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Mahasai Parbhu Dayal Vs. Man Singh and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Civil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 920 of 1952
Judge
Reported inAIR1962All512
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 32, Rule 15
AppellantMahasai Parbhu Dayal
RespondentMan Singh and anr.
Appellant AdvocateMan Singh, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateM.M.L. Hajela, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....representation - execution sale - legal heirs of judgment debtor leasing the property - held, the auction sale in pursuance of execution of decree is null and void and has no legal effect. - - but a court has jurisdiction to decide wrong as well as tight, if it decides wrong the wronged party can only take the course prescribed by the law for setting matters right and if that course is not taken the decision however wrong cannot be disturbed. it is elementary law that a person in possession can be ousted only at the instance of a person who can show a better title. in this view it appears to us that it was perfectly open to the defendants-respondents to attack the decree and the auction sale on its basis upon which the plaintiff rested his claim. upon the concurrent findings of the..........at all. it was further pleaded that the decree in suit no. 354 of 1939 being null and void the auction sale which followed upon the decree was also of no legal effect and accordingly in these circumstances the plaintiff-appellant acquired no title at all.4. these pleas formed the subject-matter of issues before the courts below and the two courts recorded concurrent findings on these questions, the findings were to the effect that ram lal was of unsound mind, that no guardian ad litem was appointed for ram lal and accordingly the decree in suit no. 354 of 1939 was null and void and the auction sale held in pursuance of that decree was of no legal effect and the plaintiff-appellant acquired no title by reason of that auction sale. upon these findings no other question was gone into.....
Judgment:

Brijlal Gupta, J.

1. This is a plaintiff's appeal arising out of a suit for possession and for recovery of damages in respect of house property described in the plaint. The appeal came before us on reference by a learned Single Judge.

2. The plaintiff's case was that one Ram Das filed suit No. 354 of 1939 against one Ram Lal for recovery of money. The suit was decreed ex parte and in due course a 3/4th share in the house in question was sold and purchased by the plaintiff-appellant on 21-1-1941. On 15-5-1941 there was Dakhaldihani by which possession was obtained by the plaintiff-appellant. Despite, however, the purchase and possession by the plaintiff-appellant of the property in question Ram Lal, Judgment-debtor was allowed to remain in the house. On 19-9-1945 Ram Lal died, whereupon it is alleged that respondent No. 1, His Highness the Maharajaof Jaipur took forcible possession of the house and granted a lease in respect of the same in favour of Tulsi Ram, Defendant-respondent No. 2 in the appeal. Accordingly the present suit was instituted by the plaintiff-appellant on 21-1-1946.

3. A variety of defences were taken on behalf of the defendants-respondents to the suit. One of these defences was that having regard to the provisions of Section 86 of C. P. C. no permission of the Government having been obtainedfor the suit against the Maharaja, the suit was incompetent. This matter was not, however, gone into and no finding was recorded on it and we are not, therefore, concerned with this plea. The main pleas upon which the trial of the suit proceeded were that Ram Lal was of unsound mindsince several years prior to the date of the said suit against him by Ram Das and continued to be of unsound mind until that suit was decided. No guardian ad litem was appointed for Ram Lal in that suit and having regard to the provisionsunder Order 32 of C. P. C. the decree, obtained against Ram Lal in these circumstances, was null and void and of no effect at all. It Was further pleaded that the decree in suit No. 354 of 1939 being null and void the auction sale which followed upon the decree was also of no legal effect and accordingly in these circumstances the plaintiff-appellant acquired no title at all.

4. These pleas formed the subject-matter of issues before the courts below and the two courts recorded concurrent findings on these questions, The findings were to the effect that Ram Lal was of unsound mind, that no guardian ad litem was appointed for Ram Lal and accordingly the decree in suit No. 354 of 1939 was null and void and the auction sale held in pursuance of that decree was of no legal effect and the plaintiff-appellant acquired no title by reason of that auction sale. Upon these findings no other question was gone into and the suit of the plaintiff-appellant wasdismissed and the dismissal of the suit by the trial court was confirmed in appeal by the lower appellate Court.

5. In second appeal before this Court it has not been contended at all seriously that the decree in these circumstances obtained against Ram Lal was not null and void or was not a nullity. In view of the decisions of this Court that position could not be taken up by the plaintiff-appellant. Reference may be made to certain decisions reported in Nathumal v. Mohd. Nazir Beg, AIR 1955 All 584, Radha Kishan v. Ram Nazar Cooperative Society, AIR 1951 All 341 (FB) and Inderpal Singh v. Sarnam Singh, AIR 1951 All 823. It is sufficient to state the law as laid down by this Court in the last mentioned case, in the following words at page 824 of the report:

'The case law is thus quite clear that a decree against a minor is void ab initio and a nullity, if it is passed in a suit in which no guardian of the minor is appointed............'

