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Prag Datt Vs. Smt. Saraswati Devi and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Contract
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 2207 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1982All37
ActsSpecific Relief Act, 1963 - Sections 9, 16 and 20(4); Transfer of Property Act, 1882 - Sections 58; Contract Act, 1872 - Sections 2; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908
AppellantPrag Datt
RespondentSmt. Saraswati Devi and anr.
Appellant AdvocateK.N. Tripathi and ;M.B. Saxena, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateAjai Kumar, ;S.M. Agarwal, ;B. Dikshit, ;Gopal Singh and ;K.B. Srivastava, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....- section 20 sub-section 4 of specific relief act, 1963 and section 2 of contract act, 1872 - sale deed executed by one of the plaintiffs-respondents - same time in a separate agreement appellant -defendant agreed to reconvey the property to the plaintiffs-respondents or to any one of them - notice was issued for reconveyance - rejected on the ground of lack of legal obligation - agreed to reconvey in favour of one of the plaintiffs-respondents - second notice served - no reply - suit instituted for specific performance was defended that the plaintiffs-respondents failed to prove their willingness to agreement - lower courts decreed the suit - want of mutuality cannot throw away a suit for specific performance - separate documents but single transaction - held, appeal dismissed..........be deemed to be a mortgage by conditional sale, the deed is a deed of sale outright whereas the agreement executed by the transferee is an agreement of reconveyance. nevertheless the position remains that in spite of the fact that two documents are executed in such a case, the transaction is nevertheless a single transaction to which both the parties are consenting parties. this completely disposes of the first submission of the learned counsel for the appellant. 9. the second submission of the learned counsel for the appellant is equally without substance. a fair reading of the agreement dated july 29, 1964 goes to show that 'the defendant-appellant was under an obligation to reconvey the property in favour of the plaintiffs-respondents only up to june 15, 1966. on the expiry of the.....
Judgment:

S.J. Hyder, J.

1. Har Vallabh plaintiff-respondent No. 2, was the Bhumidhar of plot No. 417 measuring 1-20 acres. The said plot is situated in village Kandeshi Pachar, District Etawah. On July 29, 1964, Har Vallabh executed a sale deed of the said plot in favour of the defendant-appellant for a sale consideration of Rs. 800/-. On the same date, it is alleged by the plaintiff, the defendant-appellant executed an agreement to transfer the property in favour of Smt. Saraswati Devi, plaintiff-respondent No. 1, and Har Vallabh or any one of them. The plaintiffs-respondents served a notice on the defendant-appellant on Oct. 26, 1965, requiring him to execute a sale deed of the said plot in favour of Smt. Saraswati Devi alone as Har Vallabh was not possessed of sufficient means. The defendant-appellant replied to the said notice stating that he had only agreed to transfer the land in favour of Har Vallabh and he was under no legal obligation to do the same in favour of Smt. Saraswati Devi, On receipt of this reply, the plaintiffs-respondents sent another notice dated Nov. 24, 1965 to the defendant-appellant to execute a sale deed jointly in favour of Har Vallabh and Smt. Saraswati Devi, The defendant-appellant did not reply to the said notice.

2. The above is a resume of the facts which have been concurrently found by the two courts below and these facts have not been rightly challenged before me. It is not in dispute, and it is also borne out from the record, that the plaintiffs-respondents instituted the suit for specific performance of the contract dated July 29. 1964 in the Court of Munsif on Dec. 22, 1965.

3. It may be stated that it was urged before the courts below on behalf of the defendant-appellant that the plaintiffs-respondents bad failed to allege and prove that they had always been readyand willing to perform the agreement dated July 29, 1964 and were ready and willing to perform the same at the time of the institution of the suit, On this question, the two courts found in favour of the plaintiffs-respondents, In consequence of the said finding and the finding of fact summarised above, the trial court decreed the suit of the plaintiffs-respondents for specific performance and the said decree was maintained by the court of appeal.

4. On behalf of the defendant-appellant, it has been urged that the document dated July 29, 1964 was not a contract and, as such, was not legally enforceable. It was further contended by him that the suit instituted by the plaintiffs-respondents on Dec. 22, 1965 was premature and was not legally maintainable. Lastly he repeated the submission which was made before the two courts below that the plaintiffs-respondents having failed to comply with the requirements of law contained in Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 and Form 47 contained in Appendix A of Civil P. C., the suit should have been dismissed in limine. I shall presently deal with each of the submissions urged on behalf of the defendant-appellant.

5. In support of his first submission, learned counsel drew my attention to Ext. 1, the agreement dated July 29, 1964. He submitted that the document had been executed only by the defendant-appellant and it did not contain the signatures of the plaintiffs-respondents. In other words, his argument was that the agreement Ext. 1 in order to be enforceable should have been a bilateral document and since it was only unilateral, it could not be deemed to be an agreement, In support of the first submission, he referred to the provisions contained in Section 2 of the Indian Contract Act.

6. After considering the submission of the learned counsel I find myself wholly unimpressed by his reasoning. As already pointed out above, two documents were executed on July 29, 1964. One of these documents was a sale deed by Har Vallabh in favour of the defendant-appellant and the other, which is the basis of the present suit, was an agreement to reconvey the property in favour of Har Vallabh and Smt. Saraswati Devi, either jointly or severally. The execution of the two documents wasa single transaction and in that view of the matter, it is not possible to urge with any legitimacy that the agreement dated July 29, 1964 was not an agreement enforceable at law.

7. In this connection, what should also be borne in mind is the provision of law contained in Sub-section (4) of Section 20 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963. The said provision of law specifically lays down that want of mutuality by itself cannot be made a ground for throwing a suit of specific performance.

