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Smt. Gayatri Devi Vs. Om Prakash Gautam and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Civil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ Petn. Nos. 6290 of 1981 and 7742 of 1982
Judge
Reported inAIR1985All356
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 6, Rule 17; Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 193
AppellantSmt. Gayatri Devi
RespondentOm Prakash Gautam and ors.
Appellant AdvocateV.S. Singh, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateStanding Counsel
DispositionPetitions allowed
Excerpt:
.....- order 6 rule 17 of code of civil procedure, 1908 - possession sought by mandate of the court - lease in favour of plaintiff rescinded - held, amendment not allowed. (ii) prosecution - section 193 of indian penal code, 1860 - verification in the plaint not on personal knowledge - held, not guilty for perjury. - - on 20th may, 1972, there was a general decision taken by the executive committee concerning such defaulters that time to deposit the balance shall stand extended up to 15th june, 1972, and that on failure to make the deposit within that period the advanced deposit shall be liable to deduction at the rate of seven-and-half per cent and the rest shall be refunded and the allotment cancelled. this apart, it is well settled that rules of procedure are intended to be a handmaid..........may, 1977, for amendment in the plaint seeking to add the relief for specific performance in his favour. the application was rejected by the trial court on 24th sept. 1977. civil revision no. 3049 of 1977 filed by the petitioner against this order was dismissed by this court on 29th sept. 1978, on ground that the alleged cause of action for specific performance had become barred by limitation and hence the amendment could not be permitted. 4. the petitioner thereafter applied on 29th sept. 1980 (vide paper no. 105-c) for amendment in the plaint. the chief assertion sought to be introduced thereby is that the petitioner had been put in possession over the land and is entitled to grant of lease on the strength of part performance under section 53a t.p. act. this was opposed by the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

B.D. Agrawal, J.

1. The petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution are directed against an order of the IV Additional District Judge, Agra, dt. 19th Feb. 1981.

2. On Dec. 17, 1970, Om Prakash Gautam (hereinafter referred to as the 'petitioner')applied to the Nagar Mahapalika, Agra, for grant of lease in respect of 550 square yards of land under the Jaipur House Residential Colony Scheme. A sum of Rs. 5,500/- was also deposited by him on the same date. Resolution was passed in April/May, 1971, by the Executive Committee, Nagar Mahapalika, allotting plot No. 169 to the petitioner. The balance of the required amount for the grant of lease, however remained undeposited until Sept. 30, 1972. The petitioner contends that he was not informed of the allotment; the respondents maintained that information had been duly given in writing to his address. On 20th May, 1972, there was a general decision taken by the Executive Committee concerning such defaulters that time to deposit the balance shall stand extended up to 15th June, 1972, and that on failure to make the deposit within that period the advanced deposit shall be liable to deduction at the rate of seven-and-half per cent and the rest shall be refunded and the allotment cancelled. The allotment to the petitioner was rescinded on 5th Sept. 1972. In the meantime Smt. Gayatri Devi (hereinafter referred to as the 'respondent') applied on August 28, 1972, for grant of lease to her and made deposit of Rs. 4,000/- by cheque. On Sept. 30, 1972, the petitioner applied for being permitted to deposit Rs. 16,450/- as the balance for the lease money, which he was permitted to do at his risk and the file was directed lo be put up. After considering the matter on 5th Jan. 1973, the Executive Committee took the decision that allotment to the petitioner shall stand cancelled and the amount be refunded to him after aforementioned deduction.

3. The petitioner instituted Original Suit No. 117 of 1973 on 16th Feb. 1973, in the Court of Munsif, Agra, seeking permanent injunction restraining the Nagar Mahapalika from giving effect or enforcing the allotment in favour of the respondent and from executing lease in respect of plot No. 169 in her favour. The respondent has put in contest. The Agra Development Authority, which replaced the Nagar Mahapalika under the Uttar Pradesh Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973, executed lease for ninety-nine years under a registered instrument in favour of the respondent on 15th Dec. 1978, for consideration of Rs. 22,270/-. The petitioner applied on 26th May, 1977, for amendment in the plaint seeking to add the relief for specific performance in his favour. The application was rejected by the trial Court on 24th Sept. 1977. Civil Revision No. 3049 of 1977 filed by the petitioner against this order was dismissed by this Court on 29th Sept. 1978, on ground that the alleged cause of action for specific performance had become barred by limitation and hence the amendment could not be permitted.

