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Sohan Lal Vs. Raghunath Prasad and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Nos. 542 to 544 and 546 of 1968
Judge
Reported inAIR1981All235
ActsLimitation Act, 1908 - Schedule - Article 182; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 11, 47 and 48 - Order 21, Rules 22 and 23; Transfer of Property Act, 1882 - Sections 52
AppellantSohan Lal
RespondentRaghunath Prasad and ors.
Appellant AdvocatePrakash Gupta, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateN.B. Nigam and ;Rajeshwari Pd., Advs.
DispositionAppeal partly allowed
Excerpt:
..... with in 12 years of passing of decree - as provided in section 48 of code of civil procedure - decree holder would not be released to file the second execution application within three years as required under article 182. (ii) property - applicability of lis pendens in time barred execution - section 52 of transfer of property act,1882 - bar of lis pendens cease to exist after the execution of decree becomes time barred. (iii) civil - execution and applicability doctrine of constructive res judicata - order 21 rule 22 of code of civil procedure,1908 - judgment debtor did not filed objections - subsequent transfer from judgment debtor and legal heirs - whether judgment debtors precluded from filing objections at subsequent stage - constructive res judicata not applicable. - - ..........award was made a rule of the court and a decree followed.5. on 6th august. 1956. sohan lal, the decree-holder filed an execution ap-plication in the courts at jhansi where the decree had been passed. in due course the decree was transferred to the courts at mathura for execution. at mathura the execution was dismissed for non-satisfaction on 24th august, 1957.6. the decree-holder on 14th march, 1966. filed a second application for execution. this was registered as no. 14 of 1966. on 26th march, 1966. the court directed notice to issue to the iudgment-debtor. on 30th april. 1966. the court passed the following order :--'case called out. sri sanyal for decree-holder present. judgment-debtor absent despite service. proceed ex parte. property is under pledge by virtue of award. it amounts.....
Judgment:

Satish Chandra, C.J.

1. Theseare decree-holder's applications in revision, directed against the judgment of the learned Civil Judge, Jhansi. dismissing the execution application as barred by time.

2. When the revisions came up for hearing before a learned single Judge, it was submitted that the iudgment-debtor was precluded by the doctrine of constructive res iudicata from raising the objection that the execution was barred by limitation. It was argued that the Full Bench decision of this Court in Genda Lal's case : AIR1936All21 laying down the proposition that the iudgment-de-btor was competent to raise the plea of limitation at any time during the pendency of the execution application was not the correct view of law in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Goenka's case : [1953]4SCR377 and Prem Lata's case : [1971]1SCR364 . The attention of the learned single Judge was drawn to three Full Bench decisions of the Hyderabad, Venkappa v. Lakshmikant Rao. (AIR 1956 Hyderabad 7), Orissa, Jagannath Ram-anui Rai Deb v. Lakshmi Naravan Tri-pathi. : AIR1960Ori197 and Patna High Courts Baiinath Prasad Sah v. Ramphal Sahni. : AIR1962Pat72 . The learned single Judge felt some difficulty in distinguishing the said cases or reconciling the conflict of opinion. He observed :

'As the only point in the instant cases relates to the decision of the obiection relating to limitation of the execution. I refer these cases to a larger Bench for decision.'

3. The revisions were laid before a Full Bench of three Judges. The Full Bench held that it was not competent to overrule another Full Bench of three Judges in Genda Lal's case. It was hence desirable that the matter be considered by a larger Bench. That is how the matter has come up before this Full Bench of five Judges.

4. Shyam Lal. Kishan Lal and Kan-haiya Lal were three brothers. Shyam Lal on 25th June. 1944, took a loan from Sohanlal. the present applicant and de-posited title deeds of some properties assecurity. Certain arbitration proceedings followed, in which an award was made on 10th March, 1954. allowing the claim of Sohan Lal for Rs. one lac with three per cent interest against Shyam-lal. On 30th October, 1954. the award was made a rule of the court and a decree followed.

