R.S. Singh, J.
1. This is one of the oldest cases of this State which has come before this Court in second round. Original suit was filed in the year 1933 which was disposed of by this Court in first appeal on 11-8-1976. Thereafter execution proceedings started which were dismissed by the Additional Civil Judge, Bulandshahr on 31-3-1978. The decree-holders have challenged the order of the Additional Civil Judge in revision before this Court.
2. The facts of the case in brief, are that the decree sought to be executed which was finally passed by this Court in first appeal is for possession over the vacant land and also over the constructed portions after demolishing the constructions. The decree is also for mesne profits from the date of the decree in the suit. Soon after the passing of this decree by this Court one of the decree-holders Sri Shiv Raj Singh sold his share in the properties in dispute in favour of Smt. Rajni Singh, wife of Sri Suresh. Chandra Singh, one of the judgment-debtors. The decree was put in execution by Dharam Raj Singh on behalf of all the decree-holders for the benefit of all of them. Two objections were filed against the execution of the decree, one by Smt. Rajni Singh and the other by Shri Shiv Raj Singh. Both the objections were almost on identical grounds. It was contested on several grounds. One of the grounds was that the execution was not for their benefit and was liable to be dismissed.
3. The execution court held that the decree-holders are entitled to mesne profits of three years only from the date of the decree. The execution application for mesne profits from the date of the suit and for possession was dismissed as the constructions in dispute could not be demolished and also on the ground of limitation as well as on the ground that the decree executed by Dharam Raj Singh was not for the the benefit of all the decree-holders including Thakur Shiv Raj Singh.
3-A. When this case came up before me for hearing I referred the question of limitation to be decided by a larger Bench as a similar question was already referred to in another case. Now the Division Bench has returned the case with the finding that the decision of the execution court that the execution application was barred by limitaion, was incorrect. Now the question of limitation is no more in dispute.
4. The case has been argued by Shri R. N. Singh, Advocate for the applicants and Sri Shanti Bhushan, Senior Advocate for the opposite parties with great vehemence on the other questions involved in this case which are as under :
(i) Whether some of the decree-holders can legally execute the whole decree for the benefit of all the decree-holders even if it is opposed by one or more of the decree-holders
(ii) Whether the decree-holders are entitled to get actual possession over the land in dispute after demolition of the buildings which are in possession of the tenants?
(iii) Whether the decree-holders are entitled to the mesne profits from the date of the suit or decree?
5. As regards the first question, it may be stated that the decree was in favour of a number of persons including Thakur Shiv Raj Singh. The decree was put in execution by Thakur Dharam Raj Singh impleading all the decree-holders including Thakur Shiv Raj Singh as the executants against the judgment-debtors. On the basis of the sale-deed executed on behalf of Thakur Shiv Rai Singh in favour of Smt. Rajni Singh, the vendee stepped in his shoes as one of the decree-holders although it was alleged that the suit for cancellation of the said sale-deed filed by the sons of Thakur Shiv Raj Singh is still pending in the Civil Court. According to the learned counsel for the applicants, the decree put in execution by Thakur Dharam Rai Singh, one of the decree-holders was for the benefit of all the decree-holders in whose favour it was passed in this case. Merely because one of the decree-holders or his transferee has put an objection docs not mean that it was not for the benefit of all the decree-holders. According to the learned counsel for the opposite parties no doubt one of the decree-holders can put the decree in execution jointly provided all the decree-holders are willing. But in this case it was opposed by Thakur Shiv Raj Singh and his vendee Smt. Rajni Singh. Therefore, it cannot be said that the execution of the decree was for the benefit of all the decree-holders.
6. As a general rule, a decree in favour of more persons than one can be executed on behalf of them jointly, but Order XXI, Rule 15, Civil P.C. is an exception to this proposition. It provides that where a decree has been passed jointly in favour of more persons than one, any one or more, or such persons, may, unless the decree imposes any condition to the contrary, apply for the execution of the whole decree for the benefit of them all or where any of them has died, for the benefit of all the survivors and the legal representative of the deceased. In this provision the words 'for the benefit of them all' (underlined by me) are significant and appear to have been used with purpose. Usually one and all the decree-holders reap the fruits of the litigation only after the execution of the decree. So long the decree remains unexecuted all are losers and no one is benefited by it. But where one of the decree-holders opposes the execution of the decree for any ulterior motive against his interest, in that case, the duty is cast on the court to look into his interest and to consider whether the execution of a joint decree by one of the decree-holders is for the benefit of all of them or not. As observed earlier, the execution of the decree will always be for the benefit of all the decree-holders whether one or all of them are the execuants. In this case it has not been pointed out as to in what manner the benefit flowing out of the decree in favour of Thakur Shiv Raj Singh or his vendee will be prejudicial to their interest in case the decree is executed. On execution of the decree all the decree-holders will derive equal benefits allowed to them under the decree.
