Phukan, J. -
(1.)This appeal by special leave is directed against the judgment of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in Letters Patent Appeal No. 551/75.
(2.)Briefly stated, the facts are as follows :
Two brothers, Hira Singh and Jagjit Singh were convicted in a murder case. During their confinement in jail, Jagjit Singh absconded and Hira Singh was granted pardon. After release Hira Singh took possession of the entire land including the share of his brother, Jagjit Singh. Hira Singh died sometime in the year 1920 and on his death, one Smt. Har Kaur, wife of a collateral took possession of the land. Rulia Singh, the adopted son of Hira Singh questioned the mutation as well as possession of Har Kaur and, therefore, she filed a suit for declaration that Rulia Singh was not validly adopted by Hira Singh and also sought permanent injunction restraining Rulia Singh from interfering with her possession. The suit was dismissed ultimately by the High Court and the land including the share of the Jagjit Singh was mutated in the revenue records in the name of Rulia Singh in 1930 and thereafter he remained in undisturbed possession of the land till his death in 1962. Darshan Singh, Ala Singh and Pritam Singh - defendant Nos. 1-3 (appellants in the appeal) - grandsons of Rulia Singh through his daughter got their names mutated in respect of the land including the share of Jagjit Singh. One Gujjar Singh - a sixth-degree collateral of Jagjit Singh challenged the mutation unsuccessfully and thereafter filed the present suit claiming a declaratory decree to the effect that being a collateral of Hira Singh and Jagjit Singh, he was entitled to succeed to the land left behind by them. The suit was dismissed by the trial Court. The first appellate Court partly allowed the appeal granting a decree in favour of Gujjar Singh only in respect of land of Jagjit Singh, which was affirmed by the High Court in second appeal. In the present Letters Patent Appeal, decree of the appellate Court was upheld with modification to the extent that the land of Jagjit Singh was divided between the plaintiff-Gujjar Singh and other collaterals, who were impleaded as respondent Nos. 2-7. Against the said judgment, the parties are before us in this appeal.
(3.)All the Courts below have held that Rulia Singh was adopted by Hira Singh according to the customary law of Punjab and, therefore, he could under the said custom inherit only the properties of Hira Singh and not the properties of Jagjit Singh, collateral of Hira Singh. On this point there is no dispute. The trial Court dismissed the suit holding that Rulia Singh and thereafter his successors, the appellants were in adverse possession of the suit land. The first appellate Court held that according customary law, Rulia Singh being adopted son of Hira Singh, was entitled to inherit the share of Hira Singh but not of Jagjit Singh and the plea of adverse possession set up by the appellants over the land of Jagjit Singh was rejected. As stated earlier, the judgment of the first appellate Court was upheld by the High Court with modification and accordingly appeal was partly allowed.