4. The petitioner thereafter applied on 29th Sept. 1980 (vide paper No. 105-C) for amendment in the plaint. The chief assertion sought to be introduced thereby is that the petitioner had been put in possession over the land and is entitled to grant of lease on the strength of part performance under Section 53A T.P. Act. This was opposed by the respondent. The trial Court rejected it in entirety on Jan. 1, 1981. In revision this has been allowed substantially by the Additional District Judge on 19th Feb. 1981, with certain conditions imposed upon the petitioner.

5. Aggrieved the petitioner has filed Writ Petition No. 6290 of 1981. The other petition has been brought by the respondent. With the consent of counsel for parties these were heard together.

6. Sri Murlidhar learned counsel for the respondent contends in the main that the amendment sought by the petitioner suffers from mala fides. The power under Order 6 Rule 17, Civil P.C. to amend the pleading is undoubtedly wide. The amendment necessary to determine the real question in controversy between the parties must be made. This apart, it is well settled that rules of procedure are intended to be a handmaid to the administration of justice. A party cannot be refused just relief merely because of some mistake, negligence, inadvertence or even infraction of the rules of procedure. 'The Court always gives leave to amend the pleading of a party, unless it is satisfied that the party applying was acting mala fide, or that by his blunder, he had caused injury to his opponent which may not be compensated for by an order of Courts'. Jai Jai Ram Manohar Lal v. National Building Memorial Supply Gurgaon : [1970]1SCR22 . Defective pleadings, it has been held, are generally curable if the cause of action sought to be brought out was not ab inilio completely absent : (see Ganesh Trading Co. v. Moji Ram : [1978]2SCR614 ). The law does not stand on mere technicality but it is a relevant consideration that there is no injustice caused in the process to the other side. Leave to amend will not be given if the party applying is acting mala fide : as where there is no substantial ground for the case proposed to be set up by the amendment (Mulla : Civil P.C. Vol. II, 14th Edition : 1018). If the amendmentsought is demonstrated to lack in good faith or is designed to take away valuable rights which accrue in favour of a party or is calculated to do injustice to the other party, the Court is justified in refusing the same. Zafarullah Khan v. IV Addl. C. J. Faizabad, 1984 UP LBEC 734. I am conscious that the merits of the averment made do not weigh in the matter of considering the justification for amendment in the pleading but it is permissible for the Court at such stage to make a probe in order to determine if the application made is in good faith. This was the ground taken before the revisional Court also which has, however, negatived the same observing that the petitioner wants to assert his right under the doctrine of part performance on the basis of points already pleaded and by adding that his possession on the disputed land is by way of part performance of the contract. There is apparent failure on part of the revisional Court to consider whether the amendment proposed is with oblique motive to give a new vent to the litigation on imaginary or fictitious basis.

7. Section 53-A, Transfer of Property Act relied on for the petitioner requires in order to be applied, the following conditions to be fulfilled :--

(i) that the existence of a contract to transfer for consideration any immovable property by writing signed by the person concerned or on his behalf from which the terms necessary to constitute a transfer can be ascertained with reasonable certainly;

(ii) that the transferee has, in part performance of the contract, taken possession or any part thereof or the transferee, being already in possession continues in possession in part performance of the contract and has done some act in furtherance of the contract;

(iii) that the transferee has performed or is willing to perform his part of the contract.

8. Upon these conditions being fulfilled the transferor or any person claiming under him is debarred from enforcing against the transferee any right in respect of the property notwithstanding that the contract has not been registered or that the transfer has not been completed in the manner prescribed therefor by the law in force.

