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C. Muthuvel Pillai Vs. Hazarath Syed Shah Mian Sakkab Sahib Kadhiri Thaikal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberA.A.A.O. No. 90 of 1972
Judge
Reported inAIR1974Mad199
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 2(2) and 151 - Order 20, Rule 4(2) - Order 21, Rule 35 - Order 23, Rule 3 - Order XLI, Rule 34; Indian Registration Act
AppellantC. Muthuvel Pillai
RespondentHazarath Syed Shah Mian Sakkab Sahib Kadhiri Thaikal
Cases Referred(Mad.) Veerappa Chettiar v. Rava Gushadheswara Swami Devastanam
Excerpt:
.....and in the interests of justice and also to give a finality to the litigation, it has gone into the question of fixing the price of the superstructure which is only consequential to the main relief prayed for by the plaintiff. will clearly govern the judgment and decree given by the trial court and those by the high court in second appeal in this case. parameshwaran nair (1970)1mlj578 ,for the proposition that the words 'subject-matter of the suit' in section 17(2)(vi) of the registration act cannot be read as subject-matter of the plaint nor even as a subject-matter in dispute in the suit or proceeding and that if the consent decree or order in the suit or proceeding covered by the property, although it was not in the plaint or in dispute, such property constituting, as it does,..........of the suit property to assess the value at present of the superstructure that stands on the suit site and to report the same to his honourable court. 2. the parties further agree that on this honourable court enquiring into the commissioner's report and fixing the price, the plaintiff is to buy the superstructure from defendants 1 and 2 at a price to be fixed by this court after deducting the rent due from them for the site till the time of purchase. defendants 1 and 2 may receive the amount to be deposited after delivery of the possession.' on 6-8-1963, the district munsif passed a decree in the suit in and by which he directed the plaintiff to purchase the suit building mentioned in the plaint and described in the plaint schedule and to deposit into court a sum of rs. 6,000.....
Judgment:

1. The first defendant in O. S. No. 30 of 1962, on the file of the District Munsif's Court, Thanjavur, is the appellant in this civil miscellaneous second appeal. The second defendant is no other than the mother of the first defendant. The plaintiff, Hazarat Saiyed Shah Mian Saheb Kadiri Thaikkal, represented by its trustee Ismat Pasha Sahib, laid the suit for recovery of vacant possession of the suit land from defendants 1 and 2 after removing the superstructure put up thereon by them, alleging, inter alia, that the plaintiff is the owner of the site described in the plaint schedule, that one Muthayya Pillai and the second defendant executed a rent deed in favour of the then trustee, C. S. Peeran Sahib, on 20-12-1934, for occupation thereof, agreeing to pay a monthly rental of Rs. 5, that the period fixed was five years, that although the period fixed in the lease deed expired long ago, defendants 1 and 2 are continuing in possession thereof, that they have sublet the property in favour of the third defendant, that defendants 1 and 2 put up a superstructure on the site and that under the terms of the lease deed, the lessees have to surrender vacant possession of the site after removing the superstructure. The plaintiff further averred that defendants 1 and 2 are in arrears of rent to the extent of Rs. 315 till 1-9-1961, that in spite of notice, defendants 1 and 2 have not surrendered possession, that the plaintiff is entitled to recover possession of the leasehold property after the removal of the leasehold property after the removal of the superstructure and to a decree for the arrears of rent now claimed and for future rent till delivery of possession. The plaintiff therefore prayed for a decree for recovery of possession of the suit property (site) through process of court after removal of the superstructure put up thereon by the defendants 1 and 2 and for rents.

2. Pending disposal of the suit, the parties entered into a compromise, and I. A. 564 of 1963 was filed under Order XXIII, Rule 3, C.P.C. on 28-6-1963. The said compromise filed into the court, inter alia, stated as follows:--

'1. The parties agree that a Commissioner may be appointed to make a local investigation of the suit property to assess the value at present of the superstructure that stands on the suit site and to report the same to his Honourable Court.

2. The parties further agree that on this Honourable Court enquiring into the Commissioner's report and fixing the price, the plaintiff is to buy the superstructure from defendants 1 and 2 at a price to be fixed by this court after deducting the rent due from them for the site till the time of purchase. Defendants 1 and 2 may receive the amount to be deposited after delivery of the possession.'

On 6-8-1963, the District Munsif passed a decree in the suit in and by which he directed the plaintiff to purchase the suit building mentioned in the plaint and described in the plaint schedule and to deposit into court a sum of Rs. 6,000 being the sale consideration on or before 6-2-1964.

