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Konappa Mudaliar Vs. Kusalaru Alias Munuswami Pillai and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 327 of 1965
Judge
Reported inAIR1970Mad328
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 11 - Order 41, Rule 23
AppellantKonappa Mudaliar
RespondentKusalaru Alias Munuswami Pillai and ors.
Appellant AdvocateN. Appu Rao, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateC.S. Swaminathan, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredIn Satyadhyan v. Deorajin Debi
Excerpt:
.....person with a title files a suit for possession, but fails to show possession within 12 years of suit, he has got to fail, even though the person in possession might not have completed his title by adverse possession. on this ground also the appellant has got to fail......court. in lalbati v. satchidanand, : air1960pat418 it was held that if the high court in second appeal remands a case to the lower court the matters finally disposed of by the order of remand cannot be reopened when the case comes back from the lower court on the principle of constructive res judicata, to the same effect was the earlier decision of that court in sundar ahir v. phuljharia, : air1957pat534 . see also the decision in kanhaiya singh v. bhagwat singh, air 1954 pat 326. 5. in satyadhyan v. deorajin debi, : [1960]3scr590 , it is observed-'as regards orders of remand it had been held that under section 591 of the code, a party aggrieved by an order of remand could object to its validity in an appeal against the final decree, though he might have appealed against the order.....
Judgment:

Alagiriswami, J.

1. The plaintiff is the appellant. The suit relates to a house which originally belonged to one Venkatachalam. His son Balu left the house in 1932 and was thereafter not heard of. Venkatachalarn also died soon after. From the evidence in this case it appears that Balu's wife Thirupathiammal, who is the plaintiff's vendor also left the house at about the same time and went to live with her parents. On 27-4-1945, she executed a sale in plaintiff's favour. The first defendant purchased the same property from Chennammal, Venkatachala's widow on 6-12-1945. The matter came up once before to this Court, on appeal. The finding of the Courts below that the plaintiff had title to the property was confirmed. It was remanded to the lower appellate Court for a finding whether the plaintiff was in possession within 12 years of suit. After remand, the' learned District Judge, Salem, has, after an exhaustive discussions of the evidence on record, came to the conclusion that the plaintiff was not in possession within 12 years of suit. This finding being one of fact has got to stand. In any case, it is simply supported by the evidence on record.

2. But the point urged on behalf of the appellant is that the question whether the plaintiff who has title and who sues for possession of the property to which he is entitled should, in order to succeed in his suit, also show possession within 12 years of suit no longer arises, in view of the provisions of the Articles 64 and 65 of the Limitation Act, 1963 and as the Supreme Court has in its decision in Nair Service Society v. K. C. Alexander, : [1968]3SCR163 held that the present Articles 64 and 65 are merely declaratory, the matter must be decided on the basis of' the present Arts. 64 and 65 rather than under Art 142 as was directed by this Court in its ' order of remand. On the other hand, it is urged on behalf of the respondents, that the Court below had no jurisdiction to consider any question other than the one it was directed to consider by the order of remand of this Court and that it was not open to the lower appellate Court to consider whether the matter fell within Arts. 64 and 65 of the present Limitation Act. In respect of suits filed before the Limitation Act, 1963 came into force, the provisions of that Act have to be given effect to where fresh steps like appeal etc., have to be taken and not the provisions of the Limitation Act, 1908, subject, of course, to the provisions of Section 30 of the 1963 Act. The provision of Section 30 applies, however, only to suits for which the period of limitation under 1963 Act is shorter than the period prescribed under the 1908 Act. Therefore, Section 30 of the 1963 Act does not apply to this case. When this suit was filed Article 142 applied.

The effect of the Article 142 of 1908 Act as interpreted by a Full Bench of this Court is that even where a person with a title files a suit for possession, but fails to show possession within 12 years of suit, he has got to fail, even though the person in possession might not have completed his title by adverse possession. It is this defect that has been cured by the 1963 Act. Articles 64 and 65 have been interpreted by the Supreme Court as declaratory and not remedial. The effect, therefore, of the decision of the Supreme Court is that it should always be deemed to have been the law that when a person who has title sues for possession, need not be in possession within 12 years of suit and he is entitled to succeed unless the defendant is able to establish that he has prescribed title by adverse possession.