9. From the record in the present case it is manifest that there has been no such case set up by the petitioner. In Clause (4) of the application dated 17th Dec. 1970, made for allotment to himself the petitioner stated that possession shall be taken after the lease deed has been registered. This makes out at least that on his own admission the petitioner was not in possession over the land on or before the date when he applied for allotment. We have on record thereafter the application which the petitioner put in before the Nagar Mahapalika on Sept. 30, 1972, wherein he sought permission to deposit the balance of the amount and even though therein he refers to the allotment proposed to the other side, there is not a word stated as to the petitioner having been in possession over the land in any capacity. A perusal of the plaint in Original Suit No. 117 of 1973 brought by the petitioner dt. 16th Feb. 1973, moreover show that it is devoted largely to an attempt to depict that the petitioner had acquired the right to sanction of lease of plot No. 169 for himself and that the subsequent allotment to the respondent was invalid. The relief claimed, as I mentioned above, is permanent injunction to restrain the Nagar Mahapalika from sanctioning lease to the respondent. There is specification of the grounds on which allotment allegedly to the respondent was claimed to be vitiated. It is difficult to comprehend in this context that in case the petitioner had been put in possession on plot No. 169 by some act or direction of the Nagar Mahapalika the factum thereof would have escaped mention altogether in any shape or form. The suggestion that this might he due to inadvertence stands ruled out, as submitted for the respondent, by the petitioner's own admission in his application dt. 26th May, 1977, which he made for amendment in the plaint before the trial Court wherein he sought to add Clause (ii) for relief as follows : --

'The defendant 1 be ordered to maintain the allotment of plot in favour of plaintiff and execute lease deed in favour of plaintiff and carry all obligation and delivery by mandatoryinjunction.'

10. It will be noticed that as late as May, 1977, the petitioner sought the relief for being put in possession through a mandatory injunction sought to be granted in his favour by the trial Court in the suit. In that application too he nowhere asserted the factum of having allegedly been in possession or occupation over the plot in any shape or form up to that period. The question of his seeking delivery of possession through a mandate of the trial Court would not have arisen in case the petitioner were in possession in part performance as he now seeks to aver and it cannot be doubted that the factum of possession is a matter within the personal knowledge of the petitioner. It is then of considerable significance also that in the impugned application for amendment moved on 29th Sept. 1980, too the petitioner does not spell out as to when was he put in possession over the plot in question or as to under whose direction or order this was done. The assertion sought to be introduce by him in the form of para 7-A by way of amendment is that the deposit dt. 30-9-1972 was accepted 'as it ought to have been and the plaintiff was told by the officers of defendant 1 to occupy the plot no. 169 aforesaid which he accordingly did so occupy x x x'. This on its face is extremely vague; besides not being substantiated from the record. Nothing on the record makes out, Prima facie that there was acceptance of the deposit tendered by the petitioner on 30-9-1972; he was permitted to deposit obviously at his risk and the file was directed to be put up while on Jan. 5, 1973 the decision taken was to cancel the allotment in his favour formally and to refund the amount. Sri Saraswat learned counsel for the petitioner urged that he had applied on 27th Nov. 1978, to the Agra Development Authority, wherein the recital was that he got possession over the plot subsequent to the deposit of the amount dt. 30-7(9?)-1972. From this it is claimed to be inferred that the possession was of the petitioner and that it was in part performance. A look at para 8 of the plaint of the suit giving rise to these petitions reveals that therein the averment of the petitioner is that 'The plaintiff was informed on 30-9-1973(2?) that the plaintiff's allotment was cancelled and the cancellation of the plaintiffs allotment order and the allotment in favour of the defendant 2 are illegal and void on the following grounds x x x'. He proceeds to narrate thereafter the grounds. It is worthy of note that when on his own showing the petitioner was informed on 30th Sept. 1972, that the allotment in his favour was cancelled there could arise no question of his being put in possession over the plot on 30-9-1972 or thereafter. In other words the petitioner's own admission contained in para 8 of the plaint is in clear contradiction to the inference which the learned counsel seeks to derive on the basis and what he said in his self-serving application made on 27-11-78. Conscious of this the petitioner sought to amend this para 8 of the plaint also by replacing the date Jan. 5, 1973, in place of Sept. 30, 1972, thereby attempting to show that the information was derived by him on 5-1-1973 and not Sept, 30, 1972, which again runs in conflict with what he staled himself in the application made on Sept. 30, 1972. The revisional Court also has rejected this part of the amendment by the petitioner in the plaint and Sri Saraswat stated candidly before me that he does not press the petition in respect of that part of the amendment which has been rejected by the revisional Court. Lease wasexecuted in favour of the respondent on 15-12-1978 whereupon she was formally put in possession and a certificate for the purpose was executed also on 27th Dec. 1978, placed on the record. This is relevant to suggest that the delivery of possession to the petitioner in pursuance of contract, if any, would have been through some formal mode adopted such a certificate or an order in writing as was the course adopted in relation to the respondent.

