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Sagar Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana and anr. Vs. the Union of India and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSuit No. 8 of 1976
Judge
Reported inAIR1979Delhi118; ILR1979Delhi492
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 10
AppellantSagar Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana and anr.
RespondentThe Union of India and ors.
Advocates: B.K.S. Charan,; J.R. Goel and; A.B. Dayal, Advs
Excerpt:
.....between the parties pending at the stage of appeal, would operate as res-judicata in the present suit and the suit can be disposed of in terms of the findings that may be given in appeal. if the present suit is not stayed, it would result in unnecessary trial of the suit and litigation expenses of the parties. moreover, there may be possibility of conflicting judgments in the two proceedings.; (3) an appeal is a continuation of the suit and, thereforee, the provision of section 10 of the code of civil procedure apply to the previous suit, which may be at the stage of appeal.; (4) in the present suit filed by the plaintiffs the amount of mortgage money claimed is different than the amount of mortgage money claimed in the previous suit; but in all other respects the questions in..........suit no. 336 of 1968, for a declaration that she was the exclusive owner in possession of the suit property known as 6, jantar mantar road, new delhi, and that the same was not liable to attachment and sale for recovery of the income-tax dues. the plaintiffs also filed another suit in this court, being suit no. 37 of 1969, for a declaration that they were mortgagees of this property, 6, jantar mantar road, new delhi, and were entitled to recover the mortgage-money rs. 13,25,000 besides interest, costs etc. by sale in preference to the claim of the union of india for recovery of the income-tax dues from mr. m. r. dhawan. the two suits filed by the plaintiffs and one suit filed by smt. satya dhawan were consolidated in this court and were disposed of by h. l. anand, j. on 18th.....
Judgment:

Sultan Singh, J.

(1) The main question is whether the present suit is liable to be stayed under Section 10, Civil Procedure Code. Plaintiff No. 1 and his wife plaintiff No. 2 filed this suit on 27th November, 1975, for recovery of Rs. 18 lacs by sale of the mortgaged property against Mr. M. R. Dhawan defendant No. 2 and his wife Smt. Satya Dhawan defendant No. 3. The plaintiffs also prayed for a declaration under Order 21, Rule 63 of the Code of Civil Procedure that their right to recover the mortgage-debt from defendants Nos. 2 and 3 takes priority over the right of Union of India defendant No. 1 for recovery of its income-tax dues from Mr. M. R. Dhawan defendant No. 2.

(2) The property known as 6, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi, was purchased on 15th May, 1954 in the name of Smt. Satya Dhawan defendant No. 3 from Seth Jagat Narain. She executed a general power of attorney on 1st May, 1955, in favor of her husband, Mr. M. R. Dhawan defendant No. 2 created an equitable mortgage in consideration of Rs. 13,25,000 in favor of the plaintiffs and deposited the title deeds and the said power of attorney with the plaintiffs by means of a memorandum dated 18th May, 1964. There were some income-tax dues payable by Mr. M. R. Dhawan defendant No. 2 to the Union of India and, thereforee, the said property was attached by the income-tax Department on 6th July, 1965.

(3) The plaintiffs previously filed suit No. 425 of 1966 on 17th December, 1965, for the recovery of Rs. 1,10,000 on the basis of the said equitable mortgage dated 18th May, 1964, against Mr. M. R. Dhawan and his wife Smt. Satya Dhawan on the allegations that they advanced various loans to Mr. Dhawan and his wife Smt. Satya Dhawan and thus a total sum of Rs. 13,25,000 become payable by them to the plaintiffs; that Mr. Dhawan for himself and on behalf of his wife created an equitable mortgage by deposit of title deeds with respect to the said property known as 6, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi; that Mr. M. R. Dhawan was real owner of the said property and his wife was a mere benami that Mr. M. R. Dhawan had pledged 61,243 shares of Faridabad Glass Works Private Limited with the plaintiffs prior to the creation of the said equitable mortgage ; that Mr. M. R. Dhawan for himself and on behalf of his wife had to repay the sum of Rs. 13,25,000 by Installments as follows :

Sr. Date oF payment Principal Interest No. Rs. P. Rs, P. 1. 1-6-1965. 1,00,000-00 10,000-00 2. 1-6-1966 2.00,000-00 40,000-00 3. 1-6-1967 2,00,000-00 60,000-00 4. 1-6-1968 2,00,000-00 80,000-00 5. 1-6-1969 3,00,000-00 1,50,000-00 6. 1-6-1970 3,25.000-00 1,95,000-00 Total : 13,25,000-00 5,25,000-00

