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Baboo Lal Vs. Dakhini Din - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 853 of 1977
Judge
Reported inAIR1978All547
ActsProvincial Small Cause Courts Act, 1887 - Sections 25
AppellantBaboo Lal
RespondentDakhini Din
Appellant AdvocateS.N. Sahai and ;Vishnu Gupta, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateRaja Ram Yadav, Adv.
DispositionRevision allowed
Excerpt:
civil - findings of trial court - section 25 of provincial small cause courts act, 1887 - it is not open for the high court or district court to re-assess the findings of facts recorded by the trial court. - - no doubt, while setting aside the finding of the trial court, the district judge observed that the findings of the judge, small cause courts were perverse on the question of relationship of landlord and tenant but the learned district judge failed to point out any mistake or error of law which may have vitiated the findings of the trial court......suit. on revision-application under section 25 of the small cause courts act by the defendant, the district judge set aside the trial court's decree and dismissed the plaintiff's suit. aggrieved, the plaintiff has preferred this revision.3. learned counsel for the applicant urged that the district judge exceeded his jurisdiction in re-appraising the evidence and interfering with the findings of fact recorded by the trial court. the contention was that the district judge while exercising jurisdiction under section 25 of the small cause courts act had no jurisdiction to re-appraise the evidence or to interfere with the findings of the trial court. while repelling the defendant's contention, the trial court had recorded a finding that the plaintiff was entitled to sue the defendants for the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

K.N. Singh, J.

1. This is plaintiff's application in revision under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure for setting aside the judgment and decree of the District Judge and to restore the judgment and decree of the trial court.

2. The plaintiff-applicant filed a suit for recovery of arrears of rent and ejectment against the defendant-opposite party. The defendant contested the suit on the ground that the plaintiff had no title to the house in question and he was not entitled to rent and that no relationship of landlord and tenant existed between the parties. The trial court decreed the plaintiff's suit. On revision-application under Section 25 of the Small Cause Courts Act by the defendant, the District Judge set aside the trial court's decree and dismissed the plaintiff's suit. Aggrieved, the plaintiff has preferred this revision.

3. Learned counsel for the applicant urged that the District Judge exceeded his jurisdiction in re-appraising the evidence and interfering with the findings of fact recorded by the trial court. The contention was that the District Judge while exercising jurisdiction under Section 25 of the Small Cause Courts Act had no jurisdiction to re-appraise the evidence or to interfere with the findings of the trial court. While repelling the defendant's contention, the trial court had recorded a finding that the plaintiff was entitled to sue the defendants for the recovery of the arrears of rent and ejectment as he was transferee of Basant Lal, Mukund Lal and Amrit Lal who were the recorded owners of the house. It further recorded finding that since the defendant had not paid any rent to the plaintiff, who had given notice to the defendant after the sale-deed was executed in his name by the original owners of the house, he was a defaulter. On appraisal of evidence on record it further recorded a finding that the defendant was plaintiffs' tenant and the relationship of landlord and tenant existed between the parties.

The District Judge considered the evidence both oral and documentary in detail and thereafter he recorded a finding that the plaintiff's case that the defendant was tenant and that he had agreed to pay Rs. 35/- per mensem as rent to him, was false and unbelievable. He further recorded a finding that although the defendant was in occupation of the house, he was not the plaintiff's tenant, and as such, the suit for recovery of arrears of rent and ejectment against the plaintiff had wrongly been decreed by the trial court. The learned District Judge observed that the finding of the trial court was wholly perverse and deserved to be set aside.

4. Section 25 of the Small Cause Courts Act lays down that the court may satisfy itself that a decree made in any case decided by a Court of Small Causes was according to law. The court while exercising powers under Section 25 of the Small Cause Courts Act must confine itself to ascertain as to whether the decree of the Judge, Small Cause Court was according to law. While exercising the jurisdiction it is not open to the court to re-assess the evidence or to substitute its own conclusion of fact in place of that reached by the Judge Small Cause Court although it is open to the court to satisfy itself that there was no miscarriage of justice due to mistake of law. In Hari Shankar v. Girdhari Lal (AIR 1963 SC 698), the scope of Section 35 of the Delhi and Ajmer Rent (Control) Act, 1952 which conferred revisional power on the High Court to satisfy itself that the decision of the court below was according to law, was considered. The Supreme Court held that under Section 35, High Court could not interfere with the plain finding of fact arrived at by the courts below as the phrase 'according to law' did not contemplate re-assessment of the value of the evidence or substitution of the findings of fact in place of those reached by the court below.

