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Lt. Colonel Jaswant Singh (Deceased by Lr) Vs. Daljit Singh (Deceased by Lr) and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberRegular Second Appeal No. 1242 of 1990
Judge
Reported inAIR1998P& H254; (1998)120PLR495
ActsSpecific Relief Act, 1963 - Sections 16
AppellantLt. Colonel Jaswant Singh (Deceased by Lr)
RespondentDaljit Singh (Deceased by Lr) and ors.
Appellant Advocate R.K. Chibber, Sr. Adv. and; Anand Chhibbar, Adv.
Respondent Advocate A.K. Mittal, Adv. (for No. 1)
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredIn Smt. Harbans Alma Singh v. Ramesh Kumar
Excerpt:
- sections 80 (2) & 89 & punjab motor vehicles rules, 1989, rules 85 & 80: [t.s. thakur, cj, jasbir singh & surya kant, jj] appeal against orders of state or regional transport authority imitation held, a stipulation regarding the period of limitation available for invoking the remedy shall have to be strictly construed. that is because any provision by way of limitation is in the nature of a restraint on the remedy provided under the act. so viewed two inferences are clear viz., (1) sections 80 and 89 of the act read with rule 85 of the rules make it obligatory for the authorities making the order to communicate it to the applicant concerned and (2) the period of limitation for any appeal against the order is reckonable from the date of such communication of the reasons would imply.....n.k. agrawal, j.1. this is second appeal by defendant no. 2, lt. col. jaswant singh against the judgments and decrees of sub judge, amritsar, and additional district judge, amritsar.2. plaintiff daljit singh filed a civil suit for specific performance on 24-10-1980 in the court of sub judge 1st class, amritsar, against (i) improvement trust, amritsar (since dissolved and now represented by the commissioner, municipal corporation, amritsar, (ii) lt. col, jaswant singh, and (iii) sukhdev singh. plaintiff sought specific performance of agreement dated 25-8-1970 in respect of a residential plot of land, no. 119, green avenue, amritsar. during the course of trial, the learned sub judge passed an order on 4-6-1981 directing the parties to keep the property in status quo condition regarding.....
Judgment:

N.K. Agrawal, J.

1. This is second appeal by defendant No. 2, Lt. Col. Jaswant Singh against the judgments and decrees of Sub Judge, Amritsar, and Additional District Judge, Amritsar.

2. Plaintiff Daljit Singh filed a civil suit for specific performance on 24-10-1980 in the Court of Sub Judge 1st Class, Amritsar, against (i) Improvement Trust, Amritsar (since dissolved and now represented by the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Amritsar, (ii) Lt. Col, Jaswant Singh, and (iii) Sukhdev Singh. Plaintiff sought specific performance of agreement dated 25-8-1970 in respect of a residential plot of land, No. 119, Green Avenue, Amritsar. During the course of trial, the learned Sub Judge passed an order on 4-6-1981 directing the parties to keep the property in status quo condition regarding possession, construction and transfer. Issues were framed and evidence of the parties was recorded. The suit was decreed on 3-11-1987. In appeal, filed by defendant No. 2, the judgment and decree of the trial Court were affirmed by Additional District Judge, Amritsar, on 23-4-1990.

3. Plaintiffs case before the trial Court was that Improvement Trust, Amritsar, framed a development scheme, commonly known as 'Green Avenue Scheme' and carved out plots of land for allotment to the defence personnel. Defendant No. 2, filed an application dated 14-7-1964 for the allotment of a plot under the said scheme and paid a sum of Rs. 500/- as earnest money. Improvement Trust, Amritsar, informed the defendant to agree to certain conditions as mentioned in its letter dated 29-7-1964. Defendant No. 2 agreed to the conditions and thereupon plot No. 119, measuring 500 square yards, was allotted to him by letter dated 25-5-1965. The defendant was asked by the Improvement Trust, Amritsar, by letter dated 2-7-1970, to deposit a sum of Rs. 1300/- and also to execute a formal agreement of sale. Defendant No. 2 deposited the said amount on 21-8-1970. An agreement was executed on 25-8-1970 in Form 'D' whereunder defendant No. 2 agreed to purchase one residential plot measuring 500 square yards at the rate of Rs. 16.20 per square yard for a total sum of Rs. 8100/-. The balance amount was to be paid in instalments with interest at the rate of 7.5 per cent per annum. The plaintiffs case, as put forward in the trial Court, was that defedant No. 2, by his letter 18-6-1970, offered to sell the said plot to him on the same terms as were specified by the Improvement Trust. Defendant No. 2 wanted the plaintiff to pay him Rs. 2700/- which had been already paid by that time by defendant No. 2 to the Improvement Trust, Amritsar, as part payment of the price of land. Thereafter, defendant No. 2 sent two more letters to the plaintiff, permitting the transfer of the plot in the plaintiffs name from the Improvement Trust. The plaintiff agreed to the terms offered by the defendant and paid a sum of Rs. 3000/- to him. Thereafter, the plaintiff paid, in instalments, a total sum of Rs. 8587.47 to the Improvement Trust. Defendant No. 2 also sent two stamped papers to the plaintiff for the purpose of executing an agreement in respect of the transfer of land. Defendant No. 2 also moved the Improvement Trust for the transfer of the land but the request was declined on the ground that no transfer of land was permissible before the expiry often years from the date of agreement. Defendant No. 2 withdrew his offer and showed inability to the plaintiff for transferring the land.

