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Friday, January 10, 2014

Declaration of title and possession - Burden of proof - Burden always lies on the plaintiff , he can not rely on the weakness of defendant's record - Partition deed and family settlement deed - not covered the suit land or suit schedule survey number - how original extent was increased in sub -division while preparing R.S.R. not explained - mere entries in revenue records does not confirm any title when GLR- Records showing the defendant was the owner of land prepared under cantonment rules - Cantonment Land Administration Rules, 1937 - GLR records prevails over the all land records- like the Andhra Pradesh (Telangana Area) Land Revenue Act, 1317 Falsi, the Hyderabad Record of Rights in Land Regulation, 1358 Falsi, the Hyderabad Record of Rights Rules, 1956 etc. - Lower courts committed wrong as they desired to find out the faults of GLR records and rules and Act instead of verifying the plaintiff's records = Union of India and others … Appellants Versus Vasavi Co-op. Housing Society Ltd. and others … Respondents = 2014 ( JANUARY - VOL -1) JUDIS.NIC.IN/ S.C./ FILE NAME= 41136

Declaration of title and possession - Burden of proof - Burden always lies on the plaintiff , he can not rely on the weakness of defendant's record - Partition deed and family settlement deed - not covered the suit land or suit schedule survey number - how original extent was increased in sub -division while preparing R.S.R. not explained - mere entries in revenue records does not confirm any title when GLR- Records showing the defendant was the owner of land prepared under cantonment rules -  Cantonment Land Administration Rules, 1937 - GLR records prevails over the all land records- like the Andhra Pradesh  (Telangana  Area)  Land  Revenue
Act, 1317 Falsi, the Hyderabad Record of Rights  in  Land  Regulation,  1358
Falsi, the Hyderabad  Record  of  Rights  Rules,  1956  etc.  - Lower courts committed wrong as they desired to find out the faults of GLR records and rules and Act instead of verifying the plaintiff's records  =

The Vasavi Co-op. Housing Society Ltd., the  first  respondent  herein
instituted a suit No.794 of 1988 before the  City  Civil  Court,  Hyderabad,
seeking a
declaration of title over land comprising 6  acres  30  guntas  in
Survey No.60/1 and 61  of  Kakaguda  village  and  recovery  of  the  vacant
possession from Defendant Nos.1 to 3 and 7,  the  appellants  herein,  after
removal of the structure made  therein  by  them.
The  plaintiff  has  also
sought for an injunction restraining the defendants  from  interfering  with
the above-mentioned land and also for  other  consequential  refliefs.   
The
City Civil Court vide its judgment dated 31.07.1996  decreed  the  suit,  as
prayed for, against which the appellants preferred C.C.C.A. No.123  of  1996
before the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad.  
The High  Court  also
affirmed the judgment of the trial Court on 6.9.2002, but noticed  that  the
appellant had made large scale construction  of  quarters  for  the  Defence
Accounts Department, therefore, it would be in the interest of justice  that
an opportunity be given to the appellants to  provide  alternative  suitable
extent of land in lieu of the  scheduled suit land, for which eight  months’
time was granted from the date of the judgment.=

The legal position, therefore, is clear that the plaintiff in  a  suit for declaration of title and possession could succeed only on  the  strength of its own title  and  that  could  be  done  only  by  adducing  sufficient evidence to discharge the onus on it, irrespective of the  question  whether the defendants have proved their case or not.  
We are of the view that  even
if the title set up by the defendants is found against, in  the  absence  of establishment of plaintiff’s own title, plaintiff must be non-suited.
16.   We notice that the trial court as well as the High Court  rather  than
examining that  question  in  depth,  as  to  whether  the  plaintiffs  have
succeeded in establishing their title on the scheduled suit  land,  went  on
to examine in depth  the  weakness  of  the  defendants  title.   
Defendants
relied on the entries in the GLR and their possession or re-possession  over
the suit land to non-suit the Plaintiffs.  The court went on to examine  the
correctness and evidentiary value of the entries in the GLR in  the  context
of the history and scope  of  Cantonment  Act,  1924,  the  Cantonment  Land
Administration Rules, 1925 and tried to establish that no reliance could  be
placed on the GLR.   
The question is not whether the GLR could  be  accepted
or not, the question is, whether the plaintiff could prove  its  title  over
the suit property in question.  
The entries in the  GLR  by  themselves  may
not constitute title, but the question is whether entries  made  in  Ext.A-3
would confer title or not on the Plaintiff.


