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B.N. Thiagarajan and ors. Vs. B.N. Sundaravelu - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 1391 of 1970
Judge
Reported inAIR1972Mad216
Acts Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 115 - Order 20, Rules 12 and 18; Limitation Act - Article 181
AppellantB.N. Thiagarajan and ors.
RespondentB.N. Sundaravelu
Cases Referred and Ponnusami Udayar v. Santhappa
Excerpt:
property - mesne profits - section 115 and order 20 rules 12 and 18 of code of civil procedure, 1908 and article 181 of limitation act - no relief for mesne profit claimed in plaint and preliminary decree does not provide for such relief - claim for relief of mesne profits may be claimed even for first time in applications for passing final decree - enquiry regarding mesne profits must be completed before passing of final decree so that result of enquiry may be incorporated in final decree - if final decree passed without result of enquiry no second final decree will be passed incorporating result of enquiry. - - ''on the basis of the above judgment of the supreme court it was sought to be argued that the full bench decision referred to above is no longer good law......share to the petitioner therein with the necessary appurtenant rights etc. and to ascertain the mesne profits for the one-sixth share in the said items from 29-3-1965 to 1-4-1965 and the first defendant deposited a sum of rs. 10,000 in pursuance of the compromise decree dated 1-4-1964 in app. no. 2 of 1960 on the file of the high court, madras till the date of delivery of actual possession of the said one-sixth share to the petitioner.2. the case of the first defendant petitioner is that as per the terms of the compromise decree in the high court the respondents have taken possession of the land in item 1 of schedule ii which was in the petitioner's possession, that he had deposited rs. 10,000 in terms of the compromise decree that in accordance with the compromise decree he was.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. The plaintiffs and the third defendant in O. S. No. 27 of 1957 on the file of the subordinate Judge, Salem are the petitioners,. The plaintiff filed the above suit for partition by metes and bounds into six equal shares of items 1 to 17 in Schedule III or alternatively to division by metes and bounds of all the items 1 to 59 in Schedule II in the plaint plus items 10, 11, and 12 of Schedule III as the case may be into six equal shares and for allotment of one such share to each of the plaintiffs and defendants 1 to 3. The above unfortunate litigation had a chequered career and this litigation has come upto this Court more than four times. The above revision arises out of I. A. 431 of 1965 dated 31-3-1965 in O. S. 27 of 1957 for appointment of a Commissioner for dividing items 1 to 7 of Schedule 2 in the plaint into six equal shares by metes and bounds with reference to good and bad quality and allotment of one such share to the petitioner therein with the necessary appurtenant rights etc. and to ascertain the mesne profits for the one-sixth share in the said items from 29-3-1965 to 1-4-1965 and the first defendant deposited a sum of Rs. 10,000 in pursuance of the compromise decree dated 1-4-1964 in App. No. 2 of 1960 on the file of the High Court, Madras till the date of delivery of actual possession of the said one-sixth share to the petitioner.

2. The case of the first defendant petitioner is that as per the terms of the compromise decree in the High Court the respondents have taken possession of the land in item 1 of Schedule II which was in the petitioner's possession, that he had deposited Rs. 10,000 in terms of the compromise decree that in accordance with the compromise decree he was entitled to a division by metes and bounds of 1/6th share in items 1 to 7 of schedule II of the plaint that the said 1/6th share has to be ascertained and fixed by the appointment of a Commissioner for that purpose, that till actual delivery is effected of the said 1/6th share the respondents will be liable to pay mesne profits and therefore an enquiry into the quantum has to be made.

3. The respondents filed a counter to the said application stating that they have no objection to a Commissioner being appointed to divide items 1 to 7 as per the compromise decree of the High Court after the sum of Rs. 10,000 is paid to them, that the first defendant is not entitled to recover any mesne profits from the respondents, that most of the lands are lying fallow and some are unfit for cultivation and that in view of the cantankerous attitude of the first respondent the respondents have nor raised any crops in Item 1 which is lying fallow, that the relief as to the enquiry about the quantum of mesne profits was untenable as the decree does not provide for it, that the petitioner is not entitled to costs and that the first defendant is in no way entitled to claim mense profits.

4. On 19-6-1967 the first defendant filed I. A. 374 of 1967 for determination of the mesne profits and I. A. 642 of 1969 for the appointment of a Commissioner; the reliefs in all the petitions being a claim of mesne profits and for ascertainment of the same by the appointment of a Commissioner.

The respondents filed a counter in the other application denying the claim as the decree did not provide for it and the remedy, if any, was only by way of a separate suit.