7. The learned counsel for the applicants relied on several authorities. In Ram Autar v. Ajudhia Singh ((1876) ILR 1 All 231), and the Collector of Shahjahanpur v. Suraj Singh ((1881) ILR 4 All 72) the Division Benches of this Court have held that a decree passed jointly in favour of more persons than one can be legally executed as a whole for the benefit of all the decree-holders and not partially to the extent of the interest of each individual decree-holder. In Banarasi Dass v. Maharani Kuar ((1882) ILR 5 All 28) it was held that if one of the judgment-debtors acquires the position of the decree-holder in respect of whole judgment debt, the effect is to extinguish the liabality of the other judgment-debtors and decree cannot be executed, but if one of them so acquires only partial interest in the decree the effect is not to extinguish the entire judgment debt but so much only of it as such judgment debt was acquired. It can be executed for unextinguished part of the decree. This view is based on the principle of merger where all the judgment-debtors had purchased the whole decree and the interest of the judgment-debtors and the decree-holders merges and the decree becomes unexecutable. If some portion of the decree has been purchased by the judgment-debtors then the effect is that the entire judgment debt is not extinguished and it can be executed for the unextinguished portion of the decree. Here in the instant case the dispute is between the decree-holders inter se and the questions between the decree-holders inter se do not fall under Section 47, Civil P.C. In other words the inter se dispute between the co-decree-holders is foreign to the scope of Section 47, Civil P.C. (Vide B. Hanumantha Rao v. A. Krishnamma (AIR 1924 Mad 518)). In Jugul Kishore v. Gobardhan Lal : AIR1964All548 it has been held that one of the decree-holders can execute the decree for the benefit of all the decree-holders and the other decree-holders are not necessary to be impleaded in the execution application. It is also not necessary to mention this fact even in the execution application that the decree is being executed for the benefit of all the decree-holders (Vide Shankar Hari v. Damodar Vyankaji (AIR 1945 Bom 380)) and Kamal Kishore Prasad Singh v. Hari Har Prasad Singh (AIR 1951 Pat 645).
8. The learned counsel for the applicants, further contended that if the decree determines the shares of the decree-holders it may be executed for one's share only. Therefore, where from the joint decree if the share of the decree-holders is apparent in that case separate execution is possible, otherwise the joint execution by any one of the decree is only permitted by law as held in Valchand Gulabchand Shah v. Manekhbhai Hira Chand Shall : AIR1953Bom137 .
9. The learned counsel for the opposite parties, contended that the view taken in the case of Valchand Gulabchand Shah (supra) relied upon by the applicants was not accepted in Smt. Chapala Devi v. Rakhal Chandra Sen Gupta : AIR1964Pat363 wherein it was held that a separate share of the decree-holder can be adjusted and separately executed. In Noor Zaman Khan v. Mt. Maimunnissa Bibi : AIR1958Pat228 and Dhondhey Prasad v. Sewak : AIR1954All739 it has been held that where the share of the decree-holder can be predicted execution of separate shares of decree-holders is maintainable.
10. On the consideration of the arguments of the learned counsel for the parties and after going through the authorities cited by them I am of the view that the dispute between the co-decree-holders is foreign to the scope of Section 47, Civil P. C. and one of the decree-holders can execute the decree for the benefit of all of them ever without impleading them and without mentioning this fact in the execution application that the decree is being executed for their benefit as an execution of the decree is permissible always for the benefit of all the decree-holders unless it is proved otherwise. This is based on a very sound principle, otherwise any one of the decree-holders or, account of some malice with the other decree-holders or in collusion with the judgment-debtors can make the decree unexecutable. As a joint decree is executable as such and the execution court cannot go behind the decree, a decree can be executed in part only where the share of the decree-holders are defined or can be predicted or where the share is not in dispute. In that case a separate execution for the respective shares of the decree-holders is permitted under the law, otherwise it is beyond the scope of the execution court to find out the shares of the decree-holders in the execution proceedings. A joint decree is not divisible and can be executed and is always executable as ioint decree. The view of the execution court that as Smt. Rajni Sineh has opposed the execution of the whole decree so it is not for the benefit of Thakur Shiv Raj Singh, is illegal and cannot be maintained in law.
