Scope of Section 9 of the J&K Specific Relief Act, 1977 is limited to determination of possession of the plaintiff over suit property

Jammu & Kashmir: A Single Judge bench comprising of Sanjeev Kumar, J. while dealing with a civil revision petition directed against the judgment of trial court passed in relation to Section 9 of the Jammu & Kashmir Specific Relief Act, 1977 declined to interfere with trial court’s judgment directing re-possession in favour of respondent but set aside the order directing payment of mesne profits to the respondent.

Facts of the case are that a shop was purchased by the plaintiff-respondent and since its purchase, the property was in his possession and under his lock and key. In October 2002, the petitioners-defendants broke open the locks of the plaintiff-respondents house, stole all the documents including title deed and also broke open locks of the suit shop and forcibly occupied the same in his absence.

The respondent-plaintiff filed a suit under Section 9 of the Act seeking possession of the suit shop and also for recovery of mesne profits at Rs 2000 per month from the date of illegal occupation of the shop by the petitioners-defendants. After filing of the written statement, petitioner-defendant did not participate in the proceedings and appreciating evidence adduced before the trial court, the court decreed the suit in favour of plaintiff-respondent and also granted the decree for mesne profits at Rs 2000 per month for wrongful use and occupation of the suit property.

The High Court discussed at length, the scope of interference with an order or decree passed in a suit instituted under Section 9 of the Act and held that the inquiry in a suit under Section 9 of the Act is limited to the determination of three questions: (i) if the plaintiff is formally in settled possession, (ii) whether the plaintiff was dispossessed of immovable property without his consent other than in due course of law, and (iii) whether the dispossession has taken place within six months immediately preceding the date of the institution of the suit.

The revision petition was disposed of holding that court cannot interfere with the findings of fact of the trial court by re-appreciating the evidence and as such the re-possession order was upheld. However, it was held that under Section 9 the court did not have jurisdiction to grant mesne profits and as such, trial court’s order to that effect was set aside. [Mohan Lal v Madan Lal,2018 SCC OnLine J&K 642, Order dated 19-09-2018]

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