Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chattisgarh High Court: Sanjay S. Agarwal J., dismissed the appeal being devoid of merits.

The facts of the case are such that the defendants had borrowed an amount of loan from the plaintiffs to meet their household affairs, like marriage purpose, and executed an ‘Ikrarnama’ in this regard agreeing to refund the same within a period of two months. Despite his oral demand of the said loan amount and also of issuing a demand notice dated 18-06-2008 immediately after completion of the said period of two months, it was not refunded. Hence a recovery suit was instituted wherein the defendant denied the claim of the ikrarnama and contended further that they, in fact, obtained the loan amount from the Durg Rajnandgaon Gramin Bank in order to run the hotel business where the plaintiff was made as a guarantor. It is contended further that the alleged ‘Ikrarnama’ was a forged and fabricated document, and therefore the suit deserves to be dismissed. The Trial Court held that it was held that the Defendants have borrowed the alleged loan amount from the plaintiff after executing an ‘Ikrarnama’ and has failed to refund the same despite his demand. In consequence, decreed the claim. Aggrieved by the same, present appeal was preferred under Section 96 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (hereinafter referred to as ‘CPC’), questioning the legality and propriety of the impugned judgment.

Counsel for the appellants submitted that at the most the transaction was made some time in the year 2005 and cannot be said to be made in the year 2008, and therefore, the Trial Court has erred in decreeing the claim of the Plaintiff based upon the alleged deed of ‘Ikrarnama’. It was further contended that the trial Court, while placing the burden of proof upon the Defendants with regard to the execution of the alleged ‘Ikrarnama” has committed a serious illegality in decreeing the Plaintiff’s claim.

The Court observed that the alleged transaction was made on 28-03-2008 and the alleged loan amount was given to the Defendants in his presence. It appears further from the testimony that the alleged stamp paper was brought by the Defendant Teerath Das himself and which has not been controverted by the Defendants and that apart no question was, however, put to him by the Defendants that the Plaintiff has obtained their signatures on the blank stamp paper, as alleged by them in their written statement. The initial burden was thus discharged by the Plaintiff regarding the execution of the alleged ‘Ikrarnama’ whereby the alleged loan amount of Rs 60,000/- was given to the Defendants in presence of the two witnesses. Since the Defendants have admitted their signatures on it, therefore, it was the duty of the Defendants to disprove its execution by way of cogent and reliable evidence. However, the witnesses of theirs are the hearsay witnesses and based upon their testimonies, it cannot be said that the alleged deed of ‘Ikrarnama’ was a forged and fabricated one, as alleged by the defendants.

The Court thus held that “the trial Court has not committed any illegality in upholding the due execution of the alleged document by decreeing the Plaintiff’s claim and I do not find any infirmity in the same.”

In view of the above, appeal was dismissed.[Ganpat Lal Sahu v. Manrakhan Kannauje, First Appeal No. 176 of 2011, decided on 08-12-2020]

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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]