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Munshi Vs. Abdul Qadeer and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectLimitation
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Appeal Nos. 358-D of 1966
Judge
Reported in3(1967)DLT79
ActsLimitation Act, 1908 - Schedule - Article 1
AppellantMunshi
RespondentAbdul Qadeer and ors.
Advocates: H. Hardy,; R.L. Tandon,; M.L. Dhawan,;
Cases ReferredAnardan Kishore Lal v. Girdhari Lal
Excerpt:
.....- contended that case falls under article 182 - whether period of limitation starts from date of decree or date of permission to execute decree - period of limitation starts when decree or order becomes capable of being executed - under section 19 decree or order of ejection cannto be secured without permission of competent authority - held, act of defendant nto barred by limitation. - - (3) an appeal was taken by the petitioner-tenant to the court of the senior subordinate judge, but without success. the scope of limitation act, however, is nto to be extended by implication and a party's right to go to court is nto intended to be taken away unless clearly barred or restricted by statutory provisions. it is nto denied that this section does take within its fold the present..........9 of 1908, so for as relevant for our purposes : '182for the execution of a three years or 1. the date decree or order of where a certi of the deany civil court nto fied copy of the cree or older, provided for by arti decree or order or cle 183 or by section has been 48 of the code of registered, six civil' procedure, 1908. years. 7.(where the application is to enforce any payment which the decree or order directs to be made at a certain date, such date.'(6) i have also re-produced clause 7 in the third column which expressly provides the terminus a que for execution of decree directing payment there under nto the dates of the decrees but some later dates because this seems to be suggestive of the intendment in cases where decrees are nto executable on the dates they are made.(7) now.....
Judgment:

I.D. Dua, J.

(1) These two civil Revisions (Civil Revision Nos. 358-D and 359-D of 1966) raise a common question of law and are, thereforee being disposed of by one judgment. Facts may be stated only in the case of Munshi Ram v. Shri Abdul Qadeer. C. R. 358-D 1966.

(2) On 1-6-1957, the respondents obtained a decree for ejectment against the petitioner Munsi Ram, their tenant, Munshi Ram was under the terms of decree to remain in possession till 31-5-1959, where after the decree was to be executable. The premises in respect of which this decree for ejectment was made are admittedly located in a slum area within the meaning of Slum Areas (Clearance and Improvement) Act, 96 of 1956 (hereafter described as the Slum Act). The respondents applied for permission to competent authority to execute the decree which was granted on 12-6-1964 under section 19 of the Slum Act. On 7-9-1965, the application for execution of the decree was presented and this revision arises out of those proceedings. The petitioner tenant objected under section 47 of the Code of Civil Procedure, pleading, inter alia, that the execution application was barred by time. On this plea, a preliminary issue was raised and the learned executing Court on 15-1-1965 held the execution application to be within limitation.

(3) An appeal was taken by the petitioner-tenant to the Court of the Senior Subordinate Judge, but without success.

(4) On revision in this Court, it is contended by Shri Hardyal Hardy, learned counsel for the tenant-petitioner that the two Courts below have acted illegally in holding that the execution application is within Limitation.. Reliance for this submission has been placed on the language of Article 182 of the Indian Limitation Act 9 of 1908 which admittedly governs the present case. The question raised is obviously short and simple. It is also conceded on behalf of the petitioner that the view held in this Court on the point raised is against the petitioner's contention but the counsel seeks to challenge the correctness of that view. This indeed explains the admission of these revisions to a Division Bench on 17-8-1966 by the learned Mtoion Judge.

(5) I may at the outset reproduce Article 182 of the Act 9 of 1908, so for as relevant for our purposes :

'182For the execution of a Three years or 1. The date decree or order of where a certi of the deany Civil Court nto fied copy of the cree or older, provided for by Arti decree or order or cle 183 or by section has been 48 of the Code of registered, six Civil' Procedure, 1908. years. 7.(where the application is to enforce any payment which the decree or order directs to be made at a certain date, such date.'

