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Bhimaji Ramchandra Wadwadgi Vs. Bhimabai Hiroji Sanagar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil;Property
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Case NumberAppeal under Letters Patent No. 39 of 1919
Judge
Reported inAIR1921Bom122; (1921)23BOMLR62; 61Ind.Cas.764
AppellantBhimaji Ramchandra Wadwadgi
RespondentBhimabai Hiroji Sanagar
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....to remove obstrction-person offering obstruction to a party to the suit though not a party to the decree-suit to set aside the order-order becomes final if no suit brought.;id execution of a decree, to which defendant no. 2 wag not a party, land in his possession was sold at a court-sale and purchased by the plaintiff. when the plaintiff attempted to take possession of the land, he was obstructed by defendant no. 2. the plaintiff applied to the court to have the obstruction removed; defendant no. 2 resisted the application, but as he did not adduce evidence, his obstruction was ordered to be removed on the 15th february 1908. the plaintiff was put in possession on 11th march 1908, but having lost possession in june of the same year, bhimaji he filed the present suit in 1913 to recover..........facts with a view to make clear the position of the plaintiff and kalappa with reference to the land in suit and to the litigation preceding the present suit.2. the question is whether the order of the 15th february 1908 was made under section 334 or section 335 of the code of civil procedure then in force. it is urged on behalf of the appellant that kalappa was not a judgment-debtor that he claimed to be entitled to retain possession of the land in suit on the ground that ho was the owner, and that the order cannot be referred to section 334 as the obstruction was not offered by kalappa on behalf of nagappa, but on his own account. on the other hand, it is urged that the order is based upon the ground that kalappa was a party to the suit and bound by the decree against nagappa and.....
Judgment:

Shah, J.

1. The facts which have given rise to this appeal under the Letters Patent are these: One Hanma was the original owner of the land (Survey No. 142) now in dispute. He sold it to Nagappa in 1885. Nagappa mortgaged it along with other properties to Mudiappa in 1888. It was a simple mortgage. The mortgage was assigned to Basappa, the nephew of Mudiappa at a family partition. Basappa filed Suit No. 574 of 1900 to enforce the mortgage against Nagappa and two other coparceners. Kalappa was joined as defendant No. 4, as it was asserted by Nagappa that he had sold to him the equity of redemption in the land now in dispute. Kalappa did not appear to contest the plaintiff's claim in that suit. Finally, on the 20th April 1901, a compromise was arrived at between the plaintiff and defendants Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in that suit It is not necessary to detail the terms of the compromise it is enough to state that a part of the property in that suit was conveyed to the then plaintiff that a certain amount was made payable to him in instalments and he was allowed the right to recover the amount, in case of default, by the sale of certain properties including the land now in dispute. Shah J. Kalappa was not a party to this compromise. A decree in terms of the compromise was passed on the same day. The decree was silent as to the defendants other than defendants Nos. 1 to 3. Subsequently the property referred to in the decree was sold through the Court and the present plaintiff purchased it in 1904. In attempting to recover possession be was obstructed by Kalappa, who had been joined as a party to the suit, but who had not joined in the compromise and had not appeared to defend the suit. The plaintiff made an application; to the Court to have the obstruction removed. Kalappa was served with a notice under Section 335 of the Code of Civil Procedure of 1882. He filed a statement and claimed to be the owner of Survey No. 142. But he did not appear afterwards and did not adduce any evidence An order was made against him by the Court on the 15th February 1908 removing the obstruction, and directing possession to be given to the present plaintiff. In pursuance of that order the possession was given to the present r. plaintiff on 11th March 1908. The plaintiff filed the present suit to recover possession in 1913 alleging subsequent dispossession in June 1908. In 1910, Kalappa sold his rights to the land to the son of defendant No. 1. The real contest in the suit lay it between the plaintiff and the defendant No. 1, The trial Court allowed the plaintiff's claim with costs. The defendant No. 1 appealed to the District Court which held that Kalappa had purchased the equity of redemption from Nagappa in the year 1891 and had been in possession of the property since then and accordingly dismissed the plaintiff's suit. The plaintiff preferred an appeal, to this Court in which the question as to the effect of the order made in February 1908 against Kalappa was raised. Mr. Justice Heaton who heard the appeal held that the order was made under Section 334 and that it had no finality such as an order under Section 335, if not challenged by a suit, would have. The plaintiff has now preferred the appeal under the Letters Patent, and the same question is raised before us. In view of the arguments which we have heard I have stated the facts with a view to make clear the position of the plaintiff and Kalappa with reference to the land in suit and to the litigation preceding the present suit.

2. The question is whether the order of the 15th February 1908 was made under Section 334 or Section 335 of the Code of Civil Procedure then in force. It is urged on behalf of the appellant that Kalappa was not a judgment-debtor that he claimed to be entitled to retain possession of the land in suit on the ground that ho was the owner, and that the order cannot be referred to Section 334 as the obstruction was not offered by Kalappa on behalf of Nagappa, but on his own account. On the other hand, it is urged that the order is based upon the ground that Kalappa was a party to the suit and bound by the decree against Nagappa and others and that though in fact not a judgment-debtor he was treated as such by the Court making the order and that the order should, therefore, be referred to Section 334. It is further urged for the respondent that as Kalappa was not a party to the decree the decree and the subsequent proceeding, so far an they relate to the land in emit, are nullities, that Kalappa is in no way bound thereby and that he was entitled to ignore the order under Section 335 as a nullity, even if the order be treated as having been made under that section. Mr. Sirur has relied upon Malkarjun v. Narhari and Khiarajmal v. Daim (1904) L.R. 231 : 7 Bom. L.R. 1 in support of Ids argument that the order under Section 335 could be treated by Kalappa asa nullity.