The first Installment of Rs. 1,00,000 and interest Rs. 10,000 yas not. paid as agreed and, thereforee, the plaintiffs filed suit for the recovery of the same by sale of the mortgaged property. Mr. M. R. Dhawan in his written statement of the previous suit admitted that the total sum of Rs. 13,25,000 was due from him to plaintiff No. 1 on account of the loan advanced but denied that he had taken any money from plaintiff No. 2 or that his wife Smt. Satya Dhawan had anything to do with the said loan transactions. Mr. Dhawan further submitted that shares of Faridabad Glass Works Private Limited were pledged with the plaintiffs, that the property known as 6, Jantar Mantar Road. New Delhi was the property of his wife and that he had nothing to do with the said property ; that his wife was real owner of the property, that a general power of attorney was executed in his favor by his wife, and he was authorised to manage, the property for and on behalf of his wife. Admissibility of the agreement dated 18th of May, 1964, purporting to create equitable mortgage by deposit of title deeds was denied for want of registration.

(4) Smt. Satya Dhawan filed a separate written statement in the said previous suit denying any knowledge in connection with any advance by the plaintiffs to her husband and alleging that she was the exclusive owner of the property known as 6, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi; that her husband had no authority to mortgage her said property and that she was the real owner of the property and was not a benamidar.

(5) The Income-tax Department, as already stated, had attached the property known as 6, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi, on 6th July, 1965. Objections were filed on behalf of the plaintiffs and Smt. Satya Dhawan, under Order 21, Rule 58 of the Code of Civil Procedure; but the same were dismissed. Smt. Satya Dhawan filed a suit, being suit No. 336 of 1968, for a declaration that she was the exclusive owner in possession of the suit property known as 6, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi, and that the same was not liable to attachment and sale for recovery of the income-tax dues. The plaintiffs also filed another suit in this court, being suit No. 37 of 1969, for a declaration that they were mortgagees of this property, 6, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi, and were entitled to recover the mortgage-money Rs. 13,25,000 besides interest, costs etc. by sale in preference to the claim of the Union of India for recovery of the income-tax dues from Mr. M. R. Dhawan. The two suits filed by the plaintiffs and one suit filed by Smt. Satya Dhawan were consolidated in this court and were disposed of by H. L. Anand, J. on 18th February, 1975, by a common judgment

(6) In the previous litigation, the following findings were arrived at by H. L. Anand, J. : (1) Mr. M. R. Dhawan was the real owner of the property Known as 6, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi. (2) Smt. Satya Dhawan was a merely ostensible owner and had no beneficial interest in the property, 6-Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi. In other words, she was held to be a mere benamidar. (3) That Smt. Satya Dhawan had nothing to do with the transactions of loan between the plaintiffs and Mr. M. R. Dhawan and that she was not liable to pay the sum of Rs. 13,25,000. (4) That the shares of Faridabad Glass Works Private Limited were validly pledged by Mr. M. R. Dhawan with the plain- tiffs. (5) That Mr. M. R. Dhawan validly created an equitable mortgage as per memorandum dated 18th May, 1964. It was further held that if Mrs. Satya Dhawan was held to be the owner of the property 6, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi, the equitable mortgage created by Mr. M. R. Dhawan was not binding upon Smt. Satya Dhawan. (6) That Smt. Satya Dhawan was not estopped from contesting the factum and validity of the mortgage. Mr. M. R. Dhawan was however estopped from contesting the factum and validity of the mortgage. (7) That the property known as 6, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi, attached on 6th July, 1965, can be sold for recovery of income-tax dues payable by Mr. M. R. Dhawan to the Union of India only subject to the mortgage created in favor of the plaintiffs on 18th May, 1964.

(7) Thus the plaintiffs' suit No. 425 of 1966 for recovery of Rs. 1,10,000 by sale of the mortgaged property was decreed against Mr. Dhawan and dismissed against Smt. Satya Dhawan. Plaintiff's suit No. 37 of 1969 for the declaration was decreed. The suit No. 336 of 1968 by Smt. Satya Dhawan claiming exclusive ownership of the -said property was, however, dismissed for want of notice under section 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(8) Mr. M. R. Dhawan and his wife Smt. Satya Dhawan filed three appeals against the decree and judgment in the said three suits between the parties, which appeals are still pending in this court, being F.R.A. (OS) No. 8 of 1976, R.F.A. (OS) No. 9 of 1976 and R.F.A. (OS) No. 12 of 1976. The Union of India also filed an appeal against the judgment and decree of the learned Single Judge in suit No. 37 of 1969, which appeal is also pending in this Court, being R.F.A. (OS) No. 28 of 1975.