17.   This Court in several Judgments has  held  that  the  revenue  records
does not confer title. 
 In Corporation  of  the  City  of  Bangalore  v.  M.
Papaiah and another (1989) 3 SCC 612
held that  “it  is  firmly  established
that revenue records are  not  documents  of  title,  and  the  question  of
interpretation of document not being a document of title is not  a  question
of law.”  
In Guru Amarjit Singh v. Rattan Chand and others (1993) 4 SCC  349
this Court has held that “that the entries in jamabandi  are  not  proof  of
title”.  
In State of Himachal Pradesh v. Keshav Ram  and  others  (1996)  11
SCC 257 this Court held that “the entries  in  the  revenue  papers,  by  no
stretch of imagination can form  the  basis  for  declaration  of  title  in
favour of the plaintiff.”


18.   The Plaintiff has also maintained the stand that their predecessor-in-
interest was  the  Pattadar  of  the  suit  land.   
In  a  given  case,  the
conferment of Patta as such does not confer title.  
Reference  may  be  made
to the judgment of  this  Court  in 
 Syndicate  Bank  v.  Estate  Officer  &
Manager, APIIC Ltd. & Ors. (2007)  8  SCC  361  and  Vatticherukuru  Village
Panchayat v. Nori Venkatarama Deekshithulu & Ors. (1991) Supp. (2) SCC 228.


19.   We notice that the above principle laid down by this Court  sought  to
be distinguished by the High Court on the ground that  none  of  the  above-
mentioned judgments, there is any  reference  to  any  statutory  provisions
under which revenue records  referred  therein,  namely,  revenue  register,
settlement register, jamabandi registers are  maintained.   
The  High  Court
took the view that Ext.A-3 has evidentiary value since  the  same  has  been
prepared on the basis of Hyderabad record  of  Rights  in  Land  Regulation,
1358 Fasli. 
 It was also noticed that column 1 to 19 of  Pahani  Patrika  is
nothing but record of rights and the entries in column 1  to  19  in  Pahani
Patrika  shall  be  deemed  to  be  entries  made   and   maintained   under
Regulations.


The
defendant maintained the stand that the  entries  made  in  GLR,  maintained
under the Cantonment Land Administration Rules, 1937, in the regular  course
of administration of the cantonment lands, are admissible  in  evidence  and
the entries made therein will prevail over the records maintained under  the
various enactment, like the Andhra Pradesh  (Telangana  Area)  Land  Revenue
Act, 1317 Falsi, the Hyderabad Record of Rights  in  Land  Regulation,  1358
Falsi, the Hyderabad  Record  of  Rights  Rules,  1956  etc.  
 In  order  to
establish that position, reliance was placed on the judgments of this  Court
in Union of India v. Ibrahim Uddin & Anr. (2012) 8 SCC 148, Union  of  India
& Ors. v. Kamla  Verma  (2010)  13  SCC  511,  Chief  Executive  Officer  v.
Surendra Kumar Vakil & Ors. (1999) 3 SCC  555  and  Secunderabad  Cantonment
Board, Andhra Circle, Secundrabad v. Mohd. Mohiuddin & Ors.  (2003)  12  SCC
315.  

 Both, the trial Court and the High Court made a detailed exercise  to
find out whether the GLR  Register  maintained  under  the  Cantonment  Land
Administration Rules, 1937 and the entries made there under will  have  more
evidentiary value than the Revenue records made by the Survey Department  of
the  State  Government.     In  our  view,  such  an  exercise  was  totally
unnecessary.  Rather than finding out the weakness of GLR, the Courts  ought
to have examined the soundness of the plaintiff  case.   We  reiterate  that
the plaintiff has to succeed only on the strength of his  case  and  not  on
the weakness of the case set up by the defendants in a suit for  declaration
of title and possession.


23.   In such circumstances, we are of the view that the plaintiff  has  not
succeeded in establishing his title and  possession  of  the  suit  land  in
question.  The appeal is, therefore, allowed and the judgment of  the  trial
court, affirmed by the High Court, is set aside.  However, there will be  no
order as to costs.


