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Mohd. Umar Khan Vs. Idris Mohd. Ghani and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Civil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberF.A.F.O. No. 143 of 1974
Judge
Reported inAIR1980All89
ActsUttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1951 - Sections 331; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 9
AppellantMohd. Umar Khan
Respondentidris Mohd. Ghani and ors.
Advocates:S.J. Hydar, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
- - under clause (b) falls that class of cases where the jurisdiction of the civil court is impliedly barred'.these observations, in our opinion clearly indicate that in the opinion of the learned judge, the crucial thing to do, for determining as to whether a particular suit is triable by a civil court or by a revenue court is to look into the bundle of facts which impelled the plaintiff to approach the court (cause of action) and not the reliefs claimed by him. if the answer to the scrutiny be in the affirmative then the suit brought in the civil court must fail regardless of the relifes claimed;.....the civil court or the revenue court has jurisdiction to try the suit would be to look into the relief claimed. whereas, in a case where the main relief is one cognizable by the revenue court, the jurisdiction of the civil court would be barred notwithstanding that the revenue court may not have jurisdiction to grant the subsidiary relief, the civil court will, in a case where the main relief is cognizable by the civil court, hence jurisdiction to grant all the reliefs claimed in the suit. according to him, where only one relief is claimed in a suit, that relief would be the main relief and in case such relief can be granted only by a civil court, the suit would be cognizable by a civil court. he urged that the plaintiff cannot be compelled to mould his relief so as to make the suit.....
Judgment:

H.N. Seth, J.

1. This first appeal from order by Mohammad Umar Khan plaintiff is directed against an order dated 25-4-1974, passed by the District Judge, Rampur, directing that the plaint, filed by him, be returned for presentation before a proper court.

2. Mohammad Umar Khan filed Suit No. 46 of 1973, in the court of District Judge, Rampur, alleging that he was joint grove-holder of the groves specified in the plaint, along with Jabbar Khan, father of the defendants. Jabbar Khan got the name of the plaintiff expunged from revenue records and so arranged the matter that his name alone stood recorded therein. The plaintiff claimed that despite this he ramained in joint possession of the groves along with the defendants but for some time back Jabbar Khan started giving out that as the name of the plaintiff did not stand recorded in revenue papers, he had no right, title and interest in the groves. As the time for gathering fruits had arrived and as it was apprehended that the defendents would not permit the plaintiff to exercise the right of his joint possession over the groves and would prevent him from gathering fruits the plaintiff was likely to suffer irreparable injury and loss. The defendants had been denying plaintiffs title too and possession over, the groves and were likely to interfere with his possession. He, therefore, prayed for a decree for mandatory injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with his possession over the groves in dispute.

3. The defendants contested the suit and inter alia pleaded that as it was open to the plaintiff to obtain adequate relief from the revenue court, in respect of the cause of action set out in the plaint, the civil court had no jurisdiction to try the suit. This plea raised by the defendants prevailed with the District Judge who passed the impugned order directing that the plaint be returned to the plaintiff for presentation before proper court.

4. Learned counsel for the plaintiff-appellant relied upon the following observations made by a Full Bench of this Court in the case of Ram Awalamb v. Jata Shanker (1968 All LJ 1108 (1123)):--

'Further we are of the view that where, on the basis of a cause of action--

(a) main relief is cognizable by a revenue Court the suit would be cognizable by the revenue Court only. The fact that the ancillary reliefs claimed are congnizable by civil court would be immaterial for determining the proper forum for the suit;

(b) the main relief is cognizable by the civil court the suit would be cognizable by the civil court only and the ancillary reliefs, which could be granted by the revenue court may also be granted by the civil court'.

and urged that the crucial thing for determining as to which of the two courts, namely, whether the civil court or the revenue court has jurisdiction to try the suit would be to look into the relief claimed. Whereas, in a case where the main relief is one cognizable by the revenue court, the jurisdiction of the civil court would be barred notwithstanding that the revenue court may not have jurisdiction to grant the subsidiary relief, the civil court will, in a case where the main relief is cognizable by the civil court, hence jurisdiction to grant all the reliefs claimed in the suit. According to him, where only one relief is claimed in a suit, that relief would be the main relief and in case such relief can be granted only by a civil court, the suit would be cognizable by a civil court. He urged that the plaintiff cannot be compelled to mould his relief so as to make the suit cognizable by the revenue court.