(9) The plaintiffs in the present suit, as already stated, have claimed recovery of Rs. 18 lacs (Rs. 12,25,000 on account of remaining principal amount and Rs. 5,75,000 on account of interest) by sale of the mortgaged property on the various allegations pleaded by them in their previous suit No. 425 of 1966, i.e. Mr. M. R. Dhawan was the real owner of the property ; that Smt. Satya Dhawan was a mere benamidar ; that both of them were liable to pay the loan of Rs. 13,25,000: that Mr. Dhawan validly created the equitable mortgage and pledged the shares of Faridabad Glass Works; that Mr. Dhawan and Smt. Satya Dhawan were estopped from contesting the factum and validity of the mortgage and that the right of the plaintiffs to recover the mortgage debt payable to them by Mr. M. R. Dhawan and his wife Smt. Satya Dhawan takes priority over the right of the Union of India defendant No. I for recovery of its income-tax dues from Mr. M. R. Dhawan.

(10) Defendant No. 1 Union of India has filed its written statement and defendants Nos. 2 and 3 have also filed separate written statement. Defendants Nos. 2 and 3 allege that the present suit is liable to be stayed as the various questions in dispute in the present suit are directly and substantially in issue in the said previous litigation between the parties at the stage of appeal. It was alleged by defendants Nos. 2 and 3 that Smt. Satya Dhawan was not liable to pay the loan of Rs. 13,25,000 that she had nothing to do with the loan transactions ; that the shares of Faridabad Glass Works Private Limited had not been validly pledged that the alleged mortgaged created on 18th May, 1964 by Mr. M. R. Dhawan of property 6, Jantar Mantar Road, New Delhi, belonging to Smt. Satya Dhawan was invalid ; that she was the exclusive owner of the said property ; that Mr. M. R. Dhawan had nothing to do with the said property and that she was not estopped from contesting the factum and validity of the mortgage : that the suit was barred under Order 2, Rule 2, Civil Procedure Code ; and that the plaintiff's claim for personal decree was barred by time.

(11) On 4th May, 1977, the following preliminary issues were framed :

'(1)Whether the suit is liable to be stayed because of the earlier proceedings mentioned in paragraph I of the preliminary objections in the written statement filed on behalf of defendants Nos. 2 and 3 (2) Whether the present suit is barred under Order 2, Rule 2 of the Civil Procedure Code as alleged in preliminary objection No. 2 of the written statement filed on behalf of defendants Nos. 2 and 3 (3) Whether the claim for a personal decree against defendant No. 2 and defendant No. 3 Is barred by time ?'

(12) Issue NO. 1. Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure is as under : '10. No Court shall proceed with the trial of any suit in which the matter in issue is also directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit between the same parties, or between. parties under whom they or any of them claim litigating under the same title where such suit is pending In the same or any other Court in India having jurisdiction to grant the relief claimed, or in any Court beyond the limits of India established or continued by the Central Government and having like jurisdiction, or before the Supreme Court. Explanationn. -The pendency of a suit in a foreign Court does not preclude the Courts in India from trying a suit founded on the same cause of action.' This section provides that where a suit is instituted in a court, such court shall nut proceed with the trial of the suit if the questions in controversy in the suit are also directly and substantially in issue in the previously instituted suit between the same parties. Further it is provided that the previously instituted suit must be pending in the same Court in which the subsequent suit is brought or in a Court having jurisdiction to grant relief claimed in the subsequent suit. The object of this section is to prevent courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously trying two parallel suits relating to same questions in dispute. This section does not contain any reference either to the subject-matter or to the cause of action and the test for applicability of this section is whether on the final decision being reached in the previous suit, such decision would operate as res-judicata in the subsequent suit.

(13) The learned counsel for the plaintiffs contended that the matter in issue in the present suit and the previous suit is not the same and thereforee Section 10, Civil Procedure Code, is not applicable. He contends that the words 'matter in issue' used in section 10 mean entire subject-matter of the subsequent suit and the previous suit must be the same. He further contended that in the previous suit the subject-matter was recovery of Rs. 1,10,000 while in the present suit the subject-matter in recovery of Rs. 18 lacs. I do not agree with this view of the learned counsel for the plaintiffs. In my opinion the words 'matter in issue' in section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure mean all disputed material questions in the subsequent suit which are directly and substantially in question in the previous suit. It can never be expected that a plaintiff would file a case against the same defendant for the same amount and claiming the same relief, in suits for recovery of rents a landlord can never file two suits claiming rent of the same period and claiming the same amount of rent. In my view words 'matter in issue' do not mean entire subject-matter in issue in the two suits. If the interpretation as put by the learned counsel for the plaintiffs is accepted, it appears to me that section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure would become redundant and there would be lot of litigation before the Courts trying the same set of facts again and again. Applying the test of principle of res-judicata for the stay of the suit, I am of the view that the decision on various points in question in the pervious litigation between the parties pending at the stage of appeal, would operate as res-judicata in the present suit and the suit can be disposed of in terms of the findings that may be given in appeal. If the present suit is not stayed, it would result in unnecessary trial of the suit and litigation expenses of the parties. Moreover there may be possibility of conflicting judgments in the two proceedings.