2014 ( JANUARY - VOL -1) JUDIS.NIC.IN/ S.C./ FILE NAME= 41136

                                                          REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                        CIVIL APPEAL NO.4702 OF 2004

Union of India and others                    … Appellants

           Versus

Vasavi Co-op. Housing Society
Ltd. and others                              … Respondents



                               J U D G M E N T


K.S. Radhakrishnan, J.


1.    The Vasavi Co-op. Housing Society Ltd., the  first  respondent  herein
instituted a suit No.794 of 1988 before the  City  Civil  Court,  Hyderabad,
seeking a
declaration of title over land comprising 6  acres  30  guntas  in
Survey No.60/1 and 61  of  Kakaguda  village  and  recovery  of  the  vacant
possession from Defendant Nos.1 to 3 and 7,  the  appellants  herein,  after
removal of the structure made  therein  by  them.
The  plaintiff  has  also
sought for an injunction restraining the defendants  from  interfering  with
the above-mentioned land and also for  other  consequential  refliefs.   
The
City Civil Court vide its judgment dated 31.07.1996  decreed  the  suit,  as
prayed for, against which the appellants preferred C.C.C.A. No.123  of  1996
before the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad.  
The High  Court  also
affirmed the judgment of the trial Court on 6.9.2002, but noticed  that  the
appellant had made large scale construction  of  quarters  for  the  Defence
Accounts Department, therefore, it would be in the interest of justice  that
an opportunity be given to the appellants to  provide  alternative  suitable
extent of land in lieu of the  scheduled suit land, for which eight  months’
time was granted from the date of the judgment.
Aggrieved by the same,  the
Union of India and others have filed the present appeal.
FACTS

2.    The plaintiff’s case is that it had purchased  the  land  situated  in
Survey Nos.60, 61 and 62 of Kakaguda Village from Pattedar B.M.  Rama  Reddy
and his sons and others during the year 1981-82.
The suit land in  question
forms part of Survey Nos.60 and 61.  The suit land in question  belonged  to
the family of B. Venkata Narasimha Reddy consisting of himself and his  sons
Anna Reddy, B.V. Pulla Reddy and  B.M.  Rama  Reddy  and  Anna  Reddy’s  son
Prakash Reddy.
Land in old Survey No.53 was allotted  to  Rama  Reddy  vide
registered family settlement and partition deed  dated  11.12.1939  (Ex.A2).
In the subsequent re-settlement of village (Setwar of 1353 FASLI), the  land
in Survey No.53 was re-numbered as Survey No.60, 61 and 62.
Ever since  the
allotment in the family partition of  the  above-mentioned  land,  vide  the
family partition deed dated 19.03.1939, Rama Reddy  had  been  in  exclusive
possession and enjoyment and was paying land revenue. Rama Reddy’s name  was
also mutated in the Pahanies.

3.    Plaintiffs further stated that the first  defendant  had  it’s  A.O.C.
Centre building complex in Tirumalagiri  village  adjoining  the  suit  land
Survey  No.60  of  Kakaguda  village.  
The   first   defendant   had   also
requisitioned 4 acres and 28 guntas in Survey No.60 of Kakaguda  Village  in
the year 1971 along with the adjoining land in  Tirumalagiri  for  extension
of  A.O.C.  Centre.   Further,  it  was  stated  that  6th  Defendant   took
possession of the above-mentioned land and delivered possession of the  same
to other  defendants.  
The  3rd  Defendant  later  vide  his  letter  dated
18.12.1979 sent a requisition for  acquisition  of  4.38  guntas  in  Surevy
No.60 for the extension of A.O.C. Centre.   Notification  was  published  in
the official  Gazette  dated  18.09.1980  and  a  declaration  was  made  on
30.06.1981 and compensation was awarded  to  Rama  Reddy  vide  Award  dated
26.07.1982.

