Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of L. Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai, JJ has, in two judgments, has held that where the plaintiff’s title is not in dispute or under a cloud, a suit for injunction could be decided with reference to the finding on possession.

“… if the matter involves complicated questions of fact and law relating to title, the court will relegate the parties to the remedy by way of comprehensive suit for declaration of title, instead of deciding the issue in a suit for mere injunction.”

While where there are necessary pleadings regarding title and appropriate issue relating to title on which parties lead evidence, if the matter involved is simple and straightforward, the court may decide upon the issue regarding title, even in a suit for injunction; such cases are the exception to the normal rule that question of title will not be decided in suits for injunction.

Below are two important rulings on the issue suits for prohibitory injunction relating to immovable property

Anathula Sudhakar v. P. Buchi Reddy, (2008) 4 SCC 594

(a) Where a cloud is raised over the plaintiff’s title and he does not have possession, a suit for declaration and possession, with or without a consequential injunction, is the remedy. Where the plaintiff’s title is not in dispute or under a cloud, but he is out of possession, he has to sue for possession with a consequential injunction. Where there is merely an interference with the plaintiff’s lawful possession or threat of dispossession, it is sufficient to sue for an injunction simpliciter.

(b) As a suit for injunction simpliciter is concerned only with possession, normally the issue of title will not be directly and substantially in issue. The prayer for injunction will be decided with reference to the   finding   on   possession.   But   in   cases where de jure possession has to be established on the basis of title to the property, as in the case of vacant sites, the issue of title may directly and substantially arise for consideration, as without a finding thereon, it will not be possible to decide the issue of possession.

(c) But a finding on title cannot be recorded in a suit for injunction, unless there are necessary pleadings and appropriate issue regarding title. Where the averments regarding title are absent in a plaint and where there is no issue relating to title, the court will not investigate or examine or render a finding on a question of title, in a suit for injunction. Even where there are necessary pleadings and issue, if the matter involves complicated questions of fact and law relating to title, the court will relegate the parties to the remedy by way of comprehensive suit for declaration of title, instead of deciding the issue in a suit for mere injunction.

(d) Where there are necessary pleadings regarding title, and appropriate issue relating to title on which parties lead evidence, if the matter involved is simple and straightforward, the court may decide upon the issue regarding title, even in a suit for injunction. But such cases, are the exception to the normal rule that question of title will not be decided in suits for injunction. But persons having clear title and possession suing for injunction, should not be driven to the costlier and more cumbersome remedy of a suit for declaration, merely because some meddler vexatiously or wrongfully makes a claim or tries to encroach upon his property. The court should use its discretion carefully to identify cases where it will enquire into title and cases where it will refer to the plaintiff to a more comprehensive declaratory suit, depending upon the facts of the case.

Jharkhand State Housing Board v. Didar Singh, (2019) 17 SCC 692

“11. It is well settled by catena of judgments of this Court   that   in   each   and   every   case   where   the defendant disputes the title of the plaintiff it is not necessary that in all those cases plaintiff has to seek the relief of declaration. A suit for mere injunction does not lie only when the defendant raises a genuine dispute with regard to title and when he raises a cloud over the title of the plaintiff, then necessarily in those circumstances, plaintiff cannot maintain a suit for bare injunction.”

[KAYALULLA PARAMBATH MOIDU  HAJI v. NAMBOODIYIL VINODAN, CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 5575­5576 OF 2021 and T.V. RAMAKRISHNA REDDY v. M. MALLAPPA, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 675, decided on 07.09.2021]


*Judgments by: Justice BR Gavai

Know Thy Judge| Justice B.R. Gavai

Appearance in first case:

For appellant/plaintiffs: Senior Advocate P.N. Ravindran

For Respondent/Defendant: Senior Advocate V. Chitambaresh

Appearance in second case:

For appellant/plaintiffs: Senior Advocate Ajit Bhasme

For BDA: Advocate S.K. Kulkarni

For respondent: Senior Advocate Basava Prabhu S. Patil

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case where two petitioners had encroached upon the Panchayat land and had constructed houses on it, the bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and MR Shah*, JJ has held,

“The persons in illegal occupation of the Government Land/Panchayat Land cannot, as a matter of right, claim regularization. Regularization of the illegal occupation of the Government Land/Panchayat Land can only be as per the policy of the State Government and the conditions stipulated in the Rules. If it is found that the conditions stipulated for regularisation have not been fulfilled, such persons in illegal occupation of the Government Land/Panchayat Land are not entitled to regularization.”


