ANAM PADMAJA W/O VENKATA SUBBA REDDY Vs. LOK ADALATH BENCH AT NELLORE
LAWS(APH)-2019-9-80
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
Decided on September 18,2019

Anam Padmaja W/O Venkata Subba Reddy Appellant
VERSUS
Lok Adalath Bench At Nellore Respondents




JUDGEMENT

Cheekati Manavendranath Roy, J. - (1.)The petitioner seeks to set aside the award dated 09-10-2018 passed by Lok Adalat in O.S.No.389 of 2014 on the file of the I Additional District Judge, Nellore, in this writ petition, on the ground that the said award was passed without giving notice to the petitioner, who is one of the defendants in the suit and as such it is illegal, violative of principles of natural justice and vitiated by fraud and misrepresentation.
(2.)Facts germane to dispose of this writ petition may briefly be stated as follows:
(a) The petitioner herein is the 5th defendant and the 3rd respondent herein is the plaintiff in O.S.No.389 of 2014 on the file of the I Additional District Judge, Nellore. The parties will be referred in this petition as they are arrayed in the above suit for the sake of convenience.

(b) The plaintiff filed the suit in O.S.No.389 of 2014 on the file of the I Additional District Judge, Nellore, for partition of the plaint schedule properties into four equal shares by metes and bounds and to allot 1/4th share in the suit schedule property to her. The plaintiff, the 2nd and 5th defendants are the daughters of the 1st defendant. It is alleged in the plaint that they all constitute a joint family and the plaint schedule property shown in Items 1 to 4 of the plaint schedule were purchased with the joint family funds and from the income derived from the ancestral property. The 1st defendant who is her father developed indifferent attitude towards the plaintiff and he has executed various registered settlement deeds in respect of the joint family property in favour of other defendants. Since the plaint schedule properties are the ancestral joint family properties of the 1st defendant and his daughters that the 1st defendant has no right to execute any such registered settlement deeds in respect of the said property in favour of any of the members of the joint family. So, she has filed the suit for partition of the plaint schedule properties into four equal shares and for allotment of 1/4th share to her.

(c) In response to the summonses issued by the Court in the said suit, all the defendants have made their appearance in the Court. The 1st defendant has filed his written statement denying the averments of the plaint and inter alia pleaded that all the plaint schedule properties are not joint family properties, the plaintiff and 5th defendant have no right in the said properties and the plaintiff has no share or interest in the plaint schedule properties and thereby denied the claim of the plaintiff for partition of the plaint schedule properties into four equal shares and for allotment of one share to her. The said written statement filed by the 1st defendant was adopted by the defendants 2 to 4 in the suit by filing a memo to that effect. Although the petitioner herein, who is the 5th defendant in the suit, initially made her appearance in the suit on receipt of summons from the Court, as she could not file her written statement within the time prescribed in the Code of Civil Procedure, she was set ex parte in the suit. It is alleged that when she intends to file an application to set aside the ex parte order dated 01-5-2015 passed against her that she was advised by her advocate that as it is a suit for partition that all co-sharers will get a share in the property even if she is set ex parte. Therefore, she did not file any application to set aside the said ex parte order.

(d) Thereafter, the plaintiff and other defendants in the suit have filed a joint memo before the trial Court stating that the matter was settled with the intervention of the elders and thereby prayed the Court to pass a decree in terms of the compromise filed by them in the trial Court. The signature of the petitioner herein, who is the 5th defendant in the suit, was not taken on the said memo. No share was also allotted to her as per the terms of compromise filed in the trial Court. However, based on the compromise memo filed by the plaintiff and other defendants, the trial Court referred the matter to Lok Adalat for settlement.

(e) After the suit was referred to the Lok Adalat for settlement, the District Legal Services Authority also did not issue any notice to the petitioner, who is the 5th defendant in the suit. The Lok Adalat passed an award dated 09-10-2018 under Section 19 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 and disposed of the suit in terms of the compromise memo filed by the plaintiff and other defendants. No share was allotted to the petitioner, who is the 5th defendant in the suit, as per the said award. Although all the co-sharers are necessary parties to the suit for partition, the impugned award was passed without notice to the petitioner who also got an interest and share in the plaint schedule properties. The award was passed without application of mind by the District Legal Services Authority, it is, therefore vitiated by fraud played on the petitioner and on the District Legal Services Authority and due to misrepresentation of facts. The 1st respondent/District Legal Services Authority committed a grave error in passing the impugned award without issuing notice to the petitioner. Thus, the award is vitiated on account of error apparent on the face of the record. The award is also obtained in collusion with the plaintiff and other defendants. The principles of natural justice are also violated while passing the said award. The Lok Adalat also entertained the matter without appreciation of the facts. Therefore, the impugned award is a nullity. So, the petitioner prayed to set aside the said award dated 09-10-2018.

(3.)We have heard Sri V.Siva Prasad Reddy, learned counsel for the petitioner, Sri S.Lakshmi Narayana Reddy, learned counsel for the 1st respondent and Sri T.C. Krishnan, learned counsel for the respondents 2 to 7.
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