4.    The Plaintiffs, as already  stated,  had  entered  into  various  sale
deeds with Rama Reddy during the year 1981-82 by  which  land  measuring  13
acres and 08 guntas in Survey No.60, 11 acres and 04 guntas in Survey  No.61
and 17 acres and 20 guntas in Survey No.62 were purchased, that  is  in  all
41 acres and 32 guntas.
 Plaintiffs further stated that the land,  which  was
purchased by it was vacant, but persons of the  Defence  Department  started
making some marking on the portions of the land purchased by the  plaintiff,
stating that a substantial portion of the land purchased  by  the  plaintiff
in Survey No.60/1 and 61 belonged to the Defence Department and  treated  as
B-4 in  their  records.  
Plaintiff  then  preferred  an  application  dated
12.09.1983 to the District Collector under the A.P.  Survey  and  Boundaries
Act for demarcation of  boundaries.
 Following  that,  Deputy  Director  of
Survey issued a notice dated 21.01.1984 calling upon the plaintiff  and  3rd
Defendant to attend to  the  demarcation  on  25.01.1984.   Later,  a  joint
survey was conducted.  The 3rd Defendant stated that land to the  extent  of
4 acres and 35 guntas in Survey No.60 and 61  corresponds  to  their  G.L.R.
(General Land Register) No.445 and it is their land as per the record.   The
Deputy Director of Survey, however, stated that lands in Survey  Nos.60  and
61 of Kakaguda village are patta lands as per  the  settlement  records  and
vacant, abutting Tirumalagiri village boundaries  to  Military  Pillers  and
not partly covered in Survey No.60.  Plaintiff later  filed  an  application
for issuing of a certificate  as  per  the  plan  prepared  by  the  Revenue
Records under Section 19(v)  of  the  Urban  Land  Ceiling  Act.   Plaintiff
further  stated  that  pending  that  application,  officers   of   Garrison
Engineers, on the direction of the 3rd Defendant,  illegally  occupied  land
measuring 2 acres and 29 guntas in Survey No.60 and 4 acres  and  01  guntas
in Survey No.61.  Thus, a total extent of land 6 acres  and  30  guntas  was
encroached upon and construction was effected despite  the  protest  by  the
plaintiff.  Under such circumstances, the plaintiff  preferred  the  present
suit, the details of which have already been stated earlier.

5.    The 3rd Defendant filed a written statement stating that  an  area  of
land measuring 7 acres and 51 guntas, out of  Survey  No.1,  60  and  61  of
Kakaguda village comprising G.L.R. Survey No.445 of  Cantonment  belongs  to
the first Defendant, which is locally managed  and  possessed  by  Defendant
No.3 being local representative of Defendant No.1 and D-3 and  is  also  the
custodian of all defence records.  Further, it was also stated that, as  per
the G.L.R., the said land  was  classified  as  B-4  and  placed  under  the
management of Defence Estates Officer.  It was also  stated  that  the  suit
land is part of review Survey Nos.60 and 61 and  the  plaintiff  is  wrongly
claiming that the said land was purchased  by  it.   Further,  it  was  also
stated that the plaintiff is threatening to encroach upon another  6  guntas
of land alleged to be situated in Survey  Nos.60/1  and  61.   It  has  been
categorically stated  that,  as  per  the  records  maintained  by  the  3rd
Defendant, land measuring 7 acres and 51  guntas,  forming  part  of  G.L.R.
Survey No.445 of the Cantonment is part  of  Survey  Nos.1,  60  and  61  of
Kakaguda village.  It is owned, possessed and enjoyed by Defendant Nos.1  to
4 and 7.

6.    The plaintiff, in order to establish its claim, examined PWs  1  to  4
and produced Exs. A-1 to A-85 and Exs. X-1 to X-10 besides Exs. A-86  to  A-
89 on behalf of DW1.  On behalf of the defendants DW1 was examined  and  Exs
D-1 to D-7 are produced.

