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Maharani Devi Vs. Ram Adhar Pandey and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Civil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 1836 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1962All20
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 7, Rules 1 and 7
AppellantMaharani Devi
RespondentRam Adhar Pandey and anr.
Appellant AdvocateR.B. Misra, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK.P. Singh, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....each of her two daughters'.the compromise also provided that in case of the defendant's failure to pay, the amount should be realised by attachment of the plots which were the subject matter of the suit. ''the words 'as far as it relates to the suit' should be interpreted liberally and according to common sense, so that the right to compromise is not defeated in cases where the only possible compromise under the circumstances can be the surrender of the disputed right, for a valuable consideration. the statutary right of the parties to compromise their dispute would be defeated in many suits if they are not permitted to evaluate their rights for the purpose of compromise......argued that the court could not grant a relief which was not included in the plaint unless the plaintiff amended his plaint. i see nothing in this contention which is based on a mere technicality. moreover, it is based on a misapprehension of the true nature of a plaint which is intended to acquaint the court and the other side with the case of the plaintiff. but where parties compromise their dispute and make a joint application containing the terms this application supersedes the original case of the parties as contained in their respective pleadings.10. for reasons detailed in the foregoing paragraph i allow the appeal and dismiss the judgmentdebtor's objection with costs throughout the record shall be sent forthwith to the execution courtwith a direction that the decree shall be.....
Judgment:

S.S. Dhavan, J.

1. This is a decree-holder's appeal against the decision of the learned Civil Judge, Gorakhpur allowing the judgment debtor's objection and dismissing the application for execution. The facts of the case as revealed by the judgments of the courts below appear to be these. The appellant Smt. Maharani Devi filed a suit against the two defendants respondents Rama AdharPandey and Kedar Nath Pandey for a declaration that she was entitled, as the widow of their deceaed brother, to the rights of a Bhumidhar to the extent of one third in certain plots of land which were jointly held by her late husband and the defendants.

2. The suit was compromised in the following terms : 'The plaintiff surrendered her rights in the plots in dispute in consideration of which the defendants agreed to pay her a sum of Rs. 30/-per month, subject to the condition that the sum would be reduced by Rs. 10/- per month on the marriage of each of her two daughters'. The compromise also provided that in case of the defendant's failure to pay, the amount should be realised by attachment of the plots which were the subject matter of the suit. The court passed a decree in terms of the compromise on a joint application by the parties.

3. It appears that subsequently the defendants went back on the compromise and refused to pay. Smt. Maharani Devi was compelled to evacuate the decree. The defendants filed an objection that the decree was not capable of execution as the court had exceeded its power in passing it. The trial court dismissed this objection. On appeal the learned Civil Judge took the view that in passing a decree for monthly sum of Rs. 30/- the court travelled beyond its powers prescribed by Order 23, Rule 3 C. P. C. which permits a court to pass a decree in accordance with the terms of the compromise 'so far as it relates to the suit.' The learned Judge thought that in a suit for declaration and possession of the land a decree for payment of a monthly sum is outside the scope of the suit altogether as it cannot be said to 'relate to the suit.' Treating the decree as a nullity it dismissed the application for execution. Aggrieved by this decision Smt. Maharani Devi has come to this Court in Second Appeal.

4. I have heard Mr. R.B. Misra for the appellant and Mr. K.P. Singh for the respondents and am of the opinion that the view of the appellate court is erroneous. I do not think that a compromise in which the plaintiff yields his right of possession to the land for money consideration is outside the jurisdiction of the court entertaining -the suit. Under Section 9 C. P. C. the courts have jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature, which ordinarily means a suit in which any valuable right is sought to be enforced. In most cases, a justiciable right has a pecuniary value.

The learned judge overlooked the elementary fact that modern civilisation is based on a money ecomomy which means that money is the universal measure of the value of legal rights and wants. Jurisprudence too recognises the Pecuniary value of legal rights and obligations. For example, valuable consideration for an agreement enforceable in law is ordinarily something which has a pecuniary value. The jurisdiction of the Civil Courts, with a few exceptions, is classified according to the pecuniary value of the suits. Court fee in suits is payable on the money value of the right sought to be enforced.

It would be a strange inconsistency if the State can put a money value on every suit to extractcourt-fee from the plaintiff but the latter is not permuted to evaluate his right for the purpose of a compromise. A compromise is simply a surrender of the whole or part of one's right for consideration and consideration in most cases has a pecuniary value. If during the suit the plaintiff agrees to compromise the suit and yields his right to the defendant for a pecuniary consideration, the court can pass a decree in terms of the compromise, provided its pecuniary jurisdiction is not below the value put by the plaintiff on his right.

