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Friday, April 11, 2014

whether the High Court while exercising its power under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India is competent to set aside the plaint ? Apex court held No= JACKY …. APPELLANT VERSUS TINY @ ANTONY & ORS. ….RESPONDENTS= 2014 (April.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41404

whether the High Court while exercising its power  under  Articles  226  and
227 of the Constitution of India is competent to set aside the plaint ? Apex court held No=

 The High Court while exercising its power under Articles 226 and 227 of  the
Constitution  of  India,  set  aside  the  plaint  and  further  proceedings
initiated on the basis of the plaint in the suit, quashed the  order  passed
by the Munsiff Court and imposed cost of Rs.25,000/- on  the  appellant  for
payment in favour of the respondent-writ petitioner.=
whether the High Court while exercising its power  under  Articles  226  and
227 of the Constitution of India is competent to set aside the plaint ?=
 whether the one or other order procured by the  appellant
against the 2nd  respondent  was  with  the  intention  to  harass  the  1st
respondent is a question of fact which can be determined  on  the  basis  of
evidence.  There is no such issue framed nor any evidence brought on  record
to suggest Ex. P2 and P3 the orders obtained by the  appellant  against  the
2nd respondent with  intention  to  misuse  the  same  and  harass  the  1st
respondent.   If  the  1st  respondent  was  aggrieved  against  the  orders
contained in Ex.P2 and P3 which were passed by the courts in  one  or  other
suit against a third party (2nd respondent) and to which 1st respondent  was
not a party, he was not  remediless  and  could  have  challenged  the  same
before an appropriate forum.

17.   A petition under Article 226 or Article 227 of Constitution  of  India
can neither be entertained to decide the landlord-tenant dispute nor  it  is
maintainable against a private individual to determine  an  intense  dispute
including the question whether one party harassing  the  other  party.   The
High Court under Article  227  has  the  jurisdiction  to  ensure  that  all
subordinate  courts  as  well  as  statutory  or  quasi-judicial  tribunals,
exercise the powers vested in them within the bounds of their authority  but
it was not the case of the 1st respondent  that  the  order  passed  by  the
Munsiff Court was without any jurisdiction or  was  so  exercised  exceeding
its jurisdiction. If a suit is not  maintainable  it  was  well  within  the
jurisdiction  of  the  High  Court  to  decide  the  same   in   appropriate
proceedings but in no case power under Articles 226 and 227 of  Constitution
of India can be exercised to question a plaint.

18.   For the reasons aforesaid, we set  aside  the  impugned  judgment  and
order dated 27.10.2011 passed by the High Court of Kerala  at  Ernakulam  in
O.P.(C) No.1792 of 2011 and allow the appeal.
2014 (April.Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41404
SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA, S.A. BOBDE

                                                                REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
                       CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4453  OF 2014
                   (arising out of SLP(C)No.3909 of 2012)

JACKY                                     …. APPELLANT

                             VERSUS

TINY @ ANTONY & ORS.                                ….RESPONDENTS

                               J UD G M E N T

SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA, J.


      Leave granted.

2.    This appeal has been preferred by the plaintiff-appellant against  the
judgment and order dated 27.10.2011 passed by the High Court  of  Kerala  at
Ernakulam in O.P. (C) No.1792 of 2011.  By the impugned judgment and  order,
the High Court while exercising its power under Articles 226 and 227 of  the
Constitution  of  India,  set  aside  the  plaint  and  further  proceedings
initiated on the basis of the plaint in the suit, quashed the  order  passed
by the Munsiff Court and imposed cost of Rs.25,000/- on  the  appellant  for
payment in favour of the respondent-writ petitioner.

3.    The only question which is required to be determined in this  case  is
whether the High Court while exercising its power  under  Articles  226  and
227 of the Constitution of India is competent to set aside the plaint ?

