Meghalaya High Court: H. S. Thangkhiew, J., dismissed a petition which was filed aggrieved by the order of the Trial Court by way of this application under Order 6 of Meghalaya (Jurisdiction over District Council Courts) Order, 2014.

The appellant claimed that he was running a hostel in a building belonging to his mother-in-law (respondent) and due to a family dispute, had instituted a Title Suit for declaration and permanent injunction before the District Council Court and to declare him as the owner of the hostel under the name and style of ‘The North East Girls & Boys Hostel’, and that the respondent (defendant), had no right to interfere with the supervision and management of the hostel together with a prayer for a permanent injunction to restrain the respondent from interfering with the management of the hostel. The Trial Court in 2019 had granted ex parte ad-interim injunction in favour of the appellant which, however, on an application under Order 39 Rule 4 CPC filed by the respondent, after hearing the parties, vacated the ad-interim injunction.

Counsel for the appellant, Mr H.R. Nath contended that the lower Court had erred in holding that the appellant was seeking a declaration of title over the hostel building when in fact the declaration was sought only over the hostel business and not the building which was undisputedly the property of the respondent. Counsel for the respondent, Mr S. Kumar submitted that the respondent was the absolute owner in possession of the building in question and that in fact, the hostel was being run and managed by the daughter of the respondent and the appellant herein who happened to be the son-in-law, was only working as a manager. He submitted that the appellant by concealing facts had falsely projected himself as the owner of the hostel and obtained the ad-interim injunction.

The Court had to examine the legality of the order under challenge within the bounds governing the consideration of grant of injunction and whether the lower Court had exercised its discretionary powers in a justifiable manner. The Court observed that it was an admitted fact that firstly, the respondent was the absolute owner of the building and that secondly, though the appellant claims to be a lessee or tenant of the said premises, no rental or lease agreement nor rent receipt had been produced to substantiate his claim.

High Court dismissed the petition observing that the balance of convenience in view of the facts and circumstances of the case, especially on the factum of possession, will squarely lie in favour of the respondent, and as rightly held by the learned lower Court, the greater inconvenience would be caused to the respondent if the ad-interim injunction was made absolute. The court concluded that grant of injunction cannot be claimed by a party as a matter of right nor can it be denied by the Court arbitrarily; however the discretion to be exercised by the Court is guided by the principles discussed above and depends on the facts and circumstances of each case.[Jasper Lee Pakyntein v. Sumarmai Hynniewta, 2021 SCC OnLine Megh 53, decided on 04-03-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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