4. The plaintiff filed civil suit on 24-10-1980, after the expiry of ten years from the date of agreement dated 25-8-1970. The plaintiff asserted in his plaint that, at the time of execution of the agreement between Improvement Trust, Amritsar, and defendant No. 2 on 25-8-1970, he was also present and he signed the said agreement as a witness. Possession of the land was delivered to the vendee, namely, defendant No. 2, Lt. Col. Jaswant Singh, at that time through the plaintiff. Thus, the plaintiff came in possession of the plot on that day. Since the entire money, paid by defendant No. 2 to the Improvement Trust, was repaid by the plaintiff to defendant No. 2 and also the entire sale price was deposited by the plaintiff with the Improvement Trust, the plaintiff performed his part of the agreement. Since the defendant declined to transfer the land to the plaintiff, as agreed upon by him, the plaintiff had no option but to file a civil suit, seeking specific performance of the agreement. The plaintiff also filed a copy of the agreement between him and defendant No. 2 on a stamped paper. This agreement is undated though it is signed by the plaintiff as well as defendant No. 2. Since the then Chairman of Improvement Trust, Amritsar, declined to sign the said agreement on the ground that the plot could not be transferred before the expiry of ten years, the said agreement remained an agreement without a date.

5. The plaintiff's ease is primarily based on certain letters received from defendant No. 2, conveying intention to transfer the plot to the plaintiff. The first letter was sent by defendant No. 2 on 18-6-1970 (Ex. PW-9/1). Since the validity of the offer, made by defendant No. 2, is under challenge, it would be necessary to read the relevant portion of the said letter :--

'Daljit, I have given a good thought to Amritsar plot. I do not think I will ever build it, so no use sticking to it. In case you or Prem arc interested, I am prepared to part on the Improvement Trust terms. You refund me what I have paid and rest yon carry on with them. In case you are not interested, please dispose it of immediately.'

6. The second letter dated 6-7-1970 (Exh. PW-9/2) is also relevant inasmuch as the offer made by defendant No. 2 in favour of the plaintiff found reiteration. The relevant part of the letter reads as under:--

'I decided to dispose of the plot for the reason that I do not feel interested for Punjab. Secondly, I want some funds immediately. In case you are interested in the plot, as it appears you are, you may pay the present instalment of Rs. 1300/- and initiate the case to transfer it to your name. Therefore, as advised by you, I enclose a non-judicial stamped paper duly signed by me.'

7. It would be also necessary to read the third letter dated 18-8-1970 (Exh. PW-9/6). The relevant part of this letter reads as under :--

'Regarding the transfer of the plot to your name, please do it the way it suits you. I am not interested in the transfer through the Trust. Make it economical to you.'