Background


In the present case, the lands on which the petitioners had constructed the houses vested in the Gram Panchayat. In the year 2000, the Government of Haryana framed a policy regarding sale of panchayat land in unauthorised possession inside outside the Abadi Deh and also amended the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Rules, 1964 and issued a notification dated 1.8.2001 in this regard. Thereafter, in 2008, Rule 12(4) was incorporated in the 1964 Rules in terms of the notification dated 03.01.2008, which authorises Gram Panchayat to sell its non-cultivable land in Shamlat Deh to the inhabitants of the village who have constructed their houses on or before 31.03.2000, subject to fulfilment of the conditions mentioned in Rule 12(4) of the 1964 Rules.

The competent authority after giving an opportunity of personal hearing to the writ petitioners and on perusal of the record and the site report which was verified by visiting the relevant place found that petitioner no.1 – Joginder was in illegal occupation of the area admeasuring 757.37 square yards and petitioner no.2 -Karamveer was found to be in illegal occupation of the area admeasuring   239.48 square yards, rejected the prayer of the petitioners to sell the land in exercise of powers under Rule 12(4) of the 1964 Rules.


Analysis


As per Rule 12(4) of the 1964 Rules,

  • the construction of the house on the panchayat land must have been put on or before 31.03.2000.
  • it must be a non-cultivable land;
  • does not result in any obstruction to the traffic and passer¬by and
  • the illegal occupation/constructed area shall be up to a maximum of 200 square yards and then only the same can be regularised/sold.

The illegal occupation of the panchayat land can be regularised provided the area of the illegal occupation is up to a maximum of 200 square yards. It includes the constructed area, open space up to 25% of the constructed area or appurtenant area.

Therefore, on a fair reading of Rule 12(4), in case of an illegal occupation of the area up to a maximum of 200 square yards including the constructed area, appurtenant area and open space area can be regularised and sold at not less than collector rate (floor rate or market rate, whichever is higher).

“The idea behind keeping the cap of 200 square yards may be that the small area of the lands occupied illegally can be regularised/sold.”

If it is held otherwise, in that case, it may happen that somebody has put up a construction on 195 square yards and is in illegal occupation of 500 square yards area, in that case, though he has encroached upon the total area of about 700 square yards, he shall be entitled to purchase the land under Rule 12(4) of the 1964 Rules, which is not the intention of Rule 12(4).

In the present case, the policy which was formulated by the State Government which culminated in Rule 12(4) of the 1964 Rules specifically contained a stipulation to the effect that the illegal/unauthorised occupation up to a maximum of 200 square yards only can be sold on regularisation and on fulfilment of other conditions mentioned in Rule 12(4) of the 1964 Rules.  The petitioners were found to be in illegal occupation of the area of more than 200 square yards.

Therefore, one of the conditions mentioned in Rule 12(4) is not satisfied and therefore both, the competent authority as well as the High Court have rightly held that the petitioners are not entitled to the benefit of the provisions of Rule 12(4) of the 1964 Rules.

[Joginder v. State of Haryana, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 59, decided on 05.02.2021]


*Judgment by: Justice MR Shah

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In an interesting case regarding land acquisition by government of Assam for setting up a plastic park, the Division Bench of S. Abdul Nazeer* and Sanjiv Khanna had held,

“Once the award has been approved, compensation has been paid and possession of the land has been handed over to the Government, acquisition proceedings could not have been reopened, including by way of re-notification of the already acquired land under Section 4 of Land Acquisition Act, 1894.”

Assam Industrial Development Corporation Limited (AIDC) had filed this appeal against the order of Guwahati High Court for the determination of question, whether an award in respect of the first respondent’s land was approved by the Government on 05-03-2010 or the approval was for the estimate only?

Initial Proceedings for Acquisition

In order to set up a plastic park, the Government of Assam decided to acquire a portion of land belonging to the respondent situated at Gillapukri Tea Estate. The Government, in exercise of the power under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 issued a notification dated 04-08-2008, expressing its intention to acquire 1,166 biggas, 1katha, 14 lessas of land. The Deputy Commissioner and Collector, addressed a letter dated 30-01-2010 to the Government to seek approval of the award and the land acquisition to which the government addressed a letter dated 05-03-2010 to the Deputy Commissioner whereby approval, as sought was granted.