5. The trial court heard I. A. 74 of 1967 and 642 of 1969 together. The trial Court held that the first defendant (petitioner) will be entitled to mense profits till the date of delivery of actual possession of 1/6th share from the date of the deposit of the amount of Rs. 10,000 into court i.e. 29-3-1965. The next question considered by the learned Judge was whether the claim for mesne profits would be sustained even though no claim was put forward in the suit or in the written statement of the sharer (first defendant). The learned Judge held that the suit being one for partition, future mesne profits can be claimed even though it does not specifically ask for an the preliminary decree does not provide for it. In that view the learned Judge directed a Commissioner being appointed for ascertaining the mesne profits for the petitioner's 1/6th share from 29-3-1965 to the date of the petitioner being put in possession. the plaintiffs and the third defendant, who were the respondents in the trial court have filed this present civil revision petition.

6. Mr. D. Ramaswami Iyengar, the learned counsel for the petitioner, contends that the order of the lower court decreeing mesne profits is without jurisdiction inasmuch as the final decree in the suit has been passed on 31-7-1967 itself. In support of his contention the learned counsel placed considerable reliance on the judgment of the Full Bench reported in Babburu Basavayya v., Babburu guruvayya, : AIR1951Mad938 (FB). That was a suit relating to partition of joint family properties and after the preliminary decree the plaintiff applied for an enquiry into the profits of the properties realised by the defendants subsequent to the institution of the suit and a final decree for his share of such profits. The defendants opposed the application on the ground that there was no prayer in the plaint for the recovery of such profits and that the preliminary decree passed in the suit did not direct an enquiry into the same. The trial court overruled the objections and directed enquiry against which a revision petition was filed. The Full Bench dealt with the scope and effect of Order XX, Rule 12, C. P. Code and held that the claim of the plaintiff suing for partition and his share of the profits accruing from the lands pending suit is not properly speaking, a claim for 'mesne profits' and that O. 20, R. 12, C. P. C. has no application to such a case. But, Order 20, Rule 18, sub-clause (2) would be applicable,. Their Lordships finally summarised their conclusions as follows--

'A partition suit in which a preliminary decree has been passed is still a pending suit and the right of the parties have to be adjusted as on the date of the final decree. Jadunath v. Parameswar . In such a suit the court has not only to divide the common properties but has also to adjust the equities arising between the parties out of their relation to the common property the property to be divided. The preliminary decree determines the moieties of the respective parties and thereby furnishes the basis upon which the division of the property has to be made. There are other matters in addition to the moieties of the parties that have to be considered and decided before an equitable final partition can be effected. Among them are the realisation of common outstanding, the discharge of common liabilities, the distribution of the profits of the properties realised pending the suit, either in cash or by allotment of property of the requisite value, the grant of owelty, the provision of maintenance of parties entitled thereto, the allotment of lands on which improvements have been effected to the sharer who has improved them, the allotment of alienated lands to the share of the alienor and other similar matters. Even after the passing of the preliminary decree it is open to the court to give appropriate directions regarding all or any of these matters either suo motu or on the application of the parties. Order 20, Rule 18, C. P. Code does not prohibit the court from issuing such directions after the stage of a preliminary decree. It is open to the court in order to prevent multiplicity of litigation and to do complete justice and effect an equal division of all the common assets and properties among the parties, to direct an enquiry into the profits received or realised by one or some of them during the pendency of the suit and to award the others their proper share of such profits under its final decree. This enquiry can be ordered either as part of the preliminary decree itself or subsequently as a step towards the passing of the final decree and in either case, the result of the enquiry has to be incorporated in the final decree.'

In Ponnuswami Udayar v. Santhappa Udayar, : AIR1963Mad171 , Jagadisan, J. followed the above decision of the Full Bench. The head-note in the said case brings out the position correctly:--

'In a partition suit, an application for ascertainment of future mesne profits can be filed so long as the suit is pending and so long as no final decree has been passed even though the plaint does not specifically pray for the granting of such relief and the preliminary decree does not provide for it. The mesne profits accruing from the properties forming the subject matter of the division and referable to the properties which are eventually allotted to the share of the successful plaintiff, form part and parcel of the corpus itself and are as much in the hotchpot as the lands themselves. it would be most inequitable and unjust to compel the plaintiff to sue separately for future mesne profits, and it is certainly not the policy of the law to encourage multiplicity of proceedings.'