4.    The case of the 1st respondent herein before the High Court  was  that
the shop bearing no. X/306 was leased to the father of  the  1st  respondent
in the year 1962 by an oral lease by  the  father  of  the  2nd  respondent,
namely, Akkarappatty Jose.  After  the  death  of  the  father  of  the  1st
respondent, the appellant herein,  his  brothers  and  mother  continued  as
tenants of the shop.  They are running a business  of  Photostat,  telephone
booth, fax, lamination etc. in the  said  shop.   After  the  death  of  the
father of the 2nd respondent, his property devolved upon his children.

5.    A partition suit is stated to be pending in the  Sub  Court,  Thrissur
bearing O.S. No. 891 of 2000 with respect to the property of the  father  of
the 2nd respondent in which the building is  the  subject  matter.   Against
the preliminary decree in the above said  suit  an  appeal  is  said  to  be
pending before  the  High  Court  of  Kerala.    Further  case  of  the  1st
respondent was that since the children of Mr.  Akkarappatty  Jose  tried  to
trespass into the property, he and his mother filed O.S. No.  2881  of  2006
before the Munsiff Court, Thrissur  for  injunction  restraining  them  from
forcefully evicting them from the property  and  it  was  decreed  in  their
favour by decree and judgment dated 16.10.2008.

6.    The case of the appellant is that the schedule shop was  purchased  by
the appellant vide deeds dated 26.5.2010 and on 16.2.2011 from the  children
of Mr. Akkarrapatti Jose. The 1st respondent contended that  after  purchase
the appellant herein attempted to trespass into the property leased  to  the
1st respondent and tried to demolish the wall of the room.  Hence,  the  1st
respondent and his mother filed O.S. No. 2180 of  2010  before  the  Munsiff
Court, Thrissur for injunction and the same is pending.

7.    The appellant herein filed O.S. No. 2426 of 2010  before  the  Munsiff
Court, Thrissur against the 1st respondent,  his  mother  and  his  brothers
claiming  absolute  title  over  the  property.   According   to   the   1st
respondent, he was harassed by the Sub Inspector  of  Police,  Thrissur  and
against the same he  filed  representation  before  the  higher  authorities
since they have not taken any action, Writ Petition (C) No.  36924  of  2010
was filed by him before the High Court of Kerala and  the  same  is  pending
without any orders.

8.    Further case of the 1st respondent was that the appellant  herein  has
filed an affidavit in O.S. No. 2180  of  2010  pending  before  the  Munsiff
Court,  Thrissur  making  an  undertaking  that  he  would  not   forcefully
dispossess the 1st respondent from the property.  Even though  there  is  an
undertaking given by  the  appellant  herein,  the  appellant  continued  to
harass the 1st respondent.  Therefore, the 1st respondent moved  before  the
High Court of Kerala by filing  W.P.  (C)  No.  12638  of  2011  for  police
protection.  In the said case, interim order was passed by  the  High  Court
on 26.4.2011 directing the authorities to protect  1st  respondent  and  his
siblings to carry on the business in the shop  room.   Thereafter  the  High
Court disposed of the W.P (C) No. 12638 of 2011 by making the interim  order
absolute.

9.    The 1st respondent contended that under  the  circumstances,  with  an
intention  to  evict  him,  the  appellant  herein  colluded  with  the  2nd
respondent filed O.S. No. 1654 of 2011 before the  Munsiff  Court,  Thrissur
on 6.5.2011.   The  Munsiff  Court,  Thrissur  by  an  interim  order  dated
27.5.2011 injuncted  the  2nd  respondent  from  conducting  any  prohibited
business in the shop room either  directly  or  through  someone  else.   By
virtue of the said court’s order, 3rd respondent herein  Thrissur  Municipal
Corporation issued notice on 1.6.2011 to the 2nd  respondent  directing  him
to close the business in the shop room.   The  1st  respondent,  thereafter,
moved before the High Court of Kerala by filing Original  Petition  (C)  No.
1792 of 2011 praying inter alia to call for  the  original  records  of  the
O.S. No. 1654 of 2011 pending before the  Munsiff  Court,  Thrissur  and  to
quash the plaint filed by the appellant in the civil suit.  On  notice,  the
appellant appeared  and  filed  counter  affidavit  before  the  High  Court
assailing the very maintainability of the  original  petition.   On  hearing
the parties, the High Court  passed  the  impugned  judgment  and  order  on
27.10.2011.