Now in this case, the first defendant's possession is only from the date of sale, 27-12-1945, and it is less than 12 years. Of course, he can add the possession of his vendor, to his own possession, provided his vendor's possession was adverse to the plaintiff's vendor. From what we have already stated, it would be obvious that the plaintiff's vendor had never been in possession though she had title. Can it then be said that the first defendant's vendor's possession was adverse to the plaintiff's vendor and, therefore, to the plaintiff? The plaintiff's vendor having left the house as early as 1932 and come down to the village in 1945 merely for the purpose of executing the sale deed, it is not unreasonable to think that the first defendant's vendor was in possession in assertion of title of hers. Even according to the plaintiff's witnesses, the first defendant's vendor drove away, the plaintiff's vendor within two months of the execution of the sale deed by her in favour of the plaintiff and then executed the sale deed in favour of the first defendant. The first defendant's vendor, in view of the fact that her son had left even before her husband's death and the plaintiff's vendor had left the village soon after, should have been in possession in her own right. This was not a case of possession among two co-owners where it could be said that the possession of one co-owner cannot be adverse to the other co-owner, unless the former's possession is openly hostile to the knowledge of the other co-owner. It was a case of a person, who had no title to be in possession, being in possession and therefore, the defendant's vendor's possession must be adverse to the plaintiff's right from the date of her own possession.

Therefore, even applying the provisions of the Limitation Act of 1963, the defendants should be deemed to have prescribed title by adverse possession.

3. The question whether it was open to the lower appellate Court to apply the provisions of the Limitation Act of 1963 notwithstanding the order of remand directing it to consider the question from the point of view of Article 142 of the Limitation Act 1908 presents no difficulty whatsoever. It was not open to the lower appellate Court to do anything, but to carry out the terms of the order of remand, which it has done. Even if it considered that the order of remand made by this Court on the earlier occasion Was not in accordance with law, it was not open to that Court to apply what it might consider to be the correct provision of law. The decision of the Supreme Court on which reliance is placed for the appellant was rendered on 12-12-1968. This appeal was disposed of by the lower appellate Court after remand on 26-6-1964. On that date, the only decision that was binding on the lower appellate Court was the decision of the Full Bench of this Court. Therefore, the decision of the lower appellate Court was correct on the facts of the case.

4. But the question still remains whether this Court is at present entitled to take into consideration the later decision of the Supreme Court and go back on its own earlier order of remand which proceeds on the basis that Article 142 of the Limitation Act of 1908 applies. It is true that against the order of remand made by this Court on the earlier occasion, no appeal lay. An appeal under the Letters Patent would have been preferred to a Bench of this Court and an appeal to the Supreme Court would be open only with special leave of the Court. Therefore, this is a case where there was no appeal open to the plaintiff against this Court's earlier order of remand. But even so, I do not think it is open to this Court to go back on the earlier view it had taken. Right or wrong that view has become final. Section 105(2). Civil P. C. provides.

'2. Notwithstanding anything contained in Sub-section (1) where any party aggrieved by an order of remand made after the commencement of this Code from which an appeal lies does not appeal there from, he shall thereafter be precluded from disputing its correctness.'

Though, in this case, it is true that an appeal does not lie, it does not mean that the appellant in this case can dispute the correctness of the earlier order of remand before this very Court. In Lalbati v. Satchidanand, : AIR1960Pat418 it was held that if the High Court in second appeal remands a case to the lower Court the matters finally disposed of by the order of remand cannot be reopened when the case comes back from the lower Court on the principle of constructive res judicata, To the same effect was the earlier decision of that Court in Sundar Ahir v. Phuljharia, : AIR1957Pat534 . See also the decision in Kanhaiya Singh v. Bhagwat Singh, AIR 1954 Pat 326.

5. In Satyadhyan v. Deorajin Debi, : [1960]3SCR590 , it is observed-

'As regards orders of remand it had been held that under Section 591 of the Code, a party aggrieved by an order of remand could object to its validity in an appeal against the final decree, though he might have appealed against the order under Section 588 and had not done so. The second sub-section of Section 105 precludes an appellant from taking on an appeal from the final decree, any objection that might have been urged by way of appeal from an order of remand......... if an appeal lay and still the appeal was not taken, the correctness of the order of remand could not be later challenged in an appeal from the final decision. If however an appeal did not lie from the order of remand the correctness thereof could be challenged by an appeal from the final decision as in the case of other interlocutory orders.'

Now this may apply to a case of an appeal against the judgment of the Court which made the order of remand itself. But it does not lay down that the Court which made the order of remand can itself reconsider its order of remand and hold that it was not correct. Their Lordships went on further to say in that case-

'There appears to be no reason therefore, why the appellant should be precluded from raising before this Court the question about the applicability of Section 28 merely because he had not appealed from the High Court's order of remand, taking the view ,against him that the section was applicable.'

This merely means that the Supreme Court was competent to consider whether the view taken by the High Court in its order of remand was correct or not, even though an appeal had not been taken against the order of remand. It does not amount to a decision that the High Court itself would have been competent when the matter came back to it after disposal by the lower appellate Court after remand to take a view contrary to that it had taken earlier in its order of remand with respect to that point. See : AIR1963MP344 . The decisions referred to earlier also dealt with this question and those decisions have not been in any way overruled by the decision of the Supreme Court. It should, therefore, be held that it is not open to this Court to go back upon the view it had taken in its earlier order of remand. On this ground also the appellant has got to fail.

6. The second appeal is, therefore, dismissed with costs. Leave refused.


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