5. On 6th August. 1956. Sohan Lal, the decree-holder filed an execution ap-plication in the courts at Jhansi where the decree had been passed. In due course the decree was transferred to the courts at Mathura for execution. At Mathura the execution was dismissed for non-satisfaction on 24th August, 1957.

6. The decree-holder on 14th March, 1966. filed a second application for execution. This was registered as No. 14 of 1966. On 26th March, 1966. the court directed notice to issue to the iudgment-debtor. On 30th April. 1966. the court passed the following order :--

'Case called out. Sri Sanyal for decree-holder present. Judgment-debtor absent despite service. Proceed ex parte. Property is under pledge by virtue of award. It amounts to a charge or mortgage. No fresh attachment is necessary. Now sale proceedings have to be taken. Decree-holder to take steps for service under Order XXI, Rule 66 C. P. C. for 7-5-1966.'

7. On 16th July, 1966. the court passed the following order :--

'Notice served. No obiection filed. Statement under Order XXI, Rule 66 is confirmed. Further steps by 23rd July, 1966.'

8. On 23rd July. 1966, the court directed issuance of the sale proclamation fixing 3rd October. 1966.

9. On 1st October. 1966, an obiection was filed by one Madhu Kanal. H9 claimed ownership of a portion of the property, which was the subiect-matter of sale, by transfer from Kanhaiya Lal one of the brothers of iudgment-debtor Shyam Lal. Madhu Kanal also filed an application for stay of sale. The court ordered :--

'I see no sufficient reason to stay sale which is for 3-10-66. Confirmation of sale may be stayed to safeguard his interest.'

Notice was directed to be issued to the decree-holder.

10. On 3rd October. 1966. another objection was filed by one Bhuvanendu Ariaria. He claimed on the basis of a transfer from Kishan Lal, the third brother of the judgment-debtor Shyam Lal. On 8th October, 1966, two more obiec-tions were filed--one was by H. K. Sharma and another and the other was by B. K. Gupta. These two sets of claimants claimed as transferees from the judgment-debtor Shyam Lal. They also applied for stay of sale, but the court refused to stay the sale, but directed that the confirmation of sale shall remain stayed. On the same day namely, 8th October, the court, having found that the Amin had not properly certified the sale, directed that the sale may be held within thirty days. The matter was directed to be put up on 8-11-1966.

11. During the pendency of these objections, the judgment-debtor died. Proceedings to substitute his heirs were taken. The heirs were duly substituted. But they did not file any objection. The objections were heard by the execution court on 2nd December, 1967. By its judgment dated 18th December. 1967, the court held that the decree was not a nullity for lack of registration. The second point related to the plea of limitation, viz., that the second execution application was barred by limitation. The court held that the decree-holder's counsel concedes that the execution application was barred by limitation, because the first execution application was dismissed at Mathura on 24th August. 1957. The present application was filed more than six years later, on 14th March, 1966. It was clearly barred by limitation. On these findings the execution application was dismissed as barred by limitation. Aggrieved, the decree-holder has come up to this Court in revision.

12. Mr. Prakash Gupta. learned counsel for the decree-holder applicant, submitted that the execution application filed on 14th March. 1966. was made within twelve years of the decree dated 30th October, 1954. and so was within time under Section 48 C. P. C.

13. This submission is squarely repelled by the decision of the Supreme Court in Prem Lata's case (AIR 1970 SC 1525) (supra). In para 17 their Lordships held :--

'It may, however, be stated that the effect of Section 48 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not to supersede the law of limitation with regard to execution of decrees. The Limitation Act prescribes a period of limitation for execu-tion of decrees. Section 48 of the Code of Civil Procedure dealt with the maximum limit of time provided for execution, but it did not prescribe the period within which each application for execution was to be made. An application for execution was to be made within three years from any of the dates mentioned in the third column of Article 182 of the Limitation Act, 1908. An application for execution of a decree would first have to satisfy Article 182 and it would also have to be found out as to whether Section 48 of the Code of Civil Procedure operated as a further bar.'