5. Relevant portion of Section 331 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act runs thus :--

'Except as provided by or under this Act no court other than a court mentioned in column 4 of Schedule II shall, notwithstanding anything contained in the Civil Procedure Code 1908 take cognizance of any suit, application or proceedings mentioned in column 3 thereof; or of a suit application or proceeding based on a cause of action in respect of which any relief could be obtained by means of any such suit or application...

Explanation: If the cause of action is one in respect of which relief may be granted by the revenue court, it is immaterial that the relief asked for from the civil court may not be identical to that which the revenue court could have granted..............'

5A. While dealing with the scope and ambit of the aforesaid provision Khare, J., in Ram Awalamb's case (Supra) at page 1108 of the report, observed thus:--

'Thus the jurisdiction of a civil court shall be barred in respect of suits based on a cause of action for any of the reliefs :

(a) mentioned in column 4 of Schedule II as being cognizable by revenue court,

Or

(b) if on the same cause of action any relief could be obtained by means of any suit or application mentioned in column 4 of Schedule II of the Act, the relief asked for from the civil court may or may not be identical to that which the revenue court would have granted. In other words, (a) above relates to the class of cases where the jurisdiction of civil court is specifically barred. Under Clause (b) falls that class of cases where the jurisdiction of the civil court is impliedly barred'.

These observations, in our opinion clearly indicate that in the opinion of the learned Judge, the crucial thing to do, for determining as to whether a particular suit is triable by a civil court or by a revenue court is to look into the bundle of facts which impelled the plaintiff to approach the court (cause of action) and not the reliefs claimed by him. If in connection with those facts any relief, though not identical with the relief claimed in the suit, could be obtained from the revenue court, the jurisdiction of the civil court would be barred. This becomes absolutely clear when we consider the following observations at page 1121 of the report, mads by the learned Judge while analysing true legal position in this regard that had emerged as a result of cases decided by this court: --

'The case law in this court on this point might be classified under the following two heads :--

'(a) Where several reliefs closely connected with each other can be claimed on the basis of the cause of action set forth in the plaint, it has to be examined which of them is the main relief and which others are ancillary reliefs. If such a consideration of facts constituting cause of action the main relief is such which can be granted by the civil court, the suit would be cognizable in the civil court which will proceed to grant the ancillary relief also.

On the other hand if the main relief is specifically cognizable by a revenue court only but ancillarly relief may be such as could be granted by the civil court, the matter was cognizable only by a revenue court.

(b) The pith and substance of the allegations made in the plaint constituting the cause of action must be scrutinised in order to determine whether or not if on the same cause of action any adequate or satisfactory alternative remedy could be available to the plaintiff in the revenue court. If the answer to the scrutiny be in the affirmative then the suit brought in the civil court must fail regardless of the relifes claimed; the suit was on the face of it cognizable by a civil court'.

6. In our opinion the observations made by Khare, J., in Ram Awalamb's case which have been relied upon by the learned counsel for the appellant (appearing at page 1123 of the Report) are in relation to proposition (a) mentioned above and have nothing to do with proposition (b) stated above. So far as proposition (a) is concerned, it may some times happen that in connection with the same set of facts (cause of action), more than one reliefs are being claimed by the plaintiff and it may not be possible for the revenue court to grant all those reliefs. Proposition (a) mentioned above seeks to resolve the problem with regard to jurisdiction of courts in such cases. This proposition has nothing to do with the field covered by proposition (b).

