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Chooni Lal Khemani Vs. Nil Madhab Barik and Ram Nath Barik and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in86Ind.Cas.734
AppellantChooni Lal Khemani
RespondentNil Madhab Barik and Ram Nath Barik and anr.
Cases ReferredSaraj Kumar Acharjee v. Umed Ali
Excerpt:
hindu law - joint family--purchase made, in son's name--presumption--transfer of property act (iv of 1882), section 41--transferee from licensee, position of--suit to eject licence--notice to quit, whether necessary--evidence act (i of 1872), sections 11, 13 and 32--question of title--recitals in document between third parties, whether admissible--objection, failure to take, effect of--appeal, second--finding of fact based partly on inadmissible evidence--remand--procedure. - .....was purchased the plaintiff's grandfather was alive. it was purchased in the name of and by ganga narain who was a school-master and ganga narain had acquired this property for himself. the learned subordinate judge in the lower appellate court has not clearly stated his findings but it is apparent from a reading of the judgment that what he means to say is that though ganga narain's father was alive at the time when the property was purchased but as ganga narain was a school-master and had sufficient means to purchase the property for himself the property did not belong to the joint family. he also observes that it is the ordinary law that if any property is purchased by a son in his name during the father's lifetime, the presumption will be that the son acquired it for himself.....
Judgment:

1. The facts giving rise to this appeal are that Ganga Narain (father of the plaintiff) and Sarbeswar (father of defendants Nos. 2 and 3) lived together as uncle, nephew and that Sarbeswar lived on the property in suit from a long time and that defendants Nos. 2 and 3 mortgaged it with Bama Charan who in execution of the mortgage-decree put it up to sale and it was purchased by defendant No. 1 on the 12th July 1919 and delivery of possession taken by him on the 11th, June 1920. Thereupon the plaintiff brought the present suit for recovery of possession on establishment of title. The defence was that the land belonged to the common ancestor of the parties and that it fell to the share of Sarbeswar who had possessory right to it and that defendants Nos. 2 and 3 sons of Sarbeswar were in possession for more than 12 years and had acquired a right by adverse possession to the land. There were also other questions raised with regard to the plaintiff's knowledge of the transaction between defendants Nos. 2 and 3 and Bama Charan which it is not necessary to refer now.

2. Both the Courts have decreed the plaintiff's suit. The defendant No. 1 has appealed and several points have been urged on his behalf by the learned Vakil for the appellant.

3. The first point raised by him is that under the Hindu Law if a property is bought in the name of a son during the lifetime of the father the presumption is that it is purchased by the father. The facts found in this case are that at the time when this property was purchased the plaintiff's grandfather was alive. It was purchased in the name of and by Ganga Narain who was a school-master and Ganga Narain had acquired this property for himself. The learned Subordinate Judge in the lower Appellate Court has not clearly stated his findings but it is apparent from a reading of the judgment that what he means to say is that though Ganga Narain's father was alive at the time when the property was purchased but as Ganga Narain was a school-master and had sufficient means to purchase the property for himself the property did not belong to the joint family. He also observes that it is the ordinary law that if any property is purchased by a son in his name during the father's lifetime, the presumption will be that the son acquired it for himself and that it was not the family property. The learned Vakil, for the appellant has taken objection to this statement of the law, and we are invited to consider the case of Parbati Dassi v. Baikuntha Nath Das 22 Ind. Cas. 51 : 18 C.W.N. 428 : 15 M.L.T. 66 (1914) M.W.N. 42 : 12 A.L.J. 79 : 19 C.L.J. 129 : 16 Bom. L.R. 101 : 26 M.L.J. 218 (P.C.). There the Judicial Committee had to deal with a very different set of circumstances. Then there was no evidence that the junior member of the joint Hindu family in whose name the property was purchased had any source of income or any separate fund with which the property was purchased. Their Lordships laid down the rule that where there is a dispute as to whether the property standing in the name of a junior member of a Hindu family is his self-acquisition property the criterion is to consider from what source the money came with which the purchase was made. In that case the finding of fact was that the son in whose name the property stood had no separate fund or that the property in dispute was not purchased with money belonging to him and their Lordships held that in the absence of such evidence the presumption is clear and decisive and that it was acquired by the father in the name of the son. This principle does not apply to the facts of the present case. We think that the finding on this point arrived at by both the Courts below that the property in dispute was the self-acquired property of Ganga Narain concludes this matter.

