Skip to content


Durga Prasad and anr. Vs. Smt. Lilawati and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectContract
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 2413 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1972All396
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 100 - Order 18, Rule 3; Specific Relief Act, 1963 - Sections 9 and 19
AppellantDurga Prasad and anr.
RespondentSmt. Lilawati and anr.
Appellant AdvocateK.C. Agarwal, Adv.
Respondent AdvocatePrakash Gupta, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....money. in this view of the matter, there is no reliable evidence that any order for renewal of the lease was passed or that any order for the mutation of the vendor's name was ever made......argued that the contract being a contingent contract it could not be enforced. the original sale (lease) deed is ex. p-1. it is dated 11-1-1937. it was for thirty years. the term of the lease, therefore, expired on 11-1-1967. under section 111(a) of the transfer of property act, a lease is determined by efflux of time. therefore, after the expiry of thirty years the original lease expired. the agreement for sale is dated 13-11-1967. at the time when this agreement for sale was made there was no subsisting lease, nor the name of the vendor recorded over the lease property. it was for this reason that a stipulation was made in the agreement ext. 1 that the sale deed shall be executed after the name of the vendor was mutated. the name of the vendor could not be mutated over the.....
Judgment:

K.N. Srivastava, J.

1.The facts giving rise to this appeal are as follows:--

There is a Nazul land about which there was a lease deed in favour of NathuRam. Nathu Ram gifted his property including the right in this lease to Smt. Lilawati, wife of Bengali Mal. This lease deed was executed in favour of Nathu Ram on 11-1-1937 for a period of 30 years. Therefore, the term of the lease had expired on 11-1-1967. On 13-11-1967, there was an agreement of sale between Smt. Lilawati wife of Bengali Mal and Smt. Lilawati wife of Shiv Sarup about the sale of the lessee rights. The price settled was Rs. 8,250/- out of which Rs. 500/-was paid as earnest money. There was a condition in this agreement that the sale deed was to be executed after Smt. Lilawati wife of Bengali Mal had got her name mutated over the property in dispute. Smt. Lilawati wife of Bengali Mal, who shall hereinafter be called as 'the vendor', made an application for getting her name mutated. It appears that till April 1969, she was not able to get her name mutated over the disputed property. She then sent a notice to Smt. Lilawati wife of Shiv Sarup, who shall hereinafter be called 'the plaintiff', that the vendor had not been able to get her name mutated and that the plaintiff either could take the sale as the property stood or could get the refund of her earnest money. To this, a reply was sent by the plaintiff that the vendor was not taking interest in getting the condition fulfilled and Rs. 600/- was needed to get her name mutated and in case she was prepared to spend that amount, the plaintiff would get the name of the vendor mutated, but it was insisted in this reply that the sale would be executed only in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

2. Thereafter the sale was taken by Durga Prasad and Jalaluddin for Rs. 7,500/- on 20-6-1969. Earlier two telegrams were sent by the plaintiff, one to the vendor and the other to one Nanhey that there was an agreement of sale in her favour.

3. After this sale, the plaintiff filed the present suit for specific performance of the contract. The suit was contested by the vendor as well as Durga Prasad and Jalaluddin on various grounds and inter alia it was pleaded that the agreement for sale being a contingent agreement, it could not be specifically enforced and secondly that Jalal Uddin and Durga Prasad were purchasers in good faith for value and without notice of the agreement of sale.

4. The defence found favour with the trial court and the trial court dismissed the suit for specific performance but decreed it for the refund of the earnest money against the vendor.

5. On appeal by the plaintiff, the lower appellate court held that the agreement was not a contingent agreement; that Durga Prasad and Jalaluddin hadnotice of this agreement and on this finding by allowing the appeal, the plaintiff's suit was decreed in toto. Being dissatisfied, Durga Prasad and Jalaluddin have filed this appeal.

6. Only two points have been pressed in this appeal by the learned counsel for the appellants. The first is the point of notice, and the second is that the agreement of sale being contingent was not enforceable as such.