7.    The primary issue which came up for  consideration  before  the  trial
court was
whether the plaintiff has got  ownership  and  possession  over  6
acres and 30 guntas covered by Survey No.60/1 and  61  of  Kakaguda  village
for which considerable reliance was placed on the settlement record  (Setwar
Ex.A-3  of  1353  Fasli).  
On  the  other  hand,  the   defendants   placed
considerable reliance on G.L.R. Survey No.445 of  the  Cantonment  which  is
part of Survey No.1, 60 and 61 of Kakaguda village,  wherein,  according  to
the defendants, the suit land falls.
PW2, the  Deputy  Inspector  of  Survey
stated, according to Setwar, land in Survey Nos.60, 61 and 62 is patta  land
of Prakash Reddy and others and  such  Survey  numbers  corresponds  to  Old
Survey No.53.  The evidence of PW-3 and 4  also  states  that  the  land  is
covered by old Survey No.53 which figures  in  Survey  Nos.60,  61  and  62.
Ext. A-3 Setwar, is a settlement register prepared by the Survey Officer  at
the time of revised survey and settlement in the year 1358  Fasli  in  which
the names of the predecessors  in  title  of  the  plaintiff  are  shown  as
pattedars.  In other words, Ex-A-3 is the exhibit of  rights  and  title  of
plaintiff’s predecessors in title.

8.    Defedants, as already indicated, on the other hand, pleaded  that  the
total extent of Survey No.53 was only 33 acres and 12 guntas and if that  be
so, after sub-division the extent of sub-divided survey numbers  would  also
remain the same, but the extent of sub-divided  Survey  Nos.60,  61  and  62
were increased to 41 acres and 32 guntas in the revenue records without  any
notice  to  the  defendants  which  according   to   the   defendants,   was
fraudulently done by one Venkata Narasimha Reddy, the  original  land  owner
of Survey No.53  of  Kakaguda  village,  who  himself  was  the  Patwari  of
Kakaguda village.
Further, it was the  stand  of  the  Defendants  that  in
exercise of powers under The Secunderabad  and  Aurangabad  Cantonment  Land
Administration Rules, 1930, the G.LR. of 1933 was prepared by  Captain  O.M.
James after making detailed enquiries from the holder  of  occupancy  rights
as well as general public.  Further, it is also  stated  that  certain  land
within  the  villages  were  handed  over  by  the  then  Nizam  to  British
Government for military use.
Land in question  measuring  7  acres  and  51
guntas in G.L.R. 1933 at Survey No.581 was used by  the  British  Government
as murram pits  and  it  was  classified  as  Class-C  land  vested  in  the
Cantonment Authority.
G.L.R. 1933 was re-written in the year 1956  in  view
of the provisions of Rule 3 of Cantonment Land  Administration  Rules,  1937
and said Survey No.581 was re-written as G.L.R. Survey No.445.
Further,  in
view of the classification of the land, as  stipulated  in  Cantonment  Land
Administration rules, 1937, land pertaining to G.L.R. Survey No.445 was  re-
classified as B-4 (vacant land) reserved for future  military  purposes  and
management was transferred from cantonment authority to Defence Estate.

9.    The above-mentioned facts would indicate  that  the  plaintiff  traces
their title to the various sale deeds, Ext.A-3 Setwar of 1353 Fasli and  the
oral evidence of the survey officials and the  defendants  claim  title  and
possession of the land on the basis of the G.L.R.  
The question  that  falls
for consideration is whether  the  evidence  adduced  by  the  plaintiff  is
sufficient to establish the title to the land in  question  and  to  give  a
declaration of title and possession by the civil court.

10.   Shri Vikas Singh, learned senior counsel appearing for the  appellants
submitted that G.L.R. 445 measuring an area of 7  acres  and  51  guntas  is
classified as B-4 and placed under the  management  of  the  Defence  Estate
Officer.  Column 7 of the G.L.R. would indicate that  the  landlord  is  the
Central Government.  Out of 7 acres and 51 guntas, land admeasuring 6  acres
has been handed over to Defence  Accounts  Department  for  construction  of
Defence Staff Quarters as per survey No.445/A, as per the records  as  early
as in 1984.  Further, it was pointed out  that  the  appellant  had  already
constructed approximately 300 quarters in 6 acres of land.
 Learned  senior
counsel submitted that since the extent of  land  mentioned  in  old  Survey
No.53 as well as in the settlement and partition deed, do not tally  to  the
extent of land mentioned in Ext.A-3 and burden is heavy on the side  of  the
plaintiff to show and explain as to how  the  registered  family  settlement
and partition deed did not take place in the disputed land.  
Learned  senior
counsel also submitted that  the  High  Court  has  committed  an  error  in
ignoring the G.L.R. produced by the defendants,  even  though  there  is  no
burden on the defendants to establish its title  in  a  suit  filed  by  the
plaintiff for declaration of title and possession.