11. Sri Saraswat referred also to application dt. 15th Feb. 1973, by the petitioner to the Nagar Mahapalika. It was argued that therein the petitioner had said that he was also in possession over the plot. It cannot be lost sight of that this was a assertion made for the first time after cancellation of the allotment had taken place on 5th Jan. 1973, to the petitioner's knowledge and the respondent had actually stepped in. For the respondent this application has been rightly described as purposive. Therein too it is not mentioned as to in what capacity or when and through what mode was the petitioner put in possession. The office report dt. 3rd Nov. 1972, mentioned for the petitioner talks of non-availability of the plot for allotment and not as to the petitioner's possession over the same. The other report dt. 27th Feb. 1973, is also silent on the point of possession. It was argued that from the reports of the advocate commissioner dt. 7th Oct. 1980/28th Nov. 1980, and the assessment for the period 1975-80 it will appear that the petitioner has raised a Kotha, latrine, kitchen, bath-room and boundary-walls on the land. The argument is that the construction could not come into being without the petitioner being in possession. For the respondent the case taken has been that the petitioner trespassed on 23rd Sept. 1980, for which there was a criminal case instituted against him for offence under Section 448 of the Penal Code and proceedings also taken under Section 145 of the Criminal P.C. in which the land was attached by the Magistrate on 21st Oct. 1980. This has been followed by Original Suit No. 191 of 1982 brought by the respondent on 19th April, 1982, in the Court of Civil Judge, Agra, for possession and mesne profits. The material fact is that the petitioner has, for purpose of availing Section 53-A of the T.P. Act, to trace, prima facie, at this stage, the alleged possession to part performance of the contract and this for reasons discussed above he cannot claim to have been able to do.

12. For the respondent the learned counsel also submitted that the petitioner had to make out prima facie the existence of a contract of transfer in his favour for then alone thequestion of possession being conveyed in part performance thereof could arise. The allotment to the petitioner in April/May, 1971, had been rescinded on Sept. 5, 1972. True there was deposit of the balance amount made by him on Sept 30, 1972, but this was without any commitment from the other side and in fact the cancellation was made finally on 5-1-1973. For these reasons the contention for the petitioner that he has been in possession in part performance of the contract is based upon afterthought and remains unsubstantiated.

13. Sri Saraswat urged not without force that the failure of the petitioner to bring forward his claim for specific performance within time is no ground to deny a claim founded on part performance. There is authority is support of this proposition as appearing in Sobharam Jiwan v. Totaram Sitaram AIR 1952 Nag 244 in which it was held that even though certain matters which should be considered in a suit for specific performance have also to be considered in a suit for possession where defence of part performance is put forward, the provisions of Section 12 of Specific Relief Act and Section 53-A, T.P. Act. are distinct and that in a suit of the latter type 'all that the Court is required to consider is whether or not the conditions laid down in Section 53-A are fulfilled in respect of a transaction relied upon by the transferee.' Even if the suit for specific performance by the defendant is barred by lapse of time, the defendant is nevertheless entitled to his own possession on the strength of Section 53-A, T.P. Act vide Nanasaheb Gujaba Banker v. Appa Ganu Bankar. AIR 1957 Bom 138; Maruti Gurappa v. Krishna Bala, AIR 1967 Bom 34.

