Skip to content


N.E. Vedammal Vs. S.R. Krishnamoorthy Iyer - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1975)2MLJ482
AppellantN.E. Vedammal
RespondentS.R. Krishnamoorthy Iyer
Cases ReferredSingaravelu Mudaliar v. Chokka Mudaliar
Excerpt:
- .....counsel for the appellant proceeded on the basis that the appellant herein perfected title to the suit property by adverse possession. therefore, the question for consideration is, whether the appellant has established that case.8. the learned trial judge was not sure whether the appellant was in possession of the property at all he held that even assuming that she was in possession, the suit o.s. no. 1162 of 1955 and the decree passed therein, to which she was a party interrupted holding (?) the property by adverse possession. even according to the appellant, she came into possession of the suit property under exhibit b-1 dated 2nd march, 1950 and therefore her possession must have commenced only thereafter. as i have pointed out already, the decree in o.s. no. 1162 of 1955 is dated.....
Judgment:

M.M. Ismail, J.

1. The second claimant in I.A.C. No. 118 of 1967 on the file of the City Civil Court, Madras is the appellant herein. The said land acquisition case is a reference under Sections 30 and 31 of the Land Acquisition Act made to the Court in respect of the compensation awarded for certain lands acquired by the Government. Having regard to the nature of the controversy between the parties, it is unnecessary to refer to the land acquisition proceedings themselves in detail.

2. The case of the first claimant, who is the first respondent herein, was that the entire block of land of 6-15 acres belonged to him, the same having been purchased by his father-in-law in the Court-auction held in O. S. No. 525 of 1936 on the file of the Court of the District Munsif of Poonamallee, benami for him and taken possession of as early as 1941 ; that while so, one Rajagopala pillai claiming some right in the said property, trespassed into the same and started making some, alienations to various persons who also began to trespass into the property ; that thereupon the first claimant and his father-in-law, filed C.S. No. 56 of 1951 on the file of this Court, which was later on transferred to the City Civil Court, Madras, and numbered as O : S. No. 1162 of 1955, against the said Rajagopala Pillai and other trespassers in possession in a representative character ; that the said suit after contest Was decreed in favour of the first claimant directing possession of the said lands with mesne profits past and future to be delivered to the first claimant and his father-in-law; that 11 persons filed an appeal in C. C. C. A. No. 51 of 1957 on the file of this Court in which a conditional decree by consent was passed in favour of those appellants declaring their rights to the properties in their possession on their paying to the first claimant the value of the said properties, as taxed in that decree ; that subject to that condition and modification, the decree of . the trial Court was confirmed against the other defendants and it had become final against them ; that the claim of the appellant that she had purchased the acquired properties from one Rajagopala Pillai was not true and the same was rejected in those proceedings ; that the first claimant filed E. P. No. 381, of 1962 for taking possession from the appellant herein ; that when the bailiff went to deliver possession, she setup three obstructers to resist the delivery ; that the first claimant filed E.A. No. 800 of 1963 for-removal of obstructions which was ordered ; that after all these proceedings the appellant was coming forward to claim the compensation to which she was not entitled ; and that therefore the first, claimant prayed that the entire amount of compensation might be paid to him, as he alone was entitled to the same,

3. The case of the appellant was that she purchased the acquired property, that is, one ground and 1200 sq. ft. from Rajagopala Pillai under Exhibit A-1, sale deed dated 2nd March, l950 for a consideration of Rs. 1,300, that she had been in possession and enjoyment of the same since then upto the date on which the Government acquired the same ; that she allowed some persons to occupy some huts put up by her in the said plot at her own cost and she had been collecting rents from them ; that later on the appellant brought the 3rd claimant who is a close relation of her and permitted him to put up a hut ; that the third claimant was there as a lessee by putting up the superstructure ; and that the compensation of Rs. 500 might be paid to the third claimant; that her vendor (?) appeared to have realised a major portion of his dues from several other purchasers from his mortgage. The appellant prayed for marshalling the security and also stated that the first claimant can claim only a proportionate part according to the respective extents of plots held by the various purchasers. She also contended that she did not admit the ownership of the first claimant.

