date of the commencement of the U.P. Act No.27 of 2004 or U.P. Act No.13 of 2005 as the case may be and such transferees may get such transfer validated by depositing such fee and within such time and in such manner as may be notified by the State Government. In view of the above said findings, the first question is decided accordingly.

7. On the second question this Court finds from the record of the case that the important ingredient in the plaint regarding plaintiff's 'willingness' to perform the essential terms of contract in terms of the provisions of Section 16 (c) of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 and also as prescribed in the form given in appendix 'A' Forms 47 and 48, in terms of Order 48 Rule 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure is missing. The relevant part of Section 16 (c) of Specific Relief Act is quoted below :-

16. Personal bars to relief. -  Specific performance of a contract cannot be enforced in favour of a person -

(a) .......

(b) .......

(c) who fails to aver and prove that he has performed or has always been ready and willing to perform the essential terms of the contract which are to be performed by him, other than terms the performance of which has been prevented or waived by the defendant.  

Explanation,- For the purposes of clause (c), -

(i) where a contract involves the payment of money, it is not essential for the plaintiff to actually tender to the defendant or to deposit in court any money except when so directed by the court;

(ii) the plaintiff must aver performance of, or readiness and willingness to perform, the contract according to its true construction.

In this respect law is settled. There are catena of decisions including Mahmood Khan and another Vs. Ayub Khan and others reported in AIR 1978 (Alld.) page 463 and Rajendra Prasad Vs. Raj Deo reported in AIR 1974 (Alld.) page 294. It has been held in the case of Ouseph Verghese Vs. Joseph Aley and others reported in (1969) Vol.2 SCC page- 539. The relevant portion of para-9 of the said Judgment is quoted below :-

"...........................................The plaintiff did not plead either in the plaint or at any subsequent stage that he was ready and willing to perform the agreement pleaded in the written statement of defendant. A suit for specific performance has to conform to the requirements prescribed in Forms 47 and 48 of the 1st Schedule in the Civil Procedure Code. In a suit for specific performance it is incumbent on the plaintiff not only to set out agreement on the basis of which he sues in all its details, he must go further and plead that he has applied to the defendant specifically to perform the agreement pleaded by him but the defendant has not done so. He must further plead that he has been and is still ready and willing to specifically perform his part of the agreement. Neither in the plaint nor at any subsequent stage of the suit the plaintiff has taken those pleas. As observed by this Court in Pt. Prem Rai Vs. The DLF Housing and Construction (Private Limited) and another, (Civil Appeal No.37/66, decided on 4.4.1968) that it is well settled that in a suit for specific performance the plaintiff should allege that he is ready and willing to perform his part of the contract and in the absence of such an allegation the suit is not maintainable."

8. I have examined various paragraphs of the plaint and fail to find any such specific averments regarding willingness to perform the contract in any of the paragraphs. The lower appellate Court has completely ignored the requirements of Section 16 (c) of the Specific Relief Act and as such in absence of the mandatory requirements of Section 16 (c) of the Specific Relief Act regarding necessary averments in the plaint and the proof of the same regarding his "willingness" to perform his part of contract, neither any such deposition has been made the suit cannot succeed. In case such deposition would have been made even then in absence of such averments in the plaintiff's suit, it could not be taken into account as it is the plaint allegations, which are to be proved by means of evidence. It is well established rule that no amount of evidence can be looked into unless there is a pleading to that effect. The plaintiffs have failed to make out any cause of action with regards to the specific performance of the alleged contract, the specific performance of contract could not be enforced in favour of the plaintiffs and the suit thus being not maintainable, ought to have been dismissed on this count itself, even though the defendants failed to take any objection. The appellate Court grossly erred in law in decreeing the suit. The question no.2 is decided in affirmative.

Under the above said facts and circumstances of the case, the Judgment and decree dated 24.8.1974 passed by the District Judge, Bulandshahar in Civil Appeal No.314 of 1971 Murari Lal and others Vs. Smt. Janki and others is set aside and the Judgment and decree dated 22.9.1971 of the trial Court passed in Original Suit No.191 of 1969 between Murari Lal and others Vs. Smt. Ganga Devi and others is upheld. Appeal is allowed. No order as to costs.

August 16, 2005

Hasnain


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Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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