11. As regards the second question, regarding actual possession the learned counsel for the opposite parties contended that the decree for demolition of the constructions and possession has become unexecutable in view of the fact that on the passing of the U.P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting. Rent and Eviction) Act (hereinafter referred to as the Rent Control Act) the tenants who are in occupation of the buildings have acquired certain rights to remain in the buildings and they cannot be elected otherwise (than as) provided by the Rent Control Act. Therefore, they cannot be ejected in the present execution proceedings. In this connection he has referred to Sections 14 and 20 of the Rent Control Act. According to the learned counsel the ten ants have acquired rights to live in the houses sought to be demolished and they cannot be ejected except in accordance with law. Consequently, the judgment-debtors could not demolish the buildings and hand over actual possession to the decree-holders. In this view of the matter, so long the tenants are in occupation of those buildings the court also cannot execute the decree by demolishing those buildings and give actual possession to the decree-holders. Therefore, the applicants at the best can get only symbolic possession and not actual possession after demolition of the buildings in occupation of the tenants.
12. In reply the learned counsel for the applicants contended that the fact that the Rent Control Act has already come into force before the disposal of the first appeal by this Court and if the tenants had been conferred with certain rights under the Rent Control Act, this question should have been raised in the first appeal itself. But in the absence of any such objection in the first appeal the decree was passed for demolition and actual possession. Therefore, the decree passed in the first appeal will operate as constructive res judicata and the execution Court is bound to execute the decree, and cannot go behind the same and find out whether the tenants in occupation of the buildings have got any right in view of the Rent Control Act. It has been further contended by the learned counsel for the applicants that where the person inducting tenants on the land is found to be trespasser on the date of such induction, in that case such tenants cannot continue to have a right on the land against the will of the true owners as held in Rentala Lachaiah v. Chimma Dudi Subrahmanyam : 3SCR712 . The learned counsel further contended that in execution of the decree against the tenant-in-chief, the sub-tenant or licensee can also be ejected. The ejectment of the sub-tenant or licensee in such a stitution would not be forcible or wrongful. (See Ganesh Prasad v. State of U.P. : AIR1974All379 ). According to the learned counsel in the present case the tenants derive title from the judgment-debtors Therefore, when the judgment-debtors are bound by the decree, the tenants are also equally bound.
13. It has been contended by the learned counsel for the opposite parties that where no plea regarding the rights of the tenants under the Rent Control Act has been raised in the first appeal or even raised but has not been decided, the same can be considered by the executing court. In support of his contention he placed reliance on Jai Narain v. Ganeshi Lal. (AIR 1952 Pepsu 35) and Nabbobai v. Hasan Gani Abdul Gani (AIR 1954 Madh Pra 181) (FB). In certain cases according to him the execution court can go behind the decree. He relied on Gurusami Goundan v. Sivanmalai Goundan (AIR 1933 Mad 157) wherein it was held that where one of the joint decree-holders applies for execution of the decree fraudulently behind the back of the other decree-holders, the Court can on the objection of the other decree-holders disallow the execution notwithstanding Order XXI, Rule 2, Civil P. C. that the decree was fraudulently executed behind the back of the other decree-holders. But this case is distinguishable on facts as in the present case it is nobody's case that the decree was fraudulently executed behind the back of the other decree-holders. It may also be mentioned here that in the decisions reported in Jai Narain v. Ganeshi Lal (supra), and Nabbobai v. Hasan Gani Abdul Ganj (supra) subsequent change of law came after the passing of the decree whereas in the present case the Rent Control Act came into force during the pendency of the first appeal before this Court. Reliance was also placed on Jagjivan Singh v. Sita Ram . In this case on the interpretation of the subsequent Act it was found that the decree had become unexecutable. The learned counsel also placed reliance on Haji Sk. Subhan v. Madhorao : AIR1962SC1230 . In this case the suit for possession based on proprietary rights was filed. The M. P. Abolition of Proprietary Rights (Estates, Mahals, Alienated Lands) Act came into force during the pendency of the suit and the decree for possession was passed in ignorance of law. It was held that the decree cannot be executed as the right of the decree-holder was extinguished under the provisions of that Act.
