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Lalji Koeri Vs. Gajadhar Koeri - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Limitation
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetters Patent Appeal No. 74 of 1951
Judge
Reported inAIR1962All431
ActsLimitation Act, 1908 - Schedule - Articles 144 and 181
AppellantLalji Koeri
RespondentGajadhar Koeri
Appellant AdvocateRai Rajeshwar Prasad and ;M.S. Ansari, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateChaturbhuj Sahai, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
property - limitation - articles 144 and 181 of limitation act, 1908 - compromise decree - plaintiff paying a sum of rs. 140/- to the defendant - plaintiff in possession of the property in suit - defendant to remain in possession of the property till the payment by such party - more than twelve years passed after compromise decree - execution maintainable - defendant's possession not adverse to the plaintiff. - - hemeshwar singh, air 1921 pc 31. in that case their lordships of the privy council clearly pointed out that in order to make the provisions of the limitation act applicable the decree sought to be enforced must be in such a form as to render it capable, in the circumstances of the case, of being enforced. in our opinion this case is clearly covered by two bench decisions of..........that the plaintiff having been at liberty to make the payment at any time he chose and that his right to apply for execution accruing only after he had made the payment the execution application was not beyond time.5. the question that falls for determination is whether under the circumstances obtaining on the compromise which was effected between the parties and on the basis of which the decree of the 18th of february, 1928, was made there was any obligation on the part of the plaintiff to make the payment within any specified period or whether there was; any kind of obligation on him to make the payment within a reasonable time. the words of the compromise could leave no doubt in any one's mind that the plaintiff was under no such obligation, that is to say, the plaintiff was not.....
Judgment:

Mukerji, J.

1. This is a special appeal brought up on a permission granted by the learned Single Judge who dismissed the second appeal made to this Court.

2. The appeal arises out of execution proceedings and is by the judgment-debtor.

3. On the 18h of February, 1928 a compromise was effected between the plaintiff and the defendant. A decree on that compromise followed. The terms of the decree were that whenever the plaintiff paid a sum of Rs. 140/-to the defendant, the plaintiff would be put in possession of the property for which he had sued and that till such payment by the plaintiff of the sum of Rs. 140/- the defendant was to remain in possession of the property.

4. The plaintiff let matters lie, inasmuch as, he did not trouble to make the payment of Rs. 140/- to the defendant with the result that the defendant continued to be in possession as he was entitled to under the compromise decree. More than twelve years after the compromise decree the plaintiff paid Rs. 140/- into Court to the credit of the defendant and thereafter on the 21st of August 1944, he applied for execution of the decree. The plaintiff by the execution application sought possession over the property to which he was entitled under the compromise decree on condition that he made the payment of Rs. 140/-. The judgment-debtor objected to the execution on the ground that the execution application was barred by time inasmuch as a period of more than twelve years had elapsed from the date of the decree to the date of the application.

The courts below repelled the defendant's objection. The defendant came up to this Court-in second appeal and the learned Single Judge held on a consideration of the language of the compromise that the plaintiff having been at liberty to make the payment at any time he chose and that his right to apply for execution accruing only after he had made the payment the execution application was not beyond time.

5. The question that falls for determination is whether under the circumstances obtaining on the compromise which was effected between the parties and on the basis of which the decree of the 18th of February, 1928, was made there was any obligation on the part of the plaintiff to make the payment within any specified period or whether there was; any kind of obligation on him to make the payment within a reasonable time. The words of the compromise could leave no doubt in any one's mind that the plaintiff was under no such obligation, that is to say, the plaintiff was not under an obligation to make the payment within any specified time or any particular period. The plaintiff had, so to speak, a carte blanche in the matter of time for making the payment. On the compromise it is also clear that the defendant's continuance on the property so long as the payment was not made by the plaintiff was to be treated as permissible under the decree--the defendant's possession could not, under the circumstances, therefore be treated as adverse to the plaintiff. On neither of the two situations noticed above could any kind of obligation or cloud have rested on the plaintiff's right in respect of the property in dispute.

6. The bar of limitation has to be a specific bar for we know that unless the right of a person is extinguished under some law or his right to obtain remedy from the Court is specifically barred or put in jeopardy by some provision of law, his right to relief from a court in respect of a right of his does not get destroyed. The plaintiff in this case had the right to obtain possession to making a payment of Rs. 140/-. Under the compromise no limitaton in regard to the period of payment was placed on the plaintiff as we have already noticed. Therefore, his right to make the payment was without restriction, in regard to the period. His right to apply for possession in case the defendant did not willingly hand over possession to him accrued only after he made the payment.