Initiation of Fresh Proceedings

The respondent contended that pursuant to the letter dated 05-03-2010 only the land acquisition estimate was approved and not the award. Therefore, the respondent contended, it led to lapsing of the proceedings and initiation of fresh acquisition proceedings on 21-07-2012 which culminated in approval of the award for the first time in 2014. On 04-01-2014, a fresh award was passed and the respondent argued that since the award under the fresh proceedings was approved and made after coming into force of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, he was entitled for compensation in terms of Section 24(1) (a) of the 2013 Act.

Analysis by Court

Award was approved by the government on 05-03-2010 and that the same had been paid within two years of declaration. Pursuant to the award, possession of the land was taken from the respondent by the acquiring authority and the land was then handed over to the appellant. The Bench observed that entire compensation had been paid to the respondent and as contended by government,

Need for an additional award arose only because some of the land owners of the land initially proposed to be acquired were left out in the original award that was approved on 05-03-2010.

Noticing that not only did the respondent receive compensation pursuant to the award, it in fact sought enhancement of the same vide its reassessment petition dated 05-05-2010 u/s 18 of the L.A. Act the Bench said, letters dated 21-07-2012 and 06-01-2014 could not have the effect of re-acquiring the land in question since it already stood vested in the State Government. A combined reading of letter dated 05-03-2010 with the preceding letter dated 30-01-2010 and the subsequent conduct of the parties, including the respondent, made it evident that the award stood approved on the said date.

In D. Hanumanth SA v. State of Karnataka, (2010) 10 SCC 656 , it was held, “if land already stands acquired by the Government and if the same stands vested in the Government there is no question of acquisition of such a land by issuing a second notification for the Government cannot acquire its own land”. Hence, considering the subsequent actions of the parties, viz. payment and receipt of compensation, handover of possession, seeking reassessment of the compensation and the fact that the plastic project for which the subject Land Acquisition was initiated had already been developed on the acquired land, the Bench held,

“Once the land stood vested in the State, it could not have been acquired again. Therefore, any issuance of fresh notification under Section 4 and 6 or even preparing of a fresh award by the State Government in respect of the first respondent’s land would be infructuous.”

In view of the above, the impugned order of the High Court was set aside.
[Assam Industrial Development Corp. Ltd. v. Gillapukri Tea Co. Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 44, decided on 28-01-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this story together 

*Justice SA Nazeer has penned this judgment 

Know Thy Judge | Justice S. Abdul Nazeer

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: On the question as to whether the right of pre-emption can be enforced for an indefinite number of transactions or it is exercisable only the first time, the 3-judge bench of SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, JJ has held that

“… it is only exercisable for the first time when the cause of such a right arises, in a situation where the plaintiff-pre-emptor chooses to waive such right after the 1966 Act becoming operational. Section 9 of the said Act operates as a bar on his exercising such right on a subsequent transaction relating to the same immovable property.”

Origin and history of right of pre-emption

The historical perspective of the right of pre-emption shows that it owes its origination to the advent of the Mohammedan rule, based on customs, which came to be accepted in various courts largely located in the north of India. The pre-emptor has two rights. The inherent or primary right, which is the right to the offer of a thing about to be sold and the secondary or remedial right to follow the thing sold. It is a secondary right, which is simply a right of substitution in place of the original vendee. The pre-emptor is bound to show that he not only has a right as good as that of the vendee, but it is superior to that of the vendee; and that too at the time when the pre-emptor exercises his right.

“… the right is a “very weak right” and is, thus, capable of being defeated by all legitimate methods including the claim of superior or equal right.”

Recurring right or a one-time right

  • Section 21 of the Rajasthan Pre-Emption Act, 1966 stipulates that the right of pre-emption has to be exercised, in case of a sale, within one year from the date of sale and if the sale is not by a registered deed, on the purchaser taking the physical possession of any part of the property sold.
  • This period has to be as per Article 97 of the Limitation Act which states that it is one year from the date when the sale is registered.
  • The loss of right of pre-emption on transfer has been defined under Section 9 of the said Act which provides that the loss is only occasioned, when, within two months from the date of service of the notice, the price is not tendered. However, that is the loss of the right, vis-à-vis the transaction in question.

On the question whether such a right of pre-emption is a recurring right, i.e. every time the property is sold, the right would rearise, in a case the pre-empting plaintiff himself has chosen not to exercise such right over the subject immovable property when sold to another purchaser earlier, the Court held,

“… it would not be appropriate or permissible to adopt legal reasoning making such a weak right, some kind of a right in perpetuity arising to a plaintiff every time there is a subsequent transaction or sale once the plaintiff has waived his right or pre-emption over the subject immovable property.”