3. From the above narration, it is seen that in the compromise filed by the parties there is a definite statement as regards delivery of possession of the property. In the suit itself the second defendant filed O. P. 20 of 1963, for purchase of the site and the same was rejected. The second defendant, aggrieved by the decision of the District Munsif, preferred an appeal. The lower appellate court fixed the value at Rs. 10,000. The plaintiff preferred a second appeal in S. A. 1658 of 1964. The High Court gave a decree as follows:--

'The parties agree that the appellant (plaintiff) may deposit Rs. 2,000 more in addition to the sum of Rs. 6,000 he has already deposited with in two months from this date and the respondent will give possession immediately on deposit. On failure to do so the execution can be taken out immediately and proceedings taken. The respondents 1, 4 and 5 can withdraw the sum of Rs. 6000 already deposited as well as Rs. 2,000 to be deposited only after giving possession. Out of this amount the rents upto date would naturally be deducted. The parties will bear their own costs.'

On 7-1-1969, the plaintiff applied in E. P. 31 of 1969, under Order XXI, rule 35 C.P.C., for delivery of property as per the decree. The same was allowed and delivery was ordered by the District Munsif on 23-10-1970. The first defendant took the matter in appeal in C.M.A. 116 of 1971 before the Subordinate Judge, Thanjavur.

4. Pending that civil miscellaneous appeal, the first defendant filed C. M. P. 12552 and 12553 of 1970 in the aforesaid second appeal (S. A. 1658 of 1964), praying, in the former petition, to bring out in the judgment in second appeal that the appellant and the fifth respondent alone compromised and that the first respondent remained ex parte and to confine the terms of the decree to the quantum of valuation of the superstructure on the suit site and deleting the other clauses; and, in the latter petition, to stay all further proceedings in E. P. 31 of 1969, pending disposal of C. M. P. 12552 of 1970. Ramamurti J. by order dated 13-11-1970, passed the following order on the two petitions--

'There is no substance in the petitions. The petitioner did not care to participate even though he was duly served in the second appeal both in his own capacity as the first respondent and as well as in his capacity as the legal representative of his deceased mother. The judgment also indicates that the compromise was merely the acceptance of the suggestion of the court in the course of the hearing, to the effect that the compensation amount might be fixed at Rs. 8,000. It is clear that the petitioner herein is taking advantage of the fact that in the preamble portion of the judgment there is some reference to the agreement between the parties. That apart, the petitioner who did not participate in all these proceedings, is not entitled to file this petition. It is clear that he has been set up by the other members of the family to rake up the question over again after having obtained an advantage of the amount being fixed at Rs. 8,000 by this court (High Court). For all these reasons, the application for amendment and the application for stay, are dismissed. No costs.' Thus, it is clear that the appellant herein has got a decision of this court in the above C. M. Ps. that the order passed in O. S. 30 of 1962 is a decree though the court had taken certain suggestions made in the compromise memorandum filed into court.

5. The suit was one for delivery of the site. The District Munsif took into consideration the compromise memorandum filed by the parties and gave a decree in favour of the plaintiff for purchase of the superstructure also at a cost of Rs. 6,000. The lower appellate court fixed the price of the superstructure at Rs. 10,000. The High Court fixed the price at Rs. 8,000. Even assuming that the trial court has given a decree only for purchasing the superstructure, the High Court's decree makes it clear that possession will be given by the appellant herein and the others immediately on deposit of the sum of Rs. 8,000. As long as an appeal is pending the entire matter is at large and the finality attachable to a decree comes in only on the ultimate disposal of the appeal. In this case, the finality of the decree was only after the disposal of S.A. 1658 of 1964 and as such it has to hand over possession as soon as the plaintiff deposits the sum of Rupees 8,000, being the value of the superstructure standing on the suit site.

6. C. M. A. No. 116 of 1971, preferred by the first defendant, came to be dismissed by the Subordinate Judge of Thanjavur. Hence the civil miscellaneous second appeal by him.

7. Thiru V. P. Ganesan, the learned counsel for the appellant, contended as follows:--

1. The entire proceeding of the trial court in O. S. 30 of 1962 is null and void subsequent to the filing of the agreement in I. A. 564 of 1963, signed by the plaintiff and defendants 1 and 2.

2. The trial court and the appellate court have no jurisdiction to fix the price for the superstructure on the basis of the agreement filed by the parties.

3. Section 151, C.P.C., will not apply in the matter of fixing of the value of the superstructure and of passing a decree of this nature.

4. The decree is not executable since it is only declaratory.

5. The District Munsif's court which fixed the price at Rs. 6,000 in respect of the superstructure, had no jurisdiction to do so, as its pecuniary jurisdiction is only upto Rs. 5,000. The decree of the District Munsif is a nullity and hence the appeal and the second appeal therefrom are nullity. Further, the judgment of the District Munsif is no judgment as per Order XX, Rule 4 (2), C.P.C. and as such there is no 'decree' as contemplated in Section 2(2), C.P.C.

