Kerala High Court: T.V. Anilkumar, J., allowed the petition against the impugned order of Munsiff Court, thereby upholding the order of returning plaint to the Family Court.
The petitioners filed a suit (O.S.No.310/2014) for declaring them as wife and son of the deceased, P.J.Suresh and also for declaring sale deed dated 28-03-2014 in respect of the suit property executed by defendant 2 to 4 in favour of defendant 6 at the instance of defendant-bank 1 was void and not binding on the plaintiffs. The plaint schedule property was mortgaged by the deceased in favour of defendant-bank at the time of availment of loan. Later on, when the deceased committed default in repayment of loan, the defendant-bank proceeded under the provisions of SARFAESI Act, 2002 and brought the property to sale. During the course of the auction proceeding, with the permission of defendant-bank, the property was sold to defendant 6 by defendants 2 to 5 who claimed to be the children, wife and mother of the deceased.
The grievances of the petitioners were that, petitioner 1 was the legally wedded wife of the deceased and petitioner 2 was the son and they alone being the sole legal heirs were the property owners, therefore, the impugned sale deed was null and void. The main relief that was sought, was for declaring petitioner 1 as the legally wedded wife of the deceased. The defendant-bank raised the question of maintainability of suit and contended that it was not liable to be tried before the Munsiff Court as the issue involved was liable to be dealt with under the provisions of the Family Courts Act,1984.
The Bench expressed that the view taken by the court below were correct and were in accordance with law. The Court, while explaining S. 7 of Family Courts Act,1984 stated, as per Explanation to Section 7(1) (b) of the Act, a suit or proceeding for a declaration as to the validity of marriage or as to the matrimonial status of any person could be brought only before a Family Court and there was exclusion of jurisdiction of Civil Court in this respect. The question as to whether sale deed in favour of defendant 6 was null and void was consequential upon the decision on the alleged status claimed by petitioner 1. The Bench observed that without deciding the question as to the status of petitioner 1, the validity as to the sale deed could not be decided.
Considering the above, the Bench dismissed the instant petition, holding that the impugned order of the court below of returning plaint to be presented before Family Court was perfectly legal and was not liable to be interfered with. [Jaminimol v. Federal Bank Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 381, decided on 22-01-2021]
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