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Smt. Dropadi Devi Vs. Ram Das and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal No. 4 of 1962
Judge
Reported inAIR1974All473
ActsGeneral Clauses Act, 1897 - Sections 3; Transfer of Property Act, 1882 - Sections 105; Partnership Act, 1932 - Sections 69(2)
AppellantSmt. Dropadi Devi
RespondentRam Das and ors.
Appellant AdvocateM.L. Trivedi, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS. Rahman and ;Bishun Singh, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....partnership at the time of entering into agreement - decree order against the original lessee only. - - this circumstance also clearly proves the nature of the transaction to be a lease and not a licence. 1 entered into the contract of lease with the raja on 18-2-1958. on the other hand, this document as well as the statement of ram das clearly shows that he had taken this lease on that date in his individual capacity......that bazar constitutes a benefit arising out of the land and therefore a lease of bazar dues is a lease of immovable property within the meaning of section 3(26), general clauses act. there can be no manner of doubt that the land itself with all the things attached to it and all the benefits arising therefrom is also an immovable property and that is a tangible immovable property. but even the right to collect market dues in respect of a market held on that piece of land is also an immovable property which can be subject to transfer by lease or otherwise. that being so, the raja was competent to make a lease of this property in favour of the defendant-appellant for a period of two vears under the registered lease dated 13-4-1956 (ext a-1). he was equally competent to grant a lease of.....
Judgment:

Jagmohan Lal, J.

1. The brief facts of this case are that Raja Virendra Vikram Singh of Payagpur district Bahraich who died during the pendency of the suit and is now represented by the defendants-respondents Nos. 4 to 6 was the owner of a grove which was his bhumidhari property. On this grove a biweekly cattle market known Akelwa Bazar was held. The persons who brought their cattle to be sold in that market had to pay some fee to the Raja. The Raja granted a lease of this right of collection of market dues to Smt. Dropadi, the defendant-appellant, on 16-4-1956 for a period of two years which was to expireon 30th September, 1958. The lessee was to pay Rs. 11,000 to the lessor for these two years' theka. On 20-2-1958 the Raja made a lease of that very property in favour of Ram Das, plaintiff-respondent No. 1 for a period of three years beginning on 1-10-1958 and ending on 30-9-1961. The rent payable under this lease was Rs. 15,000 for three years. The lease deed which was a bilateral document executed by the Raja and plaintiff-respondent No. 1 was registered on April 11, 1958. Subsequently the Raja by his unilateral act purported to cancel this lease by another registered document dated 18-7-1958. The plaintiff Ram Das therefore filed a suit on 1-10-1958 alleging that he was the lessee of this property, namely, the right to collect market dues under the registered lease dated 20-2-1958 for a period of three years beginning with 1-10-1958 and that Smt. Dropadi had no right to remain in possession of the property from 1-10-1958. He challenged the deed dated 18-7-1958 executed by the Raja on the ground that he was not competent to cancel the previous lease by this unilateral document. The plaintiff therefore prayed for possession over the property. Plaintiff No. 1 joined with him two other persons, AH Ataqie Beg and Jwala Prasad, respondents Nos. 2 and 3, as co-plaintiffs with the allegation that subsequently he had taken these persons also as partners with him for a period of one year in this business.

2. During the pendency of that suit a Receiver was appointed who took possession over the disputed property, namely, the right to collect market dues in respect of the bi-weekly market held on the Raja's grove. The Receiver realised these dues for the period for which the theka was given to the plaintiff and deposited that money in court. Obviously that money was to be disposed of by the court according to the result of the suit.

3. The suit was contested by Smt. Drooadi defendant-appellant and the legal representatives of the Raja. The defence of Smt. Dropadi was that though her original theka was to expire on 30-9-1958, the Raja on her request had extended it for another year in December 1957 after accepting Rs. 5,000 from her as the theka money. So she was entitled to continue in possession and did continue in such possession of the property in question even after September 30, 1958. The plaintiff had also knowledge about it. It was further pleaded that the right to collect market dues was not an immovable property which could be the subject of a transfer by way of lease. In any case, the transaction that was made by the Raja in favour of the plaintiff Ram Das was in the nature of a licence and not a lease.The Raja was competent to revoke the licence, and in any case if he wrongly revoked the licence, the plaintiff's remedy was to seek damages against him. He could not seek recovery of possession over the said property against the defendant-appellant who was already in possession on the basis of her the kanama being validly extended for another year by the Raja.

