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Sheo Nath Seth Vs. Smt. Krishna Kumari Devi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 1007 of 1965
Judge
Reported inAIR1973All496
ActsTransfer of Property Act, 1882 - Sections 44
AppellantSheo Nath Seth
RespondentSmt. Krishna Kumari Devi
Appellant AdvocateSidheshwari Prasad, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateMahesh Pd. Srivastava, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....or common or part enjoyment of the house - recovery of possession not maintainable - held, suit for partition is the only remedy. - - that suit was decreed but the defendant did not pay the amount of the decree nor did he pay any rent subsequent to 31st may, 1956. consequently a composite notice of demand and ejectment was given to the defendant on 18-1-1957, but he refused to accept the same and also failed to pay the arrears of rent within one month of the said notice. iii of 1947 and as he failed to vacate the said accommodation and deliver vacant possession of the same to the plaintiff, the suit for the aforesaid reliefs was filed. it also found that the notice was duly served on the defendant but he failed to comply with tbe same and became a defaulter. the plaintiff's..........partition made by metes and bounds. in para 17 of the written statement it was contended that the suit for possession of specific portion of the house without partition was misconceived and untenable. the validity of the note was also challenged. on these pleadings the trial court framed a number of issues. it found that the defendant was the tenant of the premises in suit and that the relationship of landlord and tenant existed between the parties. it also found that the notice was duly served on the defendant but he failed to comply with tbe same and became a defaulter. on these findings the suit was decreed. against that decision the defendant preferred an appeal.the learned second additional civil judge, varanasi, who disposed of that appeal held that the defendant occupied 1/3rd.....
Judgment:

T.S. Misra, J.

1. This is a defendant's appeal arising out of a suit for his ejectment from the accommodation mentioned at the foot of the plaint and for recovery of arrears of rent and damages. The plaintiff alleged herself to be the owner of 2/3rd share in the house No. 53/163 situate in Mohalla Dethori Mahal, Varanasi. She further alleged that the defendant was her tenant of 4 rooms and one osara on the ground floor and one room on the upper floor in the said premises at a monthly rental of Rs. 8.00. A sum of Rs. 350.00 became due from the defendant as arrears of rent upto 31st May, 1956, for the recovery of which a suit was filed in the Court of Judge Small Causes, Varanasi. That suit was decreed but the defendant did not pay the amount of the decree nor did he pay any rent subsequent to 31st May, 1956. Consequently a composite notice of demand and ejectment was given to the defendant on 18-1-1957, but he refused to accept the same and also failed to pay the arrears of rent within one month of the said notice.

Thus he became a defaulter within the meaning of Section 3 (i) (a) of the U. P. Act No. III of 1947 and as he failed to vacate the said accommodation and deliver vacant possession of the same to the plaintiff, the suit for the aforesaid reliefs was filed. The plaintiff alleged that the said house was formerly owned by the defendant and his brothers, Mool Chandra and Ram Chandra. They had equal shares in the said house. The defendant sold his 1/3rd share in the said house to Sri Bhagwan Das Patel by a sale deed dated 9-2-1953 and executed a rent note on tbe same date i.e., 9-2-1953 in favour of Bhagwan Das Patel in respect of his 1/3rd share in the said house which he has sold to Bhagwan Das Patel agreeing to pay rent to Patel @ Rs. 8.00 p.m . The defendant thus became tenant in the said premises at the said rate. On 2-4-1955 Ram Chandra, the brother of the defendant sold his 1/3rd share to the plaintiff.

On 14-4-1955 Bhagwan pas Patel sold to the plaintiff that 1/3rd share in the said house which lie had purchased from the defendant on 9-2-1953 and also assigned to the plaintiff the arrears of rent outstanding against the defendant. Thus the plaintiff became the owner of 2/3rd share in the said house and the defendant became her tenant @ Rs. 8.00 p. m. The suit was resisted by the defendant on number of grounds. He contended that there did not exist any relationship of landlord and tenant between him and the plaintiff and asserted that he was not the tenant of the plaintiff. The genuineness of the alleged rent note said to have been executed in favour of Bhagwan Das Patel was also disputed. In para 16 of the written statement it was asserted that the house in question was ancestral property. It was a dwelling house of the defendant and his brothers who were in joint possession thereof.