14. It is thus apparent that merely because an execution application has been filed within twelve years of the decree, will not absolve the decree-holder of the requirement of instituting it within three years of the disposal of the last execution application as provided by Article 182 of the Limitation Act. This point has no substance.

15. Mr. Prakash Gupta. learned counsel for the decree-holder application, submitted, in fact, the court issued notice under the provisions of Order XXI. Rule 22. C. P. C. The notice was actually served on the judgment-debtor but he did not appear. On 30th April. 1966. the court passed the order mentioned above, which was. in substance, an order directing the execution to proceed. This was an order provided for by Order XXI. Rule 23. C. P. C. It had the force of a decree and was appealable as such. Admittedly no appeal was filed by the judgment-debtor. The judgment-debtor was hence precluded by the doctrine of constructive res iudi-cata from raising the plea of limitation at a subsequent stage of the execution proceedings.

16. In these cases the civil revisions have been referred for decision to this Bench. Neither the learned single Judge nor the three-Judge Full Bench had framed or formulated any particular question for decision of this Full Bench. In the circumstances, it is pertinent to see whether the aforesaid question does on the facts of the case, arise for decision.

17. Shvamlal was the iudgment-debtor. He was served with notice under Order XXI. Rule 22. C. P. C. He did not appear nor did he file any objection. After his death his personal heirs were substituted. They also did not file any objection. Therefore the question whether the judgment-debtor is precluded from filing an objection by the doctrine of constructive res iudicata does not, on facts, arise.

18. In the present case, four sets of objections were filed. The preliminary question is whether the ohiectors could be said to be the judgment-debtors or his representative so as to be barred by the doctrine of constructive res judicata. In order to correctly appreciate the position, let us look at the facts a little more closely. The award which was made rule of the court and on which a decree was pronounced on March 10, 1954. stated :--

'The suit is decreed for Rs. 1,00,000/-with 3% per annum simple interest and all the moveable and immoveable properties of the judgment-debtor as detailed in the memorandum shall remain in pledge till the entire decree is satisfied either by payments in cash or by sale of pledged property at Agra. Ma-thura and Jhansi.'

19. The decree-holder filed an execution application in the court at Jhansi on August 6, 1956. This execution was, in due course, transferred to Malhura. On August 24. 1957. the courts at Mathura dismissed the execution for non-satisfaction.

20. Thereafter the decree-holder remained silent and inactive till June 13, 1966 when he filed the second execution application in the courts of Jhansi (Execution Case No. 15 of 1966), In this execution application the decree was sousht to be executed by sale of properties mentioned at items 10 and 11 of the memorandum. The details of these properties as given in the execution application, are :--

'Item No. 10-- One ice factory known as 'Bharat Ice Factory' situate outside Khandar Gate, Jhansi.

Hem No. 11--Ahata Bhannilal. situate outside Sainyar Gate. Jhansi. in which houses Nos. 102 to 117 and 118 to 121 and 122 to 127 are situate.'

As already mentioned, four sets of objections were filed in this execution case. They save rise to miscellaneous ca.se Nos. 30, 31, 32 and 33 of 1966. Miscellaneous Case No. 30 of 1966 arose out of the obiection filed by one B. K. Gimta. Sri Gupta prayed that houses NOS. 100 to 114 and 116 to 118 situate in Ahata Bhannilal. Jhansi. be released from the sale held in execution of the decree. He claimed to be the owner in possession of these houses. On basis of sale deeds executed by Shvamlal on 3-7-63. 21-12-64; 16-2-65 etc. it was stated that the execution had become barred by tune and cannot validly proceed.

