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Municipal Corporation of Delhi Vs. Lakshmi Chand and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal No. 11 of 1971 and Civil Miscellaneous Appeal Nos. 198 and 860 of 1980
Judge
Reported in20(1981)DLT316
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Order 22, Rules 3 and 11; Limitation Act, 1908 - Sections 5
AppellantMunicipal Corporation of Delhi
RespondentLakshmi Chand and ors.
Advocates: D.S. Narula and; O.N. Aggarwal, Advs
Cases ReferredMunicipal Corporation of Delhi v. Veena Mehta
Excerpt:
the case debated on whether there was sufficient cause for condensation of delay - in the instant case, it was observed that latches and explanationns for the delay caused, were not satisfactory - in view of the such unsatisfactory explanationns, it was ruled that application filed for condensation of delay would be dismissed under section 5 of the limitation act, 1940 - - since valuable rights had accrued in favor of the respondents, they could not be defeated on the plea that was raised......jain, j.(1) a suit was filed on 8.3.1967 by lakshmi chand, his mother kamla devi and his daughter parkash wati against the municipal corporation of delhi. the municipal corporation did not file any written statement to contest the suit in spite of several adjournments. it was decreed by the learned sub-judge on 9.12.1968. it was held that the plaintiffs were owners of 1 bigha and 18 bids was of khasra no. 351/2597/1119 in village basai darapur, delhi, out of which i bigha and 10 bids was were acquired in 1963. thus, 8 bids was of land was left out of acquisition. the plaintiffs were held entitled to possession thereof. they were also awarded rs. 1,440.00 towards mesne profits. (2) kamla devi died on 20-3-1969. anappeal was filed against the decree by the corporation. on 29.4.1969 an.....
Judgment:

M.L. Jain, J.

(1) A suit was filed on 8.3.1967 by Lakshmi Chand, his mother Kamla Devi and his daughter Parkash Wati against the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. The Municipal Corporation did not file any written statement to contest the suit in spite of several adjournments. It was decreed by the learned Sub-Judge on 9.12.1968. It was held that the plaintiffs were owners of 1 bigha and 18 bids was of Khasra No. 351/2597/1119 in village Basai Darapur, Delhi, out of which I bigha and 10 bids was were acquired in 1963. Thus, 8 bids was of land was left out of acquisition. The plaintiffs were held entitled to possession thereof. They were also awarded Rs. 1,440.00 towards mesne profits.

(2) Kamla Devi died on 20-3-1969. Anappeal was filed against the decree by the Corporation. On 29.4.1969 an application for deletion of her name was made. While this application was pending the appeal itself was dismissed indefault on 19.1.1970.

(3) An application was moved under Order 41 Rule 19 read with section 151 Civil Procedure Code for the restoration of the appeal, on 6.4.1970. It was said in that application that the land formed part of the land on which a school has since then been built and thereforee the matter assumed great public importance. Their lawyer Shri V.P. Joshi who was allotted this case, suddenly fell ill on 19.1.1970 and, thereforee, no alternative arrangements could be made. The dismissal of the appeal came to the knowledge of the Corporation on 3.4.1970 when warrant of possession was issued by the trial court. An application under section 5 of the Limitation Act for condensation of delay was also moved. An application for stay of execution was also made on the same day under Rule 5 and Section 151, Civil Procedure Code. It was stated in that application that the Corporation has sanctioned payment of rent at the rate of Rs. 90.00 p.m. to Shri Dhani Ram of Sonepat in respect of the land in question.

(4) The learned lower court framed issues whether there was sufficient cause for restoration of the appeal and whether the application was within time. The matter was decided upon affidavits filed by both the parties. The learned Additional District Judge by order dated 17.9.1970 dismissed the application under Order 41 Rule 19 and section 151 CPC. The learned Judge hold that the application for restoration was moved three and a half months after the dismissal of the appeal, though the period of limitation is only 30 days. Mr. V.P. Joshi, Advocate, had filed no affidavit of his illness. There was further no evidence to show that he continued to be ill even alter that dale. Since valuable rights had accrued in favor of the respondents, they could not be defeated on the plea that was raised. Hence, this appeal to this court. It was filed on 25.1.71.

(5) I suspected that perhaps there was some printing error in mentioning the area of the Khasra under acquisition. The evidence of the Patwari bn Chand (P.W. 1) was mo^t unsatisfactory. It appeared to me that the whole Khasra should have been acquired. Now, which is this 8 bids was on which side of the field that was not acquired and was not occupied by the school I wanted, thereforee, to see the original record of acquisition and the other record. It could not be made available because the lower court record appears to have been destroyed in fire. But no such plea was taken by the Corporation. Rather, they took the stand that the land in question belonged to some one else who was receiving rent from them. So, I gave up in despair.

(6) Out of the two surviving plaintiffs, Parkash wati died during the course of this appeal on 2.6.1972. An application for bringing on record her legal representatives was made on 17.3.1980 along with an application for condensation of delay under section 5 of the Limitation Act. It is alleged that the fact of the death of Parkash Wati came to the knowledge of the counsel on 21.2.1980 when at the time of hearing the counsel for the respondent mentioned about it in the court. But the respondent contends that in another suit (No. 717/73) against th3 Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the legal representatives of the deceased had moved on 17.7.1972 an application for being brought on recurd. Notice of the application in that suit was served on the Corporation and the Corporation filed its reply on 24.8.1972. On November 27, 1972, the application of the legal representatives was allowed. Relying upon Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Veena Mehta, 1977 Rlr 126, it was urged that the Mcd should be held to have come to know of the death of Parkash Wati at least on 24.8.1972. In their application, however, the Corporation said that the counsel in that suit did not inform the Mcd of the death of Parkash Wati and the Corporation did not enquire the knowledge of the death of Prakash Wati in July 1972, nor is it possible to relate the events of one suit with the other because different counsel and several officers deal with the matter. Since then, Rajinder Kumar, one of the legal representatives of Parkash Wati, also died on 15.2.1980, nearly a month before the present application including his name was moved by the appellant on 17.3.1980.

(7) Looking to the handicaps which incorporate public bodies suffer in our country, I was inclined to retrieve the situation in which the Corporation has landed itself but the laches throughout are unusual in the extreme and the Explanationns most unsatisfactory. Even today one is not clear what exactly the case of the Corporation is. I am amazed at the casual manner in which the case was being handled on behalf of the Corporation. I would, thereforee, dismiss the applications for condensation and for substitution with the result that this appeal abates. No costs.


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