ATMA RAM Vs. CHARANJIT SINGH
LAWS(SC)-2020-2-22
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on February 10,2020

ATMA RAM Appellant
VERSUS
CHARANJIT SINGH Respondents





Cited Judgements :-

U.N. KRISHNAMURTHY VS. A. M. KRISHNAMURTHY [LAWS(SC)-2022-7-56] [REFERRED TO]
NEWTON ENGINEERING AND CHEMICALS LTD VS. BANK OF BARODA [LAWS(GJH)-2021-2-63] [REFERRED TO]
SHENBAGAM VS. KK RATHINAVEL [LAWS(SC)-2022-1-65] [REFERRED TO]
K.V.K. SAYYID HASHIM VS. P.P. MUHAMED YASIN [LAWS(KER)-2021-8-94] [REFERRED TO]
RAVI KUMAR BAJAJ VS. ASHOK BAJAJ [LAWS(DLH)-2022-2-136] [REFERRED TO]
MITTAL PORTFOLIOS PVT LTD VS. SUBIR KUMAR DAS [LAWS(CAL)-2021-1-10] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

V.RAMASUBRAMANIAN,J. - (1.)The holder of an agreement for the purchase of an immovable property, whose suit for a mandatory injunction (construed by the Trial Court as a suit for specific performance) was decreed by the Trial Court, but which decree was upset by the First Appellate Court and confirmed on second appeal by the High Court, has come up with the present Special Leave Petition.
(2.)We have heard Shri R Basant, learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner and Shri Soumen Talukdar, learned counsel appearing for the respondent.
(3.)The brief facts essential for the disposal of the special leave petition are as follows;
(i) On 12.10.1994, an agreement was entered into by the petitioner with the respondent. By this agreement, the respondent agreed to sell to the petitioner, the land and factory premises at Plot No.90, Sector21, Industrial Area, Bhiwani, with the land measuring about 1250 sq. yards. The total sale consideration fixed under the agreement was Rs.4,38,000/. An earnest money of Rs.1,00,000/ was paid by the petitioner to the respondent at the time of execution of the agreement. The date for performance of the contract was fixed under the agreement as 07.10.1996.

(ii) The petitioner issued a legal notice dated 12.11.1996 claiming that when the date fixed for specific performance arrived, he approached the respondent for the completion of the transaction, and that at that time, the respondent disclosed about the pendency of some civil litigation with a third party, as an impediment for the execution of the sale deed. Therefore, the petitioner claimed in the legal notice that the respondent should furnish the details of all the litigation pending in respect of the said property and that if no litigation was pending, the respondent should come forward to execute the sale deed within 15 days.

(iii) As there was no response to the legal notice, the petitioner filed a civil suit in CS No.240 of 1999 in the Court of the Additional Civil Judge, Senior Division, Bhiwani. The prayer made in the suit was for a mandatory injunction to direct the respondent to execute all documents of transfer of the property in question after receiving the balance sale consideration. It is relevant to note here that since the suit was filed only for the relief of mandatory injunction, the petitioner valued the suit only at Rs.250 and paid a fixed court fee of Rs.25.

(iv) The respondent filed a written statement denying everything including the execution of the agreement. He also questioned the maintainability of the suit in the form in which it was filed. The respondent further claimed that the suit was barred by limitation.

(v) On the basis of the pleadings, the Trial Court framed eight issues for consideration on 12.10.2002. These issues were as follows:

"(1) Whether the plaintiff agreed to purchase the suit property from the defendant for a sum of Rs.4,38,000/ and paid Rs.1,00,000/ as earnest money on 12.10.1994 as alleged? OPP

(2) Whether the plaintiff is entitled to relief of mandatory injunction as prayed for? OPP

(3) Whether the plaintiff has no locusstandi to file the suit? OPD

(4) Whether the plaintiff has no cause of action to file the suit? OPD

(5) Whether the suit is not maintainable in the present form? OPD

(6) Whether the suit is bad for misjoinder and non joinder of necessary parties? OPD

(7) Whether the plaintiff is estopped by his own act and conduct from filing the suit? OPD

(8) Relief."

(vi) After filing the written statement, the respondent also took out an application for the dismissal of the suit on the ground that a suit for mandatory injunction was not maintainable for enforcing specific performance of an agreement of sale. The said application was disposed of by the Trial Court by a very curious order, dated 09.08.2003, holding that the suit was in fact one for specific performance of an agreement of sale and that the technical objection regarding the maintainability could be overcome by directing the petitioner/plaintiff to pay the requisite court fee. Accordingly, Trial Court directed the petitioner/plaintiff to make good the deficit court fee on or before 08.09.2003.

(vii) Unfortunately, the respondent did not challenge the aforesaid order of the Trial Court dated 09.08.2003. As a consequence, the petitioner/plaintiff paid the deficit court fee and the trial court chose to treat the suit as one for specific performance.

(viii) After so overcoming a major hurdle, the Trial Court decreed the suit by a judgment dated 03.02.2006, directing the petitioner to pay the balance of sale consideration within one month and directing the respondent to get the suit property transferred in the name of the petitioner, directly from HUDA.

(ix) Aggrieved by the judgment and decree, the respondent filed a regular first appeal in Civil Appeal No. 181 of 2006, on the file of Additional District Court, Bhiwani. By a judgment dated 02.01.2013, the District Court allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment of the Trial Court, thereby dismissing the suit.

(x) Aggrieved by the judgment of the First Appellate Court, the petitioner filed a second appeal in RSA No.1244 of 2013 on the file of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh. The High Court dismissed the second appeal by a judgment dated 20.05.2016. It is against the said judgment and decree that the plaintiff has come up with the above special leave petition.

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