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Mahmood Khan and anr. Vs. Ayub Khan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Contract
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 1899 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1978All463
ActsSpecific Relief Act, 1963 - Sections 16; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 6, Rule 17
AppellantMahmood Khan and anr.
RespondentAyub Khan and ors.
Appellant AdvocateB.D. Tripathi and ;R.H. Zaidi, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateA.K. Jog and ;B.D. Mandhyan, Advs.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
civil - averment in the plaint - section 16 (c) explanation (ii) of specific relief act, 1963 - it is obligatory for the plaintiff to make an averment in the plaint - he has to prove that he is ready to perform his part of contract - merely giving proof of the fact will not be a substitute for necessary averments - amendment in plaint in such a case cannot be allowed. - - 11. we have examined the various paragraphs of the plaint, but we failed to find any such averment in any of the paragraphs. the lower appellate court, however, came to the conclusion that there was substantial compliance of the requirements of section 16(c) of the specific relief act, as the plaintiff in his deposition has clearly said that he had been ready and willing to perform his part of the contract...........this appeal has come before us.2. the present appeal by the defendants arises out of a suit for specific performance of a contract. the parties belong to the same family and descend from ajib khan, as would be evident from the pedigree, given below; ajib khan ___________________________________|___________________________________ | | | | amir buniyad jhandu altaf baksh khan khan khan | | | | abdul ayub abdul masooqa razzaq khan sattar ali plff. | ______________________________________________________________ | | | | mahmud khan mahboob khan mahjooj khan d. 3. d. 2.abdul razzaq was the bhumidhar and sirdar of the disputed plots. on 10th december, 1969, he entered into an agreement with ayub khan to sell away the same for a consideration of rupees 1600/-. 'a sum of rs. 1200/- was paid.....
Judgment:

1. The present second appeal came up for hearing before a learned single Judge, but because of the importance of the questions of law involved in the case, he referred the case to a larger Bench. This is how this appeal has come before us.

2. The present appeal by the defendants arises out of a suit for specific performance of a contract. The parties belong to the same family and descend from Ajib Khan, as would be evident from the pedigree, given below;

AJIB KHAN

___________________________________|___________________________________

| | | |

Amir Buniyad Jhandu Altaf

Baksh Khan Khan Khan

| | | |

Abdul Ayub Abdul Masooqa

Razzaq Khan Sattar Ali

plff. |

______________________________________________________________ |

| | |

Mahmud Khan Mahboob Khan Mahjooj Khan

D. 3. D. 2.

Abdul Razzaq was the bhumidhar and sirdar of the disputed plots. On 10th December, 1969, he entered into an agreement with Ayub Khan to sell away the same for a consideration of Rupees 1600/-. 'A sum of Rs. 1200/- was paid towards earnest money. It was stipulated that Abdul Razzaq would acquire bhumidhari rights in respect of the sirdari plots by depositing ten times rental within four months, and, thereafter, he would transfer the plots. It was further stipulated that along with the plots, the crops standing thereon on the date of the agreement would also be transferred by Abdul Razzaq to Ayub Khan. Abdul Razzaq, however, instead of executing the sale deed in favour ofAyub Khan, executed a sale deed dated 29th Dec., 1969, in favour of his cousins,i. e. defendant Nos. 2 and 3. The plaintiff requested Abdul Razzaq to execute the sale deed in his favour, but he refused. Under the circumstances, the plaintiff was obliged to file a suit for specific performance of the contract. He impleaded the transferees under the sale deed dated 29th Dec., 1969 also as parties.

3. It appears that during the pendency of the suit, Abdul Razzaq died and the plaintiff inherited one-third share in the property of the deceased defendant and the remaining two third share vested in the defendants. The plaintiff, therefore, deducting his own share, confined his suit for the performance of contract only for two-third share of Abdul Razzaq, after making payment of the reduced balance amount of Rupees 266.65 P.

4. The suit was contested by defendant No, 1 with the allegations that he never executed any deed of agreement nor was possession delivered to the plaintiff, that his thumb impressions were taken by the plaintiff fraudulently on blank papers on the pretext that the same was required for demarcation of the boundary. The deed of agreement is as a result of fraud, that he executed the sale deed in favour of defendant Nos. 2 and 3 and he delivered possession to them.