11.   Shri P.S. Narasimha, learned senior counsel  and  Shri  Basava  Prabhu
Patil, learned senior counsel appearing for the respondents  submitted  that
the city civil court as well as the High Court  have  correctly  appreciated
and understood the legal position and correctly discarded the  entries  made
in the G.L.R.  Learned senior counsel submitted  that  the  correctness  and
evidentiary value of G.L.R. entries have to be appreciated  in  the  context
of the history of the Secunderabad Cantonment.  Reference was  made  to  the
provisions of  Cantonment  Act,  1924  and  it  was  pointed  out  that  the
Secunderabad and Aurangabad Cantonment Land Administration  Rules,  1930  do
not apply to  the  Kakaguda  village.  
Learned  senior  counsel  have  also
referred to Ex.A6, the Sesala Pahani  for  the  year  1955-58,  of  Kakaguda
village, Ex.A7, the Pahani Patrika for the year 1971-72, Ex.A8,  the  Pahani
Patrika for the year 1972-73 and submitted that  they  would  indicate  that
Methurama Reddy, the predecessor  in  title,  was  the  Pattedar  of  Survey
Nos.60 and 61 of Kakaguda village. It was pointed out that the entries  made
therein have evidentiary  value.   Learned  counsel  pointed  out  that  the
Settlement Register prepared under  the  Statutes  and  Pahanies  maintained
under the Hyderabad Record of Rights in  Land  Regulations  of  1358,  Fasli
have considerable evidentiary value.  Further, it was also pointed out  that
the land in question is pot kharab land, which is not  normally  treated  as
land in Section  3(j)  of  Ceiling  Act  and  hance  may  not  figure  in  a
Settlement  or  Partition  Deed,  hence  not  subjected   to   any   revenue
assessment.  
Learned  senior  counsel  submitted  that  the  plaintiff  has
succeeded in establishing its title to the  property  in  question,  as  was
found by the city civil court as well as the High Court which calls  for  no
interference by this Court under Article 136 of the Constitution.

12.   It is trite law that, in a  suit  for  declaration  of  title,  burden
always lies on the plaintiff to make out and  establish  a  clear  case  for
granting such a declaration and the weakness, if any, of the case set up  by
the defendants would not be a ground to grant relief to the plaintiff.

13.   The High Court, we notice, has taken the view that once  the  evidence
is let in by both the parties, the question of burden of  proof  pales  into
insignificance and the evidence let in by both the parties  is  required  to
be appreciated by the court in order to record its findings  in  respect  of
each of the issues that may ultimately determine the fate of the suit.   
The
High Court has also proceeded on the basis that initial burden would  always
be upon the plaintiff to establish its case but if the evidence  let  in  by
defendants in support of their case probabalises the  case  set  up  by  the
plaintiff, such evidence cannot be ignored and kept out of consideration.

14.   At the outset, let us examine the legal position with regard  to  whom
the burden of proof lies in a suit for declaration of title and  possession.
 This Court in Maran  Mar  Basselios  Catholicos  v.  Thukalan  Paulo  Avira
reported in AIR1959 SC 31 observed that 
“in a suit for  declaration  if  the
plaintiffs are to succeed, they must do so on  the  strength  of  their  own
title.” 
 In Nagar Palika, Jind  v. Jagat Singh, Advocate (1995) 3  SCC  426,
this Court held as under:
        “the onus to prove title to the property in  question  was  on  the
        plaintiff.  In a suit for ejectment based on title it was incumbent
        on the part of the court of appeal first to record a finding on the
        claim of title to the suit land made on behalf  of  the  plaintiff.
        The court is bound to enquire or investigate  that  question  first
        before going into any other question that may arise in a suit.”




