SARDARA SINGH Vs. SARDARA SINGH DEAD
LAWS(SC)-1990-8-91
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on August 23,1990

SARDARA SINGH Appellant
VERSUS
Sardara Singh Dead Respondents


Cited Judgements :-

MEGHALAYA PLYWOODS LTD VS. COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX [LAWS(GAU)-1993-9-2] [REFERRED TO]
NANDKISHOR DAULATRAO SHELKE VS. BABAN VITTHAL MHASKE [LAWS(BOM)-2004-9-178] [REFERRED TO]
NARAYANKARWA VS. UNION OF INDIA [LAWS(BOM)-2007-3-102] [REFERRED TO]
SUPERINTENDING ENGINEER CUDDALORE ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION CIRCLE TAMILNADU ELECTRICITY BOARD CUDDALORE VS. A VARADARAJAN [LAWS(MAD)-2009-7-621] [REFERRED TO]
SHIVANGI VS. GREATER BOMBAY COOPERATIVE BANK LTD [LAWS(BOM)-2008-1-188] [REFERRED TO]
M L KRISHNAMOORTHI VS. GUDIYATTAM MUNICIPALITY REPRESENTED BY ITS COMMISSIONER GUDIYATTAM MUNICIPALITY [LAWS(MAD)-2012-1-286] [REFERRED TO]
SAMEER ENGINEERING WORKS VS. DISTRICT COLLECTOR [LAWS(GJH)-2003-9-64] [REFERRED]
MACHINE TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES P LTD VS. DEBTS RECOVERY APPELLATE TRIBUNAL [LAWS(MAD)-2010-12-153] [REFERRED TO]
PRADEEP KUMAR VS. SATE OF RAJASTHAN [LAWS(RAJ)-2002-3-81] [REFERRED TO]
C.N. PARAMSIVAN VS. SUNRISE PLAZA TR [LAWS(SC)-2013-1-66] [REFERRED TO]
MEHTAB SINGH MALIK VS. S.R. BUILDCON INDIA (P) LTD [LAWS(P&H)-2009-3-141] [REFERRED TO]
RAMESH KUMAR VERMA VS. STATE BANK OF INDIA [LAWS(P&H)-2000-8-148] [REFERRED TO]
SAVITA BHAGWANTRAO PATIL VS. SHYAM PUKHRAJ ASOPA [LAWS(BOM)-2014-4-79] [REFERRED TO]
RAJESH VS. CENTRAL BANK OF INDIA AND ORS. [LAWS(P&H)-2014-7-817] [REFERRED TO]
P KUMARAN VS. DEBTS RECOVERY APPELLATE TRIBUNAL [LAWS(MAD)-2011-7-49] [REFERRED TO]
RAMAKANTH INANI VS. MADHUKAR R BHANGAY [LAWS(APH)-2018-1-30] [REFERRED TO]
DEEPAK NIKHALJE VS. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA AND OTHERS [LAWS(BOM)-2018-3-284] [REFERRED TO]
STATE OF GUJARAT VS. RASIKLAL HIRALAL SAINI (ABET) [LAWS(GJH)-2018-6-60] [REFERRED TO]
KIRLAMPUDI SUGAR MILLS LIMITED VS. RECOVERY OFFICER-II, DRT, DEPARTMENT [LAWS(APH)-2022-4-17] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)The appellants before us are original defendant 2, since deceased through his legal representatives, and defendant 3 of Suit No. 160 of 1966 filed in the court of Sub-Judge, Ferozepur. The facts leading to this appeal are that one Narain Singh was the Lambardar of Village Hazara Singh Wala in Tehsil and District Ferozepur. As he did not reside in the said village, he was unable to carry out his duties and functions as a Lambardar and hence one Hardit Singh worked as a substitute Lambardar for him. The said Hardit Singh was removed as such on 8/11/1957 and in his place Sardara Singh, son of Dharam Singh, the original plaintiff was appointed as a substitute Lambardar. Narain Singh had undertaken liability for the land revenue which was in arrears. Sardara Singh case was that he did not actually act as a substitute Lambardar and did not collect any land revenue from the land owners but the Patwari of the village had obtained his thumb impressions on certain documents. According to him the Patwari had collected the land revenue from the land owners but had failed to deposit the same in the government Treasury. By 1962-63 the arrears of land revenue had risen to Rs. 40,000. 00 or thereabouts. Sardara Singh was prosecuted under S. 409 Indian Penal Code in respect of the said arrears on the premise that he had collected the said amount from the land owners but had failed to deposit the same in the State Treasury. He, however, came to be acquitted on 22/02/1965. Prior to that, in 1964, he had made representations tothe authorities for settling the accounts and had asked the defaulters to show him the receipts of payments, if any, made by them. No action was taken on his representations but instead his land was attached and put to auction sale by the revenue authorities on 18/01/1965 for recovering Rs. 11,718. 00 as arrears of land revenue. The auction-purchasers paid 25 per cent of the price offered on the very same day. The remaining 75 per cent which was required to be paid within 15 days was however deposited on 2/03/1965 instead of 2/02/1965 The sale was confirmed on 21/02/1966 and the sale certificate was issued on 12/03/1966. Thereupon the suit in question was filed in August 1966 to restrain the State of Punjab and the auction-purchasers from taking possession of the land admeasuring about 178 kanals and 2 marlas. The case. set up by the plaintiff was that he was not a substitute Lambardar; that he had not collected the land revenue from the land owners; that he was not a 'defaulter within the meaning of S. 3 (8 of the Punjab Land Revenue Act, 1887 (hereinafter called 'the Act') ; that the auction sale was not conducted in accordance with law and abounded in several illegalities; that even otherwise the sale was void and the issuance of sale certificate was of no consequence whatsoever and that no title in the auctioned land passed to the purchasers thereunder.