3. On a consideration of these arguments and the admitted facts, in the case, I am of opinion that the compromise decree was not binding upon Kalappa, as he was not a party to the compromise, that he was not a judgment-debtor as there was no decree against him, and that the application by the auction-purchaser for the removal of the obstruction caused by Kalappa was clearly covered by Section 835. It could not be referred to Section 334 as the obstruction was not by a judgment-debtor or any person claiming on his behalf. Whether Kalappa then claimed as a purchaser from Hanma, the original owner, or merely as a purchaser of the equity of redemption from Nagappa, he claimed to be entitled to possession in his own right. The mortgage on which the consent decree was based was a simple mortgage and there was no question of possession as between the decree-holder and the judgment-debtors. It arose for the first time between the auction-purchaser and Kalappa. The notice was issued to Kalappa under Section 335 and though the reason given by the Court making the order that Kalappa was a party to the suit and was therefore bound by the decree was wrong, I do not see how the order could be referred to Section 334 on the admitted facts of the case. Kalappa did not appear to oppose the application nor did he adduce any evidence in support of his allegation as to the ownership of the land in suit. The order for the removal of the obstruction and for possession made by the Court was almost inevitable under the circumstances and could have been properly made only under Section 335. The Court did not refer to any section of the Code under which it purported to make the order, and I think we ought to treat it as having been made under the section under which alone it could have been made under the circumstances. The fact that the auction-purchaser applying to have the obstruction removed and the Court making an order were under a misapprehension as to the effect of the decree on Kalappa's position is not a sufficient ground, under the circumstances to treat the order as having been made under Section 834. On the other hand we have the fact that the notice was issued under Section 335 and that Kalappa claimed as owner in his own right. No suit having been filed by Kalappa to challenge the order, it would become final under Section 335, and would be a complete answer to defendant No. 1, who claims under Kalappa.

4. I am unable to accept Mr. Sirur's contention that Kalappa was entitled to ignore it as he would be entitled to ignore the K Bale held in execution of a decree to which he was not a party. The cases relied upon by Mr. Sirur do not help him in any way. It is not suggested before us that the auction-sale is binding upon Kalappa. It is common ground that Kalappa was entitled to ignore the Court-sale, be far as the land in suit was concerned. But the question arising in this appeal did not arise in these oases and there is nothing in the judgments to show that a person claiming to be in possession of the property and offering obstruction to an auction-purchaser is not bound by an order under Section 385 passed after notice to him, just as he is not bound by the decree and the sale held under the decree. The difference between the two proceedings is obvious. One is a proceeding taken against him and he is a party to it: the other is a proceeding to which he is not a party at all. The contention derives no support from the cases cited and is opposed to the words of the section.

5. It is not suggested before us that the order is not final as the section was repealed by Act V of 1908 and substituted by a new rule which is different in its scope before the period of one year prescribed by the Indian Limitation Act expired. The new rule cannot affect the validity of the order made Bhimabai under Section 335. when the section was in force. The period allowed for challenging its correctness by a suit was the same under the Limitation Act of 1877 as under the Limitation Act of 1908.

6. I would, therefore, reverse the decree under appeal and restore the decree of the trial Court with costs of both the appeals in this Court and of the appeal in the District Court on the defendant No. 1.

Crump, J.

7. The question in this case is whether the order of February 15, 1908, became final as against Kalappa on the expiry of one year from that date, and if so what is the result. If the order is to be referred to Section 335 of the Civil Procedure Code of 1882 then it could only be contested by a suit. It was an order in execution proceedings and in the suit in which the decree was made Kalappa was a party, but he was not a party to the decree which was made in his absence on a compromise between other parties to the suit. He was not bound by that decree and was therefore not a judgment-debtor as defined in Section 2 of the Code. Prima facie, therefore, when he obstructed the delivery of possession to the auction-purchaser Section 334 could not apply to the case. And as a matter of fact the Court cited Section 335 in directing notice to issue to him. The order which was made does not cite any section of the Code of 1882. Apart from the grounds on which it is based it is an order which could be made either under Section 335 or under Section 329 which latter section is applicable to cases falling under Section 334. The operative portion of the order is merely a direction that the obstruction ba removed. In giving brief reasons for this order the Court has wrongly treated Kallappa as a judgment-debtor, but this does not confer on the Court power to act under Section 334, nor does it render the order a nullity so long as it was one which the Court had power to make. It cannot, in my opinion, be contended that an order otherwise good, is vitiated because it is based on a wrong view of the facts. The order should, therefore, be refereed to Section 335. There can be no question that the grounds now suggested would have been held inadequate had Kallappa at the time sought to set the order aside. The auction-purchaser obtained possession in 1908 in pursuance of that order and it must be held to have conclusively determined the right to possession at that date. As it was made less than twelve years before the filling of the suit plaintiff who claims through the auction purchaser is entitled to succeed.

8. On these grounds I agree with the orders proposed.


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