21. Miscellaneous Case No. 31 of 1966 arose out of an objection filed by Madhu Kamal. He claimed title in respect of houses Nos. 122 and 123 on the basis of a deed of sale dated January 20, 1965 and houses Nos. 124 to 127 on the basis of a deed of sale dated September 14, 1964. It was stated that both these sale deeds were executed by Sheel Chand son of Kanhaiyalal. He claimed to be the owner in possession of these houses. He alleged that the execution of the decree had become barred by time.

22. Miscellaneous Case No. 32 of 1966 related to the objections filed by H. K. Sharma and R. K. Sharma. They claimed title to house No. 115 which was purchased by them from Shyamlal, the judgment-debtor, by a deed of sale dated September 24, 1962. They claimed to be owners in possession of this house. It was stated that the execution of the decree has become barred by time.

23. Miscellaneous Case No. 33 of 1960 arose out of an obiection filed by Bhu-vanendu Ariaria. He claimed that he was owner in possession of houses Nos. 118 to 121 on the basis of a sale deed dated April 30, 1965 executed by Kishan Lal, and his sons, who were claiming to be the exclusive owners under a family settlement of 1941 by which these houses were allotted exclusively to the share of Lala Kishanlal. He also pleaded that the execution was barred by time.

24. All these objectors prayed that the houses mentioned in their obiec-tions should be released from sale in favour of the obiectors.

25. Thus the four objections related to some only of the properties which were sought to be sold by the decree-holder. The properties which were sub-ject to the objections were 110 to 114, 115, 116 to 118, 118 to 121 and 122, 123 and 124 to 127. Thus houses Nos. 110 to 127 were the subiect-matter of these objections. There was, however, no obiection in respect of house Nos. 102 to 109 of item No. 11 and in respect of the ice factory which was item No. 10 of the memorandum.

26. The decree-holder contested these objections. The statement in the obiections filed by Madhu Kamal thathe had bought the houses from Sheel Chand son of Kanhaiya Lal or the statement in the obiection filed by Bhu-vanendu Arjaria that he had purchased the houses from Kishanlal and his sons were not specifically controverted by the decree-holder in his reply. Similarly, the statement in the obiection filed by Sri H. K. Sharma and Sri A. K. Sharma that they purchased house No. 115 from Shyamlal by a deed of sale dated September 24. 1962 was also not controverted. It is thus evident that Madhu Kamal and Bhuvanendu Arjaria did not claim title through the iudgment-debtor. They are hence not the judgment-debtor's representative. They are in the position of holder of title paramount. As against them the doctrine of constructive res judicata under which the judgment-debtor is sought to be barred from raising any obiection cannot be pressed in service. Their obiections were treated to be under Section 151 C. P. C. They brought to the notice of the execution court that the execution is barred by limitation and hence cannot validly proceed against them in relation to the properties owned by them. The Court held that the execution was time-barred. Even if for any reason Section 151 C. P. C. may not be attracted, yet owing to the factual situation, these are not fit cases for interference under Section 115 C. P. C. This finding has not been questioned on the merits by the learned counsel for the decree-holder. The property covered by the obiections of these two gentlemen was hence liable to be released from the sale proceedings.

27. The obiection of Sharmas related to house No. 115. They purchased it from the iudgment-debtor Shyam Lal on September 24, 1962. The obiection of Gupta was based on sales of 1963, 1964 and 1965. The period of limitation for a second execution application is three years from the date of the final order on the first execution application (vide Article 182 of the Limtitation Act of 1908). The first execution application was dismissed on August 24. 1957. Limitation for the second execution application hence expired on August 24, 1960. The sale in favour of the Sharmas was on September 24, 1962 in favour of Gupta in 1963. 1964 and 1965.