(6) I have also re-produced clause 7 in the third column which expressly provides the terminus a que for execution of decree directing payment there under nto the dates of the decrees but some later dates because this seems to be suggestive of the intendment in cases where decrees are nto executable on the dates they are made.

(7) Now the short question which has been canvassed before this Court is whether the words 'the date of the decree or order' in column 3 Means the factual date of the decree or order of ejectment or the date when the competent authority under the Slum Act grant permission to execute the said decree or order. In the present case, however, it is ntoeworthy that under the door decree itself, Munshi Ram tenant (petitioner in this Court) was entitled to remain in possession till 31.5.1959 and the decree was to be executed thereafter. On this premise, the petitioner's counsel has contended that the time for the purposes of Article 182 in the present case should begin to run from 31.5.1959 when the decree was made executable. On the toher hand, the submission pressed before us on behalf of the Respondent 1s that time can only begin to run from the date when the decree was made executable under the law, meaning thereby the date on which permission to execute the decree was granted by the competent authority, which date would be 12.6.1964. In my opinion, the petitioner's submission is devoid of merit and must be repelled and the respondents' submission deserves to prevail.

(8) At the outset, I may observe that the Limitation Act being an Act which takes away or restricts the right to take legal proceedings must in the absence of reasonably clear language, be construed strictly so as to sustain the right to proceed. Of course, no equitable considerations should be imported in its construction since statutes of limitation are, broadly speaking, in their nature strict and inflexible. The scope of Limitation Act, however, is nto to be extended by implication and a party's right to go to Court is nto intended to be taken away unless clearly barred or restricted by statutory provisions. I also consider it necessary to state, what is common place, that the object of the Limitation Act being to quiet long possession and discourage stale demands, this statute is rightly considered as a statute of repose, peace and justice, to quiet title to suppress frauds and to supply the deficiency of proof arising from ambiguity, obcurity or antiquity of transations. The Limitation Act is designed to prevent rearing up claims at great distances of time and accordingly to prompt people to be deligent by providing in some measure loss of right on account of undue delay in its enforcement. It thus follows that when a given right is nto capable of enforcement, the Limitation Act may nto be assumed to be intended, in the absence of clear language, to operate to the prejudice of the party possessed of that right in the matter of its enforcement. It is in the background of these principles that the various Artcles including Article 182 in the First Schedule of the Limitation Act may appropriately be construed.

(9) Now adverting to the language of Article 182, the terminus a quo is the date of the decree or order. Keeping in view, thereforee, the fact at this terminus a quo has been fixed for the purpose of presenting applications for execution of decrees or orders, in my opinion, the decree or order must under the law be capable of execution at the time when the period of limitation starts. Reading columns I and 3 together for the purpose of discovering the statutory intendment of the various Articles occurring in Schedule I which, in my view, may appropriately be read together the conclusion seems to me to be inescapable that the date of the decree or order within the contemplation of column 3 must '' - be the date that when the decree or order becomes executable by virtue of its terms. Clause 7 in column 3 which deals with decrees or orders directing payment on certain dates, also points to the conclusion that time is intended to begin to run only from the date when the fruit of the decree becomes ripe. In the instant case too, I may point out that it has nto been argued at the bar that the time began to run from 1.6.1957 and indeed on behalf of Munshi Ram, tenant-petitioner in this Court, it has been urged that 31.5.1959 would be the date from which the time should be deemed to begin to run. This contention also proceeds on the assumption that it is the executability of the decree which determines the terminus a quo, the only submission pressed by Shri Hardy in support of his revision being that the inexecutability of the decree must be traced within its own express terms and nto from any outside source. With this submission, I find myself unable to agree because whether the Court passing the decree postpones the executability of the decree or a valid law applicable to the decree in question renders it so, the result, in my view, is the same so far as the decree-holder is concerned. In the case in hand, it is indisputable that by virtue of the provisions of section 19 of the Slum Act, the decree-holder is disentitled to execute the decree or order for eviction of a tenant from any building in a slum area without securing permission from the Competent Authority under that Act to execute his decree. It is nto denied that this section does take within its fold the present decree, and if it is so, then the decree in question is quite clearly inexecutable in law till so permitted by the Competent Authority. The foregoing discussion, in my view, quite clearly shows that the execution application which concerns us is amply within limitation and the order of the clearly shows that the execution application which concerns us is amply within limitation and the order of the Court below is unassailable on revision.