(14) An appeal is a continuation of the suit and, thereforee, the provisions of section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure apply to the previous suit, which may be at the stage of appeal. The plaintiffs in the present suit in para 37 of the plaint have pleaded that all the defenses raised by the defendants in the previous litigation against them are barred by the rule of res-judicata and that adjudication of the same would now be barred under section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The plaintiffs claim that they are entitled to succeed in the present suit on the ground that there is no legal and factual ground which remains undecided and that the decision of the previous three suits completely bars all possible defenses, on all points to the present suit whether or not they were actually raised in the previous suit. In view of these pleadings of the plaintiffs I see no ground to refuse stay of the present suit under section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(15) The learned counsel for the plaintiffs has made written submissions (I.A. 4252 of 1978) wherein he has referred to various judgments of different High Courts holding that the entire subject-matter in the previous suit and the subsequent suit must be the same. With due respect to all the Hon'ble Judges taking the said view in the said judgments detailed in the application (I.A. 4292 of 1978) I do not agree. If this view is taken as correct interpretation of section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure, it would mean that there cannot be stay of any suit filed subsequently because two suits can never have entries subject-matter as the same. It is not necessary to deal with all the judgments referred to by the learned counsel for the plaintiffs, as the Facts of those cases are materially different from the facts of the present case.

(16) In the Laxmi Bank Ltd., Akola and others v. Harikishan and others it has been held that where the issue involved in a subsequently instituted suit is covered by one of the issues in the previously instituted suit, appeal in which is pending, the subsequently instituted suit should be stayed, until the decision of the appeal in the previously instituted suit.

(17) In Jain Hind Iron Mart, v. Tulsiram Bhagwandas, : AIR1953Bom117 , the Division Bench consisting of Chagia C.J. and Gajendragadkar, J. (as he then was) observed as follows : 'Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure does not contemplate an identity of issues between the two suits, nor does it require that the matter in issue in the two suits should be entirely the same or identical. What the section requires is that the matter in issue in the two suits should be directly and substantially the same, and proper effect must be given to the language used by the Legislature in S. 10 that the identity required is a substantial identity. There must be an identity of the subject-matter, the field of controversy between the parties in the two suits must also be the same, but the identical contemplated and the field of controversy contemplated should not be identical and the same in every particular, but the identity and the field of controversy must be substantially the same.' In Ram Narain, v. Ram Swarup and others Air 1962 All 168, it has been observed as follows : 'Complete identity of the subject-matter is not necessary to attract the application of section 10 and if a matter directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit is also directly and substantially in issue in a later suit, then under section 10 the later suit shall be stayed. But any matter common to the two suits will not attract the provisions of S. 10. The matter must be of substance, so that its decision in one suit shall affect materially the decision of the other suit.' 'Where the matter directly and substantially in issue in both the suits was whether the truck was given to the opposite parties under a hire-purchase agreement or there was a sale out and out and whether the applicant (the plaintiff in the earlier suit) had got back the truck by mutual agreement and where, if the two issues were decided in favor of the applicant, the second suit would largely fail. The second Suit was liable to be stayed under section 10, though there were other questions arising in the later suit and though the decision in the earlier suit could not operate as rest judicata in the later suit.'

(18) In the present suit filed by the plaintiffs the amount of mortgage money claimed is different than the amount of mortgage money claimed in the previous suit ; but in all other respects the questions in dispute in the present suit are the same, which were in dispute in the previous

(19) The previous litigation and the present suit are pending in this C(:. , The previous litigation Is at the stage of appeal, while the present suit is at the stage of trial. This Court has jurisdiction to decide both the litigations, i.e. the previous suit and the present suit. I, thus, hold that all the ingredients of section 10 are fulfillled to order stay of the present suit I, accordirigly, stay the trial of die present suit. Issues NO. 2 And 3 :

(20) It is not necessary to decide these two issues, as I have come to the conclusion that the present suit is liable to be stayed under Section 10 of the Code of Civil Procedure. These issues may be decided after the decision of the said appeals, pending in this Court, and revival of the proceedings in the suit.

(21) As discussed above, I stay the trial of the present suit till the decision of the four appeals, referred to above. Leave is granted to the plaintiffs to move this Court after the decision of the said appeals for revival of proceeding in the suit. There will be no order as to costs.


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