Skip to content


Ram Dawar (Since Dead and therefore Represented by His Son Chandrajeet) and ors. Vs. D.D.C. Azamgarh and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 4108 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1978All430
ActsLimitation Act, 1963 - Sections 14(1); Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1951 - Sections 209 and 229B; Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantRam Dawar (Since Dead and therefore Represented by His Son Chandrajeet) and ors.
RespondentD.D.C. Azamgarh and ors.
Appellant AdvocateK.M. Sinha, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateG.N. Singh and ;Standing Counsel, Advs.
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
limitation - fresh filing of the suit - section 14 (1) of limitation act, 1963 - plaintiff filed a suit - subsequently found that same could not be decreed - plaintiff permitted to file a fresh suit - the period between the institution and withdrawal of earlier suit should be excluded for limitation period in respect of subsequent suit. - - the settlement officer was of the view that the petitioners could not have been entitled to the benefit of section 14 of the indian limitation act as the first suit had not failed because of want of jurisdiction in the revenue court. james mantosh [1971]2scr397 .the supreme court in that case has held that the words 'or other cause of a like nature' must be construed liberally. the suit was decreed for money as well as for future profit on..........to the petitioner.2. the brief facts leading to this writ petition are that the petitioner had filed a suit on 26th march, 1962 under section 229-b/209 of the u. p. zamindari abolition and land reforms act against the contesting respondents. he had prayed for a declaration that he was sirdar of the aforesaid plots. he also prayed that if he be found out of possession, he be also granted a decree for possession as against the contesting respondents.3. it must be made clear that apart from plots nos. 60 and 94 certain other plots were also part of the khata concerned.4. according to the allegations made by the petitioner, he filed an amendment application in the suit praying that in place of the gaon samaj, gaon sabha should be impleaded. he pleaded that apart from the aforesaid plots.....
Judgment:
ORDER

B.N. Sapru, J.

1. By this writ petition the petitioner challenges en order of the Settlement Officer, Consolidation and also an order passed in revision. Both these orders are adverse to the petitioner.

2. The brief facts leading to this writ petition are that the petitioner had filed a suit on 26th March, 1962 under Section 229-B/209 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act against the contesting respondents. He had prayed for a declaration that he was sirdar of the aforesaid plots. He also prayed that if he be found out of possession, he be also granted a decree for possession as against the contesting respondents.

3. It must be made clear that apart from plots Nos. 60 and 94 certain other plots were also part of the khata concerned.

4. According to the allegations made by the petitioner, he filed an amendment application in the suit praying that in place of the Gaon Samaj, Gaon Sabha should be impleaded. He pleaded that apart from the aforesaid plots Nos. 60 and 94, there were other plots in the holding about which there was no dispute. It was prayed that though there was no dispute about those plots, their numbers should be incorporated in the plaint as that was the requirement of the law.

5. The application was rejected on 24th June, 1964. Thereupon the petitioner filed an application for withdrawal of the suit in the trial court with permission to file a fresh suit. This application was allowed by an order dated 28-6-1964. In other words, the petitioner was permitted to withdraw the suit and file a fresh suit.

6. On 18-9-1964 a fresh suit was filed by the petitioner. This suit was dismissed by the trial court and the first appeal filed by the petitioners was also dismissed. The petitioners preferred a second appeal which wets dismissed as abated, as a notification under Section 4 of the U. P. Consolidation of Holdings Act was published on 30-12-1967 in the gazette dated 13-1-1968.

7. When the consolidation proceedings stalled the petitioners were recorded in the basic year. The contesting respondents filed an objection. The Consolidation Officer dismissed the objection.

8. The contesting respondents filed an appeal. It wee allowed. Before the Settlement Officer, Consolidation concerned it was argued on behalf of the contesting respondents that the petitioners lost their rights in view of the admitted adverre possession of the contesting respondents. On behalf of the petitioners it was submitted that their rights had not extinguished by adverse possession as they were entitled to exclusion of the period between 26-3-1962 when they had instituted their first suit and 28-6-1964 when it was withdrawn with the permission of the Court.

9. The Settlement Officer, Consolidation who decided the appeal decided it in favour of the contesting respondents. The Settlement Officer was of the view that the petitioners could not have been entitled to the benefit of Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act as the first suit had not failed because of want of jurisdiction in the revenue court. The petitioners preferred a revision which was dismissed by the Deputy Director of Consolidation, as mentioned earlier. The Deputy Director affirmed the view of the Settlement Officer. He also held that the mistake made by the petitioner in filing a suit without impleading the Gaon Sabha and incorporating plots of the entire holding had not been explained. It was further found that the court in which the first suit had been instituted had jurisdiction to try the matter. In this view of the matter, as mentioned earlier, it was held by the Deputy Director of Consolidation also that the petitioners were not entitled to the benefit of Section 14 of the Limitation Act for excluding the period between 26-3-1962 end 28-6-1964.