8. From the relevant contents of the aforesaid letters, it would appear that defendant No. 2 made an offer to the plaintiff for the sale of the plot on the terms as specified by the Improvement Trust. In furtherance of the offer made by defendant No. 2, the plaintiff appears to have repaid to defendant No. 2 a total sum of Rs. 3000/- in three instalments. The first instalment of Rs. 1000/- was sent by the plaintiff by cheque dated 14-7-1970 to defendant No. 2 and the second instalment of Rs. 1000/- was sent by cheque dated 2-9-1970. The third instalment of Rs. 1000/- is said to have been paid in cash at Amritsar. The defendant has admitted the receipt of the money from the plaintiff but has denied that it was given by way of payment of the sale price to him. The defendant's case is that he was in need of certain money and, therefore, the plaintiff had paid him the aforesaid amount by way of help. The plaintiff, Major Daljit Singh, appeared as a witness, PW-9, in the trial Court and gave the details of the aforesaid three payments made by him, to defendant No. 1. This part of the statement is found to be unrebutted. Moreover, there is another letter dated 7-4-1971 (Exh. PW-975) on record, which contains admission by defendant No. 2 about the receipt of money from the plaintiff. The relevant part of the aforesaid letter reads as under:--

'I am in receipt of yours of the 24th March. I note that simply by putting into the agreement for sale of the plot No. 119 for which you have already made the payment to the Amritsar Improvement Trust, I have caused you a great mental strain in addition to the financial loss by way of paying certain amount of interest on the cost of the land and that you may have to undergo certain more expenditures, I feel guilty of this unnecessary botheration to you.

It is true that I had not informed my father about this deal. Therefore, he is supposed to have sent some agents for the sale of the land. I do not know what really transpired between the agents and yourself but the remarks he is supposed to have conveyed to you about my father do not appear to be very respectable and that the old man has taken exception to the same.

Both the above given factors have upset me to a very great degree and I have come to the conclusion to request you to kindly let us call the deal off. You please let me know the total amount paid by you to the Improvement Trust in addition to Rs. 3000/- you very kindly paid when I was financially in a tight corner due to the peculiar illness of my daughter. On hearing from you, I shall arrange to return the amount with interest.'

9. Thus, the admission by defendant No. 2 about the receipt of Rs. 3000/- from the plaintiff makes the case of the plaintiff clearer though the defendant denied the receipt of money by way of repayment of the instalments to him but by way of financial help on account of illness of his daughter. There is a further admission that the plaintiff had paid certain additional amount to the Improvement Trust also.

Payments made by the plaintiff on behalf of the defendant to the Improvement Trust are as under :--

(i) Rs. 1300/- by cheque dated 21-8-1970 (Receipt Exh. PW-2/4 dated 21-8-1970);

(ii) Rs. 6280.77 by cheque dated 28-12-1970 (Receipt Exh. PW-2/5 dated 29-12-1970); and

(iii) Rs. 1006.70 paid in cash (Receipt Exhibit PW-2/6 dated 5-1-1971).

10. Defendant No. 2 has stated that the aforesaid amounts were paid by him as well as his brother to the plaintiff for the purpose of deposit with the Improvement Trust. No evidence has, however, been produced to show that the defendant or his brother paid the aforesaid amount to the plaintiff. Moreover, the defendant admitted, in his letter dated 7-4-1971, that certain money was paid by the plaintiff to the Improvement Trust. There is no reference to the payment of money by the defendant or his brother in this behalf. Therefore, the deposits, made by the plaintiff with the Improvement Trust, further show the part performance of the agreement by the plaintiff.

11. Another factor, which is relevant so as to determine the nature of transaction, is about the possession of the plot. The plaintiff has claimed that possession of the plot was given to him at the time of the execution of the agreement on 25-8-1970. The defendant has, on the other hand, categorically denied the delivery of possession of the land to the plaintiff and has, on the other hand, asserted that possession was given to his father, Shri Gopal Singh, on 22-11-1971. This plea, however, does not appear to be correct, Lal Singh, the then Chairman, Improvement Trust, Amritsar, appeared as a witness (PW-2) and stated that possession was given to the plaintiff on behalf of defendant No. 2 at the time of the agreement dated 25-8-1970. There is another evidence in this behalf, which shows that possession was delivered on 25-8-1970. It appears that an application (Exh. D-10), seeking delivery of possession, was made by Shri Gopal Singh, father of defendant No. 2, on 8-11-1971 before the Improvement Trust, Amritsar. A note was appended on the said letter by an official of the Improvement Trust to the following effect :--

'Lt. Col. Jaswant Singh Hundal is the intended vendee of plot No. 119. Agreement for sale in respect of the plot has already been executed and possession of the plot has also been given to him on 25th August, 1970, please.'