8. Section 58 of the Transfer of Property Act deals with various kinds of mortgages. One of the mortgages contemplated by the said section is a mortgage by conditional sale, The mortgage by conditional sale has been defined, inter alia, to mean that when a mortgagor ostensibly sells the mortgaged property on condition that on payment of mortgage debt, the buyer shall transfer the property to the seller. There is a proviso added to the definition of mortgage by conditional sale which lays down that no such transaction shall be deemed to be a mortgage unless a condition is embodied in the document which affects or purports to affect the sale. It, therefore, follows that where a sale deed is executed by a transferor and a separate agreement is executed by the transferee to reconvey the property the transaction cannot be deemed to be a mortgage by conditional sale, The deed is a deed of sale outright whereas the agreement executed by the transferee is an agreement of reconveyance. Nevertheless the position remains that in spite of the fact that two documents are executed in such a case, the transaction is nevertheless a single transaction to which both the parties are consenting parties. This completely disposes of the first submission of the learned counsel for the appellant.

9. The second submission of the learned counsel for the appellant is equally without substance. A fair reading of the agreement dated July 29, 1964 goes to show that 'the defendant-appellant was under an obligation to reconvey the property in favour of the plaintiffs-respondents only up to June 15, 1966. On the expiry of the said date, no liability to reconvey the property subsisted, and the defendant-appellant could not be compelled to specifically perform the agreement it the plaintiffs-respondentswere unable to purchase the property by the said date. The submission that the suit was premature and could only be filed after the expiry of July 15, 1965 is wholly without substance and cannot be sustained.

10. The last submission has been urged with some force by the learned counsel for the defendant-appellant and he has invited my attention to a number of authorities of this court and also of the Supreme Court to buttress his argument he has referred to the decisions of the Supreme Court in the case of Gomathi Nayagam Pillai v. Pelani Swami Nadar AIR 1967 SC 868 and Ouseph Verghese v. Joseph Aley (1969) 3 SCC 539. He has also placed reliance on the single Judge decision of this court Rajendra Prasad Raj v. Rajdeva Rai, AIR 1974 All 294, Manohar Lal v. Smt. Rajeswari Devi AIR 1977 All 36, Mahommed Khan v. Ayyub Khan AIR 1978 All 463 and Second Appeal No. 543 of 1972 Hari Shankar v. Channa decided by a single Judge of this Court on December 4, 1979.

11. It may be pointed out at the very outset that a case is an authority for the proposition of law it lays down. On facts, however, no two cases may be alike, and observations made on a particular set of facts in a case cannot be relied upon to support a case based on totally different facts. Except for the single Judge decision reported in the last case, all other cases cited on behalf of the defendant-appellant are distinguishable on facts and do not lend any assistance to the appellant. The last case referred to by the learned counsel which is an un-reported decision of a single Judge lays down the law rather too broadly and with due deference to the learned Judge, I am unable to share his views. In connection with the submission of the learned counsel on this aspect of the case, it would be proper to bear in mind the observations of the Supreme Court in Ramesh Chandra Chandiok v. Chunni Lal Sabharwal AIR 1971 SC 1238. Grover, J. speaking for the court observed (at p. 1242):

'The very fact that they promptly filed the suit shown their keenness and readiness in the matter of acquiring the plot by purchase. It must be remembered that the appellants had not only put are advertisement in news-papers about the existence of the agreement but had also sent a letter Ext. P-13 on September 12, 1956 declaring their readinessand willingness to pay the balance of the purchase price on the respondents pro-curing sanction.'

11A, Immediately after the passage quoted above, Grover, J. stated (at p. 1242):

'Readiness and willingness cannot be treated as a strait-jacket formula. These have to be determined from the entirety of facts and circumstances relevant to the intention and conduct of the party concerned. In our judgment, there was nothing to indicate that the appellants at any stage were not ready and willing to perform their part of the contract.'

12. The observations of the Supreme Court, referred to above, make it clear that the requirement of Section 16(c) and of Form 47 of Appendix A to Civil P. C. and are not to be interpreted narrowly and in a hypertechnical manner. It is the substance of the matter which is of importance. If from the averment made in the plaints and the surrounding circumstances, it is established in substance that the plaintiff was ready and willing to perform his part of the contract and had remained ready and willing to perform the same throughout, it would not be proper to non-suit him on a verbal omission here or there. It has to be remembered that Section 16(c) or Form 47 of Appendix A of Civil P. C. does not provide for booby trap of which an unscrupulous litigant should be allowed to take advantage.

13. A reading of the plaint makes it clear that the plaintiffs-respondents have clearly stated that they made repeated attempts to get the sale deed executed in terms of the agreement dated July 29, 1964. The defendant-appellant, in his written statement, does not dispute the receipt of the notice dated Oct. 10, 1965. The reply to the said notice has been found to be patently incorrect. No doubt the defendant disputed the receipt of the notice dated Nov. 24, 1965. But the service of the same has been found to have been duly proved on the defendant-appellant. In para 5 of the plaint, it has further been stated that the plaintiffs were willing for the execution of the sale deed in favour of both of them or any one of them. Maybe that the plaintiffs' witnesses have not stated in so many words that the plaintiffs were willing to get the sale deed executed on payment of Rupees 800/-. It is nevertheless to be remembered that the defendant-appellant has not disputed this fact in his written statement or his testimony before the trial court. The very fact that the plaintiff instituted the suit for specific performance of the contract dated July 29, 1964 and prosecuted the case with diligence goes to show that they were ready and willing to perform their part of the contract. The last submission urged on be-half of the appellant also fails.

14. No other point has been pressed in support of this second appeal. The second appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs.


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