In Rachapalli Atchamma v. Yerragunta Rami Reddi, AIR 1958 AP 517, it was held that where a decree awarding possession is silent with regard to an enquiry into future mesne profits and the decree has not completely disposed of the suit which, for one reason or another continues to be pending, there is nothing in the Civil procedure Code prohibiting the decree-holder from applying to the court during the pendency of such suit for an enquiry into future mesne profits or the court from ordering such an enquiry. The learned Judges followed the Full Bench decision above referred to. The learned Judges also held that the relief of future mesne profits is a discretionary one and it is open to the court to refuse to exercise the discretion in suitable cases. The scope of Order 20, Rule 12, C.P.C. was considered in the Supreme Court in Md. Amin v. Vakil Ahmed, : [1952]1SCR1133 . The facts in the case before the Supreme Court were as follows:

A suit was filed by the quondam minors and heirs of one Haji Abdur Rahman for possession of the properties after setting aside the so-called deed of family settlement executed between the parties in regard to the distribution of the properties belonging to the estate. In the plaint no relief was asked for mesne profits. The High Court decreed the suit and also awarded to the plaintiffs mesne profits. The Supreme Court confirmed the decree, but deleted the relief of mesne profits. In deleting the relief of mesne profits, their Lordships observed at page 362 as follows:

'It was however pointed out by Sri S. P. Sinha that the High Court erred in awarding to the plaintiffs mesne profits even though there was no demand for the same in the plaint. The learned Solicitor-General appearing for the plaintiffs conceded that there was no demand for mesne profits as such but urged that the claim for mesne profits would be included within the expression 'awarding possession and occupation of the property aforesaid together with all the rights appertaining thereto.' We are afraid that the claim for mesne profits cannot be included within this expression and the High Court was in error in awarding to the plaintiffs mesne profits though they had not been claimed in the plaint. The provision in regard to the mesne profits will therefore have to be deleted from the decree.''

On the basis of the above judgment of the Supreme Court it was sought to be argued that the Full Bench decision referred to above is no longer good law. The question was raised and considered in three decisions, viz., Arunachala Mudali v. Maragathammal, : AIR1955Mad527 ; Rachapalli Atchamma v. yerragunta Rami Reddi, AIR 1958 Andh Pra 517 and Ponnusami Udayar v. Santhappa udayar, : AIR1963Mad171 . The above decisions lay down that the correctness of the decision of the Full Bench in : AIR1951Mad938 (FB) is not in any way affected by the decision of the Supreme Court in : [1952]1SCR1133 referred to above. That being the correct position I will now sum up the effect of the several decisions referred to above:

1. Where a preliminary decree awarding possession contains direction for enquiry into the future profits, the part of the suit relating to the mesne profits continues to be pending and the decree-holder might move the court to hold an enquiry and pass a final decree awarding such profits without the necessity of filling an application within the prescribed period under Art. 181 of the Limitation Act;

2. Where a decree awarding possession is silent with regard to enquiry in the future mesne profits and the decree has not completely disposed of the suit which, for one reason or another, continues to be pending there is nothing in the Code prohibiting the decree-holder from applying to the court during the pendency of such suit for an enquiry into the future mesne profits or the court from ordering such an enquriy; and

3. Where no relief for mesne profits is claimed in the plaint and the preliminary decree does not provide for such relief, the relief for mesne profits can be claimed even for the first time in an applications for passing a final decree. But in every case above enumerated the enquiry must be concluded before the final decree is passed, so that the result of the enquiry may be incorporated in the final decree. If, however, the final decree is passed before the enquiry into the mesne profits is completed without the result of the enquiry being incorporated in the final decree itself, there can be no second final decree incorporating the result.

7. In the present case what has happened is that the final decree was passed on 31-7-1967 before the enquiry into the mesne profits was completed. The order completing the enquiry into mesne profits was passed on 30-4-1970. Mr. P. V. Chalapati Rao appearing for the respondent contends that more than one final decree could be passed in a partition suit. It is true that if a partition suit comprises various items, more than one final decree could be passed; but in respect of each item there can be only one final decree and not more and that final decree must be truly final and complete in regard to that item. the mesne profits accruing from the said property which forms part and parcel of the corpus, there cannot be a piecemeal final decree in respect of the same item of property, one relating to the corpus and the other relating to mesne profits. The entire claim in regard to the property consisting of the corpus and the mesne profits accruing from the same forming the subject-matter of the division, must be finally considered and incorporated in the final decree. Mr. P. V. Chalapathi Rao further contends that an appeal has been preferred to this court (A. S. No. 635 of 1969) against the final decree dated 31-7-1967 and that consequently the finality attached to the final decree is set at naught. But this contention ignores the position that A. S. 635 of 1969, which is now pending in the High Court against the final decree, does not relate to mesne profits and that the final decree is passed by the trial court without incorporating the result of the enquiry into the mesne profits.

8. Mr. Chapalathi Rao the learned counsel for the respondent referred to several decisions of the Privy Council and the Supreme Court on the question of jurisdiction of this court to interfere under Section 115 of the Code. While the final decree in the partition suit has already decree in the partition suit has already been passed, the enquiry into the mesne profits subsequent thereto is without jurisdiction and in view I am bound to interfere with the order Passed by the court below awarding mesne profits subsequent to the passing the final decree

9. The civil revision petition is allowed. There will be no order as to costs.

10. Petition allowed.


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