12. It is found that the plaintiff filed an application before the trial Court, seeking protection of his possession over the land. As has been said earlier, it was claimed by the defendant before the trial Court that the plaintiff stands dispossessed from the land. Thereupon, the trial Court passed a status quo order on 4-6-1981. It thus appears that the plaintiff was in possession after me possession of the land was delivered by the Improvement Trust on 25-8-1970 but he was dispossessed by the agents of the defendant. From the oral evidence led by the plaintiff, it appears that certain people came to the plot during night when the plaintiff was away to.Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. Those persons put wooden gate on the land. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed an application under Order 39, Rules 1 and 2, Code of Civil Procedure, and the trial Court passed an order to maintain status quo as on 4-6-1981.

13. There are also certain other documents brought on record by the parties which need consideration so as to ascertain their intention. The Improvement Trust, Amritsar, by letter dated 9-12-1970 (Exh. D-6), informed defendant No. 2 that his application dated 20-11-1970, seeking permission to transfer the plot to plaintiff Daljit Singh has been considered but permission cannot be given as the entire price had not been paid. It would thus mean that defendant No. 2 did intend to transfer the plot to the plaintiff and had, for that purpose, made a request before the Improvement Trust. There is also a letter dated 16-4-1971 (Exhibit D-8) by defendant No. 2 to the Chairman, Improvement Trust, which again proves that defendant No. 2 had entered into an agreement with plaintiff Daljit Singh for the sale of the plot. This letter reads as under :--

'Subject:-- Sale of plot No. 199, Green Avenue. I had made an agreement with Major Daljit' Singh for the sale of the said plot and, for that purpose, I had signed certain documents for the transfer of the plot to his name. This is to inform you that I have since changed my mind and that I am not now prepared to transfer this plot to his name.

You are, therefore, requested to please not to approve the transfer of this plot to Major Daljit Singh's name if he produces the document signed by me. In case we subsequently decide the transfer to his name, I shall make myself personally present in your office to sign the deal.'

14. The aforesaid letter leaves no room for doubt that defendant No. 2 had entered into an agreement for sale with the plaintiff and, thereafter, he changed his mind.

15. There is letter dated 11-9-1973 (Exh. D-14) by Improvement Trust, Amritsar, to the plaintiff, whereby the latter was informed that his application dated 2-5-1973 had not been accepted for transfer. It would thus mean that the plaintiff also made an effort to get the land transferred in his favour but did not succeed because defendant No. 2 had already prohibited the Improvement Trust from granting permission for the transfer.

16. An office note dated 3-5-1971 (Exh.D-9) has also been brought on record to show that defendant No. 2 submitted an application before the Improvement Trust on 20-11-1970 requesting the latter not to transfer the plot. The office note further specifies that, if the allottee filed an application in that behalf, that would be then considered.

17. There is another communication from the Improvement Trust to the plaintiff through letter dated 18-9-1980 (Exh. D-15), whereby the latter was informed that his application, seeking transfer of the land, could not be granted till the allottee, namely, Lt. Col. Jaswant Singh, gave his consent.

18. The aforesaid documents establish that the plaintiff made all efforts to seek the transfer of the plot in his name but defendant No. 2 did not allow it.

19. Defendant No. 2 has caregorically denied that plaintiff was ever put in possession of the plot. He has also denied that any agreement was ever executed between him and the plaintiff to sell the plot. Since agreement on the stamped paper signed by him and the plaintiff is an undated contract, it is said to be of no legal consequence. It is also claimed by the defendant that he could not enter into an agreement for sale because he had not become the owner of the land and was a mere 'intended vendee' under a contingent agreement to sell. He had, therefore, no right to assign his rights without permission of the Improvement Trust. Since agreement dated 25-8-1970 was an agreement between the Improvement Trust and defendant No. 2 and since plaintiff was simply an attesting witness, the said agreement would not assume the character of an agreement between the plaintiff and defendant No. 2. Since the second agreement (Exh. PX/1) was an undated agreement though signed by both the parties, it does not become a legal contract because it was an incomplete agreement. It was presented before Shri Lal Singh, the then Chairman of the Improvement Trust, Amritsar, but he declined to sign it because a land, allotted by the Improvement Trust to an intended vendee, could not be transferred further before the expiry of ten years from the date of agreement. Defendant has, therefore, challenged the plaintiff s suit for specific performance on the basis of the agreement dated 25-8-1970. Since defendant No. 2 had no right, title or interest in the land, no valid agreement could have been entered by him with the plaintiff. Moreover, the bar on ten years, put by the Improvement Trust, again rendered the agreement invalid and without any consequence.