28. Section 52 of the Transfer of Property Act codifies the doctrine of lis pendens. It provides :--

'Transfer of Property pending suit relating thereto. -- During the pendencyin any Court having authority within the limits of India excluding the State of Jammu and Kashmir' or established beyond such limits by the Central Government of any suit or proceeding which is not collusive and in which any right to immoveable property is directly and specifically in question, the property cannot be transferred or otherwise dealt with by any party to the suit or proceeding so as to affect the rights of any other party thereto under any decree or order which may be made therein except under the authority of the Court and on such terms as it may impose. Explanation -- For the purposes ofthis section the pendency of a suit or proceeding shall be deemed to commence from the date of the presentation of the plaint or the institution of the proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction, and to continue until the suit or proceeding has been disposed of by a final decree or order and complete satisfaction or discharge of such decree or order has been obtained, or has become unobtainable by reason of the expiration of any period of limitation prescribed for the execution thereof by any law for the time being in force.'

29. Transfer by any party to the suit during its pendency cannot affect the rights of any other party to the suit. A transferee pendente lite is bound by the decree, but this prohibition to transfer applies during the pendency of the suit. The pendency comes to an end. inter alia, when complete satisfaction or discharge of any decree has. inter alia, become unobtainable by reason of the expiration of the prescribed period of limitation for execution thereof by any law for the time being in force. As already seen, satisfaction or discharge of the decree which is under execution in the present case, became unobtainable by reason of the expira-tion of the prescribed period of limitation on August 24. 1960. From that date onwards, the bar against alienation imposed by Section 52 of the Transfer of Property Act ceased to exist. A transferee from the iudgment-debtor after the execution of the decree has become barred by tune cannot be said to be bound by the decree. In Parmeshari Din v. Ram Charan the Privy Council held that a transferee pendente lite is a representative-in-interest of the mortgagor iudgment-debtor and is bound by the decree passed against the latter. In Gulzarilal v.Madho Ram (1904) ILR 26 All 447 this Court held that the word 'renresenta-tive'. when taken with reference to the iudgment-debtor, does not mean only his legal representative, that is his heir, executor or administrator, but means his representative-in-interest and includes a purchaser of his interest whether by private sale or court auction, but so far as his interest is concerned, he is bound by that decree. Ex. hvpothesi, it seems evident that a purchaser of the judgment-debtor's interest who, so far as such interest is concerned, is not bound by the decree. cannot in law be termed as the representative of the iudgment-debtor. In respect of the interest so purchased by him, he claims independently of the judement-debtor. His position is similar to that of a title paramount. The doctrine of constructive res judicata based on inaction by 'the iudgment-debtor cannot preclude him from raising all available pleas to protect the interest so purchased by him. He can validly take all available pleas to oppose sale of his property.

30. On the facts the position is that all the four obiectors were neither the iudgment-debtor nor his representatives. The question of law whether the judg-ment-dehtor or his representative will or will not be barred by the doctrine of constructive res judicata does not arise for consideration. We hence refrain from expressing any opinion on the correctness of the view taken in Genda Lal's case : AIR1936All21 .

31. As already seen, no objection was filed in respect of the sale of properties 102 to 109 of item No. 11 and in respect of the sale of the ice factory mentioned at Item No. 10 of the memorandum. These properties had. in fact, been put to auction. The execution court had directed stay of confirmation of sale. Rule 92 of Order XXI. C. P. C. reads :--

'Sale when to become absolute or be set aside :--

Where no application is made under Rule 89. Rule 90 or Rule 91. or where such application is made and disallowed, the Court shall make an order confirming the sale, and thereupon the sale shall become absolute.'

It is clear that after having ordered the auction of the properties and after auction-sale having been held the Court has no option but to confirm it where no objection has been filed. It is thus apparent that since no objection had been filed by any one in respect of the properties Nos. 102 to 109 as well as the ice factory, the court was liable to confirm their sale.

32. In the result, the revisions sue-ceed and are allowed in part. Properties Nos. 110 to 128 of item No. 11 of the memorandum are released from sale proceedings in favour of the respective objectors. The execution Court below is directed to proceed to confirm the sale of the rest of the properties in accordance with law. The parties may bear their own costs here and below.


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