Holding that the loss of right mandated under Section 9 of the Act is absolute, the Court further stated that the plain reading of the said provision does not reveal that such right can re-arise to the person who waives his right of pre-emption in an earlier transaction. To do so would mean that a person, whether not having the means or for any other reason, does not exercise the right of pre-emption and yet he, even after decades, can exercise such a right.

“This would create some sort of a cloud on a title and uncertainty as a subsequent purchaser would not know, when he wants to sell the property, whether he can complete the transaction or not or whether a cosharer will jump into the scene. This is not contemplated in the 1966 Act. This is bound to have an effect on the price offered by a purchaser at that time because he would have an impression of uncertainty about the proposed transaction.”

The Court, hence, held that such a right is available once – whether to take it or leave it to a person having a right of pre-emption. If such person finds it is not worth once, it is not an open right available for all times to come to that person.

[Raghunath v. Radha Mohan,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 828, decided on 13.10.2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, SA Nazeer and MR Shah, JJ has held that daughters have right in coparcenary by birth and that it is not necessary that the father coparcener should be living when the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 came into force.

The conferral of right is by birth, and the rights are given in the same manner with incidents of coparcenary as that of a son and she is treated as a coparcener in the same manner with the same rights as if she had been a son at the time of birth.”

BACKGROUND OF THE CASE

The Court was dealing with a reference relating to the interpretation of section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 as amended by Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 in view of the conflicting verdicts rendered in two Division Bench judgments in Prakash v. Phulavati, (2016) 2 SCC 36 and Danamma v. Amar, (2018) 3 SCC 343.

Prakash v. Phulvati ruling

section 6 is not retrospective in operation, and it applies when both coparceners and his daughter were alive on the date of commencement of Amendment Act, 9.9.2005. The provision contained in the Explanation to section 6(5) provides for the requirement of partition for substituted section 6 is to be a registered one or by a decree of a court, can have no application to a statutory notional partition on the opening of succession as provided in the unamended Section 6. The notional statutory partition is deemed to have taken place to ascertain the share of the deceased coparcener which is not covered either under the proviso to section 6(1) or section 6(5), including its Explanation. The registration requirement is inapplicable to partition of property by operation of law, which has to be given full effect.

Danamma v. Amar Ruling

The amended provisions of section 6 confer full rights upon the daughter coparcener. Any   coparcener, including a daughter, can claim a partition in the coparcenary property. The father, in the said case, died in the year 2001, leaving behind two daughters, two sons, and a widow. Coparcener’s father was not alive when the substituted provision of section 6 came into force. The daughters, sons and the widow were given 1/5th share apiece.

DETAILED EXPLANATION OF LAW IN REFERENCE

On the law on Coparcenary and Joint Hindu Family

Coparcenary property is the one which is inherited by a Hindu from his father, grandfather, or great grandfather. Property inherited from others is held in his rights and cannot be treated as forming part of the coparcenary. The property in coparcenary is held as joint owners. Coparcener heirs get right by birth. Another method to be a coparcener is by way of adoption.

“As earlier, a woman could not be a coparcener, but she could still be a joint family member. By substituted section 6 with effect from 9.9.2005 daughters are recognised as coparceners in their rights, by birth in the family like a son. Coparcenary is the creation of law. Only a coparcener has a right to demand partition. Test is if a person can demand a partition, he is a coparcener not otherwise.”

On unobstructed and obstructed heritage

Unobstructed heritage takes place by birth, and the obstructed heritage takes place after the death of the owner. It is significant to note that under section 6 by birth, right is given that is called unobstructed heritage. It is not the obstructed heritage depending upon the owner’s death.Thus, coparcener father need not be alive on 9.9.2005, date of substitution of provisions of Section 6.

On effect of death of father before the Amendment Act, 2005 came into force

Rejecting the argument that if the father or any other coparcener died before the Amendment Act, 2005, the interest of the father or other coparcener would have already merged in the surviving coparcenary, and there was no coparcener alive from whom the daughter would succeed. It said,

“It is not by the death of the father or other coparcener that rights accrue. It is by the factum of birth. It is only when a female of Class I heir is left, or in case of her death, male relative is left, the share of the deceased coparcener is fixed to be distributed by a deemed partition, in the event of an actual partition, as and when it takes place as per the proviso to unamended section 6.”

On possibility of uncertainty if daughter is given the right to be a coparcener by birth

The Court also rejected the contention that if the daughter is given the right to be a coparcener by birth and deemed to become a coparcener at any point in the past, in the normal working of the law, uncertainty would be caused.