6. The judgment and decree in the second appeal giving the relief of possession are without jurisdiction, as there is no relief prayed for in the plaint in respect of the superstructure.

7. The judgment and decree of the High Court in second appeal are not in accordance with Order XLI, Rule 34, C.P.C. as no new point can be raised at the stage of second appeal.

8. Since there is a relief granted in respect of immovable property, the decree ought to have been registered under the Indian Registration Act.

9. The respondents (plaintiff) cannot recover possession inasmuch as the land has been taken over by the Government under the Tamil Nadu Minor Inams (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act XXX of 1963.

8. Thiru Kothandarama Nainar, the learned counsel appearing for the respondents, inter alia, submitted that the decree passed finally by the high Court in second appeal is executable, that the executing court cannot go beyond the decree, that the High Court has every jurisdiction to pass a decree which is in accordance with the plaint filed by the respondent-plaintiff, that the compromise memorandum filed in I. A. 564 of 1963 and also the decree of the High Court definitely direct delivery of possession by the appellant herein, that the decree to purchase the superstructure is only consequential to the main relief prayed for and as such the same need not be registered, the Tamil Nadu Act XXX of 1963 will not affect the prayer for possession made by the respondent and that there is no question of law involved in this civil miscellaneous second appeal for entertaining the same. The learned counsel further contended that his client has deposited the amount directed to be deposited by the High Court into the trial court and that a joint patta has also been granted in favour of the respondent.

9. Various decisions were cited at the Bar for the positions taken by the respective counsel. I have already discussed, in the opening paragraphs, the facts of the case and about the finality given in the case by reason of the judgment in S. A. No. 1658 of 1964.

10. Official Trustee, W. B. v. Sachindra Nath Chatterjee : [1969]3SCR92 states--

'It is plain that if the learned Judge had no jurisdiction to pass the order in question then the order is null and void. It is equally plain that if he had jurisdiction to pronounce on the plea put forward before him the fact that the made an incorrect order or even an illegal order cannot affect its validity.'

It cannot be said that the court had no jurisdiction to pass the order as prayed for in the plaint. The fixing of the value of the superstructure is only a consequential remedy to the relief prayed for by the plaintiff in the suit. As such, I do not think the matter is beyond the pecuniary jurisdiction of the District Munsif's Court simply because the price of the superstructure, which is not the subject-matter of the suit, as it is, is over and above Rs. 5,000. The District Munsif had jurisdiction to order eviction. The fact that he has directed the plaintiff to purchase the superstructure at a price of Rs. 6,000 cannot be held as invalidating the decree for want of pecuniary jurisdiction. The omission on the part of the District Munsif to specifically mention the right of the plaintiff to get possession of the site cannot in any way affect the jurisdiction of the court. Even the said remedy prayed for by the plaintiff has been made clear in the compromise memo filed by the parties and also by the judgment and decree granted at the second appellate stage. In the order on the amendment petition, aforementioned, Ramamurti, J. made it clear that there is no compromise decree but the District Munsif passed a regular decree and that there is no need to amend the decree in the second appeal. Thus, the decree passed by the High Court in the second appeal has become final, and there was neither a review petition nor any appeal to the Supreme Court against the same. It is too late in the day to state that the trial court itself had no jurisdiction to pass the decree, at the stage of execution.

11. In Padam Sen v. State of U. P. : 1961CriLJ322 , the Supreme Court has considered the scope of Section 151, C.P.C., in clear terms. The contention of the learned counsel for the appellant that the appointment of a Commissioner to value the superstructure on the suit property is beyond the powers of the court, cannot stand. The fixing of the price by appointing a Commissioner is only consequential to the main relief claimed in the suit, and is not at all in conflict with any of the procedures laid down in the Civil Procedure Code. As such, the court has jurisdiction to do the same. It is too much for the appellant to state that the powers of the Court under Section 151, C.P.C. cannot be invoked on the facts of the present case. I am of the view that the court is perfectly within its jurisdiction, and in the interests of justice and also to give a finality to the litigation, it has gone into the question of fixing the price of the superstructure which is only consequential to the main relief prayed for by the plaintiff. Even the consequential relief was given by the court on the foot of the agreement entered into between the parties concerned.

12. Thiru V. P. Ganesan, the learned counsel for the appellant, cited the decisions in Rajagopala Chettiar v. H.R.E. Board, Madras : AIR1934Mad103 and Nandesam v. Balakrishnamma, (1939) 50 MLW 541 = AIR 1939 Mad 897, for the position that the order sought to be executed is not a 'decree'. I do not think there is any difficulty in accepting the proposition propounded in the above two decisions. The definition of 'decree' in Section 2(2), C.P.C. will clearly govern the judgment and decree given by the trial Court and those by the High Court in second appeal in this case.

