Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Valmiki Mehta, J. dismissed a regular first appeal filed under Section 96 CPC against the judgment of the trial court whereby the appellant’s application for leave to defend was dismissed.

Brief facts of the case are that the appellant-defendant took a loan of Rs 20 lakhs from the plaintiff and issued two cheques for the part-payment thereof. However, on presentation, the said cheques were dishonoured with remarks funds insufficient. After serving the legal notice, the petitioner filed a suit. The defendant filed an application for leave to defend. His basic defence was that the cheques in question were stolen from his car while he was driving from Rohtak to Delhi. However, the trial court dismissed the defendant’s application for leave to defend. Aggrieved thus, the defendant filed the instant appeal.

The High Court was of the view that judgment of the trial court did not warrant any interference. It was noted that indeed an FIR was filed by the defendant in regard to the said robbery. However, there was no mention of the said cheques being stolen. The defendant was using such fact to create a completely false defence to the suit. Referring to the Supreme Court decision in IDBI Trusteeship Services Ltd. v. Hubtown Ltd., (2017) 1 SCC 568, the High Court observed that once the defence is clearly frivolous and vexatious and there is no triable issue, leave to defend should not be granted. In the present case too, the Court completely disbelieved the story put forth by the defendant, and concluded that the defence was frivolous and vexatious. Thus, the trial court was right in dismissing the defendant’s application for leave to defend. The appeal was dismissed sans merit. [Mange Ram v. Raj Kumar Yadav,2018 SCC OnLine Del 10316, dated 03-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Valmiki Mehta, J. dismissed an appeal filed under Section 96 of CPC  against the judgment of the trial court whereby appellant’s suit for possession and mesne profits was dismissed.

The suit was dismissed by the trial court holding that the appellant being only one of the co-owners, could not claim possession in absence of support from other co-owners. It was held that a  single landlord could not terminate the tenancy. Aggrieved thus, the appellant preferred the instant appeal.

The High Court relied on Sk. Sattar Sk. Mohd. Choudhari v. Gundappa Amabadas Bukate, (1996) 6 SCC 373 and Jagdish Dutt v. Dharam Pal, (1999) 3 SCC 644 to hold that one co-owner/co-landlord is not entitled on his own, in the face of opposition from other co-owners/co-landlords, to terminate the tenancy for seeking possession of the tenanted property and/or mesne profits. In the present case, the other co-owners had infact opposed the termination of tenancy as well as the suit filed by the appellant. Observing that the appeal was completely frivolous, the High Court held that the suit was rightly dismissed by the trial court. Therefore, the appeal was dismissed. [Navin Chander Anand v. Union Bank of India,2018 SCC OnLine Del 9902, 17-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: In an appeal under Section 96 CPC, directed against the judgment and decree passed by the II Additional Senior Civil Judge and JMFC, Tumakuru, in O.S. No. 10/2014, dismissing the suit for partition and separate possession; and cancellation of documents, a two-Judge Bench comprising of Jayant Patel and S. Sujatha, JJ. held that a High Court is empowered to dismiss the first appeal at the preliminary stage of hearing if there is no merit in the appeal.

Plaintiff-appellants filed a suit for partition and separate possession against the defendants. Plaintiffs also claimed for cancellation of the relinquishment deed made by the plaintiffs in favor of the defendants relinquishing their right, title and interest of the joint family properties. The High Court held, that the evidence put forth by the defense proves that plaintiffs have executed the relinquishment deed, on their own will and volition. Thus, the joint family status of defendants and plaintiffs was severed and the relief of partition and separate possession needs to be rejected. As regards relief to cancel the relinquishment deed, the court held, that the plaintiffs failed to prove that it was an outcome of fraud, coercion and undue influence; and hence, it was also rejected. Learned counsel for the petitioners contended that the litigant have a right to be heard on facts and law in first appeal and the same cannot be disposed of in limine at the time of the admission.

The Court quoted and discussed Section 96 CPC along with Order 41 Rule 11 CPC. The High Court relied upon the judgment of the Division Bench of the same Court in Sri T.S. Channegowda v. Sri H. Thopiah, 2015 SCC OnLine Kar 8184 : ILR 2015 kar 2809, to hold that the object of providing a statutory appeal is to examine whether the trial court has erred in deciding the cases. It does not mean that in every case the appeal has to be admitted. The High Court also relied on the judgment of the Apex Court in Uttar Pradesh Avas Evam Vikas Parishad v. Sheo Narain Kushwaha, (2011) 6 SCC 456, to hold that the High Court is empowered to dismiss the first appeal at the preliminary stage of hearing if there is no merit in the appeal. The said dismissal should be supported by reasons while exercising powers under Order 41 Rule 11 CPC.

After considering all the documents and evidence produced by learned counsel for the appellants, the High Court held that the plaintiffs have miserably failed to establish their case. No error was found in the appreciation of evidence by the trial court. The High Court found no merit in the appeal and accordingly dismissed the appeal. [Smt. Lakshminarasamma v. Sri Lakshmana, Regular First Appeal No. 502/2017, decided on 21.07.2017]