14. In the instant case it has not been shown that the rights and title of the decree-holders had been extinguished under any of the provisions of the Rent Control Act, Therefore, in my judgment, unless the rights of the decree-holders had been extinguished under the provisions of any Act after or before the passing of the decree where the effect of the provisions of that Act had not been taken into consideration, the decree cannot be held to be unexecutable.
15. This point can be considered from another aspect. Section 31 of the Rent Control Act has provided penalties to any person who contravenes any of the provisions of the Rent Control Act. Therefore, any person who demolishes any building under the tenancy of any person shall be punished with imprisonment or fine. But this provision is attracted only where a person demolishes any building without any lawful excuse. Here in the present case the judgment-debtors have been given authority under the terms of the decree to demolish the building. Therefore, in case the building is demolished by the judgment-debtors it cannot be held to be an act without lawful excuse. Therefore, the Rent Control Act does not stand in the way of the execution of the present decree. This is riot applicable for one more reason. As according to the decree passed in the suit giving rise to the execution proceedings the judgment-debtors had been held to have no title in the vacant land and the land over which the buildings are standing when the judgment debtors had been adjudged to have no right in the land beneath the building, they are not entitled to maintain the buildings any more. According to terms of the decree the judgment-debtors have been held to have no right in the land beneath the buildings as the rights of the judgment debtors got extinguished and on their extinction by reason of Section 111 of the Transfer of Property Act the rights of the tenants also come to an end, and once the rights of the tenants come to an end, the judgment debtors could have lawfully demolished the buildings in compliance of the decree under execution. This view of mine also finds support from Uma Shanker Dixit v. State of U.P. : AIR1978All194 wherein it has been held that once the proceedings for acquisition under the land Acquisition Act have been completed the rights of the landlord get extinguished and on their extinction by reason of Section 111 of the Transfer of Property Act, the rights of the tenants also come to an end. In this case no relationship of the landlord and the tenant was existing between the tenant and the State Government. Therefore, the question of taking proceedings for his ejectment under Section 21 of the U.P. Act XIII of 1972 could not arise,
16. Now coming to the last question regarding the recovery of mesne profits, the point for consideration is whether the preliminary decree declaring the rights of the applicants for recovery of mesne profits is executable or it is executable after passing of the final decree as contemplated under Order XX, Rule 12, Civil P.C. According to the learned counsel for the applicants in the decree which is under execution, there is a clear direction for execution court to determine the amount of the mesne profits. Therefore, this decree is executable as such and it is for the execution court to determine the amount of the mesne profits in pursuance of the directions contained in the preliminary decree. It was further contended by the learned counsel for the applicants that according to the terms of the decree the applicants are entitled to set mesne profits for the three years from the date of the decree i.e. the decree of the High Court passed in the first appeal, whereas according to the learned counsel for the opposite parties the preliminary decree is not executable for mesne profits. It becomes executable only after the final decree is passed as contemplated under Order XX, Rule 12, Civil P. C. The direction given in the preliminary decree to the executing Court to calculate the amount of the mesne profits is against the provisions of Order XX, Rule 12, Civil P. C. and is without jurisdiction. Therefore, the amount calculated by the execution Court is without jurisdiction. It has been further contended by the learned counsel for the opposite parties that the amount of mesne profits can be calculated only for three years from the date of the decree i.e. the decree of the trial Court and not of the decree of the High Court.