10. Aggrieved by the decision of the Deputy Director of Consolidation in revision and of the Settlement Officer, Consolidation the petitioners have preferred the instant writ petition. Only one argument has been addressed on behalf of the petitioners in this writ petition. It is submitted that the Settlement Officer, Consolidation committed a manifest error of law manifest on the face of the record in-holding that the petitioners were not entitled to the benefit of Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act. It is submitted that the same mistake has been committed by the Deputy Director of Consolidation, when he dismissed the petitioners' revision.

11. The argument on behalf of the petitioners is that under Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act the words 'or any case' should not be read ejusdem generis with the words 'from defective jurisdiction' mentioned in Section 14(1). In this connection the petitioners have relied on a decision of the Supreme Court in the case of India Electric Works Ltd. v. James Mantosh : [1971]2SCR397 . The Supreme Court in that case has held that the words 'or other cause of a like nature' must be construed liberally. In that case what happened was that a suit had been filed for recovery of money. The suit was decreed for money as well as for future profit on appeal the High Court held that the suit for money was rightly decreed by the trial court, but that in a suit for money simpliciter future profits could not be decreed. Thereafter a subsequent suit was filed for future profits. A plea was raised on behalf of the defendants that the suit was barred by limitation. On behalf of the plaintiff it was pleaded that they were entitled to the benefit of Section 14. It was nobody's case that the court in the previous suit had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit for future profits. In that connection the Supreme Court held that the previous suit had failed in appeal because of the frame of the suit and not for want of jurisdiction. Nevertheless, it held that the plaintiff was entitled to the benefit of Section 14 of the Limitation Act. This view of the Calcutta High Court wag affirmed by the Supreme Court.

12. As has been mentioned earlier the previous suit could not have been decreed under Section 229-B as in view of the law as laid down by the Board of Revenue a suit under Section 229-B had to be filed in respect of the entire holding, though only some plots may be involved in a dispute. The Board of Revenue is the highest revenue authority in the State, and its views of law unless reversed by the Supreme Court or by this Court are binding on subordinate revenue courts.

13. The Settlement Officer Consolidation and the Deputy Director of Consolidation have, in this view of the matter committed an error of law manifest on the face of the record in holding that the petitioner was not entitled to the benefit of Section 14 of the Limitation Act for the period 26-3-1962 to 28-6-1964.

14. Learned counsel for the appellant has also referred to a Full Bench decision of this Court in the case of Mathura Singh v. Bhawani Singh, ((1900) ILR 22 All 248). In that case a Full Bench of this Court observed as follows at page 257:--

'I think that the result of the authorities taken as a whole, and the view which I take of the true principle, may be fairly summarized by saying that if there was an inability in the Court to entertain the former suit produced by any cause not connected in any way with want of good faith or due diligence in the plaintiff, that cause is of like nature to defect of jurisdiction within the meaning of Section 14 of the Act. I think that this view of the words 'other cause of a like nature' corresponds most closely with the object of the Legislature in enacting the section as stated by me in the earlier part of this judgment. Now, applying this principle to the present case, the inability of the Court to entertain the former suit arose from misjoinder of plaintiffs and cause of action. There was on the plaintiff's part in that former suit no want of good faith or due diligence. That being so, it is immaterial that the plaintiff in framing that suit made a bona fide mistake of procedure. I think that in the present suit he is entitled under Section 14 to the exclusion of the whole of the period from the 14th March 1893 to the 19th September 1896, that consequently the present suit was within time, and that the Court below was wrong in dismissing it as barred by limitation. That is the answer I would give to this reference to the Full Bench.'

Sri G. N. Singh appearing on behalf of the respondents has submitted that Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act has been considered in the case of Gurdit Singh v. Munsha Singh : [1977]2SCR250 . He has referred in particular to the observations of the Supreme Court in paras 16 and 17 of the judgment which are as follows :--

'It would be noticed that three important conditions have to be satisfied before the section can be pressed into service. These three conditions are (1) that the plaintiff must have prosecuted the earlier civil proceeding with due diligence; (2) the former proceeding must have been prosecuted in good faith in a court which from defect of jurisdiction or other cause of a like nature was unable to entertain it and (3) the earlier proceeding and the later proceeding must be based on the same cause of action.

Now the words 'or other cause of a like nature' which follow the words 'defect of jurisdiction' in the above quoted provision are very important. Their scope has to be determined according to the rule of ejusdem generis. According to that rule, they take their colour from the preceding words 'defect of jurisdiction' which mean that the defect must have been of an anologous character barring the court from entertaining the previous suit.

A Full Bench of the Lahore High Court consisting of Harries C. J., Abdus Rah-man, J. and Mahajan J. (as he then was) expressed a similar view in Bhai Jai Kishan Singh v. People Bank of Northern India, (AIR 1944 Lah 136).'