It said that no uncertainty is brought about by the provisions of section 6 as the law of Mitakshara coparcenary makes the share of surviving coparceners uncertain till actual partition takes place. Uncertainty in the right of share in a Mitakshara coparcenary is inhered in its underlying principles, and there is no question of upturning it when the daughter is treated like a son and is given the right by birth; to be exercised from a particular date, i.e., 9.9.2005.

“There is no doubt about it that advancement brings about the enlargement of the size of the coparcenary and disabling it from treating the daughter unequally. Even otherwise, its size could be enlarged by the birth of a son also.”

By applying section 8, the joint possession was not repudiated by the fact that a female, whether a wife or daughter, inherited the share of coparcener under the proviso to original section 6. She was an equal member of the joint Hindu family and deemed statutory partition did not bring disruption of the coparcenary.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The provisions of section 6 have been held to be prospective. The provisions contained in substituted Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 confer status of coparcener on the daughter born before or after amendment in the same manner as son with same rights and liabilities.
  • The rights can be claimed by the daughter born earlier with effect from 9.9.2005 with savings as provided in Section 6(1) as to the disposition or alienation, partition or testamentary disposition which had taken place before 20th day of December, 2004.
  • Since the right in coparcenary is by birth, it is not necessary that father coparcener should be living as on 9.9.2005.
  • The statutory fiction of partition created by proviso to Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 as originally enacted did not bring about the actual partition or disruption of coparcenary. The fiction was only for the purpose of ascertaining share of deceased coparcener when he was survived by a female heir, of Class­I as specified in the Schedule to the Act of 1956 or male relative of such female. The provisions of the substituted Section 6 are required to be given full effect. Notwithstanding that a preliminary decree has been passed the daughters are to be given share in coparcenary equal to that of a son in pending proceedings for final decree or in an appeal.
  • In view of the rigor of provisions of Explanation to Section 6(5) of the Act of 1956, a plea of oral partition cannot be accepted as the statutory recognised mode of partition effected by a deed of partition duly registered under the provisions of the Registration Act, 1908 or effected by a decree of a court. However, in exceptional cases where plea of oral partition is supported by public documents and partition is finally evinced in the same manner as if it had been affected by a decree of a court, it may be accepted.  A plea of partition based on oral evidence alone cannot be accepted and to be rejected outrightly.

[Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 641, decided on 11.08.2020]


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Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a matter where the plaintiff had no document to prove his possession of a property, but   claimed   possessory   title   based   on   prior possession for a number of years, the bench of NV Ramana and MM Shantanagoudar, JJ held:

“Merely on doubtful material and cursory evidence, it cannot be held that the plaintiff was ever in possession of the property, and that too in settled possession.”

Explaining the law of possession of property, the Court said:

“a   person   who   asserts possessory title over a particular property will have to show that he is under settled or established possession of the said property. But merely stray or intermittent acts of trespass do not give such a right against the true owner.”

The Court further elaborated on the meaning of “Settled possession” as such possession over the property which has existed for a sufficiently long period of time, and has been acquiesced to by the true owner.  It said:

“A casual act of possession does not have the effect of interrupting the possession of the rightful owner.   A stray act of trespass, or a possession which has not matured into settled possession, can be obstructed or removed by the true owner even by using necessary force.   Settled possession must be (i) effective, (ii) undisturbed, and (iii) to the knowledge of the owner or without any attempt at concealment by the trespasser.”

The Court, however, said that there cannot be a straitjacket formula to determine settled possession. The nature of possession of the trespasser is to be decided based on the facts and circumstances of each case. Occupation of a property by a person as an agent or a servant acting at the instance of the owner will not amount to actual legal possession. The possession should contain an element of animus possidendi. [Poona Ra, v. Moti Ram, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 91, decided on 29.01.2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the dispute between 95-year-old veteran actor Dilip Kumar and the developer of his Pali Hill Porperty, the bench of J Chelameswar and S. Abdul Nazeer, JJ referred the matter for resolution by arbitration and directed both the parties to submit their dispute for arbitration by the Former Supreme Court judge, Justice P. Venkatarama Reddy.

As per the development agreement entered into in June 2006, Dilip Kumar was entitled to 50% of the “Development potential” and the developers were jointly entitled to the balance 50% of the “development potential”. The development was to be completed within 24 months, however, till date no development worth mentioning has taken place. Respondent developer PRAJITA was not the original party to the agreement but stepped into the shoes of one of the developers on 20.04.2010 under a deed of assignment. It was alleged that PRAJITA has posted armed guards around the property in question preventing the appellant from entering the property. Appellant actor had contended that he was willing to pay an amount of Rs. 20 crores to PRAJITA in order to have an undisturbed possession and peaceful enjoyment of the property.