14. Learned counsel submitted moreover that even though a plaintiff, the petitioner may seek to debar the respondent from enforcing her rights under the contract of lease. In Pt. Ram Chander v. Pt. Maharaj Kunwar : AIR1939All611 it was contended by the plaintiff in a suit for injunction that 'as he had entered into possession of the properties in terms of the lease executed in his favour' and was willing to perform his part of the contract of the lease though it was not completed in accordance with law, the defendants were not entitled to eject him by process of law or otherwise. It was held upon these facts that the plaintiff could rely upon Section 53-A. In AIR 1957 Andh Pra 854 (YenuguAchayya v. Emaki Venkata Subba Rao) likewise the view taken was that if the conditions laid down in the section are complied with, it enables the transferee to defend his possession if the transferor seeks to enforce his rights against the property. The essential condition to invoke Section 53-A, as emphasised in this case, and, also referred to above, is that 'he (the plaintiff) should have taken possession of the property in part performance of the contract x x x x.' and it is this which is utterly lacking in the present. From the discussion made in the above it is amply clear that having failed to place his case on the footing of specific performance, the petitioner has taken to the device of pleading part performance, and, for that purpose to detract from the admission contained in para 8 of the plaint, and, this despite his still being vague and unable to aver plainly that his possession has its origin in the alleged contract or that it is in part performance thereof.

15. The plaintiffs learned counsel strenuously contended then that the conditions imposed by the learned Additional District Judge in granting the amendment in his favour are unwarranted. The conditions imposed in granting the application by the revisional Court are :--

(i) that the petitioner shall pay Rs. 100/- as eosts to the opposite parties;

(ii) that the petitioner shall deposit a sum of Rs. 250/- per month from 1-9-80 upto 1-2-1981 and continue to deposit at this rate till the pendency of the suit as security for compensation to be allowed to be taken by the respondent in case the petitioner failed to establish his claim in the suit;

(iii) that the petitioner shall furnish an undertaking in writing that in case of his failure in the suit he would vacate and dismantle the construction;

(iv) that the petitioner furnishes security of Rs. 2,000/- for due performance of the undertaking.

16. Since for reasons discussed the amendment sought by the petitioner could not be allowed, the question of imposing these conditions does not arise. Even otherwise the Court below has failed to notice that the terms, which may be imposed under Order 6 Rule 17 must be such as have nexus with the application allowed or relief granted. It seems to have been overlooked that the petitioner was not being put in possession over the property in pursuance of a result of the application for amendment made by him to the plaint being allowed. If he has been in possession as the Court below observes this is independently of the application for amendment. Therefore, for being able to retain that possession there arose no question of imposing these conditions while granting the application for amendment in the pleading. The Court below was not at the moment considering grant of temporary injunction either way. The conditions imposed except in regard to costs have, therefore, to be treated as uncalled for.

17. Learned Additional District Judge moreover directed the trial Court to complain against the petitioner for offence under Section 193 of the Penal Code. It has been observed in this connection by the revisional Court that in the application 105-C for amendment the petitioner verified para 2(e) asserting that its contents were true to his personal knowledge whereas in reference to para 8 of the original plaint he had verified on the basis of legal advice and hence there was a contradiction. It is overlooked that the verification of para 8 not on the basis of personal knowledge, there arose no case for perjury to make it expedient to direct prosecution of the petitioner for offence under Section 193 of the Penal Code on this account. This part of the direction is also, therefore, liable to be set aside.

18. For the discussion made in the above, the petitions succeed in part and are allowed accordingly. The order dt. 19th Feb. 1981, passed by the IV Additional District Judge, Agra, is set aside except to the extent it allows the impleadment of the Agra Development Authority and the insertion of para 10-A in the plaint bringing in the Agra Development Authority which has since replaced the Nagar Mahapalika, Agra. The parties shall bear their own costs.


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