ANOKH SINGH Vs. NAGINA RAM
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
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G.L. Chopra, J. -
(1.) LAND measuring 3 bighas 6 biswas in village isra has been the bone of contention between the parties since long. Mt. Jeoni, widow of Lakha Mai was the owner of the land which had remained in possession of Nagina Ram respondent for a number of years. Mt. Jeoni filed a suit for its possession against Nagina Ram which was decreed by the Naib Naxim Amloh on 16 -11 -1986. On a review application being presented by Nagina Ram the suit was dismissed as time barred. On the basis of this decision Nagina Ram applied for the land to be mutated in his name. The mutation was refused by the Tehsildar against whose order he filed an appeal to the Revenue Member. In his order dated 11th August 1934, the Revenue Member arrived at the conclusion that Nagina Ram was only a mortgagee for Rs. 120/ -. He, therefore, ordered that an entry to that effect be made in the revenue records. On 12 -11 -1994 mutation No. 192 was effected according to which Mt. Jeoni was entered as an owner and Nagina Ram a mortgagee for Rs. 120/ -. Mt. Jeoni died somewhere in the year 2001. After her death her heirs, the present petitioners, presented an application for redemption of the land. This was sanctioned by the Collector on 22 -6 -2002. Redemption having been allowed Nagina Ram filed an appeal to the Revenue Minister which was dismissed on 7th Chet, 2002. The possession in the meantime having been delivered to the applicants, the suit giving rise to the present petition was filed by him on 27 -7 -2003. In the plaint he alleged that he had become an owner of the land by possessing it adversely against Mt. Jeoni and that his ownership could not be questioned after the decision of the civil suit. He challenged the order of the Revenue Minister as wrong and against facts because he had never been in possession of the land as a mortgagee. The suit was objected to as time barred and the allegations of the plaintiff were totally denied. Both the Courts below have found that the suit was within time and that the plaintiff was owner of the land. The suit was consequently decreed. This is a petition for revision by the defendants.
(2.) MR . Puran Chand, the learned counsel for the petitioners, contends that under Art. 14 of the Limitation Act the present suit ought to have been brought with one year of the order of the Collector. The order of the Collector being of 22nd Assauj, 2002 the suit was beyond time as it was filed after the lapse of the prescribed period. Mr. Lachhman Das concedes that Art. 14 of the Limitation Act applies to the case. He, however, contends that the limitation of one year would be counted from the final order in the proceedings for redemption. According to him the period would start to run on 7th Chet, 2002 when his appeal against the order of the Collector was dismissed. Mr. Puran Chand, however, urges that since the order of the Collector was not appealable according to the Punjab Redemption of Mortgages Act the Revenue Minister had no jurisdiction in the matter and, therefore, the plaintiff could take no benefit of the proceedings in his Court. The counsel, has not been able to satisfy me that the Punjab Redemption of Mortgages Act applied to the Nabha State or that the application presented by the petitioners to the Collector for redemption was under that Act. The petitioners, who were respondents in the appeal, did not take any objection as to the maintainability of the appeal. From this it appears that an appeal against an order of the Collector was competent under the local law of Nabha State. If an appeal did lie I am of the considered opinion that limitation under Art, 14 would start to run from the date of the final order. If the appeal had been accepted and the order of the Collector and been set aside a similar suit by the petitioners could only have been filed within one year of that order. The plaintiffs had a right to seek his remedy from the appellate Court and when he failed he rightly came to the civil Court within one year of that order. I would, therefore, hold that the suit was within time. Regarding the second point the contention of Mr. Puran Chand is that Nagina Ram was never declared to be an owner of the suit -land by the Naib Nazim Amloh in 1985. All that was decided in that case was that Mt. Jeoni's suit was barred by time because of the long possession of Nagina Ram. It is further stressed that after the order of the Revenue Member dated 11 -8 -1934 Nagina Ram accepted his position as a mortgagee when he got a mutation to that effect sanctioned in his favour. I, however, do not see any force in either of the two contentions. On the dismissal of Mt. Jeoni's suit for possession of the land as time barred she must be taken to have lost all rights of ownership in it as provided by S. 28 of the Limitation Act. It is not only the remedy that was lost to her but all her rights in the land also got extinguished thereafter, and Nagina Ram thereby became its owner. His approaching the revenue authorities after, the decision of the Revenue Member did not divest him of the rights that had already accrued to him. All that he said at the time of the mutation was that the Revenue Member had ordered him to be entered as a mortgagee for Rs. 120/ -. The mutation was effected in pursuance of that order and not because of any admission or declaration made by the plaintiff. It was only are involuntary act done in pursuance of the order of the Revenue Member, which did not amount to an estoppel against him and could not prevent hint from enforcing the remedy given to him by law. The mere fact that the plaintiff was entered as a mortgagee in the revenue records ever since the order of the Revenue Member would not make any difference nor would it deprive him of his rights. He continued to remain in possession of the land and to enjoy its profits as before.
(3.) I see no ground to differ from the concurrent findings of the Courts below. The petition is consequently dismissed. Taking into consideration all the circumstances of the case and the points of law involved I leave the parties to bear their own costs.;
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