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Jagabandhu Naik and anr. Vs. Gouri Bandha and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Limitation
CourtOrissa High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 19 of 1979
Judge
Reported inAIR1985Ori126
ActsLimitation Act, 1963 - Schedule - Articles 64 and 65; Limitation Act, 1908 - Schedule - Article 142; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 7, Rule 7
AppellantJagabandhu Naik and anr.
RespondentGouri Bandha and ors.
Appellant AdvocateS. Misra, Adv. (No. 1) and ;S.K. Nayak, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateDebasis Das, ;S.C. Mohapatra and ;S.K. Misra, Advs.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Cases ReferredV. Krishna Rao Dora v. Kotini Sitaram Dora
Excerpt:
.....that the suit must fail as there had been no prayer for recovery of possession. para 6 of the said judgment is quoted herein below in extenso :the learned single judge also held that the suit was not maintainable as the plaintiffs did not ask for the relief of recovery of possession and were satisfied with the relief of confirmation of possession. law is now well settled that both 'recovery of possession' and 'confirmation of possession' are consequential reliefs......below failed to notice the change in law in this regard. under the old limitation act, in all suits for possession based on dispossession, whether the plaintiffs had title or not, the burden of proof was on the plaintiff to prove that he was in possession and was dispossessed within 12 years of the suit and in all suits for possession based only on title, the burden of proof was on the defendants to prove that his possession became adverse to the plaintiff beyond 12 years of the suit. however, under the new limitation act', in a suit based on title even if dispossession also isalleged, the defendant can succeed only if he proves that his possession has become adverse to the plaintiff beyond 12 years of the suit. the plaintiff need prove only his title and he need not show that he.....
Judgment:

G.B. Patnaik, J.

1. Plaintiffs are the appellants against the confirming judgment and decree of the Subordinate Judge, Bhadrak in Title Appeal No. 22 of 1975. Plaintiffs suit is for declaration of title, confirmation of possession and giving direction to the defendants to fill up the tanks dug out over the disputed 'Ka' and 'Kha' schedule lands and for damages.

2. According to the plaint case Schedule 'Ka' land appertains to plot No. 1500 measuring Ac. 0.04 decimals which was purchased from one Netramani Naik by a registered sale deed dated, 31-7-1957 (Ext. 1). Schedule 'Kha' land is a part of Ac. 0.05 decimals appertaining to plot No. 1501 which the plaintiff No. 2 got from one Rani Bewa by virtue of a registered gift deed dated, 7-2-1948 (Ext. 2) and the plaintiffs thus were in possession of the same. The defendants have a tank on plot No. 1500/1771which they purchased and the said tank lies adjoining north of the suit plots. The defendants forcibly dug out portions of the two plots namely, plot Nos. 1500 and 1501 in the year, 1966 as a result of which the disputed portion formed a part of the tank. Accordingly, the present suit is by the plaintiffs with a further prayer that Rs. 270/- be paid as damages.

3. The defendants denied all the allegations made in the plaint and have averred that the disputed lands are part of their plotNo. 1500/1771 and they have been enjoying thesame uninterruptedly as of right for more than 100 years and have acquired title by adverse possession. On these pleadings, the learned Munsif has found relying on the report of the civil court commissioner that the disputed 'Ka' & 'Kha' schedule lands appertain to plot Nos. 1500 and 1501 respectively belonging to the plaintiffs. He has also held that the defendants have failed to adduce evidence to the effect that they are possessing the disputed land adversely and have perfected their title by adverse possession. But all the same, he has dismissed the plaintiffs' suit on a further finding that the plaintiffs have failed to prove their possession within 12 years from the filing of the suit.

4. On appeal the learned Subordinate Judge confirmed each of the findings of the trial court.

5. Mr. Misra, the learned counsel for the appellants submits that the title having been established and the defence case of adverse possession having been rejected the courts below committed error of law in dismissing the plaintiffs' suit on a finding that the plaintiffs have failed to prove their possession within 12 years from the date of filing of the suit. The courts below failed to notice the change in law in this regard. Under the old Limitation Act, in all suits for possession based on dispossession, whether the plaintiffs had title or not, the burden of proof was on the plaintiff to prove that he was in possession and was dispossessed within 12 years of the suit and in all suits for possession based only on title, the burden of proof was on the defendants to prove that his possession became adverse to the plaintiff beyond 12 years of the suit. However, under the new Limitation Act', in a suit based on title even if dispossession also isalleged, the defendant can succeed only if he proves that his possession has become adverse to the plaintiff beyond 12 years of the suit. The plaintiff need prove only his title and he need not show that he was in possession within 12 years of the suit. (See AIR 1975 Orissa 165. (Saura Bauri v. Subudhi Laxminarayana); AIR 1976 Mad 124, (Bhagavathy Pillai v. Savarimuthu); AIR 1975 Gauh. 47. (Hanjabam Bapumacha Sharma v. Hanjabam Gukul Chandra Sharma): 40 Cut. LT 143 ; (AIR 1974 Orissa 199) (Chandra Sekhar Pati v. Ahalya Devi)). In This view of the matter, the conclusion of the courts below is wholly erroneous and cannot be sustained.

6. It was then contended by the learned counsel for the respondents that the suit must fail as there had been no prayer for recovery of possession. In para 9 of the plaint, it has been specifically prayed that plaintiffs' title over 'Ka' and 'Kha' schedule lands may be declared and possession be confirmed and the defendants be directed to fill up the portion which they have dug at their expenses. The plaint read as a whole must be interpreted that possession was also prayed for in the suit. In the case of V. Krishna Rao Dora v. Kotini Sitaram Dora reported in (1973) 39 Cut LT 975 this court has held that the court can order recovery of possession though not specifically asked for and though only confirmation of possession was sought for if necessary court-fee on the plaint had been paid. Para 6 of the said judgment is quoted herein below in extenso :

'The learned single Judge also held that the suit was not maintainable as the plaintiffs did not ask for the relief of recovery of possession and were satisfied with the relief of confirmation of possession. Law is now well settled that both 'Recovery of Possession' and 'Confirmation of Possession' are consequential reliefs. If the suit is for declaration of title and any one of these consequential reliefs, then, the plaintiffs are to pay ad valorem court-fee. In this case, ad valorem court-fee has been paid on the amount for which the suit was valued. In fact, the quantum of court-fee being disputed the matter was ultimately decided by the taxing judge who held that the ad valorem court-fee paid on the disputed lands on the reduced valuation was sufficient. Doubtless, when possession is declared in favour of a party in a proceeding under Section 145, Cr.P.C. the party not in possession must ask for the relief of recoveryof possession, he having been held as being out of possession. But where ad valorem court-fee has been paid, it is open to the court to grant the relief of recovery of possession even if the prayer is for confirmation of possession. Such a relief would come within the ambit of the wide powers conferred upon the courts to grant relief and that is why an omnibus prayer is added in the plaint that the court may grant such relief as it thinks fit. In this case, the plaint contains such a prayer. Even if such a prayer had not been made, the court is not powerless to grant the relief. In the facts and circumstances of this case, the relief of recovery of possession can be granted to the plaintiffs even though they prayed for confirmation of possession as they had paid ad valorem court-fee which is payable in a suit for declaration of title and recovery of possession.'

In this view of the matter, I do not find any merit in the contention of the learned counsel for the respondents.

7. In the result, therefore, the judgment and decrees of the two courts below are set aside and the plaintiffs' suit is decreed. The Second Appeal is allowed with costs.


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