5. Defendants Nos. 2 and 3 filed a separate written statement. Their stand was that after executing the sale deed in their favour, defendant No. 1 wanted to harm them and thus executed an agreement deed in favour of the plain-tiff antedating the same, that the agreement was fictitious and without any consideration, that they were bona fide purchasers for value without notice of any previous agreement, if any, that they have been in possession from the date of the sale deed dated 29th Dec., 1969.

6. The trial Court decreed the suit holding that the agreement dated 10th Dec., 1969, was a valid agreement and defendants Nos. 2 to 4 in whose favour Abdul Razzaq executed the sale deed had full knowledge of the agreement dated 10th Dec., 1969, between the plaintiff and Abdul Razzaq and, as such, they were not the bona fide purchasers for value without notice and, as such, the sale deed dated 29th Dec., 1969, in favour of the defendants was ineffective. The defendants feeling aggrieved by the judgment and decree of the trial Court went up in appeal before the lower appellate Court and a plea was raised on behalf of the defendants, for the first time, that it had not been alleged by the plaintiff in the plaint that he had been ready and willing to perform his part of the contract and, therefore, the suit for specific performance should not have been decreed. Elucidating the point, it was argued that Form No. 47 of Appendix 'A' to the Civil Procedure Code and Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act requires that the plaintiff should aver in the plaint that he has been and is still ready and willing to perform his part of the contract and in support of this contention, reliance was placed by the appellant on Rajendra Prasad v. Rajdeva, AIR 1974 All 294.

7. All that the plaintiff has said in para. 12 of the plaint is that the plaintiff has been saying to the defendant to execute the sale deed, but the defendants are not ready. In his deposition, however, the plaintiff, Ayub Khan, stated that he had always been ready and willing to execute the sale deed. Tha learned Judge, however, overruled the plea holding that there was substantial compliance of the requirements of law, On other points, he confirmed the findings of the trial Court and dismissed the appeal. The defendants have now come up in second appeal.

8. The only point urged in the appeal is that in the absence of necessary averment in the plaint, as required by Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act and Form No. 47 of Appendix 'A' of the Civil Procedure Code, the plaintiff has no cause of action and the suit was liable to be dismissed on this score alone and the courts below have erred in decreeing the suit.

9. It appears that during the pendency of the appeal, an application for amendment was also moved before the learned single Judge. By that amendment, the plaintiff sought to add the necessary averments in the plaint, as required by Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act and in accordance with Form No. 47 of Appendix 'A' of the Civil Procedure Code. The learned single Judge has referred the entire case for decision of the two points;

1. Whether the statement of the plaintiff in his deposition, that he has been ready and willing to perform his partof the contract would satisfy the requirements of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act, and,

2. Whether the amendment application should be allowed after such a long lapse of time to fill up the lacuna in the plaint?

Before dealing with the arguments advanced by the learned counsel for the parties, it will be proper at this stage to refer to Section 16 of the Specific Relief Act. Section 16 of the Specific Relief Act, in so far as material for this case, reads (at p. 295) :

'16. Specific performance of a contract cannot be enforced in favour of a person-

(a), (b) .....

(c) Who fails to aver and prove that he has performed or has always been ready and willing to perform the essential terms of the contract which are to be performed by him, other than terms the performance of which has been prevented or waived by the defendant.

Explanation :-- For the purposes of Clause (c),--

(i) Where a contract involved the payment of money, it is not essential for the plaintiff to actually tender to the defendant or to deposit in court any money except when so directed by the court:

(ii) the plaintiff must aver performance of, or readiness and willingness to perform, the contract according to its true construction.'

Form No. 47, of Appendix 'A' of the First Schedule of the Civil Procedure Code is also to the same effect. Para 3 of Form 47 contemplates that in a suit for specific performance, it must be averred in the plaint that the plaintiff has been and still is ready and willing specifically to perform the agreement on his part of which the defendant has had notice. In view of the requirements of para 3 of the Form No. 47 of Appendix 'A' of the First Schedule of the Civil Procedure Code and in view of the mandate of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act, it has become obligatory for the plaintiff not only to aver in the plaint, but also to prove by evidence that the plaintiff has always been ready and willing to perform his part of the contract. If the requirement of law is that there should be an averment in the plaint and also proof, the plaintiff cannot succeed merely by giving evidence of his readiness to perform his part of the contract. The first requirement isthat he must aver in the plaint. Indeed, the question of evidence of proving a particular fact would come only when there is an allegation in the plaint to that effect.