10.   While according to the appellant Writ Petition under Articles 226  and
227 of the Constitution of India was not maintainable to  quash  the  plaint
or the suit proceedings and/or the injunction  order  passed  by  the  trial
Court, per contra according to the 1st respondent it was open  to  the  High
Court to issue such writ on being satisfied that the order obtained  by  the
appellant was by deceitful means in order to harm the 1st respondent.

11.   From the impugned order, we find that  the  appellant  challenged  the
very maintainability of the writ petition and argued that the writ  petition
was not maintainable to quash any plaint or a civil suit.   The  High  Court
noticed the stand taken by the 1st respondent who pleaded as follows:
      The appellant has fraudulently  filed  the  suit  to  harass  the  1st
respondent and to ensure that the business run in the shop is  closed  down.
The said suit was filed by the appellant after having failed in all  illegal
attempts to evict the 1st respondent from the shop room  which  was  in  his
possession as a tenant for a very long  time.   The  appellant  deliberately
and fraudulently omitted to have implead the 1st respondent as  a  defendant
to the suit in order to obtain an order from the court so that it  could  be
misused to cause Municipal Corporation to pass an order to  close  down  the
shop.


12.   The High Court having noticed the rival contentions accepted the  plea
taken by the 1st respondent and observed as follows:
            “49. There can be no doubt that though Ex.P2 and P3  orders  are
      procured by 1st respondent against 2nd respondent, those are  intended
      to be misused to harass petitioner.   It  is  also  clear  that  those
      orders are obtained to ensure that petitioner’s shop and the  business
      run by him for very long  period  are  closed  down.   The  means  and
      methods adopted by 1st respondent to obtain Ex.P2 and  P3  orders  are
      most undesirable and those cannot be approved by any court.


            50. It is unfortunate that an  argument  is  raised  by  learned
      counsel for 1st respondent that Ex P2 and  Ex  P3  orders  are  passed
      against  2nd  respondent  and  not  against  petitioner   and   hence,
      petitioner has no locus standi etc.  A  person  who  has  obtained  an
      order from a court, on the basis of pleading of facts which are  false
      to his own knowledge,  without  making  the  person  who  is  actually
      targeted a party to the proceeding with the sole intention  to  misuse
      the order against him, the former shall not be heard to say  that  the
      latter has not locus standi to  challenge  such  order,  only  on  the
      ground that the order is passed against some other person and not  the
      targeted person.


            51. If the court is satisfied that an order is obtained  by  any
      person by deceitful means to harm another, it can even suo  motu  undo
      the harm.  So the question of locus standi etc. is not  very  relevant
      in cases of this type.  At any rate, no person shall be  permitted  by
      the court to take undue advantage of his own  dishonesty  and  contend
      that the other party who is illegally wounded  by  him  has  no  locus
      standi.  He has no right to request the court to show a red signal  to
      the other who rushes to the court for justice.”



13.   In view  of  such  observations,  the  High  Court  allowed  the  writ
petition and quashed the plaint and other orders.
14.   The maintainability of writ petition in a  matter  of  landlord-tenant
dispute was considered by this Court in Shalini Shyam Shetty and another  v.
Rajendra Shankar Patil, (2010) 8 SCC 329.  In  the  said  case,  this  Court
noticed  the  scope  of  interference   by   the   High   Court   in   civil
matters/private disputes under Article 226 of the Constitution of India  and
held that the High Court committed an error in  entertaining  writ  petition
in a dispute between landlord and tenant and where the only respondent is  a
private landlord.