5. In Malini Ayyappa Naicker v. Manghraj Udhodas (AIR 1969 SC 1344), the scope of High Court's power under the first priviso to Section 75(1) of the Provincial Insolvency Act, 1920, was considered. Under the 1st proviso to Section 75(1) of the said Act, the High Court was invested with the power of satisfying itself that an order made in any appeal decided by the District Court was according to law. The Supreme Court held that the power conferred on the High Court under the 1st proviso to Section 75(1) of the Provincial Insolvency Act was similar to Section 25 of the Provincial Small Cause Courts Act. While exercising power under Section 25 of the Small Cause Courts Act, the court has no jurisdiction to interfere with the findings of fact recorded by the court below merely because it may think that possibly the Judge who heard the case arrived at a conclusion which he could not have arrived at.

6. In Ram Narain v. Kanhaiya Lal Vishwakarma (1965 All LJ 989), a Division Bench of this Court set aside the judgment of the Additional District Judge and restored that of the Court of Small Causes on the ground that the Additional District Judge while exercising powers under Section 25 of the Small Cause Courts Act had exceeded his jurisdiction in re-assessing the evidence and in interfering with the findings of fact recorded by the trial court. The Bench held that true questions of fact could not be looked into by the court while exercising revisional powers under Section 25 of the Act.

6A. These authorities leave no room for any doubt that while exercising power under Section 25 of the Small Cause Courts Act, it is not open to the High Court or to the District Judge to re-assess the evidence or to interfere with the findings of fact recorded by the trial court. It is further not open to interfere with the findings of the trial court even though those findings may be based on inferences drawn by the trial court. Even if the finding of the trial court is erroneous or even if, another view may be possible on the appraisal of the evidence on record, it is not open to the court to interfere with those findings under Section 25 of the Small Cause Courts Act.

7. In the instant case, the plaintiff claimed to be owner and landlord of the house in question on the basis of a sale-deed executed in his favour by Basantlal Mukund Lal and Amrit Lal, previous owners of the disputed house. The plaintiff's further case was that after the purchase, he had asked the defendant to vacate the house whereupon he had sought time to search another house and in the meantime, he had agreed to pay Rs. 35/- as rent to the plaintiff. The plaintiff examined himself and Ram Kinker in whose presence, the defendant had agreed to pay Rs. 35/- per month as rent to the plaintiff. The defendant-opposite party asserted that he had never agreed to pay rent to the plaintiff and there was no relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties. On a detailed discussion of the evidence the trial court held that the testimony of the plaintiff's two witnesses, namely, Ram Kinker and Bholanath was trustworthy and their evidence proved that the defendant was tenant of Basantlal Mukundlal and Amrit Lal and that he had agreed to pay Rs. 35/- per month as rent to the plaintiff. The learned District Judge reappraised the entire evidence and recorded a finding that there was no evidence to show that the defendant used to give rent to Basant Lal and his brothers, from whom the plaintiff had further recorded a finding that the defendant along with his wife was living in the house free of rent. The learned District Judge disbelieved the oral testimony of plaintiff and his witnesses in holding that the defendant had never agreed to pay Rs. 35/- as rent to the plaintiff. The question whether the plaintiff and his witnesses should have been believed was essentially within the domain of the trial court, the District Judge had no jurisdiction to re-appraise and analyse the entire evidence to arrive at findings other than those recorded by the trial court. The inference drawn by the District Judge is quite contrary to those as drawn by the trial court.

8. It was urged on behalf of the defendant-opposite party that the District Judge rightly, interfered with the findings of the trial court as its findings were perverse. No doubt, while setting aside the finding of the trial court, the District Judge observed that the findings of the Judge, Small Cause Courts were perverse on the question of relationship of landlord and tenant but the learned District Judge failed to point out any mistake or error of law which may have vitiated the findings of the trial court. The learned Judge did not record finding of any legal error in placing burden of proof or in appreciation of the evidence, instead the District Judge re-examined the evidence and recorded findings of his own. A perverse finding is that which is not sustainable on the evidence on record and to which no reasonable person would arrive. The finding of the trial court was substantial on the appraisal of the evidence on record therefore the same could not be held perverse. The District Judge had no jurisdiction to interfere with the findings of the trial court.

9. In the result, the revision succeeds and is accordingly allowed. The judgment and decree of the District Judge are set aside and that of the trial court is restored. The applicant is entitled to his costs.


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