5. Every justiciable right has been compound-able under the law. The C. P. C. confers on the parties the right to compromise any dispute and has made it compulsory for the Court to give effect to any compromise by passing a decree in accordance with its terms 'as far as it relates to the suit.'' The words 'as far as it relates to the suit' should be interpreted liberally and according to common sense, so that the right to compromise is not defeated in cases where the only possible compromise under the circumstances can be the surrender of the disputed right, for a valuable consideration.

To give an illustration, in a suit by a member of a family against the other members for joint possession of a house which is incapable of division, it may be in the interests of both the parties that one of them should get the house and the other an agreed compensation for the surrender of its rights in it. Compensation in such a case can only be payment of money. The alternative is for the plaintiff to obtain a decree and then sell his right in the house to the defendant, which would be a wasteful farce. The statutary right of the parties to compromise their dispute would be defeated in many suits if they are not Permitted to evaluate their rights for the purpose of compromise.

If the courts were to take a restricted view of the phrase 'so far as it relates to the suit' and hold that a suit for possession of land cannot be compromised for a Pecuniary consideration, no compromise would be possible in many cases and the parties would be compelled unnecessarily to fight out the dispute to the bitter end. This is against the public policy which encourages citizens to settle their dispute amicably. I am not prepared to accept a narrow interpretation which is against common sense and contrary to the Public interest.

6. I am, therefore, of the view that a compromise under which a plaintiff surrenders his right of possession to property in consideration of payment of a sum of money is not outside the subject matter of the suit.

7. Mr. Singh relied on a decision of this Court in Nain Singh v. Mahendra Singh, AIR 1952 All 196 in which it was held that a compromise decree is ineffective if the court passing it had no jurisdiction to do so. But in that case under the terms of the compromise the Munsif passed a decree of Rs. 9650/- whereas his jurisdiction was limited to suits not exceeding Rs. 5000/- in value. There was, therefore, a patent lack of jurisdiction. In fact it might be said that the court which passed the decree was no court at all and the decree was as ineffective as if had been passed by a private citizen. In the present case there is no question of the court which passed the decree lacking the jurisdiction to pass it Mr. Singh sought permissionto make out a case of lack of pecuniary jurisdiction in this case. But Mr. Misra on behalf of the appellant objected that this point had not been taken at any stage of the proceedings and it would not be fair to his client to allow the defendants to raise the issue of jurisdiction at this late stage.

In Mula v. Babu Ram, 1960 All LJ 314 : (AIR 1960 All 573) this Court held that it has inherent power to refuse to here a party on a question of jurisdiction which had not been raised at any earlier stage of the proceedings. I am not inclined to allow learned counsel to press this point at this late stage of second appeal. The defendants have gone back on their solemn word and their conduct to Smt. Maharani Devi who is their late brother's wife, has been disgraceful. I do not see why this court should exercise its discretion to enable the defendants to break their word on a technicality. Mr. Singh then relied on a decision of the Calcutta High Court in Purna Chandra Burman v. Panchkari Ghose, 5 Cal LJ 15 in which it was held that the court has no jurisdiction, in a suit for damages, to pass a compromise decree granting a lease of the property in dispute in favour of one of the parties.

The facts of that case have no application at all to the one before me. In a suit for damages the plaintiff asks for pecuniary compensation for the loss suffered by him as a result of some act or omission of the defendant. But if the court passes a decree executing a lease in favour of one of the parties, it creates a contract of tenancy between them and thereby fundamentally alters the very nature of the plaintiff's suit. A surrender of valuable right for payment of money is one thing, but granting a right which is altogether different in nature from what the plaintiff asked is quite another thing. The decision in that case does not govern the facts of this case, though I must not be understood to imply that I necessarily agree that a Compromise of that sort would be outside the jurisdiction of the court under Order 23, Rule 3.

8. Mr. Singh contended that the compromise decree virtually converted Smt. Maharani Devi's suit for possession into one for maintenance. I do not agree. I have perused her plaint and the terms of the compromise. The word 'maintenance' is not mentioned by the parties at all. Smt. Maharani Devi merely agreed to give up her right of possession in payment of a certain sum of money. As a concession to the defendants she did not ask for a lump sum but permitted them to pay a specified sum every month as long as she lives. The compromise happens to be similar to an agreement for maintenance, but it was intended to be and is an agreement for the surrender of the plaintiff's right for a pecuniary consideration.

9. Lastly, Mr. Singh argued that the Court could not grant a relief which was not included in the plaint unless the plaintiff amended his plaint. I see nothing in this contention which is based on a mere technicality. Moreover, it is based on a misapprehension of the true nature of a plaint which is intended to acquaint the court and the other side with the case of the plaintiff. But where parties compromise their dispute and make a joint application containing the terms this application supersedes the original case of the parties as contained in their respective pleadings.

10. For reasons detailed in the foregoing paragraph I allow the appeal and dismiss the judgmentdebtor's objection with costs throughout The record shall be sent forthwith to the execution courtwith a direction that the decree shall be executedwithout any further delay.


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