(10) The matter is however, nto rest integra and a decision of Mehar Singh, J. (as he then was) in Ram Kirpal Jain v. Sweitamn Temple Buildings', also seems to take the same view. So spoke the learned Judge in that case :-

'SOon December 29, 1958, there was ttoal prohibition to the two respondents to execute their decree. It could only become executable if and when they obtained permission under section 19(1) of the Act, 96 of 1956, and it is immediately apparent that time under section 182 of the Limitation Act (presumably the reference is to Article 182) started running against them for execution of the decree only from the date it bacame executable and that date according to the order of the Competent Authority under Act 96 of 1956, is may 31,1962.'

Shri Hardy has tried to make his case out of these observations by submitting that they are obiter, but assuming they are so, they seem to represent the correct legal position and valid criticism has been suggested against the view embodied therein, and indeed I respectfully argee with that view. This decision, I may point out, has been approvingly referred by Grover, J. in an unreported decision in Kartar Singh v. Sultan Singh* Grover, J. has therein also referred to antoher unreported decision by P. D. Sharma, J. in Tarlok Nath v. Rattan Singh' which also seems to take the same view. The privy Council decision in Rameshwar Singh v. Homswar Singh* cited in this decision, according to Grover, J., was relied upon by Sharma, J. in Tarlok Nath's Case* The view in the Punjab High-Court, thereforee, seems to me to be against Shri Hardy and no cogent ground has been shown for doubting the correctness of this view. As a matter of fact, the Privy Council in Rameshwar Singh's case* laid down as far hack - as November, 1920, that in order to make the provisions of the limitation Act apply, the decree sought to be enforced must be in such a form as to render it capable, in the circumstances, of being enforced. Indeed, this is precisely the principle on which the view taken by the various Judges of the Punjab High Court in Ramaswami Pillai v. Govindaswami Naigdeer, from which assistance has been sought by Shri Hardy, is clearly distinguishable on facts and does nto run counter to the view I am taking. This decision is only an authority for the view that section 15, Limitation Act, does nto operate to save limitation in cases where the suit could have been instituted on complying with a preliminary requisite in that behalf, namely obtaining leave to sue from the Court. The question is that decision related -to the bar created by section 16(2) of the Provincial Insolvency Act and it was observed that this section only contains direction that before asuit is brought, leave to sue from the Court should be obtained. Whether or nto this view is correct, it is obvious that the reported decision does nto deal with an absolute bar to the execution of the decree such as we are concerned with.

(11) The petitioner's contention based on the decision in A .S.K. Krishnappa v. S.V.V.Somiah that the limitation Act being a consolidating and amending statute, must be regarded as an exhaustive Code, nto be extended by analogy, is difficult to sustain, for apart from this Act taking within its fold only certain types of applications, the construction of Article 182, as adopted in the foregoing discussion, is nto shown to be hit by the ratio of the Suppreme Court decision.

(12) Shri D.D. Chawla, learned counsel for the respondents, has in the alternative also sumitted on the authority of JAnardan Kishore Lal v. Girdhari Lal', that in case it is held that Article 182 is inapplicable on the ground that none of the clauses mentioned in column 3 thereof is in terms applicable, then Article 181 would apply, the time begining to run from the date when the right to apply accrues. This date, according to the counsel, would obiously be the date when the Competent Authority grants permission to execute the decree. I need express no opinion on this alternative reliance on Article 181 as it may be argued that Article 181 is applicable only to applications under the Code of Civil Procedure and this aspect has nto been referred to in the reported decision. I may, however, add that if no clause of Article 182 were held to cover the present case, then this submission would seem to me to help the decree-holder and nto the judgment-debtor for it is the latter who seeks to non-suit the decree-holder on the ground of time bar.

(13) For all the foregoing reasons, these revisions fail and are dismissed, but in the circumstances of the case, there would be no order as to costs in this Court.


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