7. So far as proposition (b) mentioned above as enunciated by Khare, J., is concerned, it is fully in consonance with, and by way of approval of, what had been decided by an earlier Division Bench of this Court in the case of Baiju v. Shambhu Saran (1963 All LJ 1064) where Pathak, J., had, while dealing with Section 242 of the U. P. Tenancy Act a provision which is in pari meteria with the provisions contained in Section 331 of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act in a case where relief for injunction had been claimed in a civil court on the allegation that plaintiff was a Khudkasht-holder but the defendant had got his own name entered in the revenue papers and was interfering with his possession, made the following observations:--

'Jurisdiction certainly depends upon the statement contained in the plaint, but when reference is made to Section 242 the question which must be considered is not which court has jurisdiction according to the plaint, but which court has jurisdiction according to the facts in the case. If according to the facts in the case, a revenue court can grant relief, it is the revenue court which the plaintiff must approach with an appropriate plaint. The revenue court would have jurisdiction according to the plaint itself. The rule that jurisdiction depends upon the plaint does not confer upon the plaintiff freedom to assert any fact which he chooses and Section 242 certainly does not give him that freedom.

Section 242 would be rendered meaningless and unnecessary, if it only barred a suit in a civil court on a plaint containing a cause of action on which a revenue court could grant relief. No plaintiff approaching a civil court would draft his plaint in such a way as to make out a case cognizable by a revenue court. If he goes to a civil court, he will naturally draft his plaint so as to make out a case not cognizable by a revenue court. The contents of Section 242 can be given meaning only if courts insist upon the plaintiff going to a revenue court when on any of the facts that constitute the various causes of action in his favour there is one set of fact constituting a cause of action within the jurisdiction of a revenue court.

In the present case, it appears to us that the question which falls to be decided is whether the plaintiff had title to the plots in suit, and, therefore, it arises upon a cause of action in respect of which a relief could have been claimed in a revenue court. That being so, the civil court, in which the suit was brought, had no jurisdiction to entertain it and, therefore, the objection of the defendant must be upheld'.

8. In this view of the matter, we are unable to accept the submission that the controversy as to whether a civil court or a revenue court has jurisdiction to try the suit has to be resolved merely on the basis of the relief claimed in the suit. For this purpose the pith and substance of the allegations made in the plaint will have to be scrutinised and if on those allegations some adequate or satisfactory relief can be obtained from the revenue court, the suit has to be filed before the revenue court, notwithstanding that the relief has been so modulated that it falls outside the purview of the revenue court.

9. A scrutiny of the plaint in the instant case shows that according to the plaintiff, the controversy in the suit had arisen because the defendants were, after getting the name of the plaintiff expunged from the revenue record, denying his status as joint grove-holder, and that on the basis of such denial, they were likely to interfere with his joint possession. There is nothing in the plaint to show that the defendants intended to continue to interfere with plaintiff's joint possession even after a court of law holds that the grove belongs jointly to the plaintiff and the defendants. It cannot be denied that on the facts stated in the plaint, the plaintiff can maintain as action for declaration of his title under Section 229-B of the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act. The relief for declaration of title by the revenue court would, in our opinion, be an adequate and sufficient relief in the circumstances of the case. As in this case, the pith and substance of the allegations made in the plaint is such in respect of which an adequate relief can be granted by a revenue court, the suit would be cognizable by the revenue court and the order directing that the plaint be returned for presentation to proper court is fully justified.

10. The matter may be looked at from yet another point of view. Even though the plaintiff has merely claimed an injunction, that injunction certainly depends upon a declaration of plaintiff's title as a joint grove holder of the grove in dispute. Accordingly, even though the plaintiff has not specifically claimed a declaration of his title, the suit certainly involves such a declaration. In the context, the relief for declaration (though not claimed) is the substantive relief and the relief for injunction prayed for would merely be an ancillary relief. Accordingly, whether or not the revenue court is competent to grant an ancillary relief, it would have jurisdiction to try the suit even in accordance with the observation of Khare J., in Ram Awalamb's case, relied upon by the learned counsel for the appellant.

11. In the result, we find no merit in this appeal which is dismissed with costs.


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