4. The third claimant contended that he was looking after the acquired property of the appellant and that with her permission he put up the structure at a cost of Rs. 1,000. He prayed that a sum of Rs. 1,200 for the superstructure and a sum of Rs. 500 for the well dug by him might be paid to him.

5. Under these circumstances, the question for consideration before the learned trial Judge was whether the first claimant was entitled to the entire compensation amount for the lands acquired or whether it was the second claimant-appellant who was entitled to the compensation in the present case.

6. The learned VIIIth Assistant Judge, City Civil Court, Madras, by his judgment and decree dated 1st November, 1969 held that it was the first claimant who was entitled to the entire compensation for the lands acquired and decreed accordingly. It is against this judgment and decree that the present appeal has been filed by the second claimant.

7. Exhibit A-2 dated 26th July, 1956 is a certified copy of the judgment in O.S. No. 1162 of 1955 on the file of the City Civil Court, Madras. Exhibit 3 dated 26th July, 1956 is a certified copy of the decree therein and Exhibit A-4 dated 23rd September, 1960 is a certified copy of the decree in C.C.CA. No. 51 of I967 on the file of this Court. Exhibit A-2 clearly shows that the appellant herein was the 26th defendant in that suit, O.S. No. 1162 of 1955. Exhibit A-4 shows that except to the extent of compromise arrived at between the appellants and the respondents therein the appeal was dismissed as against the other respondents, and the consequence is that the decree for declaration of title and recovery of possession passed in O.S. No. 1162 of 1 g55 was confirmed as far as the present appellant is concerned Rajagopala Pillai, the alleged vendor of the appellant, was the first defendant in O.S. No. 1162 of 1955. Since the judgment in that Case negatived the title of Rajagopala Pillai, the learned Counsel for the appellant proceeded on the basis that the appellant herein perfected title to the suit property by adverse possession. Therefore, the question for consideration is, whether the appellant has established that case.

8. The learned trial Judge was not sure whether the appellant was in possession of the property at all He held that even assuming that she was in possession, the suit O.S. No. 1162 of 1955 and the decree passed therein, to which she was a party interrupted holding (?) the property by adverse possession. Even according to the appellant, she came into possession of the suit property under Exhibit B-1 dated 2nd March, 1950 and therefore her possession must have commenced only thereafter. As I have pointed out already, the decree in O.S. No. 1162 of 1955 is dated 26th July, 1956. Consequently, neither at the time of the passing of the decree therein, the appellant had perfected her title by adverse possession. The argument of the learned Counsel for the appellant is that notwithstanding the decree passed in O.S. No. 1162 of 1955 and the order directing the removal of obstruction in E.A. No. 800 of 1963, as evidenced by Exhibit A-9. dated 18th February, 1963 the appellant continued to be in possession of the property till the same was taken possession of by the Government in 1966 and that therefore she had acquired title to the property by adverse possession. This case was, rejected by the trial Court and I am of the opinion that it was rightly rejected.

9. The learned Counsel for the appellant placed great reliance on a decision of this Court in Singaravelu Mudaliar v. Chokka Mudaliar alias Chokkalinga Mudaliar 16 L.W. 544 : 43 M.L.J. 737 : I.L.R. 46 Mad. 525 : A.I.R.. 1923 Mad. 88. That was a case where the defendant who was in possession of the property continued to be in possession of the property even after the suit for declaration of title Was decreed and was not dispossessed and therefore this Court took the view that the defendant had acquired title by, adverse possession. The learned Counsel for the appellant relied upon some observations contained in that judgment and contended that there was no difference between a suit for a mere declaration and a suit for declaration and recovery of possession and that even if a suit for declaration and recovery of possession was decreed, the defendant would acquire title by adverse possession if he was not dispossessed within 12 years, pursuant to the decree passed therein. I am unable to accept this argument. The learned Counsel for the appellant concedes that the decision of this Court referred to above did not deal with a case where a suit for declaration of title and recovery of possession Was instituted and decreed and dealt with a case which involved merely a suit for declaration of title. However a Bench of the Calcutta High Court has considered this decision and observed in Achiman Bibi v. Abdul Rahim Nasker and Ors. : AIR1958Cal437 , as follows:

We hold that there is considerable difference between a suit for mere declaration and a suit for declaration coupled with a prayer for possession. It is true that by a decree for declaration without more the position of a person in wrongful occupation will not be disturbed even if the decree be passed in his presence. If such person continues in possession even after the declaratory decree, he may, nevertheless, acquire prescriptive title. The consequences are different, if the suit for declaration is coupled with a claim for possession, as was done in the present case, and such suit is de-. creed.