10. In para. 12 of the plaint, the plaintiff has alleged that the plaintiff has been saying to execute the sale deed to the defendants, but the defendants are not ready. In his statement, the plaintiff deposed that he had always been ready to get the sale deed executed. It is, therefore, clear that one requirement of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act has been complied with by the plaintiff by giving statement that he had been ready to get the sale deed executed. To that extent, a part of the requirement of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act has been complied with. But the question is whether the first part of the requirements of Section 16(2) of the Specific Relief Act has been complied with. The first part of the requirement is that there should be an averment in the plaint. Whether the allegations made in para. 12 of the plaint or in any other paragraph of the plaint satisfy that requirement is to be examined. Para 12 of the plaint, which is the material paragraph on the question, only states that he had been asking the defendant to execute the sale deed, but they are not ready. There is absolutely no averment about the plaintiff's readiness to perform his part of the contract.

11. We have examined the various paragraphs of the plaint, but we failed to find any such averment in any of the paragraphs. The lower appellate court, however, came to the conclusion that there was substantial compliance of the requirements of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act, as the plaintiff in his deposition has clearly said that he had been ready and willing to perform his part of the contract. The lower appellate court, however, ignored the other requirements of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act.

12. The law on the subject is very clear and the uniform authorities of various High Courts, including that of the Supreme Court are to the effect that the compliance of requirements of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act is mandatory and in absence of the necessary averment in the plaint and in the absence of proof of the same -- that the plaintiff had been ready and willing toperform his part of the contract -- the suit cannot succeed. As pointed out earlier, the plaintiff stated in his deposition that he had been ready and willing to perform his part of the contract, but there is no averment to that effect in the plaintiff's suit. It is the plaint allegations, which are to be proved by means of evidence. The well established rule is that no amount of evidence can be looked into unless there is a pleading to that effect. In this view of the matter, the observation of the lower appellate court, that the statement of the plaintiff, that he had been ready and willing to perform his part of the contract, will, satisfy the requirements of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act, is not justified by law.

13. In Rajendra Prasad v. Rajdeva, AIR 1974 All 294 the plaintiff failed to aver that he was ready and willing to perform his part of the contract, as required by Section 16(2) of the Specific Relief Act and as mentioned in Form No. 47 of Appendix 'A' of the First Schedule of the Civil Procedure Code and there was no notice to the defendant or any documentary evidence to show that the plaintiff was willing to perform his part of the contract. It was held that the plaintiff failed to make out any cause of action with regard to the specific performance of the contract and that the suit should have been dismissed, even though the defendant failed to take an objection.

14. In Ouseph Varghese v. Joseph Aley, (1969) 2 SCC 539 the plaintiff did not inform the Court that he was ready and willing to accept the agreement pleaded by defendant or that he was willing to perform his part of the contract. The plaintiff did not plead in the plaint or at any subsequent stage that he was ready and willing to perform his part of the contract. The Supreme Court observed that a suit for specific performance has to conform to the requirements prescribed in Forms 47 and 48 of the 1st Schedule in the Civil Procedure Code and it is well settled that in a suit for specific performance the plaintiff should allege that he is ready and willing to perform his part of the contract and in the absence of such an allegation, the suit is not maintainable.

15. In Manohar Lal v. Smt. Rajeshwari Devi, AIR 1977 All 36 the suit for specific performance of the contract wasdismissed on the ground that there was non-compliance of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act,

16. Again, in Prem Raj v. D. L. F, Housing and Construction (Pvt.) Ltd., AIR 1968 SC 1355 in the absence of the necessary averment in the plaint, as required by Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act, the Supreme Court held : (at p. 1357) :

'There is also another reason for holding that the appellant has made out no cause of action with regard to the relief of specific performance of the contract. It is well settled that in a suit for specific performance the plaintiff should allege that he is ready and willing to perform his part of the contract. In the present case no such averment is made in the plaint. On the other hand, the plaintiff has alleged that the agreement was a result of fraud and undue influence and was not binding upon him. For these reasons it must be held that so far as the relief of specific performance is concerned, the plaintiff has no cause of action.'