7. So far as the question of notice is concerned, the sale deed, as said above, was in favour of two persons, namely. Durga Prasad and Jalaluddin. According to the plaintiff, two telegrams Exts. 2 and 3 were sent by her. One was sent to the vendor, and the other was sent to one Nanhey. Nanhey is not one of the vendees in this case. The contention of the learned counsel for the respondent was that Nanhey was the own uncle of Jalaluddin and he lived in the same house with Jalaluddin and was negotiating this sale and, therefore, it was through Nanhey, that Jalaluddin got knowledge of this agreement of sale. There is no dispute that from the evidence of Jalaluddin it is proved that Nanhey was his uncle although Jalaluddin tried to suppress this fact by saying that Nanhey was his distant relation.

8. The question is as to whether Jalaluddin got information about this telegram which was sent to Nanhey. There is no evidence that Nanhey was negotiating the sale. There is also no evidence that at first the sale was settled in favour of Nanhey and then subsequently it was settled in the names of Durga Prasad and Jalaluddin. Simply because Nanhev was the own uncle of Jalaluddin and was living in the same house it would be difficult to hold that Jalaluddin had also knowledge of this telegram. It appears that this difficulty was also realised by the plaintiff-respondent, and it was for this reason that two witnesses, namely, Shyam Sunder and Hari Shankar were examined. Shyam Sunder stated that Jalaluddin and one other person brought this telegram to him for being read over and translated to him. The statements of both these witnesses were disbelieved by the trial court. A perusal of the judgment of the lower appellate court would show that there is nothing in it to show that the finding by the trial court that these witnesses were unreliable was upset by the lower appellate court. All that the lower appellate court held in its judgment was that Jalaluddin and Durga Prasad had constructive notice of the agreement for sale. If this evidence is disbelieved, there is nothing on record on which the constructive knowledge can be fastened on the shoulders of Jalaluddin and Durga Prasad.

9-10. Besides this. Durga Prasad was not residing with Jalaluddin or Nanhey. He being a Hindu had nothing to do with them and in order to show that he too had notice of the telegram and the agreement for sale it was contended on behalf of the respondent that Durga and Jalaluddin had ioint cultivation and had friendly relations. If it was so, unless there was some evidence to connect Durga with this telegram It would be difficult to believe that Durga had any notice of this telegram or the agreement to sell, which was executed by the vendor in favour of the plaintiff. The only evidence about Durga having knowledge of this telegram was that of Hari Shanker. His evidence, as stated above, was disbelieved by the trial court. There is nothing in the judgment of the lower appellate court that the lower appellate court believed the statement of Hari Shanker. There is not a word in the judgment of the lower appellate court to show that the finding recorded by the trial court about Hari Shanker being unreliable was upset by it. In this view of the matter, the deductions drawn by the lower appellate court for importing knowledge on Durga are all based on conjectures and they cannot take the place of evidence. Thus, the finding of the lower appellate court that Durga had knowledge of this agreement for sale or the telegram is a perverse finding which cannot be maintained in this appeal.

11. Even assuming that Jalaluddin being a close relation of Nanhey had some knowledge of the telegram, it cannot be said that Durga too had knowledge of this telegram or the agreement for sale.

12. It was argued by the learned counsel for the respondent that the burden was on the appellants, who are the vendees, to prove that they were purchasers in good faith for value and without notice. It is true that the initial burden is always on the vendee to show that he had no knowledge of the agreement. But, the vendee has only to discharge this burden by leading a negative evidence. The negative evidence can only consist of his own statement denying the fact that he had knowledge of the same. As soon as the vendee denies knowledge of the notice, the burden is discharged and then the burden shifts on the vendor to prove that the vendee had the notice of the earlier agreement. In my opinion, this is a well settled principle of law and I do not think that any authority is needed in support of this proposition. However Ramchander Singh v. Bibi Asghari Begum, AIR 1957 Pat 224 and Kirtarath Rai v. Sripat Rai. : AIR1928All307 can be cited as authorities for this proposition.