15.   The legal position, therefore, is clear that the plaintiff in  a  suit for declaration of title and possession could succeed only on  the  strength of its own title  and  that  could  be  done  only  by  adducing  sufficient evidence to discharge the onus on it, irrespective of the  question  whether the defendants have proved their case or not.
We are of the view that  even
if the title set up by the defendants is found against, in  the  absence  of establishment of plaintiff’s own title, plaintiff must be non-suited.
16.   We notice that the trial court as well as the High Court  rather  than
examining that  question  in  depth,  as  to  whether  the  plaintiffs  have
succeeded in establishing their title on the scheduled suit  land,  went  on
to examine in depth  the  weakness  of  the  defendants  title.  
Defendants
relied on the entries in the GLR and their possession or re-possession  over
the suit land to non-suit the Plaintiffs.  The court went on to examine  the
correctness and evidentiary value of the entries in the GLR in  the  context
of the history and scope  of  Cantonment  Act,  1924,  the  Cantonment  Land
Administration Rules, 1925 and tried to establish that no reliance could  be
placed on the GLR.  
The question is not whether the GLR could  be  accepted
or not, the question is, whether the plaintiff could prove  its  title  over
the suit property in question.  
The entries in the  GLR  by  themselves  may
not constitute title, but the question is whether entries  made  in  Ext.A-3
would confer title or not on the Plaintiff.


17.   This Court in several Judgments has  held  that  the  revenue  records
does not confer title. 
 In Corporation  of  the  City  of  Bangalore  v.  M.
Papaiah and another (1989) 3 SCC 612
held that  “it  is  firmly  established
that revenue records are  not  documents  of  title,  and  the  question  of
interpretation of document not being a document of title is not  a  question
of law.”  
In Guru Amarjit Singh v. Rattan Chand and others (1993) 4 SCC  349
this Court has held that “that the entries in jamabandi  are  not  proof  of
title”.  
In State of Himachal Pradesh v. Keshav Ram  and  others  (1996)  11
SCC 257 this Court held that “the entries  in  the  revenue  papers,  by  no
stretch of imagination can form  the  basis  for  declaration  of  title  in
favour of the plaintiff.”


18.   The Plaintiff has also maintained the stand that their predecessor-in-
interest was  the  Pattadar  of  the  suit  land.  
In  a  given  case,  the
conferment of Patta as such does not confer title.
Reference  may  be  made
to the judgment of  this  Court  in
 Syndicate  Bank  v.  Estate  Officer  &
Manager, APIIC Ltd. & Ors. (2007)  8  SCC  361  and  Vatticherukuru  Village
Panchayat v. Nori Venkatarama Deekshithulu & Ors. (1991) Supp. (2) SCC 228.


19.   We notice that the above principle laid down by this Court  sought  to
be distinguished by the High Court on the ground that  none  of  the  above-
mentioned judgments, there is any  reference  to  any  statutory  provisions
under which revenue records  referred  therein,  namely,  revenue  register,
settlement register, jamabandi registers are  maintained.  
The  High  Court
took the view that Ext.A-3 has evidentiary value since  the  same  has  been
prepared on the basis of Hyderabad record  of  Rights  in  Land  Regulation,
1358 Fasli. 
 It was also noticed that column 1 to 19 of  Pahani  Patrika  is
nothing but record of rights and the entries in column 1  to  19  in  Pahani
Patrika  shall  be  deemed  to  be  entries  made   and   maintained   under
Regulations.


20.   We are of the view that even if the entries in the  Record  of  Rights
carry evidentiary value, that itself would  not  confer  any  title  on  the
plaintiff on the suit land in question.  
Ext.X-1  is  Classer  Register  of 1347 which according to the trial court, speaks  of  the  ownership  of  the plaintiff’s vendor’s property.
We are of the view that  these  entries,  as
such, would not confer any title.  
Plaintiffs have to show,  independent  of
those  entries,  that  the  plaintiff’s  predecessors  had  title  over  the
property in question and it is that  property  which  they  have  purchased.
The  only  document  that  has  been  produced  before  the  court  was  the
registered family settlement and partition deed dated  11.12.1939  of  their
predecessor in interest, wherein, admittedly, the suit land in question  has
not been mentioned.