Sri A. K. Yog, appearing for the respondents, however cited Ramesh Chandra Chandlok v. Chuni Lal Sabharwal, AIR 1971 SC 1238. In that case, the necessary averment, as required by Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act, was made in the plaint and the dispute was about the proof of such readiness and willingness and taking into consideration the facts of the particular case, the Supreme Court observed (at p. 1242):

'Readiness and willingness cannot be treated as a strait-jacket formula. These have to be determined from the entirety of facts and circumstances relevant to the intention and conduct of the party concerned.'

On the facts and circumstances of that case, it was held that there was nothing to indicate that the appellants at any stage were not ready and willing to perform their part of the contract. This case, therefore, is not of much avail to the respondents.

17. It was further contended by Sri A. K. Yog that the defendants had never raised such an objection with regard to the non-compliance of the requirements of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act before the trial Court not was any issue framed. No ground had been taken even before the first appellate court. It was only during the course of arguments that the counsel foxthe defendants raised a plea, for the first time that the plaintiff's suit should be dismissed because of the non-compliance of the requirements of Section 16(2) of the Specific Relief Act.

18. It is true that the defendants had not raised any plea to that effect in the written statement nor was there any issue, but the mandate of the statute requires that the plaintiff must aver in the plaint and must give proof of the fact that he was and has been ready and willing to perform his part of tha contract. Even if the defendants were absent and did not take part in the proceedings, it was the duty of the plaintiff to make the necessary averment, as required in Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act and to give proof of the same. Merely giving proof of the fact will not be a substitute for the necessary averment in the plaint. Indeed, the question of evidence comes only after the necessary allegation has been made in the plaint. Therefore, this argument has no force and cannot be accepted.

19. This leads us to the question whether the application for amendment of the plaint can be allowed in second appeal. Order 6, Rule 17, C. P. C. gives a very wide power to the court to allow amendment at any stage of the proceedings, but the one guiding principle should be kept in mind that the amendment should not be allowed where allowing the amendment should result in depriving a party of the right that has accrued to it by efflux of time.

20. Sri R. H. Zaidi, appearing for the appellants, contended that in the absence of the necessary averment, as required by Section 16(c), there was no cause of action for the suit and if there was no cause of action, the suit must be dismissed and the Court should be reluctant to allow an amendment so as to bring out a cause of action by the amendment. In support of his contention, he placed reliance on Prem Raj v. D. L. F. Housing and Construction (Private) Ltd. (AIR 1968 SC 1355) (supra) In that case, it was held that in the absence of an averment in the plaint that the plaintiff was ready and willing to perform his part of the contract, there was no cause of action for the suit. There may be a defect in the cause of action as mentioned in the plaint, but there may be a case where there is no cause of action in the plaint. If there is a defect in the causeof action, the amendment may be allowed to rectify it, but if there is no cause of action, no amendment should be allowed to bring a cause of action. In the absence of a cause of action, the plaint must be rejected.

21. In Khali v. Sadhaba Bewa, AIR 1967 Orissa 58 the trial Court allowed the application for amendment with the following observations (at p, 58) :--

'After going through the pleadings and the evidence adduced, I find that the evidence led by the plaintiff does not speak in terms of the plaint allegations. Such variation is due to the fact that after the institution of the suit some more circumstances have been cropped up. Therefore, in order to read the evidence in terms of pleadings. I felt that it would be just and necessary to give the plaintiff an opportunity to amend the plaint. In the interest of justice and in order to keep the evidence in par with the pleadings, the plaintiff is given an opportunity to amend his plaint.'

This order was found by the Orissa High Court to be wholly illegal and without jurisdiction. Observing that if the evidence is not in consonance with the pleadings, it may be thrown out. It is open to the Judge also to accept the evidence if the conflict is not of a serious nature and both can be reconciled. But in no circumstance an amendment should be suggested, and allowed by a judge merely because evidence and the pleadings do not tally.

22. Learned counsel for the respondents, on the other hand, relied upon a Single Judge decision of this Court in Ganga Prasad Sarraf v. Smt. Sukra, AIR 1977 All 210. In that case, this Court observed as under:

'The Courts have a wide discretion in the matter of amendment of pleadings. Ordinarily the Court will not allow an amendment which takes away a right which has accrued in favour of a party on the basis of limitation but there may be circumstances in which an amendment may be allowed even though it may be in relation to a time-barred claim:

In Nichhalbhai Vallabhai v. Jaswantlal Zinabhai, 1965 SC Notes 213 Item No. 258 : (AIR 1966 SC 997) dealing with Order 6, Rule 17, C. P. C. the Court observed: 'If amendment is refused, the plaintiffs have to bring another suit and theobject of the rule for allowing amend' merit to the plaint is to avoid multiplicity of suits.'