13. Durga Prasad entered the witness box and denied on oath that hehad any knowledge or notice of the earlier contract for sale. He. therefore, by this denial discharged the burden which initially lay on him. It was then for the plaintiff-respondent to prove by some evidence that Durga Prasad had notice of the telegram and the agreement for sale. This the plaintiff-respondent has miserably failed to prove, and, as observed above, her evidence on this point is not worthy of credence. When there are two or more than two persons who have purchased the property the person who had the earlier contract for sale in his favour must prove that which of the persons who purchased the property in question had notice of the agreement for sale. If he is not able to prove this against one of the vendees, his suit would not succeed. In view of this finding. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the plaintiff's suit for the specific performance also fails.

14. Section 19 of the Specific Relief Act lays down that specific performance of a contract may be enforced against a person claiming title arisingout of a subsequent contract, except in case of a transferee for value who has paid the money, in good faith and without notice of the original contract. In the instant case. Durga Prasad had no notice of the contract for sale. There is no doubt that he is a purchaser for value and has paid the sale consideration. So far as the question of good faith is concerned, the evidence on the record clearly Soes to show that Durga Prasad was a purchaser for value in good faith. He had no notice of the earlier transaction and as such, even if Jalaluddin had any such notice that would not be of any avail to the plaintiff and the plaintiff's suit for specific performance of the contract cannot succeed on this ground.

15. Learned counsel for the appellants argued that the contract being a contingent contract it could not be enforced. The original sale (lease) deed is Ex. P-1. It is dated 11-1-1937. It was for thirty years. The term of the lease, therefore, expired on 11-1-1967. Under Section 111(a) of the Transfer of Property Act, a lease is determined by efflux of time. Therefore, after the expiry of thirty years the original lease expired. The agreement for sale is dated 13-11-1967. At the time when this agreement for sale was made there was no subsisting lease, nor the name of the vendor recorded over the lease property. It was for this reason that a stipulation was made in the agreement Ext. 1 that the sale deed shall be executed after the name of the vendor was mutated. The name of the vendor could not be mutated over the property unless the lease was renewed. Therefore, the first attemptwhich had to be made in this connection was to get the lease renewed and then to apply to have the name of the vendor mutated over it. It was contended on behalf of the respondent that there was a stipulation in the lease deed that the lease was to be renewed for a total period of ninety years and, therefore, the lessor was bound to renew the lease.

16. There is another condition that this renewal for a total period of ninety years was subject to the condition that an application for renewal was made within six months after the expiry of the contract of lease. There is nothing on record to show that any such application was made, within six months. The oral evidence was led to prove that the vendor made an application for mutation of her name. Similar oral evidence was also adduced to prove that the lease was renewed. Khem Chand (P. W. 1) a Nazul Clerk was examined to prove that order was passed for the renewal of the lease and for mutation of the name of the vendor. The vendor had served a notice on the plaintiff-respondent on 14-4-1969. This notice is Ex. A.3. It was mentioned in this notice that in spite of the best efforts the name of the vendor could not be mutated over the property and, therefore, the purchaser, if he liked, could get the sale deed executed as the property was or, if he so liked, may get back his earnest money. The reply of the plaintiff was that she would stick to the term of the agreement and the name of the vendor was not being mutated due to his own slackness. This notice Ex. A.1 leaves no room for doubt that till 17-4-1969 the name of the vendor was not mutated nor any order for renewal was passed. According to the Nazul Clerk, the renewal order was passed on 1-6-1969. No copy of this renewal order or the order of mutation has been filed. All that was stated by this Clerk was oral with reference to certain registers which he had brought in the trial court. The extracts of this register were not even kept in the record of this case. The lower appellate court, therefore, had no occasion to see the entries of this register. Thus, the primary evidence about the order of renewal and the order of mutation was not adduced. In the absence of the primary evidence, that is, the written order of renewal and written order of mutation, the oral evidence of the Clerk could not be believed unless it was supported by some document. In this case there was nothing to show that the register was a genuine document or had been maintained in regular course of business. In this view of the matter, there is no reliable evidence that any order for renewal of the lease was passed or that any order for the mutation of the vendor's name was ever made.