The view of the learned Judge was that if a suit for declaration coupled with a claim for possession is filed and such suit is decreed in the presence of the person in wrongful occupation, the decree arrests the running of time against the true owner and that if the person in wrongful possession continues in possession even after the decree, the wrongful possession does not ripen into prescriptive title by efflux of time. The learned Judges referred to the decision of this, Court mentioned by me above and distinguished the same on the ground that that case involved only a suit for declaration and not a suit for declaration coupled with a prayer for recovery of possession.

10. A similar argument was considered by a Bench of the Allahabad High Court in Ragho Prasad v. Pratap Narain Agarwal (1969) All.L.J. 975. The learned Judges considered a suit for partition and recovery of possession of the plaintiff's share therein and held:

The suit in the instant case was not a suit for declaration, it was a suit for partition and possession. In a suit such as this, it is not possible to hold that if the defendant has been in adverse possession before the institution of the suit such adverse possession continues to run even after the institution of the suit so as to prescribe a good title in favour of the defendant. Were that so it could result in the' frustration of the suit because while it was pending and before it terminated in a decree the defendant could have acquired title by adverse possession. Such a result is wholly unwarranted in law.

Let us test the proposition of the learned Counsel for the appellant from a practical point of view. Suppose a person is in wrongful possession of the property and after he has been in such wrongful possession. for three years, the real owner files a suit for declaration of title and recovery of possession. Assume that for some, reason or other the suit was pending for nearly 9 years before the Court and after 12 years from the commencement of the possession of the defendant (person in wrongful possession) the suit was decreed. Can it be held that since the decree itself was passed 12 years after the adverse possession commenced the defendant had perfected title to the suit property by adverse possession and therefore acquired a good title and the decree-holder cannot thereafter execute the decree and recover possession of the property That merely emphasises the fact that when a suit for declaration of title and recovery of possession is instituted before the adverse possession has culminated in the acquisition of prescriptive title the time during which the suit is pending cannot be taken advantage of by the person in wrongful possession and tacked on to the period during which he was in possession before the institution of the suit for the purpose of claiming prescriptive title.

11. In fact, the above view is well supported by authority. In Ratna Bai alias Hira Bai and Ors. v. The Official Assignee of Madras and Anr. (1915) 29 IND.CAS. 167 : (1915) P.L.R. 75, Sadasiva Aiyar, J., stated:

Now it is clear law in an ordinary suit if A sues on a good title for possession of his land after 11 years of dispossession, even if the defendant continued is possession for another 12 years during the pendency of litigation and before the suit became finally ripe for decision, judgment ought to be given for possession in plaintiff's favour the continuance of the defendant's possession for 12 years during the pendency of the suit being wholly ignored.

A Bench of this Court in Fatima Bibi and Anr. v. A. Hajee Muhammad Usman Sahib : AIR1943Mad425 , dealing with a suit instituted under Order 21, Rule 63, Civil Procedure Code, held that the institution of the suit arrests the running of time in favour of defendant.

12. A Bench of the Allahabad High Court in Lala, Nand Lal v. Sundar Lal and Ors. : AIR1944All17 , pointed out:

The effect of the institution of a suit within limitation is to destroy previously existing adverse possession with effect from the date of institution or at any rate to suspend it from that date until the suit is finally decided one way or the other.

