1. Mehanga Singh, appellant, herein after referred to as the plaintiff, brought a suit for a declaration that he was the owner and in possession of land measuring 85 kanals 12 marlas in village Mulanda, Tehsil Nakodar. He based his title on a sale deed dated February 19, 1951, executed by one Kishan Chand, deceased. He filed the suit against two defendants (1) Sunder Chand s/o Pooran Chand, and (2) Gram Panchayat, Bulanda'. -
2. Defendant No. 1, Sunder Chand, pleaded that Kishan Chand was never the owner of the land and he had no legal right to sell or mortgage the same, and that the land stood as muafi in the name of Bhaiki Dharamshala, village Mahatpur. The Grain Panchayat did not file any written statement.
3. Following three issues were framed:
(1) whether the plaintiff is the owner of the propertyin dispute?
(2) whether the plaintiff is muafidar of the property in dispute?
(3) whether the plaintiff has been in possession within 12 years o the filing of the present suit ?
4. The Trial Court decreed the suit. The appeal filed by Sunder Chand was dismissed by the District Judge. The High Court, however, accepted the appeal of Sunder Chand and dismissed the suit. The plaintiff having obtained special leave the appeal is now before us.
5. The main point raised by the learned counsel for the appellant is that the High Court was not entitled to reverse the findings of fact given concurrently by the Trial Court and theDistrict Judge. In our opinion the High Court was entitled to reverse the findings of fact because the District Judge had misread the documentary evidence bearing on the title of the plaintiff.
6. The learned counsel then contends that on the documents on record we should reverse the finding given by the High Court. The learned counsel has taken us through the documents but we agree with the High Court that the plaintiff has not made out that Kishan Chand had any right to sell the property to the plaintiff.
7. We may briefly refer to the documentary evidence. The first document is dated June 8, 1937. It is copy of an order passed by the Collector, Jullundur District, in a case instituted by Sunder. Chand against Kishan Chand for ejectment from land which was alleged to be in the possession of Kishan Chand as muafidar. In the order it is stated that 'the Muafi was granted till perpetuity vide letter No. 749 dated 13th Feb., 1857 on the condition that the Dharamsala a religious institution will be maintained by it. This order was subsequently reviewed on 23-2-1884 by the S.O. & again on 21st Dec., 1915 by another S.O. The Muafi was allowed & continued in favour of the Dharamsala with Kishan Chand the present respondent as its trustee or manager.' It was ordered by the Collector that the respondent, Kishan Chand, be given six months time to execute the necessary repairs failing which he would be liable to be removed and in his place some other suitable person would be appointed.
8. The next document is dated May 22, 1941, a copy of the judgment in a suit filed by Ishwar Chand and Rai Chand against Sunder Chand and Kishan Chand for possession by partition of one half of the house and some site adjoining the same. In that suit it was not denied that defendant No. 2, Kishan Chand was a mahant of the Dharamsala for some time and that on his removal Sunder Chand was appointed as inahant. The learned Sub-Judge further observed that 'this is also clear from the Muafi connected files.'
9. It appears that the Collector, Jullundur District, by order dated August 14, 1940, had directed that the muafi, be resumed. An appeal was filed against that order and the Commissioner by order dated June 26, 1941 modified the order.
10. The next document, Ex. DS, is a copy of the mutation, which according to the High Court mentioned that the muafi was in favour of the Dharamsala and Kishan Chand was its manager. This document has not been printed in the paper book and we must take it that what the High Court says is correct.
11. The next document is dated November 17, 1948. This is a copy of the mutation which mentions that favour of Shah Mohd. S/o Ali Mohd. for Rs. 400/-. This document is relied on by the plaintiff but the mortgage deed has not been produced, and as the mortgage has not been proved it cannot help the plaintiff. Even this document mentions Kishan Chand as muafidar.
12. Ex. D9 is a copy of the order, dated April 25, 1958,passed by the Collector, Jullundur District, on an appeal filed by the plaintiff against the order dated September 27, 1957, of the Assistant Collector 1st Grade, Jullundur rejecting the mutation of sale by Kishan Chaud in his favour, It is observed in that order that 'I have carefully gone through the record and find that there is a clear note in red on the mutation sheet that Kishan chand is the manager of the land in question and actual muafi is in the name of the Dhararnsala. As he is only a manager of Dharamsala, it is clear that he cannot dispose of the property by sale. If the appellant has any right to the contrary, he can prove it in the Civil Court.'
13. The learned District Judge misread Exs. D8 and D9 mentioned above. He observed :
'To my mind these documents will not show that the muafi was in favour of the Dharamsala. The original order granting the muafi has not been produced. The recitals in these orders will not show that the muafi was in favour of the Dharamsala. As observed above in the jamabandi to which presumption of correctness attaches it is recited that Kishan Chand was muafidar on behalf of the Dharamsala.'
14. In bur opinion, as the District Judge misread these documents the High Court was right in inferring from the documentary evidence set out above that the muafi was in favour of the Dharamsala and that Kishan Chand was only its mahant for 'the time being and was managing it at that time, and had no title in the property.
In the result the appeal fails and is dismissed but there willbe no order as to costs.