17. Assuming for argument's sake that such an order was passed on 1-6-1969, would the order itself go to show that the lease was renewed. My reply to this question would be in the negative. Under Section 107 of the Transfer of Property Act, a lease of an immovable property from year to year or for a greater period must be by a registered deed. Unless there was a registered deed, legally there could not be a lease. The renewal order only would mean that it was directed that a lease be executed. The learned lower appellate court observed that the execution of the lease (deed was only a ministerial matter. I do not think that this is the legal position, specially in a case when the property was an immovable property and where it was absolutely necessary to comply with the provisions of Section 107 of the Transfer of Property Act.

18. In this very connection, the learned counsel for the respondent relied on Section 116 of the Transfer of Property Act. But, Section 116 of the Transfer of Property Act does not apply to the facts of the present case because there is no evidence that any rent was accepted from the vendor or that the vendor was accepted to be a lessee on any date prior to 1-6-1969. In this view of the matter, there were two contingencies which had to be fulfilled before the agreement had to be enforced. The first contingency was about the renewal of the lease meaning thereby the execution of a fresh lease deed, as provided under Section 107 of the Transfer of Property Act. And, the second was regarding the mutation of the name of the vendor. The learned lower appellate court relied on a Supreme Court decision in Mrs. Chandnee Widya Vati Maddan v. Dr. C. L. Katial : [1964]2SCR495 . In this reported case the vendor had to obtain permission of the Government before executing the sale deed. The title of the vendor in the property which was to be sold was there. It was, therefore, held that this condition of obtaining the permission from the Government was not a contingent condition. It should also be noted here that in the reported case the vendor had applied for permission but had subsequently withdrawn the application. A decree was, therefore, passed that the contract be specifically enforced and the vendor was directed to obtain the permission. In the instant case, the facts were quite different. There was no subsisting lease nor the property was in the name of the vendor. Unless the lease was renewed, there was no question of the property being mutated or entered in the name of the vendor.

19. In Mathura Datt v. Teg Singh : AIR1967All541 the land was a protected land and, therefore, permission had to be taken. The facts of this case were similar to the facts of the case of the Supreme Court and are quite distinguishable from the facts of the present case.

20. In Salmpnd and Williams on Contracts, 2nd Edition at page 53, the following can be read with advantage :

'What, then does the expression conditional obligation really mean The true answer would seem to be that a conditional obligation is not in truth a real obligation at all; it is merely the chance or possibility or potentiality of an obligation. The only real obligations are those which are absolute. But the chance or possibility or potentiality of an obligation is itself called an obligation by way of anticipation or prolepsis, and is distinguished from a genuine or absolute, obligation by the qualifying epithet 'conditional'.'

Therefore, in the light of this, it has to be seen as to whether the condition in this case was a contingent obligation which could not be legally enforced. The lease had expired. The vendor's name was not there. Unless the lease was renewed and the vendor's name was mutated, there could not be any absolute contract. Therefore, the contract depended, on something which had to take place on a subsequent date. Consequently, it was not an absolute obligation but there was a potentiality of obligation. On the date on which this contract was entered into, the vendor could not enter into an absolute contract, and in this view of the matter, the contract of sale being contingent, in my opinion, it could not be enforced in law.

Similar view was taken in Kirpal Das Jivraj Mal v. Manager, Encumbered Estates. AIR 1936 Sind 26 and Sain Dass Frangu Ram v. Ram Saran Das Dharam Arth Trust AIR 1964 Punj 481.

21. It was next contended by the learned counsel for the respondent that the finding arrived at by the lower appellate court should not be disturbed in this appeal. In support of this contention, reliance was placed on Secy. of State v. Rameshwaram Devasthanam . In the instant case, the finding about Durga Prasad having notice of the telegram is a finding based on no evidence but on surmises. All that was said in the Privy Council case was that even if a finding was erroneous or vitiated by some error of law or was based on inferences drawn on documents, was a finding of fact. In the instant case, the finding is not covered by any of the categories mentioned in the Privy Council case.

So far as the amount of Rs. 100/-. Which was paid as earnest money, is con-cerned, there is no dispute that the plaintiff-respondent is entitled to this amount.

22. In the result, the appeal succeeds. It is hereby allowed with costs. The judgment and decree passed by the lower appellate Court are set aside and those passed by the trial Court are restored.


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