4. It is next argued under Section 41, Transfer of Property Act that the plaintiff was estopped from challenging the purchase of defendant No. 1. It is said that the plaintiff's father acted in such a way as to allow Sarbeswar to represent himself as the owner of the property in question and, therefore, the plaintiff should not be allowed to avoid the transaction between defendants Nos. 2 and 3 and the bona fide purchaser as defendant No. 1 is. That section is based on the well-known principle of representation or holding out. The facts found in this case do not help the appellant. The facts found in this connection are that Sarbeswar was in very bad circumstances and that Ganga Narain who was better off permitted him to live on this land by erecting a hut on condition that his wife should cook in the plaintiff's house and that the husband and wife should do other menial works of the plaintiff's family. Sarbeswar's possession was, therefore, permissive and he had no title to convey to defendant No. 1. On this finding it can hardly be contended that Ganga Narain or the plaintiff held out Sarbeswar as the real owner of the land. This point was not raised in the Court below and we do not know whether defendant No 1 was a real bona fide purchaser, for one fact that stands prominent is that the document relating to this property was in the name of Ganga Narain and it must set the purchaser on enquiry as to the title of his vendor.

5. The third point argued is that if defendants Nos. 2 and 3 were in permissive possession, the plaintiff had no right to bring a suit for khas possession without serving him with a notice to quit. There is no substance in this contention. The property, it appears, is not in the possession of defendants Nos. 2 and 3. It is in the possession of defendant No. 1 who, so far as the plaintiff is concerned, is in adverse possession. In the second place the defendants Nos. 2 and 3 repudiated their character of being licensees and treated the property as their own. Reliance has been placed for this contention by the learned Vakil for the appellant on the case of Phillips v. Nand Coomar Banerjee 8 W.R. 385. In that case the plaintiff brought a suit on the allegation that he was forcibly dispossessed. The defence was that the defendant was in permissive possession and so it was found by the Court below. It was, therefore, held in that case that the plaintiff had no cause of action. The facts of this case are not in common with the present case.

6. The fourth point urged by the learned Vakil for the appellant is that the possession of defendants Nos. 2 and 3 was not permissive. This is a question of fact and we do not think that it can be raised in second appeal.

7. The last point taken on behalf of the appellant is, however, of some substance. Both the Courts below have relied upon two documents Exs. 4 and 5, which were executed between third parties but in the recitals of boundaries of the lands covered by those documents the name of Ganga Narain appears as the owner of the land lying to the south of the land of one exhibit and to west of the land of the other exhibit. The lower Appellate Court in giving its reasons for the conclusion that the plaintiff succeeded in proving his case observes that the boundary documents described the land in suit as belonging to the plaintiff or to his father. It is argued that these documents are not admissible in evidence and the Courts below were not competent to take them as evidence in the case; and for this purpose reliance has been placed upon the case of Saraj Kumar Acharji v. Umed Alt 63 Ind. Cas. 954 : 35 C.L.J. 19 : 25 C.W.N. 1022 : (1922) A.I.R. (C.) 251. and Abdullah v. Kunja Behari Lal 12 Ind. Cas. 119 : 14 C.L.J. 467 : 16 C.W.N. 252. There was at one time a conflict of opinion upon the admissibility of documents between strangers where one of the parties to the suit was mentioned as owner of the boundary land; but recent decisions have finally settled the point. At one time it was attempted to make such documents admissible in evidence under Section 11, Clause (2) of the Indian Evidence Act. In some cases the admissibility of such documents was made to rest on s: 13 and in some other cases on Section 32, Clause (3) of the Indian Evidence Act. It is not necessary to go in detail into all these decisions. We are of opinion that a document between strangers to the suit in which mention is made of one of the parties or their predecessors as holding the land lying on the boundaries of the lands belonging to the executants of the document is not admissible in evidence. The learned Vakil for the respondent, however, has argued that as no objection was taken in the Court of first instance to the admissibility of the documents, the appellant is not entitled to question it at this stage. This objection cannot succeed as the documents being inadmissible in evidence the omission to take objection to their admissibility in time does not affect their admissibility. It has been held by their Lordships of the Judicial Committee in the case of Miller v. Babu Madho Das 23 I.A. 106 : 19 A. 73 : 7 Sar. P.C.J. 73 : 9 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 50 (P.C.) that an erroneous omission to object to such evidence does not make it admissible. The omission to take the objection to the admissibility of a document becomes fatal only in cases where if the objection is taken in time, any defect in its admissibility can be cured and the document made admissible. We accordingly hold that the documents (Exs. 4 and 5) are not admissible in evidence and the lower Courts were wrong in relying upon them. There are other pieces of evidence no doubt relating to the title of the plaintiff; but we in second appeal can hardly say that the findings of the Courts below as to the plaintiffs title and the purchase made in his name were not influenced by the reception of this inadmissible evidence, and we are constrained to have recourse to the course adopted in the case of Saraj Kumar Acharjee v. Umed Ali 63 Ind. Cas. 954 : 35 C.L.J. 19 : 25 C.W.N. 1022 : (1922) A.I.R. (C.) 251.

8. We, therefore, send the case back to the lower Appellate Court for decision on the other evidence.

9. The result is that this appeal is allowed, the decree of the lower Appellate Court set aside and the case remitted to that Court for its decision on the issue of plaintiff's title after excluding from the consideration the documents (Exs. 4 and 5). All the other points raised must be taken to have been decided against the appellant. Costs will abide the result.


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