Lastly, reference was made to the latest Supreme Court decision in Ganesh Trading Co. v. Moji Ram, AIR 1978 SC 484. In that case, the Supreme Court dealing with the provisions relating to pleadings observed (at p. 485):

'Procedural law is intended to facilitate and not to obstruct the course of substantive justice, Provisions relating to pleadings in civil cases are meant to give to each side intimation of the case of the other so that it may be met, to enable courts to determine what is really at issue between parties, and to prevent deviations from the course which litigation on particular causes of action must take.'

But all the same, the Supreme Court further observed (at p. 486):

'It is true that, if a plaintiff seeks to alter the cause of action itself and to introduce indirectly through an amendment of his pleadings, an entirely new or inconsistent cause of action, amounting virtually to the substitution of a new plaint or a new cause of action in place of what was originally there, the court will refuse to permit it if it amounts to depriving the party against which a suit is pending of any right which may be accrued in its favour due to lapse of time. But, mere failure to set out even an essential fact does not by itself constitute a new cause of action. A cause of action is constituted by the whole bundle of essential facts which the plaintiff must prove before he can succeed in his suit. It must be antecedent to the institution of the suit. If any essential fact is lacking from averments in the plaint the cause of action will be defective. In that case, an attempt to supply the omission has been and could sometime be viewed as equivalent to an introduction of a new cause of action which cured of its shortcomings, has really become a good cause of action. This, however, is not the only possible interpretation to be put on every defective state of pleadings. Defective pleadings are generally curable if the cause of action sought to be brought out was not ab initio completely absent. Even very defective pleadings may be permitted to be cured, so as to constitute a cause of action where there was none, provided necessary conditions, such as payment of either any additional court-fees, which may be payable, or, of costs of the other side are complied with. It is only if lapse of time has barred the remedy on a newly constituted cause of action that the Courts should, ordinarily, refuse prayers for amendment of pleadings.'

The Supreme Court has made a distinction in case of amendment, where by amendment, the plaintiff seeks to bring a cause of action, which was conspicuous by its absence in the plaint. But where there is a cause of action shown in the plaint as defective, the amendment application can be allowed to rectify the mistake. But if a valuable right has accrued to the other side on account of the efflux of time, the Court should be reluctant to allow the amendment. In the instant case, as shown above, the plaintiff by omitting to aver in the plaint that he was ready and willing to perform his part of the contract, omitted to show the cause of action and, therefore, to allow such an amendment would be to allow the plaintiff to bring a cause of action in the suit by such amendment which should not be done in view of the observations made by the Supreme Court in the case cited above.

23. The amendment could also not be allowed in the plaint merely because the plaintiff has given evidence on the point on which he seeks to bring an amendment in the plaint. No amount of evidence can be looked into unless there is a pleading to that effect. In view of the mandatory requirement of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act, there was no escape for the plaintiff and he had got to aver in the plaint and also to give proof that he was and has been ready and willing to perform his part of the contract.

24. For the foregoing discussion, we are of the view that mere giving evidence that the plaintiff was ready and willing to perform his part of the contract in the absence of any such averment in the plaint will not satisfy the requirement of Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act and Form No. 47 of Appendix 'A' of First Schedule of the Civil Procedure Code. We are further of the view that the amendment in such a case could not be allowed for two reasons; firstly, because a valuable right has accrued to the respondents and, secondly, becausethe amendment seeks to bring out a cause of action in the plaint, which was conspicuous by its absence in the plaint as originally filed.

25. There is yet another reason why the amendment should not be allowed. The defendant appellants have raised a plea before the first appellate court that there was a defect in the plaint and the suit should be dismissed on that ground alone. Yet the plaintiff did not care to get the plaint amended and he has moved the amendment application for the first time, in second appeal.

26. For the reasons given above, the appeal must be allowed. It is, accordingly, allowed and the judgment and decree of the courts below are set aside and the suit stands dismissed. In the circumstances of the case the parties will bear their own costs.


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