There had been no partition between the defendant and his brothers and the plaintiff was not entitled to possession of any specific portion of the said house until she got partition made by metes and bounds. In para 17 of the written statement it was contended that the suit for possession of specific portion of the house without partition was misconceived and untenable. The validity of the note was also challenged. On these pleadings the Trial Court framed a number of issues. It found that the defendant was the tenant of the premises in suit and that the relationship of landlord and tenant existed between the parties. It also found that the notice was duly served on the defendant but he failed to comply with tbe same and became a defaulter. On these findings the suit was decreed. Against that decision the defendant preferred an appeal.

The learned Second Additional Civil Judge, Varanasi, who disposed of that appeal held that the defendant occupied 1/3rd share of the said house as tenant of the plain tiff and that he had delivered possession of his ownership rights in his 1/3rd share of that house. He however, observed that it was difficult to say that the portion in suit viz., 4 rooms and one osara on the ground floor and one room on the first floor of the said house was purchased by the plaintiff and let out to the defendant. He further observed that the case involves serious questions viz. whether the plaintiff and his brothers formed a Hindu joint family and were they coparceners or not and whether this house was a dwelling house at the time of its sale to Bhagwan Das Patel or not and whether the portion in suit is the 1/3rd portion of this house or is in excess of it.

On the basis of the sale deed he concluded that the plaintiff held the defendant's 1/3rd share in the house and the latter occupied it as a tenant of 1/3rd share in the house. But it could not be said with precision as to which portion of the house constituted that share. He also referred to the specific plea to the fact that there was no partition amongst the brothers of the defendant and the plaintiff had purchased merely the undivided share of the defendant. Hence the plaintiff was not entitled to take possession of any specific portion of the house representing it to be the defendant's share. No specific issue was framed on this plea. The case was, therefore, remanded to the trial Court for framing proper issues on the points referred to above, with the observation that the question of genuineness and validity of the sale deed Ex. 3 and the rent deed. Ex. 13, would not be allowed to be raised and that the findings that the defendant was the tenant of the plaintiff of 1/3rd share of the house on a monthly rent of Rs. 8.00 and he has not paid any amount as rent to the plaintiff in spite of service of notice Ex. 12, would not be disturbed. On remand the trial Court framed the following issues:--

1. Whether the plaintiff and his brother formed a joint family?

2. Whether there was a partition among the brothers of the defendants'?

3. Whether the house has been divided by metes and bounds?

4. To what relief if any is the plaintiff entitled?

5. Whether the defendant is in possession of the premises as a tenant or as a co-sharer?

On the aforesaid issues Nos. 1, 2, and 3 the trial Court held that formerly the defendant and his brothers formed a joint Hindu family and no partition by metes and bounds took place. There was a family settlement according to which they were in possession of different portions of the same house according to their mutual understanding. On Issue No. 5, it was held that the defendant occupied the premises as a tenant and not as a co-sharer. On these findings the suit was again decreed by the trial Court The defendant again preferred an appeal from the said decree. The learned Second Additional Civil Judge considered only one point in the appeal viz., what is the effect of the private arrangement between the defendant and his brothers in respect of the house in the matter of passing of decree for actual ejectment. He observed that the finding of the Trial Court to the effect that the defendant was in occupation of the disputed portion of the premises in pursuance of a private arrangement amongst his brothers was not challenged before him.

The learned Second Additional Civil Judge further observed that there being private arrangement amongst the defendant and his brothers, the other brothers could raise no objection in delivery of possession to Bhagwan Das over the portion in the occupation of the defendant and the remedy of the defendant lay by way of partition. The defendant therefore became a tenant of Shri Bhagwan Das Patel in the disputed premises and by virtue of the sale deed executed by Bhagwan Das Patel in favour of the plaintiff, the latter became landlord of the defendant. He, therefore, found no difficulty in passing a decree of ejectment of the defendant from the premises in suit. The appeal was, therefore, dismissed. Aggrieved by that decision, the defendant has now come up to this Court in second appeal.

2. The Courts below have thus found that the defendant was the tenant of the plaintiff's 1/3rd share in the house in question on a monthly rent of Rs. 8.00, that he had not paid any amount as rent or other-wise for the period claimed by the plaintiff in spite of service of notice, Ex. 12, that the sale deed, Ex. 3 and the rent deed, Ex. 13, executed by the defendant in favour of the plaintiff were genuine documents and were binding on the defendant, that the defendant and his two brothers, who formed joint Hindu family lived separate and were in occupation of the house in question not in pursuance of any partition by metes and bounds but in pursuance of a private arrangement between themselves. The appellate Court below, however, found that in view of the private arrangement in pursuance of which the defendant and his other brothers were in occupation of separate portions of the house in question, the brothers of the defendant could raise no objection in delivery of possession to the plaintiff over the portion of the house which was in the occupation of the defendant.