I have already pointed out that the adverse possession, if any, of the appellant herein commenced only on or after 2nd March,; 1950, when she purported to purchase, the property from one Rajagopala Pillai under Exhibits B-1 and C.S. No. 56 of 1951 (which was later transferred to the City Civil Court, Madras, and numbered as O.S. No. 1162 of l955) was instituted the very next year and the judgment in that suit was pronounced on 26th July, 1966 as evidenced by Exhibit A-2. Consequently,. the period from the institution of the suit upto the date of the judgment and decree has necessarily to be ignored in the language of this Court in Ratna Bai alias Hira Bai and Ors. v. The Official Assignee of Madras and Anr. (1915) 29 Ind.Cas. 167 : (1915) P.L.R. 75, referred to above or the institution of the suit has destroyed the previously existing adverse possession or suspended it from that date; in the language of the Allahabad High Court in Lala Nand Lal v. Sunder Lal and Ors. : AIR1944All17 , referred to already, and as possession was taken by the Government pursuant to the acquisition of the land under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act only in 1966, the appellant cannot be held to have prescribed title to the property by adverse possession.

13. The learned Counsel for the appellant placed great reliance on a judgment of the Bombay High Court in Dagodabai Fakirmahomad v. Sakharam Gavaji and Ors. A.I.R. 1948 Bom. 149. The head-note of the decision states:

Whether a decree for possession in favour of the plaintiff does or does not interrupt adverse possession is purely a question of fact to be decided on the circumstances of each case. If the decree, does not in fact result in the defendant giving up possession of the property or having possession of the property taken from him, it cannot be said that it has interrupted possession, nor can it in law affect the nature of the possession, unless it does so in fact; A decree for possession followed by an unsuccessful execution cannot be deemed as a matter of law to have the effect of either interrupting possession or altering its character.

With regard to the facts, the head-note itself points out:

The plaintiff mortgaged certain lands and the mortgagee obtained a decree which provided that the mortgagee should have possession of the lands for two years and the possession should thereafter go to the plaintiff. The mortgagee attempted to execute the decree but could not get possession from the defendants who Were in possession as heirs of the husband of : he plaintiff. The possession was never in fact obtained by anybody. The plaintiff then brought a suit against the defendants claiming as an heir of her husband to eject the defendants. The defendants set up adverse possession. The question was whether possession was interrupted by the mortgage decree:

Held, that the possession of the defendant must, on the facts, be deemed to have been adverse throughout and could not be said to have been interrupted by the mortgage decree.

I am of the opinion that on the facts this case is distinguishable. Apart from that, the High Court of Bombay did not consider the distinction between a suit for declaration of title and a suit for declaration coupled with a prayer for recovery of possession, which was subsequently decreed, but instituted at the time when the defendant in possession had not perfected his title by adverse possession. In view of this, I am unable to hold that the said decision is helpful to the appellant in the present case. In any event on the basis of the decisions referred to above, if the time during which the suit instituted by the first respondent herein for declaration of title and recovery of possession was pending is excluded, the question of the appellant acquiring title by adverse possession does not arise.

14. I also gave time to the counsel for the appellant yesterday to produce any authority of this Court to show that this Court has. dealt with a case where a suit for declaration of title and recovery of possession has been decreed and still it was held that the defendant's possession was uninterrupted in spite of that decree. The learned Counsel frankly represented to me today that he is not able to lay his hands on any authority excepting the decision in Singaravelu Mudaliar v. Chakka Mudaliar alias Chockkalinga Mudaliar 16 L.W. 544 : 1923 43 M.L.J. 737 : A.I.R. 1923 Mad. 88, referred to already. Under these circumstances, I prefer to follow the decision of the Calcutta High Court referred to above namely Achiman Bibi v. Abdul Rahim Naskar and Ors. : AIR1958Cal437 , laying down the principle mentioned by me above and distinguishing the decision of this Court in Singaravelu Mudaliar v. Chokka Mudaliar alias Chokkalinga Mudaliar 16 L.W. 544 : 43 M.L.J. 737 : A.I.R. 1923 Mad. 88, referred to above.

15. Consequently, it must be held that the appellant has not acquired title to the suit property by adverse possession., Since I have come to the conclusion that the appellant has not acquired title to the property by adverse possession, it is unnecessary to consider the question whether the appellant was actually in possession of the property at all, because even if she was in actual possession of the property. I have held that she has not acquired title to the same by adverse possession.

16. Under these circumstances, the appeal fails and is dismissed costs of the first respondent.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //