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Manohar Lal Vs. Smt. Rajeshwari Devi and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Contract
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 345 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1977All36
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 100; Evidence Act - Sections 101; Specific Relief Act, 1963 - Sections 16
AppellantManohar Lal
RespondentSmt. Rajeshwari Devi and anr.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....act, 1963 and appendix a schedule i forms 47 and 48 of code of civil procedure, 1908 - suit for specific performance not mentioning completion or willingness of plaintiff's part of performance - decree for specific performance not granted. (iii) agreement by illiterate - section 101 of evidence act, 1872 - responsibility of proving execution of agreement by an illiterate is that of person claiming execution. - cantonments act[c.a. no. 41/2006]. section 346 & cantonment fund (servants rules, 1937, rules 13, 14 & 15: [h.l. gokhale, ag. cj, p.v. hardas, naresh h. patil, r.m. borde & r.m. savant, jj] jurisdiction of school tribunal constituted under maharashtra employees of private schools (conditions of service) regulations act, (3 of 1978) held, school run by the cantonment board is a..........to the effect that the agreement to sell was not proved to havebeen executed by smt. rajeshwari deviin favour of manohar lal was a finding of fact which cannot be interfered with by this court in second appeal and the appeal must be dismissed on this ground. but, as pointed out by learned counsel for the respondent sri umesh chandra srivastava, there is another serious infirmity in the suit for which also the relief of specific performance ought to have been refused by the court below and it is the plaintiff's failure to conform to the requirements prescribed in forms 47 and 48 of the first schedule of the civil procedure code. in the case of ouseph var-ghesc v. joseph aley (1969-2 scc 539) the supreme court observed as follows: 'a suit for specific performance has to conform to the.....
Judgment:

Trivedi, J.

1. Plaintiff - appellant Manohar Lal filed a suit against the respondents for specific performance of an agreement said to have been executed by Smt Rajeshwari Devi respondent No 1 on 16-4-1967 (Ext. 14) in favour of appellant Manohar Lal promising to sell certain land for Rs. 2,000. It was alleged in the plaint that plaintiff Manohar Lal had paid Rs. 1,000 to Smt Rajeshwari Devi by way of earnest money and she promised to transfer the land in appellant's favour after obtaining a bhumidhari Sanad for the land. It was alleged in the plaint that respondent No. 1 in spite of several demands failed to execute the sale deed and, therefore, a decree for specific performance was prayed for.

2. The defence of defendant No. 1 Smt. Rajeshwari Devi was that she never executed an agreement to sell land in favour of plaintiff Manohar Lal and that by exercise of fraud he had obtained her thumb impression on certain papers. She denied having received Rs. 1,000 as earnest money. The trial court disbelieved the plea of fraud, held that there was a contract between Manohar Lal and Smt. Rajeshwari Devi under which she promised to transfer the disputed land in favour of the appellant and awarded a decree for specific performance against defendant No. 1 only.

3. Defendant No. 1 appealed and the lower appellate court allowed the appeal and dismissed the plaintiff's suit holding that he was not satisfied that there was a contract of sale between Manohar Lal and respondent No. 1. Learned counsel for the appellant assailedbefore me correctness of finding of the learned lower court to the effect that execution of an agreement to sell land by defendant No. 1 in favour of the plaintiff was not proved to its satisfaction. It was submitted that the lower appellate court had upheld the findings of the trial court to the effect that Smt. Rajeshwari Devi was not a minor at the time of execution of the sale deed as contended and that the theory of fraud set up on her behalf also appeared to be improper. I am of the opinion that the submission made on behalf of the appellant cannot be accepted as the finding of the lower appellate court on the question of execution of agreement by defendant No. 1 in favour of the plaintiff-appellant is a finding on a question of fact. It cannot be said to be a perverse finding notwithstanding that the story of fraud set up by Smt. Rajeshwari Devi was disbelieved. Smt. Rajeshwari Devi was admittedly an illiterate lady and the burden of proving intelligent and conscious execution of agreement of sale by her in favour of Manohar Lal obviously lay on the latter. The lower appellate court was, therefore, entitled to consider the probabilities of the case as also the conduct of Manohar Lal in determining the question whether Smt. Rajeshwari Devi executed any agreement promising to sell land in favour of Manohar Lal. The lower appellate court in this connection considered a number of circumstances, not the least important of which was that Manohar Lal was a petition-writer of about 35 years standing. On his own showing in 1962 respondent No. 2 had contracted to sell this very land acting as guardian for his wife, respondent No. 1, after being paid an advance of Rs. 500 and subsequently he refused to perform the contract and yet Manohar Lal should have readily agreed to advance a sum of Rs. 1,000 to respondent No. 1 when she is said to have paid him a sudden visit at his village house without Manohar Lal taking even the precaution of getting the agreement of sale registered and the payment of Rs. 1,000 made before the Sub-Registrar is too improbable. The plaintiff's conduct and extraordinary delay in filing the suit for specific performance were also circumstances which could be reasonably taken note of as factors discrediting the plaintiff's case. I am, therefore, of the view that the finding of the District Judge to the effect that the agreement to sell was not proved to havebeen executed by Smt. Rajeshwari Deviin favour of Manohar Lal was a finding of fact which cannot be interfered with by this Court in second appeal and the appeal must be dismissed on this ground. But, as pointed out by learned counsel for the respondent Sri Umesh Chandra Srivastava, there is another serious infirmity in the suit for which also the relief of specific performance ought to have been refused by the court below and it is the plaintiff's failure to conform to the requirements prescribed in Forms 47 and 48 of the First Schedule of the Civil Procedure Code. In the case of Ouseph Var-ghesc v. Joseph Aley (1969-2 SCC 539) the Supreme Court observed as follows: 'A suit for specific performance has to conform to the requirements prescribed in Forms 47 and 48 of the First 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.' These observations of the Supreme Court were based on an earlier decision reported in Prem Rai v. D. L. F. Housing and Construction (Pvt.) Ltd. (AIR 1968 SC 1355) and this Supreme Court decision was followed in Rajendra Prasad Rai v. Rajdeva Rai, 1974 All LJ 378 = (AIR 1974 All 294). Para 2 of Form 47 given in Appendix A of the First Schedule of the Civil Procedure Code requires the plaintiff to state in the plaint that he applied to the defendant specifically to perform the agreement on his part but the defendant has not done so and para 2 of Form 48 requires the plaintiff to state in the plaint that on such and such date the plaintiff tendered...... rupees to the defendant and demanded a transfer of the said property by a sufficient instrument. Para 3 of Form 48 requires the plaintiff to state in the agreement that the plaintiff demanded such transfer or the defendant refused to transfer the same to the plaintiff. It was not stated in the plaint by Manohar Lal that he applied to the defendant specifically on a particular date or specifically to perform the agreement but the defendant refused to do so. There was also no suggestion or averment that any notice before filing the suit was served on the defendant demanding specific performance of the agreement. Further, para 3 of Form 47 requires that the plaintiff should state in the plaint that he has been and is still ready and willing specifically to perform his part of the agreement and of this the defendant had notice. Para 5 of Form 48 also contains the same requirements. Nothing was stated in the plaint as required by para 3 of Form 48 and para 5 of Form 48 to suggest that the plaintiff is still ready and willing to perform his part of the agreement and pay the purchase money to the defendant. Further, Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act lays down:

'Specific performance of a contract cannot be enforced in favour of a person 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......'

In the circumstances the courts below would have been legally justified in dismissing the claim for specific performance quite apart on the consideration that the contract of sale was not established. The appeal, in the circumstances, must fail.

4. The appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs to respondent No. 1.


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