13. No doubt, the decision in Ramanuja Naicker v. Seethalakshmi : (1958)2MLJ512 , cited by the learned counsel for the appellant states that if a decree only gives a declartation of right and is not executable in the form it is drafted, the proper course in such cases is to apply to the court to make suitable modifications to make the decree in form executable. But as far as the present case on hand is concerned, the High Court has passed a decree in S. A. No. 1658 of 1964 and the same is executable as such. It is also clear that the decree passed by the High Court is in accordance with the prayer in the plaint.

14. The other decisions cited by the learned counsel for the appellant for the proposition that it is only a declaratory decree and as such registration is required, that the decrees of the appellate courts have been passed without proper pleadings and issues and that the initial jurisdiction of the trial court is lacking are not necessary to be discussed, inasmuch as the facts of the case are completely different from those in the decisions referred to by the learned counsel.

15. In Kannayya Chetti v. Venkatanarasayya, ILR (1918) Mad 1 = AIR 1918 Mad 998, a Full Bench of this court has held:

'We are, therefore, of opinion that in every case when the court is seized of jurisdiction it cannot and does not lose it be any change in the value of the subject-matter of the suit after the institution of the suit or by the precise ascertainment of its value in cases which do not admit of such ascertainment at the time of institution, except when the plaint is allowed to be amended; and that is not really an exception.'

In the case on hand, the District Munsif who took up the case on his file and decided the matter had jurisdiction at the inception and the price fixed for the superstructure was only consequential to, and not the main relief in the suit.

16. There is no question of registration of the decree passed in the case. Section 17(2)(vi) of the Indian Registration Act states--

'Nothing in clauses (b) and (c) of sub-section (1) applies to--any decree or order of a court except a decree or order expressed to be made on a compromise and comprising immovable property other than that which is the subject matter of the suit or proceeding.'

This has been clarified in the decision in Govindaswami Madaliar v. Rasu Madaliar, ILR (1935) Mad 781 = AIR 1935 Mad 232. Venkatasubba Rao, J. has held in that decision--

'I am therefore on the opinion that the property in question was the 'subject-matter of a proceeding' within Section 17 (2)(vi) and that the consent order (which, as I have shown, is also, in the circumstances, a consent decree) is excepted from registration.'

The decision above cited can be taken as an analogy in relation to the case on hand. The direction to purchase is only in relating to the subject-matter of the proceeding in the main suit, within Section 17(2)(vi) of the Registration Act, and as such no registration of the decree is needed.

17. Thiru Kothandarama Nayanar, the learned counsel for the respondent, also brought to my notice a Bench decision in Pappu Reddiar v. Amaravathi Ammal : AIR1971Mad182 and Ramacchandra Naidu v. Parameshwaran Nair : (1970)1MLJ578 , for the proposition that the words 'subject-matter of the suit' in Section 17(2)(vi) of the Registration Act cannot be read as subject-matter of the plaint nor even as a subject-matter in dispute in the suit or proceeding and that if the consent decree or order in the suit or proceeding covered by the property, although it was not in the plaint or in dispute, such property constituting, as it does, an inseparable part of the consideration for he compromise, may well by regarded as the subject-matter of the suit and that this is because the decree passed on the basis of the compromise cannot stand without that property. I am in complete agreement with those two decisions and I find that no registration of the decree is required in the present case, as contended by the learned counsel for the appellant.

18. As regards non-executability of the decree by virtue of Section 13 of the Tamil Nadu Minor Inams (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act XXX of 1963. Thiru Kothandarama Nayanar submitted that apart from the fact that his client has been declared to have title to the site, he has obtained a patta also in his favour subsequently. The question as to whether after the coming into force of the Act XXX of 1963 a landlord who is the owner of a vacant site can get possession of the same from the tenant, came up for decision in M. Ramaswami Pillai v. Azarath Syed Sha Min Sakkar khadiri Thaikkal, Tanjore, by trustee--C. M. A. No. 23 of 1972 (Mad.), before this court. Venkataraman, J. relying on the decision in Silambini Sri Chidamabara Vinayakar Devastanam v. Duraisami Nadar : AIR1971Mad474 and also the one in S.A. No. 369 of 1966 (Mad.) Veerappa Chettiar v. Rava Gushadheswara Swami Devastanam by executive officer, Thiruthuraipoondi, held that the provisions of the Act will apply only to that person who is the owner of both the building and the site. AS such, the contention of the learned counsel for the appellant as if no execution can be taken in view of Section 13 of the Tamil Nadu Act XXX of 1963 is of no avail.

19. The courts below have correctly appraised the matter and have given an order for possession. Taking into consideration the facts of the case and the fact that no error of law has been committed by the courts below, it is not possible to interfere with the findings of the courts below.

20. In the circumstances, the civil miscellaneous second appeal is dismissed. No costs. Time to vacate three months, No leave.

21. Appeal dismissed.


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