20. Defendant No. 2 has explained that his letters, on which the plaintiff heavily relied, did not constitute a valid offer, because no subsisting right had, by that time accrued to him in respect of the land in question. There was thus no valid and binding agreement between him and the plaintiff. Since he was suffering from illness and wanted certain funds, he sought financial assistance from the plaintiff. He has further explained that he, later on, realized that the proposal to dispose of the land was prejudicial to his interest and, therefore, the offer was repudiated.

21. The question of repudiation of the offer by defendant No. 2 is also relevant. There are three letters, filed by the plaintiff, which throw light on the intention of defendant No. 2. The first letter dated 7-4-1971 has already been considered and the relevant portion of the letter has been reproduced. It has been seen that defendant No. 2 admitted the receipt of Rs. 3000/- from the plaintiff and further acknowledged that certain money was paid by the plaintiff to the Improvement Trust. It is also mentioned in the said letter that defendant No. 2 called the deal off.

22. Another letter dated 9-7-1971, by defendant No. 2 to the plaintiff is also relevant. The following portion of the letter is significant:--

'In addition, if you so desire, you can charge me the Bank rate of interest which you might have lost.'

'The old man once wanted to build something on the plot and he might have as well later on changed it to dispose it off but, after the latest development, he does not want to sell it. He wrote that he told you that if at all the plot is sold at any stage, you have the priority. This should close the subject.'

23. The reference in the aforesaid letter to the 'old man' is to the father of defendant No. 2. It is obvious that defendant No. 2 did no more intend to sell the plot to the plaintiff and, instead, wanted the plaintiff to recover back the money along with interest from him.

24. In another letter dated 4-9-1980 (Exh. PW-3/1), defendant No. 2 informed the plaintiff as under:--

'There is no point which you and me cannot sort out. You appreciate that no third party can settle it without our consent. Hence, let us have the direct approach.'

25. From the aforesaid letters, it is found that defendant No. 2 did not intend to fulfil the promise any more. It has been contended by defendant No. 2 that he never wanted to sell the land to the plaintiff but had merely expressed desire to find a suitable buyer. Moreover, the Improvement Trust did not permit the transfer of land before the expiry of ten years. Further, construction was required to be raised on the land within three years from the date of agreement. Since defendant No. 2 did not raise construction, that was another reason due to which no transfer was permitted to be made in favour of the plaintiff. Defendant No. 2 had to pay penalties to the Improvement Trust on account of failure to raise construction within three years. He submitted apian for the construction, which was sanctioned on 21-3-1973 but the construction could not be raised due to the ad interim status quo order from the civil Court. Since there was a complete bar to the transfer of land, agreement dated 25-8-1970 is said to be of no legal consequence in favour of the plaintiff.

26. Shri R.K. Chhibber, learned senior counsel for defendant No. 2, has argued that, since agreement dated 25-8-1970 was not an agreement between defendant No. 2 and the plaintiff, it would not help the plaintiff to establish his right. Another agreement on the stamped paper (Exh. PX/1), being an undated agreement and not attested by the then Chairman of the Improvement Trust, was an incomplete agreement and, therefore, not binding and legally enforceable. He has further argued that defendant No. 2 had no right to transfer the land before raising construction and also before the expirey of ten years from the date of agreement. If any effort was made by the parties to transfer the land, that was totally unenforceable and illegal agreement. The Improvement Trust had, on an application by defendant No. 2 as well as the plaintiff, declined to permit the transfer. It was in these circumstances that the deal was withdrawn by defendant No. 2.

27. Shri Chhibber has, in support of theproposition that the agreement was illegal andunenforceable for want of permission from theImprovement Trust, has placed reliance on certain decisions which shall be discussed hereunder.

28. In Ramakrishna Reddiar v. Kasivasi Chidambara Swamigal, AIR 1928 Madras 407, it has been held that Section 27(b) of the Specific Relief Act pre-supposes a valid contract. That was a case where agreement by the guardian of a minor was found to be void and unenforceable against the minor. It was, therefore, held that it could not be enforced against subsequent transferee from the guardian. The facts of that case are, however, quite different from the facts in hand before me and, therefore, the said decision is found to be of no help to the defendant.