(2.)The suit was contested mainly on the ground that the plaintiff was a 'defaulter within the meaning of S. 3 (8 of the Act; that the sale was conducted in accordance with law and the auction purchasers had, on the issuance of the sale certificate, become owners of the auctioned land; that in view of S. 158 of the Act the civil court had no jurisdiction to entertain and try the suit and that the plaintiff was not entitled to any of the reliefs claimed.
(3.)The trial Judge raised as many as seven issues and on the basis of the findings recorded he dismissed the suit holding that the plaintiff was duly appointed as a substitute Lambardar whose duty it was to collect the land revenue and deposit the same in the State Treasury; he having failed to do so was a defaulter under S. 3 (8 of the Act and the State government was entitled to attach and sell his land to recover the arrears of land revenue due from him. He also came to the conclusion that in the circumstances the sale was perfectly legal and valid and the civil court has no jurisdiction to entertain and try the suit. The original plaintiff preferred an appeal. During the pendency of the appeal he passed away and his legal representatives were brought on record. In the meantime it appears that the auction-purchasers were put in possession of the land in question and hence the plaint was amended and an additional relief for possession was claimed. The appellate court reversed the findings of the trial court holding that the plaintiff was not a defaulter in respect of the amount shown as arrears of land revenue and the sale wasfraudulent and illegal. Consequently, it came to the conclusion that issuance of the sale certificate did not confer any title on the auction purchasers and as the sale was void the suit was maintainable and the civil court had jurisdiction to entertain and try the same. On these findings the appeal was accepted and the suit was decreed. The auction purchasers feeling aggrieved by the decision of the first appellate court approached the High Court in second appeal. The learned Single Judge of the High court came to the conclusion that the decision in S. Swaroop Singh v. Collector of Hissar required reconsideration. He, therefore, referred the entire case to a division bench of the High court. The division bench examined three points which may be formulated as under:
"(1 Whether a Lambardar who fails to collect the land revenue and deposit the same in the State Treasury, can be said to be a 'defaulter within the meaning of S. 3 (8 of the Act If yes, can the outstanding amount be recovered as arrears of land revenue by the attachment and sale of his immovable properly

(2 Whether the sale in favour of the purchasers, i. e. the appellants before us, was null and void as they had failed to pay the balance (75 per cent) of the purchase price within the time allowed by S. 88 of the Act

(3 If yes, whether the civil court had jurisdiction to entertain and try the suit having regard to S. 158 of the Act -the division bench of the High court on an examination of the relevant provisions of the Act and the Rules made thereunder came to the conclusion that the plaintiff was not a defaulter within the meaning of S. 3 (8 of the Act. Consequently it concluded that the sale was void and the civil court, therefore, had jurisdiction, notwithstanding S. 158 of the Act. It also held that the failure on the part of the auction purchasers to deposit the balance _ (75 per cent) of the sale price within 15 days allowed by S. 88 of the Act rendered the sale void in view of the decision of this court in Manilal Mohanlal Shah v. Sardar Sayed Ahmed Sayed Mahmad and, therefore, the civil court had jurisdiction in the matter. In this view that it took, the appeal was dismissed.

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