4. The trial court found that the right to collect market dues was an immovable property which could be subject to transfer by way of lease. It was held that a valid lease of this property was made by the Raja in favour of plaintiff Ram Das by means of the registered document dated 18-2-1958 for a period of three years beginning with October 1, 1958. The Raja was not competent to revoke this lease by his unilateral act evidenced by the registered document dated 18-7-1958. With regard to the defendant-appellant, it was found that the documents relied upon by her for the extension of the theka were fabricated documents which had been ante-timed and that no such extension was actually made before a registered lease was executed in favour of the plaintiff Ram Das. In any case, the plaintiff Ram Das had no knowledge of any such extension of theka of the defendant-appellant. The plea taken by the defendant that the suit was barred by Section 69(2) of the Indian Partnership Act on account of the partnership not being registered was also repelled on the ground that at the time the Raja had contracted with Ram Das there was no partnership and Ram Das entered into this contract as a principal and not on behalf of any partnership. As such Section 69(2) had no application to the case. On these findings the learned Civil Judge passed a decree in favour of Ram Das alone and that decree was to the effect that the money deposited in court by the Receiver shall be paid to him.

5. Feeling aggrieved by this decree defendant No. 1 Smt. Dropadi has filed this appeal. The learned counsel for the appellant argued that the property in question, viz., the right to collect market dues of the bi-weekly cattle market held on the land of the Raja was not an immovable property which could be subject to transfer by means of a lease. The Transfer of Property Act does not contain any positive definition of immovable property. In Section 3 it has been provided that immovable property does not include standing timber, growing crops or grass. This definition however does not affirmatively state what shall be regarded as immovable property. This definition is found in General Clauses Act in Section 3(26) which provides:

''Immovable property' shall include land, benefits to arise out of lands and things attached to the earth, or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth.'

This definition would be applicable to Transfer of Property Act also. It has been ruled by this Court in Sikandar v. Bahadur, (1905) ILR 27 All 462 that the right to collect market dues upon a given piece of land is a benefit to arise out of land within the purview of Section 3 of the Indian Registration Act. A lease, therefore, of such right for a period of more than the year must be made by registered instrument. In. Section 3 of the Registration Act the definition of immovable property contains the same expression, any other benefit to arise out of land, as is found in Section 3(26) of the General Clauses Act. The same view was held by the erstwhile Oudh Chief Court in Ram Jiawan v. Hanuman Pd. . In this case it was held that bazar constitutes a benefit arising out of the land and therefore a lease of bazar dues is a lease of immovable property within the meaning of Section 3(26), General Clauses Act. There can be no manner of doubt that the land itself with all the things attached to it and all the benefits arising therefrom is also an immovable property and that is a tangible immovable property. But even the right to collect market dues in respect of a market held on that piece of land is also an immovable property which can be subject to transfer by lease or otherwise. That being so, the Raja was competent to make a lease of this property in favour of the defendant-appellant for a period of two vears under the registered lease dated 13-4-1956 (Ext A-1). He was equally competent to grant a lease of this property to the plaintiff Ram Das for a period of three years with effect from 1-10-1958 by means of the registered lease deed dated February 20, 1958 (Ext. 1).

6. The next point that was urged by the learned counsel for the appellant was that the transaction evidenced by Ext. 1 was in fact a licence and not a lease. It is a bilateral instrument executed by both the Raja and the plaintiff Ram Das. It provides for payment of Rs. 5,000 per year by Ram Das to the Raja as consideration of the transfer of the property in question made in favour of the plaintiff. It thus satisfies all the essential ingredients of a lease as defined in Section 105 of the Transfer of Property Act. Even otherwise if we scrutinise this transaction in the light of the tests laid down by the Supreme Court in Associated Hotels of India v. R.N. Kapoor : [1960]1SCR368 and the Madras High Court in T.S. A Hamid v. S.A. Temple : AIR1972Mad372 following the aforesaid Supreme Court decision, it has to be held as a lease and not a licence. During the continuance of the lease the transferee was to have exclusive possession over the property leased out, namely, the right to collect the market dues. During that period the lessor or any other person claiming through him could not collect those dues or share in their collection. This circumstance also clearly proves the nature of the transaction to be a lease and not a licence. The lease was for a period of three years commencing on 1-10-1958 and validly created by a registered instrument executed by the lessor and the lessee. It could not therefore be revoked unilaterally by the lessor under the document dated 18-7-1938.

7. The learned counsel for the appellant then argued that in view of the lease in favour of the defendant-appellant being renewed earlier in December, 1957, the lease in favour of the plaintiff cannot legally take effect. On this point reliance was placed on an application Ext, A-2 which was made on behalf of the defendant-appellant requesting the Raja to renew the lease for another year with effect from 1-10-1958. This application purports to be dated 2-12-1957. The Raja was supposed to have granted this request by making an endorsement on the back of this application, vide Ext. A-3. He was also supposed to have received Rs. 5,000 from the defendant-appellant and granted a receipt to her for this amount vide Ext. A-4. The learned Civil Judge has however found that all these documents are fictitious and they have been ante-dated after the Raja in collusion with the defendant-appellant had decided to revoke the registered lease granted to the plaintiff Ram Das on 18-2-1958. The learned counsel for the appellant contends that this finding of fact recorded by the learned Civil Judge is not justified from the evidence on record and that the direct evidence of the Raja's servant and of the appellant's brother on this point should have been preferred to the circumstantial evidence relied upon by the trial court. We have examined this evidence. We agree with the learned Civil Judge that the circumstantial evidence on this point is more convincing than the direct evidence of these interested persons. Among these circumstances the learned Civil Judge has noted that the counterfoil of the receipt Ext. A-4 was summoned along with the relevant file from the Raja but the same was not produced by him (sic) it could be seen whether this receipt was actually issued on the date on which it purports to be issued, The non-production of that document raises a presumption that it was really issued on some subsequent date and hadbeen ante-dated. We therefore see no reason to take a different view on this finding of fact recorded by the trial court.