29. In Keshri Mull v. Sukhan Ram, AIR 1933 Patna 264, it has been held that title to the land cannot pass by mere admission where the statute requires a deed. Hence, the mere execution of a 'Bazidawa' by a 'Benamidar', which contains an undertaking not to interfere with the plaintiffs possession cannot itself give or transfer title, to the property from the 'Benamiclar' to the plaintiff. The facts of this case are also quite distinguishable and different and, therefore, the decision does not help the defendant.

30. The third case, on which Shri Chhibber has placed reliance is Prem Sukh Gulgulia v. Habid Ullah, AIR 1945 Cal 355.That was a case where an agreement to sell the interest of a Hindu rever-sioner of the last male owner had taken place. It was held to be illegal by reason of S. 6(a) of the Transfer of Property Act. Such an agreement was held to be not lawful because, under Section 23 of the Contract Act, any agreement, which would defeat the.provisions of any law, would not be lawful.

31. In Gurappa Ningappa Patne v. Basawanappa Apparao Kilje, AIR 1957 Bombay 31, there was an agreement of sale. Though it was accompanied by delivery by possession, it was said to be not creating any interest in land. Therefore, no transfer of land by a mere agreement took place. The debt adjustment Court could not exercise jurisdiction to declare an agreement of sale as a transfer of land.

32. In Mrs. Chandnce Widya Vati Madden v. Dr.C.L.Katia, AIR 1964 SC 978, a question was under consideration under the Specific Relief Act. There was an agreement for the sale of a house with the condition that the vendor shall obtain necessary permission from Government before sale. The vendor made application but withdrew the same. It was held that, since permission for sale was refused, damages could be granted. Shri Chhibber has, on the strength of this decision, contended that the plaintiff, in the case at hand, can also seek damages instead of specific performance of the agreement inasmuch as permission for transfer was declined by the Improvement Trust.

33. In Messrs New India Motors Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi v. The State of Haryana (1970) 72 Pun LR 294, this Court had an occasion to examine a case where certain land was allotted by the State Government. The allottee wanted time for payment of the balance amount of the price but that was declined. He, however, paid the first instalment which had become due for payment. The allotment was cancelled but, on appeal, the allottee was permitted to pay all the instalments due along with interest. The petitioner again failed to pay the arrears and the allotment was again cancelled. It was held that the petitioner never became the owner of the plot inasmuch as he had not paid the full price of the plot. What was given to the petitioner at the time of allotment was nothing more than a right to possess the plot and that right was to continue only so long as the petitioner did not make default in the payment of the instalments. Till the full price was paid, the State Government remained the owner of the plot.

34. In Narain Singh v. Dalip Singh, AIR 1973 Raj 45, it was held that a suit for specific performance can only be founded on a contract. If there is no contract, the party cannot come to enforce that contract. A contract to be specifically enforced by the Court must, as a general rule, be' mutual.

35. In Mohd. Hanif (deceased by LRs) v. Mariam Begum, AIR 1986 Bombay 15, it was held that the scope of a suit for a specific performance of an agreement for sale of land coupled with a prayer for possession cannot be enlarged and the suit turned also into a title suit unless it comes under Clause (c) of Section 19. The plaintiffs, after perfecting their title by obtaining specific performance against the executants of the agreement, would be in a position to bring a fresh suit against anybody who stood in the way of obtaining possession.

36. As has been seen from the facts emerging from the evidence of the parties, the plaintiff's suit is based primarily on the offer made by the defendant through his letters. The plaintiff, in pursuance of that offer so made by defendant No. 2, proceeded to pay a sum of Rs. 3000/- to defendant No. 2, which had been deposited by defendant No. 2, with the Improvement Trust as part payment of the price for the land. Further, the plaintiff paid the entire price to the Improvement Trust. Payments by the plaintiff to defendant No. 2 as well as Improvement Trust, Amritsar, have been proved. In this situation, part performance on the part of the plaintiff has been established. Denial by the Improvement Trust to the transfer of land would not render he agreement between plaintiff and defendant No. 2 invalid or unenforceable inasmuch as the plaintiff came before the civil Court with a suit for specific performance after the expiry of ten years only. A bar to the transfer of land would not be a bar against or cloud on the title in respect of the land. It is also established from the evidence, which has already been examined earlier, that the plaintiff was put in possession of the suit land on 25-8-1970. He was, however, dispossessed subsequently by defenant No. 2 through his agents.

