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Fazal Imam Vs. Mul Raj and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1923)ILR45All520
AppellantFazal Imam
RespondentMul Raj and anr.
Excerpt:
act no. iv of 1882 (transfer of property act), section 41 - 'ostensible owner'--nature of facts warranting the application of section 41. - - we fail to see what further inquiry mulraj should have made......to one musammat munir-un-nissa. she died apparently in the early nineties, leaving a son habib hasan and a daughter musammat roshin. the name of habib hasan alone was entered in the revenue papers on the death of musammat munir-un-nissa, and habib hasan has remained in physical possession of the property ever since then. in 1896 he mortgaged this property to the father of mulraj. that mortgage was paid off in due course. habib hasan made another mortgage in 1908 and a third mortgage in favour of mulraj in 1911. subsequently mulraj brought a suit on this mortgage, and having got a decree for sale, put the property up for sale and bought it himself. thereupon the suit out of which this appeal arises was brought by musammat roshin for a declaration that she was entitled as owner.....
Judgment:

Walsh and Ryves, JJ.

1. The property in suit belonged originally to one Musammat Munir-un-nissa. She died apparently in the early nineties, leaving a son Habib Hasan and a daughter Musammat Roshin. The name of Habib Hasan alone was entered in the revenue papers on the death of Musammat Munir-un-nissa, and Habib Hasan has remained in physical possession of the property ever since then. In 1896 he mortgaged this property to the father of Mulraj. That mortgage was paid off in due course. Habib Hasan made another mortgage in 1908 and a third mortgage in favour of Mulraj in 1911. Subsequently Mulraj brought a suit on this mortgage, and having got a decree for sale, put the property up for sale and bought it himself. Thereupon the suit out of which this appeal arises was brought by Musammat Roshin for a declaration that she was entitled as owner to one-third of the property in suit and for a declaration that the mortgage and sale, so far as her one-third share is concerned, were inoperative. She pleaded that as a matter of fact she had been all along in possession through her brother, but that if it be held that she was not in possession, she asked for possession of her share. Various defences were raised by Mulraj, but it is only necessary to consider the defence raised by him under Section 41 of the Transfer of Property Act. The learned rnunsif, on the evidence of the parties, came to the conclusion that Habib Hasan had boon acting as ostensible owner of this property and that Mulraj was entitled to the benefit of Section 41 of the Transfer of Property Act. He, accordingly, on this short point, dismissed the suit. Musammat Roshin having died, her heir appealed to the court below, and the learned District Judge of Saharanpur came to the conclusion that Section 41 of the Transfer of Property Act did not apply. He held that 'the parties to the mortgage were residents of the same place (the town of Deoband) and the property in suit was also situated there. The defendant Mulraj admits that he took the mortgage without making any inquiry, simply because Habib Hasan's name was recorded in the khewat and he had on a previous occasion mortgaged it to his father. He did not know how Habib Hasan had got that property and made no inquiry about it.' Under these, circumstances the court held that Section 41 had no application. He therefore set aside the decree of the court below and remanded the case for decision of the other points raised in the case. Mulraj appeals and urges that the question whether Section 41 does or does not apply to the facts as found is a question of law, and that on the facts as found the learned Judge was wrong in holding that Section 41 did not apply. Mr. Haidar very strenuously urges that a finding that Section 41 of the Transfer of Property Act does not apply is a finding of fact which cannot be interfered with in second appeal and he lays stress on the case of Jamna Das v. Uma Shankar (1914). I.L.R. 36 All. 308. In that case the lower appellate court held that Section 41 did not apply. On second appeal to this Court a single Judge of the Court held that Section 41 of the Transfer of Property Act did apply. On the case being taken up in Letters Patent appeal a Bench of this Court set aside that decision, holding that ' whether Lal Muhammad was the ostensible owner of the property with the consent, express or implied, of the heirs of Muhammad Bakhsh, and the further question whether the plaintiff in that case bond fide took the transfer after taking reasonable care to ascertain the title of Lal Muhammad, were questions of fact to be decided by the lower appellate court' and held that, 'this Court is bound by the findings of fact of the lower appellate court in second appeal and cannot go behind them whether it approves of that finding or not.' If the learned Judges meant to hold that the question whether Section 41 of the Transfer of Property Act applies to a given set of facts is a, question of fact, we cannot agree with them, but we do not think really that that is what they meant. We think that case really means this, that, on the facts as found by the lower appellate court, which facts could not be questioned in second appeal, it was not open to this Court to say that Section 41 applied. There are a number of cases to the contrary; for instance, the case relied upon by the trial court, viz. Khwaja Muhammad Khan v. Muhammad Ibrahim (1904) I.L.R. 26 All., 490.

2. Now the facts in this case are not in dispute. Since the early nineties, Habib Hasan's name alone had been recorded as the owner of this property. He has been dealing with it as his own ever since. As long ago as 1896 Habib Hasan alone mortgaged this property to the father of the present mortgagee. That mortgage has been paid off. No one ever took any exception to that mortgage. Surely Mulraj was entitled to believe, under the circumstances, that that! mortgage had been properly made by Habib Hasan. Twenty-one years afterwards Habib Hasan mortgages the same property to him. He satisfies himself that Habib Hasan's name is still in the khewat as the recognized owner of the property so far as Government is concerned. We fail to see what further inquiry Mulraj should have made. What was there to put him on to inquiry or to doubt the genuineness of the position Habib Hasan had ostensibly maintained for over 25 years? Under the circumstances, on the facts as found by the courts below we think as an inference of law that Section 41 of the Transfer of property Act applied and that on that ground the suit was rightly dismissed.

3. We, therefore, set aside the decree of the court below and restore that of the trial court with costs.


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