The learned counsel for the defendant-appellant urged that the plaintiff was not entitled to obtain possession of any specific portion of the house in dispute by ejectment of the defendant therefrom without riling a suit for partition. He contended that the remedy of the plaintiff lay in filing the suit for partition and not in any other way. He further urged that the plaintiff, who was transferee of a share of a dwelling house belonging to an undivided Hindu family being not a member of the family, was not entitled to joint possession or common or part enjoyment of the house and his remedy therefore lay in the filing of a suit for partition and not for recovery of possession of any specific portion of the property or ejectment of the defendant therefrom. In my view there is force in this contention. The house in dispute is a dwelling house belonging to the defendant and his two brothers who formed a joint Hindu family. These brothers lived in that house and it appears that they occupied different portion of the said house in pursuance of some mutual arrangement between them. However, no partition of the said house by metes and bounds has taken place.

The defendant sold his 1/3rd share in the house to Bhagwan Das Patel on 9-2-1953. Bhagwan Das Patel thereafter sold the portion so purchased by him to the plaintiff Smt. Krishna Kumari on 14th April, 1955. Thus the plaintiff became the owner of the share of the defendant in that house. On 2-4-1955 Ram Chandra, one of the brothers of the defendant sold his 1/3rd share in the house to the plaintiff. In this way the plaintiff acquired 2/3rd share in the said house. The remaining 1/3rd share continues to belong to Mool Chand, the other brother of the defendant. The plaintiff is thus a co-owner of 2/3rd share in the said house. Admittedly the plaintiff is not a member of the family of the defendant and his brothers. That being so, the plaintiff, who is a transferee of 2/3rd share of the dwelling house belonging to an undivided family, not being a member of the family, was not entitled tojoint possession or common or part enjoyment of the said house without seeking partition by metes and bounds. (See Section 44 of the Transfer of Property Act).

It is a settled law that a purchaser of a coparcener's undivided interest in joint Hindu family property is not entitled to possession of what he has purchased. His only right is to sue for partition of the property and ask for allotment to him of that which on partition might be found to fall to the share of coparcener whose share he had purchased. His right to possession would date from the period when a specific allotment was made in his favour. The transferee is not entitled to possession of interest purchased by him till the partition has been made. The purchaser acquires only an equity to stand in the alienation shown and can work out his right by means of partition but he is not entitled to joint possession with them. He does not acquire title to any defined share in the property. He could, therefore, work out his rights only by a suit for partition and his right to possession would date from the period when a specific allotment is made in his favour. (See AIR 1953 SC 487 and AIR 1966 SC 470).

3. The learned counsel for the appellant, however, urged that the defendant having executed a rent note was estopped from challenging the title of the plaintiff to seek his ejectment from the said premises. This contention too has no merits. In the rent note Ex. 13, specific accommodation in the said house was not defined. The lease was created by Bhagwan Das vide Ex. 13, in respect of 1/3rd share which Bhagwan Das had purchased from the defendant. The plaintiff had purchased that 1/3rd share of the house which Bhagwan Dass had purchased from the defendant. But the plaintiff has sought ejectment of the defendant from four rooms and one osara in the ground-floor and a room on the first floor of the house in dispute. Significantly, it is nowhere mentioned in the rent note, Ex. 13, that the lease was being created in respect of these four rooms and one osara on the ground floor and one room on the first floor of the said house.

It is true that the defendant could not dispute the title of Bhagwan Das under Section 116 of the Indian Evidence Act but he can set up a plea that the remedy of the plaintiff lay in filing a suit for partition inasmuch as the plaintiff had a derivative title having purchased 1/3rd share in the said house from Bhagwan Das, and hence was not entitled to seek ejectment of the defendant because that would amount to seeking possession of any specific portion of the house by ejectment of the defendant therefrom without filing a suit for partition. Hence, Section 116 of the Indian Evidence Act could not be attracted. The defendant could raise any valid plea to defeat the claim of the plaintiff for his ejectment from thesaid house. The plaintiff's suit for ejectment simpliciter is therefore misconceived and must fail so far as that relief was concerned.

4. In the result, the appeal is allowed and the decree passed by the court below is modified to the extent that the relief for ejectment of the defendant from the accommodation in question is refused and the suit shall now stand decreed only for Rupees 192.00 as arrears of rent from 1st June, 1956 till the date of the institution of the suit. The rest of the decree passed by the court below is set aside. In the circumstances of the case, the parties shall bear their own costs in this appeal.


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