8. Even if it is assumed for arguments sake that these documents were genuinely executed, they cannot legally create a lease even for a period of one year. Under Section 107 of the Transfer of Property Act even a lease for a period of one year can be created either by a registered instrument or by an oral agreement accompanied by delivery of possession but not by some unregistered document. Evidently, no registered instrument was executed in this case renewing the lease in favour of the defendant appellant for a period of one year beginning with 1-10-1958. The alleged oral agreement was not accompanied by delivery of possession because there was no occasion for it. This delivery of possession for the fresh period could be made only on 1-10-1958, but on that date the plaintiff had already filed his suit and the rights of the parties have now to be determined as existing on that date. Before that date the Raja had already given a lease of this property to Ram Das by means of a registered document which was to take effect from 1-10-1958. The lease relied on by the defendant-appellant not being created by a registered instrument, no constructive notice of it can be imputed to the plaintiff Ram Das. It was therefore necessary for the defendant appellant not only to prove that such a lease had been made in her favour prior to the registered lease in favour of the plaintiff, but that the plaintiff had also knowledge about it on 18-2-1958 when he obtained a registered lease from the Raja. There is no such evidence on record. Hence the defendant-appellant does not acquire any right as a lessee after 30-9-1958 as against Ram Das plaintiff. On the other hand, the plaintiff Ram Das on the basis of his registered lease was entitled to get possession over this property with effect from 1-10-1958. His suit for possession could therefore be decreed not only against the Raja who had granted the lease but also against the defendant-appellant who was claiming through the Raja but whose original lease had expired on 30-9-1958 and therefore she had no legal basis to remain in possession of this property. On these facts there could be no question of her holding over under Section 116 of the Transfer of Property Act also. The lessor had already granted a lease of it to the plaintiff Ram Das and so he could not allow the defendant-appellant to hold over with effect from 1-10-1958.

8. The last point that was argued by the learned counsel was that the suit was barred by Section 69(2) of the Partnership Act. This plea is based on an allegation made by the plaintiff in para. 6 of the plaint to the effect that the plaintiff No. 1 (Ram Das) admitted plaintiffs Nos. 2 and 3 as partners in the contract aforesaid to the extent of 4 annas share each for a period of one year i.e. from 1-10-58 to 30-9-59, and therefore in order to avoid any dispute plaintiffs Nos. 2 and 3 had also been arrayed as parties. It has neither been pleaded nor proved that there was any partnership between the plaintiff No. 1 and plaintiffs Nos. 2 and 3 on the date plaintiff No. 1 entered into the contract of lease with the Raja on 18-2-1958. On the other hand, this document as well as the statement of Ram Das clearly shows that he had taken this lease on that date in his individual capacity. If that was so, he alone was entitled to enforce this contract and seek a decree without joining the other two plaintiffs as co-plaintiffs with him. In this connection we may refer to a decision of the Madras High Court in Goverdhandoss v. Abdul Rahiman (AIR 1942 Mad 634). In this case the following observation made by Lindley on Partnership at page 350 (Edition 10) was approved and followed:

'One partner may sue alone on a written contract made with himself if it does not appear from the contract itself that he was acting as agent of the firm, and one partner ought to sue alone on a contract entered into with himself if such contract is in fact made with him as principal, and not on behalf of himself and others.'

In our opinion, this principle fully applies to the present case also and the learned Civil Judge has rightly decreed the suit in favour of plaintiff No. 1 alone. So far as Ram Das is concerned there can be no application of Section 69(2) of the Partnership Act to him on the date of contract when no partnership existed and he alone entered into that contract with the Raja.

10. We are therefore of the opinion that the decree passed by the trial court is correct and this appeal is without any merits. The immovable property that was the subject-matter of the suit had during the pendency of the case been converted into money under the interim orders passed by the court and as such plaintiff No. 1 was entitled to get that money in lieu of the property which he had claimed in the suit.

11. We accordingly dismiss this appeal with costs to the contesting respondent. The stay order, if any, is discharged. The money deposited in court shall be disposed of according to the decree passed by the trial court.


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