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Babu Nandan and ors. Vs. the Board of Revenue and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 1579 of 1970
Judge
Reported inAIR1972All406
ActsEvidence Act, 1872 - Sections 90, 90(2), 90A(2) and 167; Uttar Pradesh Tenancy Act - Sections 49; Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantBabu Nandan and ors.
RespondentThe Board of Revenue and ors.
Appellant AdvocateG.N. Verma, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....to the document - section 90-a(2) of evidence act, 1872 - suit for partition - plaintiff relied on lease deed conferring additional rights in favour of defendant and himself - lease deed referred as circumstance to show that he is son of r - such lease deed cannot be used to be the basis of the plaintiff's title. (ii) admissibility of document - section 90 of evidence act, 1872 and article 226 of constitution of india - effect of presumption under section 90 - formal proof of document is dispensed with and it is admissible in evidence - date of tendering the shall be the date of admissibility - writ cannot be issued on the fact that finding is based on inadmissible evidence. - - the commissioner as well as the board of revenue placed reliance on the lease deed in recording a finding..........babu nandan on 6th september. 1944, conferring certain additional rights on the lessees. in that lease bachai the plaintiff and babu nandan and others (the defendants) in the suit and petitioners in the present petition, were described as sons of rameshwar. the trial court dismissed the suit; on appeal the lower appellate court decreed it. a second appeal was filed by the petitioner-defendants before the board of revenue which was dismissed by an order dated 8th january, 1970 and the plaintiff's suit was decreed. by means of the present petition babu nandan and others who were defendants to the suit, have challenged the legality of the iudgment of the additional commissioner and the board of revenue.2. learned counsel for the petitioners assailed the iudgment of the board of revenue.....
Judgment:
ORDER

K.N. Singh, J.

1. Bachai, respondent No. 4, filed a suit for partition under Section 49 of the U. P. Tenancy Act regarding plot No. 207 area. 58 acres situate within the Municipal limits of Jaunpur city. Respondents Nos. 2 to 8 along with Babu Nandan, petitioner No. 1, were defendants to the said suit. Bachai plaintiff claimed one-fifth share in the disputed land on the ground of his being son of Ramesh-war. The petitioner-defendants contested the suit. Their main contention was that Bachai respondent No. 4 (plaintiff) was tarail son of Rameshwar and, as such, he was not entitled to any share in the land in suit. According to the plaintiff the land in suit was ancestral, coming down to the family from Chhaggu, father of Rameshwar. Bachai and defendants were sons of Ramesihwar and, as such, he claimed one-fifth share. Bachai further relied upon a permanent lease executedby the ex-zamindars in favour of Babu Nandan on 6th September. 1944, conferring certain additional rights on the lessees. In that lease Bachai the plaintiff and Babu Nandan and others (the defendants) in the suit and petitioners in the present petition, were described as sons of Rameshwar. The trial court dismissed the suit; on appeal the lower appellate court decreed it. A second appeal was filed by the petitioner-defendants before the Board of Revenue which was dismissed by an order dated 8th January, 1970 and the plaintiff's suit was decreed. By means of the present petition Babu Nandan and others who were defendants to the suit, have challenged the legality of the iudgment of the Additional Commissioner and the Board of Revenue.

2. Learned counsel for the petitioners assailed the iudgment of the Board of Revenue and tine Additional Commissioner mainly on the ground that both the courts had committed an error of law in placing reliance upon the lease dated 6th September, 1944, as the said lease had never been proved according to law and was not admissible in evidence. He further contended that in view of Sub-section (2) of Section 90A of the Indian Evidence Act the presumption available to a registered document more than twenty years old was not available in the present case as the plaintiff Bachai had relied upon the said lease in the plaint as the basis of his title. Lastly, the learned counsel urged that if the lease deed was excluded, there was no evidence on record to support the findings recorded by the Board of Revenue and the Additional Commissioner, that Bachai was son of Rameshwar and. hence, entitled to one-fifth share in the land in dispute.

3. Bachai respondent claimed share in the property on the ground of his being son of Rameshwar and not on the basis of the lease deed executed by the erstwhile zamindars in favour of Bachai and Babu Nandan. The basis of his claim was the right to inherit the property of Rameshwar and not the lease deed as contended by the learned counsel for the petitioner. The lease deed in itself did not confer any right of inheritance on Bachai. Admittedly, Changu, grand-father of Babu Nandan and Bachai. was recorded as a subtenant in 1354 Fasli over the plots in dispute and the tenancy came down since his life time. The lease deed was executed on 6th September, 1944 in favour of Babu Nandan Bachai and others conferring certain additional rights. Bachai referred to the lease deed only as a circumstance to show that on an earlier occasion when there was no dispute about the property, he was described as a son of Rameshwar.

The lease deed was not the basis of Bachai's title for the share in the property in dispute. The Board of Revenue has recorded a finding to that effect on this aspect of the question. There is no error of law or jurisdiction in that finding. The petitioner's contention that the lease was the basis of Bachai's title, therefore, the presumption available to a registered document could not be made in view of the provisions contained in Sub-section (2) of Section 90A of the Indian Evidence Act, is not tenable.