Apart from referring the matter to arbitration, the Court gave the below mentioned directions:

  • The appellant shall deposit an amount of Rs. 20 crores by demand draft to the Registry of this Court within a period of four weeks from today and intimate the same to PRAJITA.
  • Upon the receipt of such intimation, PRAJITA shall withdraw all the security personnel deployed by it and hand over possession of the property in question within a period of seven days from the date of the receipt of the above-mentioned intimation to the appellant in the presence of the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai or any other senior police officer subordinate to the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai to be nominated by the Commissioner of Police.
  • The Commissioner of Police or his nominee shall draw a Panchnama of the fact of the handing over of the property by PRAJITA to the appellant and file the same in the Registry of this Court within a week from the date of the handing over of the possession.
  • Upon the filing of the Panchnama with the Registry of this Court, PRAJITA shall be at liberty to withdraw the amount of Rs. 20 crores deposited by the appellant pursuant to this order

The Court said that, the question as to whether PRAJITA would be entitled for any damages apart from receiving the above-mentioned amount of Rs. 20 crores from the appellant will be decided by the arbitrator appointed by the Court. [Yusuf Khan v. Prajita Developers Pvt. Ltd., 2017 SCC OnLine SC 1016, decided on 30.08.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: While hearing the matter relating to mortgagor’s right of redemption by appellant, the bench comprising of Navin Sinha and Ranjan Gogoi JJ. held that where the mortgaged property has already been put to auction sale and sale certificate has been issued, there remains no property mortgaged to be redeemed and hence, the mortgagor cannot claim the right to redemption of the mortgaged property by the virtue of section 60 of the Transfer of property Act 1882.

The mortgagor had contended that the mortgagor has a right of redemption even after sale has taken place. On the other hand, it was contended by the defendant that the sale in its favour stood concluded, sale certified issued along with possession delivered, long before the suit for redemption was filed, hence, the right of redemption stood extinguished. Rejecting the mortgagor’s contention, the Court held that the mortgagor has a right of redemption even after sale has taken place pursuant to the final decree, but before the confirmation of sale. [Allokam Peddabbayya v. Allahabad Bank, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 671, decided on 19.06.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the petition challenging the validity of the conveyance deed of a property situated in Bangalore in favour of the Dewan of Mysore in the year 1900, the Court held that after 104 years of the execution of the original conveyance deed, and after acquiring various lands out of this very estate, it cannot permit the State to urge that the original conveyance deed is fraudulent or that the subsequent transfers are all collusive and, as such, void.

In the year 2004, a complaint was sent by the Secretary of the Karnataka Public Service Commission where on the ground that in the conveyance deed it was fraudulently shown that the property had actually been purchased for the First Princess of Mysore out of her personal funds. It was alleged that the original conveyance deed dated 25.08.1900 had been executed only in favour of the Dewan of Mysore. Furthermore, no stamp duty was paid on the sale deed and, therefore, it was complained that the sale was either totally illegal or that the sale was in favour of the State of Mysore and “Beaulieu” estate was not the personal property of the First Princess. As a result, summary proceedings under Section 67 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 were initiated against the occupants.

Holding the proceedings under the said section to be without jurisdiction, the Court explained that a bare perusal of Section 67 of the 1964 Act clearly indicates that it only applies to public roads, streets, lanes etc. or to such lands which are not the property of individuals, or an aggregate of persons legally capable of holding property. A dispute of title of property between the State and individuals cannot be decided in terms of Section 67 of the 1964 Act. Merely because the Secretary of the Karnataka Public Service Commission had, in his complaint, opined that the deed of conveyance executed more than 100 years back was fraudulently claimed to be in favour of the First Princess, was not sufficient ground to proceed under Section 67 of the 1964 Act.

Considering the fact that a number of transactions relating to the said property have taken place in this large span of time, the Court said that it could not be held that all subsequent transactions relating to the estate property were fraudulent. Fraud must be pleaded and proved; it cannot be presumed. The bench of Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta, JJ, hence, held that the “Beaulieu” estate was purchased by the Dewan of Mysore on behalf of the First Princess and the consideration was paid from the personal funds of First Princess. Therefore, the State of Karnataka has no right over the property. [M. Sankaranarayanan v. Deputy Commissioner, Bangalore, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 362, decided on 10.04.2017]