15.   Nature and scope of power under Article 227  of  the  Constitution  of
India was considered by this Court in Jai  Singh  and  others  v.  Municipal
Corporation of Delhi and another, (2010) 9 SCC 385.  In the said case,  this
Court held:
      “15. We have anxiously  considered  the  submissions  of  the  learned
      counsel. Before we consider the  factual  and  legal  issues  involved
      herein, we may notice certain well-recognised principles governing the
      exercise of jurisdiction by the High Court under Article  227  of  the
      Constitution of India. Undoubtedly the High Court, under this article,
      has the jurisdiction to ensure that all subordinate courts as well  as
      statutory or quasi-judicial tribunals, exercise the powers  vested  in
      them, within the bounds of their authority. The  High  Court  has  the
      power and the jurisdiction to ensure that they act in accordance  with
      the well-established principles of law. The High Court is vested  with
      the powers  of  superintendence  and/or  judicial  revision,  even  in
      matters where no revision or  appeal  lies  to  the  High  Court.  The
      jurisdiction under this article is, in some ways, wider than the power
      and jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution  of  India.  It
      is, however, well to remember the well-known adage  that  greater  the
      power, greater the care and caution  in  exercise  thereof.  The  High
      Court is, therefore, expected to exercise such wide powers with  great
      care, caution and circumspection. The exercise of jurisdiction must be
      within the well-recognised constraints. It can not be exercised like a
      “bull in a china shop”, to correct all errors of judgment of a  court,
      or tribunal, acting  within  the  limits  of  its  jurisdiction.  This
      correctional jurisdiction can be exercised in cases where orders  have
      been passed in grave dereliction of  duty  or  in  flagrant  abuse  of
      fundamental principles of law or justice.”




16.   The question whether the one or other order procured by the  appellant
against the 2nd  respondent  was  with  the  intention  to  harass  the  1st
respondent is a question of fact which can be determined  on  the  basis  of
evidence.  There is no such issue framed nor any evidence brought on  record
to suggest Ex. P2 and P3 the orders obtained by the  appellant  against  the
2nd respondent with  intention  to  misuse  the  same  and  harass  the  1st
respondent.   If  the  1st  respondent  was  aggrieved  against  the  orders
contained in Ex.P2 and P3 which were passed by the courts in  one  or  other
suit against a third party (2nd respondent) and to which 1st respondent  was
not a party, he was not  remediless  and  could  have  challenged  the  same
before an appropriate forum.

17.   A petition under Article 226 or Article 227 of Constitution  of  India
can neither be entertained to decide the landlord-tenant dispute nor  it  is
maintainable against a private individual to determine  an  intense  dispute
including the question whether one party harassing  the  other  party.   The
High Court under Article  227  has  the  jurisdiction  to  ensure  that  all
subordinate  courts  as  well  as  statutory  or  quasi-judicial  tribunals,
exercise the powers vested in them within the bounds of their authority  but
it was not the case of the 1st respondent  that  the  order  passed  by  the
Munsiff Court was without any jurisdiction or  was  so  exercised  exceeding
its jurisdiction. If a suit is not  maintainable  it  was  well  within  the
jurisdiction  of  the  High  Court  to  decide  the  same   in   appropriate
proceedings but in no case power under Articles 226 and 227 of  Constitution
of India can be exercised to question a plaint.

18.   For the reasons aforesaid, we set  aside  the  impugned  judgment  and
order dated 27.10.2011 passed by the High Court of Kerala  at  Ernakulam  in
O.P.(C) No.1792 of 2011 and allow the appeal.


                                                    ………..………………………………………..J.
                               (SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA)






                                                      ………………………………………………….J.
                                        (S.A. BOBDE)

NEW DELHI;
APRIL 9, 2014.
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