4. Learned counsel for the petitioner has urged that the lease deed dated 6-9-1944 was not admissible in evidence as the same had not been proved according to law. The Commissioner as well as the Board of Revenue placed reliance on the lease deed in recording a finding that Bachai was son of Rameshwar. Petitioner's contention about the admissibi-lity of that document was repelled bv the Commissioner as well as the Board of revenue on the ground that since the document was registered and more than twenty years old. it did not require formal proof. Section 90 of the Indian. Evidence Act as amended in its application to the State of Uttar Pradesh. lays down that where any document purporting or proved to be 20 years old, is produced from any custody which the court in a particular case considers proper, the Court may presume that the signature and every other part of such document, which purports to be in the handwriting of any particular person, is in that person's handwriting and its execution and attestation shall also be presumed. What is a proper custody is clarified by the explanation attached to Section 90. The U, P. Legislature has added Sub-section (2) to Section 90 which runs as under:--

'Where any such document as is referred to in Sub-section (1) was registered in accordance with the law relating to registration of documents and a duly certified copy thereof is produced, tine Court may presume that the signature and every part of such document which purports to be in the handwriting of any particular person, is in that person's handwriting, and in the case of a document executed or attested, that it was duly executed and attested by the person by whom it purports to have been executed or attested'.

The principle underlying Section 90 is, that if a private document, 20 years old or more is produced from proper custody, the court may presume that the signature and every other part of the document which purports to be in the signature of a particular person is in that person's handwriting. A formal proof of such a document is dispensed with and the document is admissible in evidence. The lease deed in the present case had been execut-ed by the erstwhile zamindars in the name of petitioner Bachai and other sons of Rameshwar. It was a registered lease. Bachai respondent produced a certified copy of the registered lease before the trial court. The lower appellate court as well as the Board of Revenue held that the lease deed was twenty years old. and hence, it was admissible in evidence according to Section 90 of the Indian Evidence Act, Learned counsel for the petitioner has urged that the document was not 20 years old and, therefore, it required formal proof. In the absence of formal proof the document was not admissible; the Board of Revenue and the Commissioner wrongly relied on that document. Admittedly, the lease deed was executed on 6th September 1944, and registered on 23-6-1944. The suit was filed on 28th January. 1964, which was decided by the trial court on 18th August, 1964. The mate-trial date for the admissibility of a document is the date on which it is tendered in evidence and not on the date when it is filed in the court (see ). The petitioners have not stated as to on what date the document was tendered in evidence, but the fact remains that it must have been tendered prior to the date of the trial court's judgment dated 18th August, 1964. The lease deed was obviously not 20 years old at the time it was tendered in evidence. The presumption as contemplated by Section 90(2) could not be made in respect of the lease deed. Under these circumstances it is clear that the lease deed was not admissible in evidence without formal proof. The lower appellate court and the Board of Revenue committed an error of law in placing reliance on the same.

5. The lease deed was not admissible in evidence and the findings recorded by the Board of Revenue and the Commissioner are vitiated to that extent but that is not sufficient for quashing the impugned order. The Commissioner in appeal recorded a finding that Bachai was eon of Rameshwar. In coming to that conclusion the Commissioner no doubt placed reliance on the statement contained in the lease deed, but apart from that, he placed reliance on the oral evidence also, as is clear from paragraph 6 of his judgment. The Commissioner's finding that Bachai was son of Rameshwar was affirmed by the Board of Revenue, which considered the revenue entries also in coming to that conclusion. The petitioner's contention that if the lease deed was excluded, there remained no evidence on the record to sustain the findings recorded by the Board of Revenue and the Additional Commissioner is without any substance. The judgments of the trial court and the Commissioner clearly show that besides the lease deedthere was oral evidence of Bachai. Babu Nandan and Sita Ram on the question of Bachai's parentage. The trial court no doubt discarded the statement of Bachai; but the Commissioner in appeal accepted his version and disbelieved Babu Nandan and his witnesses. The Commissioner had jurisdiction to consider the evidence afresh and to take a different view than that taken by the trial court. The Board of Revenue further considered the revenue entries which furnished circumstantial evidence to support Bachai's claim. There was thus evidence on record to sustain the findings of the Commissioner and the Board of Revenue, and it is not possible to hold that the findings of the Board of Revenue and the Commissioner are based on no evidence. What the petitioner in essence contended was that if the documentary evidence as contained in the lease deed excluded, there remained no reliable evidence to prove that Bachai was son of Rameshwar. If the lease deed was excluded, there remained only oral testimony of Bachai and the circumstantial evidence which may not have strong probative value like that of the statement contained In the lease deed; but appraisal of evidence is not permissible in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution, and even if I were to take a different view on the remaining piece of evidence, it would not be permissible to interfere with the findings of the courts below in exercise of this Court's powers under this jurisdiction. There is thus no good ground to interfere with the impugned orders and the findings recorded by the revenue courts.

6. In the result, the writ petition fails and is accordingly dismissed. In the circumstances of the case, there will be no order as to costs.


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