1. This is a defendant's appeal arising out of a suit for pre-emption. The only point for consideration before us is whether the defendant is a co-sharer in the village. Previous to the disputed purchase, the defendant Ram Lal had purchased a share in the village which was pre-empted by two sets of plaintiffs. One suit was brought by Shanker and another was brought by three plaintiffs including Harpal Singh who is one of the present plaintiffs. Both the claims were decreed and it was ordered that the pre-emptors would obtain certain shares on payment of the pre-emption money. Shanker deposited the whole amount, but the other plaintiffs apparently did not. Thus Shanker Singh became entitled to the property. This was in early 1923. But Shanker did not apply for execution and delivery of possession. In July 1925 the present suit was instituted to pre-empt property purchased by the defendant in July 1924. The main defence was that the previous suit of Harpal Singh was a collusive suit and title did not actually pass to Shanker. Shanker Singh was examined as a witness on behalf of the defendant and stated that his suit was a collusive suit and that, in fact, the amount which he deposited had been taken from the present defendant Ram Lal himself who was the vendee in the previous suit. The Court below has disbelieved the evidence of Shanker and has held that he has not proved that the previous suit was a collusive suit, and has accordingly held that the effect of the deposit of the pre-emption money was to pass title to Shanker.
2. We agree with the Court below that the evidence of Shanker is not worthy of belief. There is no doubt that under Order 20, Rule 14(b) Civil P.C., the title of the pre-emptor to the property accrues from the date of the deposit. Under the express language of this rule it cannot now be contended that for the passing of title any registered document as required by the Transfer of Property Act is necessary. Indeed the title is deemed to have passed automatically and cannot be re-conveyed to the vendee unless there is a proper deed of transfer or a fresh acquisition of title by adverse possession.
3. Over and above this we are of opinion that the defendant is precluded from pleading his own collusion and fraud. In the former pre-emption case one of the objects of Harpal and others was to keep out a stranger from the village. So long as a cosharer of theirs, namely Shanker, succeeded on recovering the property from the stranger the plaintiff might well be satisfied. By having made the deposit Shanker got the whole property. Harpal Singh and others acquiesced in that position. If there was really any collusion or fraud intended by Shanker and Ram Lal, that fraud succeeded. It is not now open to Ram Lal to plead his own fraud against Harpal. The equitable doctrine of estoppel obviously stands in his way. The appeal has no merits and is dismissed with costs.