37. In Dalsukh M. Pancholi v. The Guarantee Life and Employment Insurance Co., Ltd., AIR 1947 PC 182, a question was examined about the enforceability of a contract where sale was to be effected subject to the Court's approval. It was held that, since the Court refused the approval the contract fell to the ground. Shri Chhibber has, on the basis of the ratio of the said decision, argued that, in the present case also, the contract fell to the ground in the absence of permission from the Improvement Trust.

38. In Raghunath v. The Municipal Board, Mathura, AIR 1952 All 465, a sale deed of immoveable property, without the previous approval of the Commissioner, was held to be void even though it was approved by the Commissioner subsequently.

39. In Nair Service Society, Changanacherry v. R.M. Palat, AIR 1966 Kerala 311, it was held that, in a contract for sale, if there is no statement in the contract regarding price to be paid, the law allows a standard of reasonableness. Such a contract is absolute only when price is so ascertained.

40. In State of Madhya Pradesh v. Board of Revenue, Gwalior, AIR 1983 Madh Pra 111, it has been held that where a transfer is made without permission of Collector, it was void.

41. In Smt. Harbans Alma Singh v. Ramesh Kumar, AIR 1986 Punj and Hary 14, a case of agreement for sale was examined. There, permission was refused by the Estate Officer. It was held that the plaintiff was not entitled to a decree for specific performance.

42. In the light of the aforesaid decisions, Shri Chhibber, learned senior counsel for the defendant-appellant, has argued that, in the absence of permission from the Improvement Trust, Amritsar, the defendant had no authority to transfer the land to the plaintiff and, therefore, agreement, if any, was totally invalid or unenforceable. First of all, there was no agreement at all between the parties and, secondly, if it was any, that was of no legal consequence for want of permission from the Improvement Trust. As has been seen already -there was a clear and unequivocal offer from defendant No. 2 to the plaintiff through his letters. The plaintiff thereupon proceeded to comply with the directions given by the defendant and repaid the money to the defendant, which had already been paid by the defendant to the Improvement Trust. Plaintiff also paid the entire price in respect of the land to the Improvement Trust. There is thus found a valid and enforceable agreement between the parties. It is not a case where sale was made but it is only an agreement to sell subject to the terms specified by the Improvement Trust. As has been seen earlier, defendant No. 2 had made it clear, while making offer to the plaintiff, that the plaintiff may purchase the land on the terms as specified by the Improvement Trust. It would be thus clear that an agreement to sell was entered into subject to the terms including the receipt of permission from the Improvement Trust after the expiry of ten years. The plaintiff rightly waited for ten years and then filed a civil suit for specific performance of agreement. The offer was withdrawn by the plaintiff but without any reason Since the plaintiff had already performed his part of the contract, the repudiation of contract by defendant No. 2 is found to be uncalled for and not permissible in law. Defendant No. 2 was bounc by the agreement and he cannot be permitted to repudiate the agreement without any justification. The question of construction is found to be not relevant so far as the transfer of land is concerned. The only pre-condition in respect o: the transfer was the expiry of ten years from the date of the agreement. Though the 'intended vendee' was required to raise constructions within 36 months from the date of the agreement, that was not the pre-condition for the transfer of the land. Therefore, defendant No. 2 is bound to fulfil his part of the contract.

43. The argument, put forward by Shri R.K. Chhibber, learned senior counsel for the defendant-appellant, that the plaintiff could be awarded damages, is found to have no merit. Since it is a case where a valid and binding contract is found, to be in existence, the defendant is required to fulfil his part of the contract. Unless there is a fault on the part of the plaintiff in fulfilling his part or the contract, the relief of specific performance cannot be denied to him on the ground of payment of damages to him. It is also argued by Shri Chhibber that the suit, filed by the plaintiff, was time-barred inasmuch as the period of limitation was three years. This plea is also found to be of no help to him inasmuch as the suit was rightly filed after, the expiry of ten years from the date of the agreement. Since the Improvement Trust had declined to grant permission before the expiry of ten years from the date of agreement, the plaintiff was not legally entitled to enforce the contract before the expiry of ten years. The trial Court as well as the appellate Court have rightly held the suit to be within time.

44. In the result, there is found to be a legally enforceable and binding agreement between the plaintiff and defendant No. 2. Since the plaintiff has performed his part of the contract and is ready and willing, the suit is found to have been rightly decreed in his favour. Consequently, the appeal is found to have no force and is dismissed with costs.


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