7. Article 181 of the first schedule of the Indian Limitation Act comes into play only after the right to apply has accrued to a party and as we find from the facts of the instant case the plaintiffs' right to apply under the decree only accrued after he had made the payment and it is not the case of the defendant-judgment-debtor that the plaintiff applied for delivery of possession by the execution out of which this appeal has arisen more than three years after the plaintiff's right to execute the decree had accrued.

8. Learned counsel for the appellant relied on the decision of Siri Narain, Tewari v. Brij Narain Rai : AIR1931All326 , where Sen and Bennet, JJ., held that where under the terms of a decree the right of the decree-holder to recover some property from the hands of the defendant was contingent upon the decree-holder paying a certain sum of money to the defendant and that no specific date for such payment had been specified in the decree, then under such circumstances the decree-holder was entitled to pay the money immediately and that since the decree-holder was entitled to pay the money immediately, therefore the learned Judges held that his right to apply accrued immediately and that the decree-holder could not prolong the date of payment by his own inaction or laches.

We find it difficult, with profound respect, to agree with the view taken in the aforementioned case. The learned Judges put their view point, in the case of Siri Narain Tewari : AIR1931All326 thus :

'The decree holder had the, right to apply that the money be deposited to the credit of defendants 8 and 9 on the very day that the decree was passed and there was nothing to preclude her from depositing the amount and asking for possession.''

On the facts of Siri Narain Tewari's case : AIR1931All326 as stated in the judgment we were unable to see whether the decree-holder had the right to 'apply that the money be deposited to the credit of defendants 8 and 9' for we find that it was for the decree-holder himself, at his Own sweet-will, in his Own time to make the payment. The right of the decree-holder in Siri Narain Tewari's case : AIR1931All326 to apply accrued only after the payment had been made. Reference was made in Siri Narain Tewari's case, AIR 1931 All 526 to the decision in Rameshwar Singh v. Hemeshwar Singh, AIR 1921 PC 31.

In that case their Lordships of the Privy Council clearly pointed out that in order to make the provisions of the Limitation Act applicable the decree sought to be enforced must be in such a form as to render it capable, in the circumstances of the case, of being enforced. Their Lordships of the Privy Council found that the decree against Ekradeshvar could not have been executed without a further application. They found that this application could not have been made till Ekradeshvar had come into possession of the property of Janeshvar, and by Article 181 in the Schedule to the Limitation Act the period for making an, application is three years from the time when the right to apply accrues.

In our opinion in view of the Privy Council decision in Rameshwar Singh's case AIR 1921 PC 31 the view taken by Sen, and Sennet, JJ. in Siri Narain Tewari's case : AIR1931All326 was not sustainable. Learned counsel for the appellant also relied on the decision of Jugal Singh v. Lochan Singh : AIR1945All10 . This case was distinguishable on, the facts and such opinion as has been expressed therein which lends support or was in consonance with the view expressed in Siri Narain Tewari's case, : AIR1931All326 was not acceptable to us--we say this with respect.

In our view limitation would not run unless the right to apply had accrued to the plaintiff. The fact that the plaintiff could accelerate his right to get possession by making payment within a reasonable time or immediately after the compromise had been effected was, in our opinion, no ground for holding that such limitation had to be laid on the plaintiffs' otherwise unfettered right. The bar of limitation, as we have said, did not destroy the right but only barred the remedy and therefore in order to act as a bar against a litigant having his remedy from a court of law the bar has to be fairly clear and specific.

We cannot, in our opinion, place bars in the way of a person obtaining a relief from the court on grounds of convenience, reasonableness etc. In our view the plaintiff's right to make the payment was not hedged in by any period of limitation and that the plaintiff's right to apply for execution only accrued after he had made payment and that prior to his making the payment the decree that was passed in this suit on compromise was an inexecutable decree and therefore limitation did not run against the plaintiff in respect of such a decree from either the date of the decree or within any reasonable time of the making of that dercee or even on some day within twelve years of the decree.

In our opinion this case is clearly covered by two Bench decisions of this Court, one in Chhedi v. Lalu, ILR 24 All 300 and another in Rukmina Kuar v. Sheo Dat Rai, 17 All LJ 841 : (AIR 1919' All 224).

9. For the reasons given above we are ofthe opinion, that the learned Single Judge wasright and that this appeal had no force. Weaccordingly dismiss it with costs.


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