6. The position regarding a decree against a person of unsound mind is the same as that against minor.

7. It follows that upon the finding of fact recorded by the courts below the plaintiff-appellant has no case at all.

8. The point, however, which was taken up in argument by the learned counsel for the plaintiff-appellant before the learned Single Judge and before us may be stated somewhat as follows:

It may be that the decree passed against Ram Lal in the circumstances found by the Courts below was a nullity but the decree could be challenged only, if at all, by a representative of Ram Lal. The respondents are not representatives of Ram Lal. The title which the respondent No. 1 the Maharaja of Jaipur claims in the house in dispute is title based upon escheat. A person who claims title by escheat cannot be treated as the representative of the last holder of the property. It is argued that in this situation the respondents are complete strangers and it is not open to persons who are complete strangers to challenge a decree even though it may be null and void and a nullity.

9. In support of this argument learned counsel Telied upon two decisions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, one reported in Malkarjan v. Narhari, ILR 25 Bom 337 (PC). Our attention was invited to a passage from that decision at p. 347 of the report. The passage is to the following effect:

'In doing so the court was exercising its jurisdiction, it is true; but a court has jurisdiction to decide wrong as well as tight, if it decides wrong the wronged party can only take the course prescribed by the law for setting matters right and if that course is not taken the decision however wrong cannot be disturbed.'

10. The other case relied on by the learned counsel is reported in Khiarajmal v. Daim, ILR 32 Cal 296 (PC). The passage at p. 312 of the report to which our attention was invited, is to the following effect:

Their Lordships agree that the sales cannotfee treated as void or now be avoided on the ground of any mere irregularities of procedure in obtaining the decrees or in the execution of them. But on the other hand, the Court had no jurisdiction to sell the property of persons who were not parties to the proceedings or properly represented on the record. As against such persons the decrees and sales purporting to be made would be a nullity and might be disregarded without any proceedings to set them aside.'

11. Emphasis was placed by the learned counsel upon the words 'wronged party' on the passage quoted from the first of the two decisions and upon the words 'such persons' in the quotation from the second of these cases. We have examined these cases and we are of the view that these two cases are quite distinguishable from the present case upon the facts. The sales there were merely irregular and not void. Nor do we find that they support any such broad proposition as has been urged before us by the learned counsel. Learned counsel has only picked upon two phrases 'wronged party' in one case and 'such persons' in the other case and has built up his argument on these two phrases alone. The Judicial Committee in those two cases was not considering the question whether apart from the 'wronged party' and 'such persons' it was open to a third person to challenge the validity of a decree or auction sale held in consequence of that decree. Accordingly we are of the view that these two cases cannot be relied on to negative the right of a third party to question such a decree or auction sale.

12. Apart from this we are of the view that the respondents in this case cannot be characterised as complete strangers who had no interest in the subject-matter of the decree or the auction sale. The right of respondent No. 1 is based upon escheat. Accordingly after the death of Ram Lal, respondent No. 1, became the owner of the property. It may be that during the life time of the deceased Ram Lal, the right of respondent No. 1 was conditional upon Ram Lal's dying without leaving any heirs but that respondent No. 1 had a right to succeed to the property in certain circumstances, cannot be denied. As soon as Ram Lal died without leaving any heirs, the right of respondent No. 1 became a vested right and respondent No. 1 also became a successor in title of Ram Lal to the property which was the subject-matter of the decree and the auction sale.

13. There is, however, another way of looking at the matter. Admittedly the defendants-respondents got into possession of the property. The auction purchaser who was the plaintiff in the suit was thus forced to come to court to claim title and possession. It is elementary law that a person in possession can be ousted only at the instance of a person who can show a better title. It is a trite saying that possession is nine points of the law. The person in possession can always put the plaintiff claiming . title and possession to the strict proof of his title and the consequent right to possession. It has not been shown that the challenge by the person in possession is confined to any particular points and that all possible pleas are not open to the person in possession to defeat such title of a plaintiff as alleged by thatplaintiff. In this view it appears to us that it was perfectly open to the defendants-respondents to attack the decree and the auction sale on its basis upon which the plaintiff rested his claim. Nothing has been shown to us that a defendant in possession cannot question the validity of a decree held by a plaintiff and a title on the basis of that auction sale under that decree. Upon the concurrent findings of the courts below the plaintiff has failed to have the validity of the decree upheld. Thus upon those findings the claim of the plaintiff stood rightly negatived.

14. The result is that there is no force inthis appeal which accordingly fails and is dismissedwith costs.


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