21.   Learned senior counsel appearing for the  respondents  submitted  that
the land in question is pot kharab and since no tax is being paid, the  same
would not normally be mentioned in the partition deed  or  settlement  deed.
The A.P. Survey and Settlement Mannual, Chapter XIII deals with  pot  kharab
land, which is generally a non-cultivable land and if  the  predecessors  in
interest had ownership over this pot kharab land, the suit land, we fail  to
see, why there  is  no  reference  at  all  to  the  family  settlement  and
partition deed dated 11.12.1939.
 Admittedly, the  predecessor  in  interest
of the plaintiff got this property in question through  the  above-mentioned
family settlement and partition deed.
Conspicuous absence of the suit  land
in  question  in  the  above-mentioned  deed  would  cast  doubt  about  the
ownership and title of the plaintiffs over the suit land  in  question.
 No
acceptable explanation has been given by the plaintiff to explain  away  the
conspicuous omission of the suit land in the  registered  family  settlement
and partition deed.
 Facts would also clearly indicate that in  Ext-A1,  the
suit land has been described in old Survey No.53 which was allotted  to  the
plaintiff’s predecessors in title. 
 It is the common  case  of  the  parties
that  Survey  No.53  was  sub-divided  into  Survey  Nos.60,  61   and   63.
Admittedly, the old Survey No.53 takes in only 33 acres and 12 guntas,  then
naturally, Survey Nos.60, 61  and  63  cannot  be  more  than  that  extent.
Further, if pot kharab land is not recorded in the revenue record, it  would
be so even in  case  of  sub-division  of  Old  Survey  No.  53.  
 The  only
explanation was that, since the suit land being pot kharab  land,  it  might
not have been mentioned in Ex.A.


22.   A family settlement is based generally on the  assumption  that  there
was an antecedent title of some kind in the  purchase  and  the  arrangement
acknowledges and defines what that title was.  In a  family  settlement-cum-
partition, the parties may define the shares in the joint property  and  may
either choose to divide the property by metes and bounds or may continue  to
live together and enjoy the property as common.
 So  far  as  this  case  is
concerned, Ex.A1 is totally silent as to whose  share  the  suit  land  will
fall and who will enjoy it.
Needless to say  that  the  burden  is  on  the
plaintiff  to  explain  away  those  factors,  but  the  plaintiff  has  not
succeeded.
 On other hand, much emphasis has been placed on the  failure  on
the part of the defendants to show that the applicability of the  GLR.
 The
defendant maintained the stand that the  entries  made  in  GLR,  maintained
under the Cantonment Land Administration Rules, 1937, in the regular  course
of administration of the cantonment lands, are admissible  in  evidence  and
the entries made therein will prevail over the records maintained under  the
various enactment, like the Andhra Pradesh  (Telangana  Area)  Land  Revenue
Act, 1317 Falsi, the Hyderabad Record of Rights  in  Land  Regulation,  1358
Falsi, the Hyderabad  Record  of  Rights  Rules,  1956  etc.
 In  order  to
establish that position, reliance was placed on the judgments of this  Court
in Union of India v. Ibrahim Uddin & Anr. (2012) 8 SCC 148, Union  of  India
& Ors. v. Kamla  Verma  (2010)  13  SCC  511,  Chief  Executive  Officer  v.
Surendra Kumar Vakil & Ors. (1999) 3 SCC  555  and  Secunderabad  Cantonment
Board, Andhra Circle, Secundrabad v. Mohd. Mohiuddin & Ors.  (2003)  12  SCC
315.
 Both, the trial Court and the High Court made a detailed exercise  to
find out whether the GLR  Register  maintained  under  the  Cantonment  Land
Administration Rules, 1937 and the entries made there under will  have  more
evidentiary value than the Revenue records made by the Survey Department  of
the  State  Government.     In  our  view,  such  an  exercise  was  totally
unnecessary.  Rather than finding out the weakness of GLR, the Courts  ought
to have examined the soundness of the plaintiff  case.   We  reiterate  that
the plaintiff has to succeed only on the strength of his  case  and  not  on
the weakness of the case set up by the defendants in a suit for  declaration
of title and possession.


23.   In such circumstances, we are of the view that the plaintiff  has  not
succeeded in establishing his title and  possession  of  the  suit  land  in
question.  The appeal is, therefore, allowed and the judgment of  the  trial
court, affirmed by the High Court, is set aside.  However, there will be  no
order as to costs.


                                        …..………………………J.
                                        (K.S. Radhakrishnan)




                                        ………………………….J.
                                        (A.K. Sikri)


New Delhi,
January 07,   2014



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