17. In Rudra Pratap Singh v. Sarda Mahesh Prasad Singh : AIR1925All588 it has been held that Order XX, Rule 12, Civil P. C. enables the Court to direct an inquiry to be made as to the rent and mesne profits to which the plaintiff may be entitled. Such an inquiry is made in the course of proceedings which is virtually a proceeding in continuance of the original suit. Under Clause (2) of Rule 12 final decree has to be prepared in respect of the mesne profits which may be awarded in accordance with the result of such an inquiry. From such a final decree an appeal is maintainable. In Chittoori Subbanna v. Kudappa Subbanna : 2SCR661 it has been held that where a preliminary decree for possession passed by the High Court directed the trial Court to inquire about the mesne profits from the date of the institution of the suit and passed a final decree for payment of the amount found due up to the delivery of possession, the decree must be construed in conformity with the requirement of Order XX. Rule 12 (1)(c). Civil P.C. and the decree-holder cannot get mesne profits for a period beyond three years from the date of the High Court decree. In Kudappa Subbanna v. Chittoori Subbanna (AIR 1962 Andha Pra 500 (FB)) relying on Kiran Singh v. Chaman Paswan : 1SCR117 while dealing with the case of this nature it has been held that the decree passed by the Court without jurisdiction is a nullity. Its invalidity can be set up whenever and wherever it is sought to be enforced and relied upon even at the stage of execution and even in collateral proceedings. Thus, a direction to the executing Court for the inquiry for mesne profits passed by the lower Court is one that contravenes the provisions of Order XX, Rule 12 (1) (c) (iii) and is, therefore, invalid and nullity. In Raghubir Singh v. Secretary of State : AIR1938All445 it has been held that the Legislature has made provision in the Code of Civil Procedure for the determination of the amount of mesne profits in a suit for possession and mesne profits. For the assessment of the amount of mesne profits, a duty is cast upon the trial Court and the trial Court has no power to transfer that duty to the execution Court. An order of a trial Court directing the execution Court to assess mesne profits is an order without jurisdiction and should be treated as nullity. In Kumar Jagdish Chandra v. Bulaqi Dass : AIR1959All242 considering the question of the period for which the mesne profits can be allowed it has been held that Clause (c) of Sub-rule (1) of Order 20. Rule 12, Civil P. C. contemplates a decree directing an inquiry as to mesne profits from the institution of the suit only one of the three events mentioned in Sub-clauses (i), (ii) and (iii) which of them occurs first. Sub-rule (2) contemplates the passing of a final decree in respect of mesne profits in accordance with the result of that inquiry. The final decree contemplated will state the amount of mesne profits which have to be paid by the judgment-debtor to the decree-holder, and therefore, will have to take into consideration the date up to which mesne profits are to be paid. As such it will be either the date of delivery of possession to the decree-holders, or the date of relinquishment of possession by the judgment-debtor with notice to the decree-holder through the Court, or the date of the expiration of three years from the date of the decree, whichever of these alternative dates happens to be the earliest. A decree for mesne profits till delivery of possession cannot be interpreated as a decree for the realisation of the amount of the mesne profits till the actual delivery of possession which may never take place. It cannot be contemplated that the decree-holders by failing to take action to obtain possession could create a right in themselves to recover mesne profits up to an imaginary date for the delivery of possession.
18. On examining Order XX, Rule 12. Civil P.C. and the case law referred to above I am of the opinion that the trial Court while declaring the right of mesne profits in favour of the plaintiff can direct for an inquiry in the matter and is required to pass final decree as contemplated under Order XX, Rule 12, Civil P.C. and it has got no jurisdiction to direct the inquiry regarding the amount of mesne profits to be determined by the executing Court. Such a direction to the execution Court is without jurisdiction and is nullity. It is the final decree regarding the mesne profits which is executable and the final decree can be passed for the recovery of the mesne profits for the maximum period of three years from the date of the passing of the final decree which is a decree of the High Court in this case as the decree of the trial Court has merged in the decree of the appellate Court i.e. the High Court.
19. Lastly, it has been contended by the opposite parties, that it is not a fit case for exercising revisional jurisdiction as the error of law and facts is no ground for interference in revision. Reliance was placed on Pandurang Dhondi Chougule v. Maruti Hari Jadhav : 1SCR102 , M.L. Sethi v. R.P. Kapur : 1SCR697 and Managing Director (MIG) Hindustan Aeronatics Ltd. Balangar, Hyderabad v. Ajit Prasad Tarway : (1972)ILLJ170SC wherein it has been held that the High Court should not interfere even if the order is wrong or not in accordance with law, unless the Court exercised its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.
20. It is true that the jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 115, Civil P.C. is a limited one. Section 115, Civil P.C. is not attracted against conclusions of law or of fact in which the question of jurisdiction is not involved. But in this case the execution Court has dismissed the execution application on the ground of limitation apart from other grounds. The question of limitation has been held to be question of jurisdiction. Therefore, the question of law decided by the subordinate Court is concerned with the question of jurisdiction of the said Court and on other grounds as well the subordinate Court has committed an error of jurisdiction. Therefore, it is a fit case for interference in revision under Section 115, Civil P.C.
21. In view of what has been discussed above, the order of the execution Court cannot sustain in law and deserves to be set aside.
22. In the result, the revision succeeds and is allowed. The order of the execution Court dated 31-3-1978 is set aside and the case is sent back to the execution Court for decision afresh in accordance with law and in the light of the observations made above. However, in the peculiar circumstances of the case the parties are directed to bear their own costs.