The Supreme Court while considering the meaning to be given to the phrase 'or other cause of a like nature' in Section 14 of the Indian Limitation Act has laid down that the defect must have been of an analogous character, barring the court from entertaining the previous suit. The Supreme Court, however, has not made any attempt to define the various categories of defects which could be analogous to a defect of jurisdiction. The learned Chief Justice in the Full Bench case of Mathura Singh v. Bhawani Singh referred to above has in his judgment at p. 254 observed as follows :--

'The result may, I think, be stated as follows:-- First, if the Court's inability to entertain the suit results from any cause connected with any want of good faith or due diligence on the plaintiff's part, that cause is not of a like nature to defect of jurisdiction. Secondly, if the Court's inability to entertain the suit results from a cause quite unconnected with any want of good faith or due diligence on the plaintiff's part, that cause is of a like nature to defect of jurisdiction. There is a third proposition which, I think is established by later cases, namely, that, given good faith and due diligence, a cause is not prevented from being of like nature to defect of jurisdiction merely because it was in the plaintiff's own power to avoid, or resulted from his own act or from a bona fide mistake of law or procedure. I think that is the result of the decision of the Full Bench in Brij Mohan Das. v. Mannu Bibi (1897) ILR 19 All 348 and of the Calcutta High Court. Deo Prosad Singh v. Pertab Koeree, (1883) ILR 10 Cal 86 and the observations of the Division Bench in Bishmbhur Haldar v. Bonomali Haldar (1899) ILR 26 Cal 414 at pp. 416, 417.'

Now let us consider whether the Full Bench decision in the above mentioned case has in any way been overruled by the Supreme Court in the case of Gurdit Singh v. Munsha Singh (supra). As has been mentioned above, the plaintiff during the pendency of the earlier suit became aware of the fact that the suit could not be decreed as framed for two reasons:

(1) Because there was a misdescription of one of the defendants against whom no relief was sought, and

(2) Because all the plots in the holding) had not been included in the plaint.

15. The plaintiff, therefore, applied for an amendment of the plaint which application was rejected. Immediately after the rejection of the amendment application the plaintiff applied for permission to withdraw the suit with permission to file a fresh suit. This application was allowed. It is nobody's case and the consolidation authorities have not found that the plaintiff did not act with care and due diligence when he filed the first suit. The suit under Section 229-B could not have been decreed as framed. In the previous suit there was no decision on merits. In fact, the court had permitted the plaintiff to withdraw the suit with permission to file a fresh suit. The position, therefore, is that while the earlier suit had been filed in a court competent to entertain it, the relief could not be granted by that court on the suit as framed. It can, therefore, be held that the previous suit had failed because of a 'defect analogous to a defect of jurisdiction.''

16. Sri G. N. Singh appearing on behalf of the respondents has urged that this Court should not interfere under Article 226 of the Constitution. In this connection he has relied upon a decision of the Supreme Court in. Parry and Co. Ltd. v. P. C. Pal : (1970)IILLJ429SC where it was held that merely on the ground that the decision is wrong, the High Court should not interfere under Article 226 of the Constitution. It is next submitted on the basis of an authority of a decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Nagendra Nath Bora v. Commr. of Hills Division : [1958]1SCR1240 that this Court does not sit as a court of appeal against a decision of the subordinate courts. It is then submitted that no writ can issue if a finding given by the courts below is erroneous. Reliance is placed upon a Supreme Court decision in the case of. Pioneer Traders v. Chief Controller of Imports and Exports : 1983(13)ELT1376(SC) . The case of Rameshwar Deva v. District Magistrate Saharanpur : AIR1960All399 is also relied upon where it was held that the High Court should not interfere on a question of fact even if the decision of the inferior court is erroneous. Thereafter reliance was placed on the decision of the Allahabad High Court in the case of Rajpat Singh v. Deputy Superintendent of Police, Basti reported in 0044/1961 : AIR1961All169 , where it was held inter alia that while exercising jurisdiction under Art 226 the High Court does not and cannot usurp the functions of a court of appeal. It is further held in that a question as to the jurisdiction of a subordinate authority cannot be raised when it was not raised before the subordinate authority.

17. I have noticed all the decisions relied upon on behalf of the contesting respondents on the basis of which it is submitted that this Court should not interfere under Article 226 of the Constitution, even if the view of the authorities, whose orders are impugned in this writ petition, was erroneous. I cannot accept this position. It is well settled that where a subordinate authority exercising judicial functions commits a manifest error of law apparent on the face of the record, its decision is amenable to a writ of certiorari. The authorities concerned have given their reasons. Those reasons cannot be accepted in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of India Electric Works Ltd. v. James Mantosh : [1971]2SCR397 noticed earlier.

18. In the result, the writ petition is allowed. The orders of the Settlement Officer, Consolidation and of the Deputy Director of Consolidation are quashed. The matter will now go back to the Deputy Director of Consolidation concerned. He may decide the matter afresh himself or may send it to the Settlement Officer, Consolidation for a fresh decision. The consolidation authorities while determining the question as to the applicability of Section 14 of the Limitation Act in regard to the period from 26-3-1962 to 28-6-1964 will be guided by the decision of this Court on this question. As far as the other questions involved in the matter are concerned, there is no expression of opinion by this Court and the consolidation authorities are free to decide them in any manner they choose.

19. There will be no order as to costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //