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Monday, January 5, 2015

SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 19552 OF 2013 Deo Kalya Patil & Ors. …Petitioners Versus Nagindas Shamjibhai Shah Thr. Lrs. & Ors. …Respondents

                                                              Non-reportable
                        IN THE SUPREME COUR OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

              SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 19552 OF 2013


Deo Kalya Patil & Ors.                             …Petitioners

                             Versus

Nagindas Shamjibhai Shah Thr. Lrs. & Ors.    …Respondents





                               J U D G M E N T



Chelameswar, J.

1.    The petitioners herein are the plaintiffs in suit No .632 of  2010  on
the file of the  Special  Civil  Judge  (Senior  Division),  Thane  and  the
respondents are the defendants therein.  For the sake  of  convenience  they
are referred to in this judgment as they are  in  the  suit.   The  suit  is
filed with the prayers as follow:-
it be declared that the suit lands were agricultural lands on 1.4.1957;

if be declared that the predecessor-in-title –  Kalya  Padya  Patil  of  the
Plaintiffs was lawfully in possession and  cultivating  the  suit  lands  on
1.4.1957 as tenant thereof and consequently had become the deemed  purchaser
thereof and the Plaintiffs being the heirs of said  Kalya  Padya  Patil  are
therefore entitled to the benefits conferred upon him by the  provisions  of
B.T. & A.L. Act.

It be declared that the Sale transactions that took place after the  Tillers
Day i.e. dated 22.3.1960, 21.10.1963 and 30.5.1964 which  were  recorded  in
the Mutation Entry Nos. 357, 466 and 467 respectively, are illegal,  bad  in
law, void ab-initio and not binding upon the Plaintiffs.

It be declared that the proceedings i.e. Tenancy Case No. 22 of 1964 and  23
of 1964 initiated by the predecessor-in-title of Defendant Nos. 1 to 6  were
not maintainable hence, the  orders  dated  30.1.1965  passed  in  the  said
proceedings are without jurisdiction,  nullity  and  not  binding  upon  the
Plaintiffs.

It be declared that the Plaintiffs being the heirs of the said  Kalya  Padya
Patil (since deceased) are entitled to the  entire  compensation  which  was
wrongly awarded by the CIDCO to the Defendant Nos. 1 to 6.

It be declared that the Plaintiffs being the heirs of the said  Kalya  Padya
Patil (since deceased) are entitled to the allotment of  land/plots  as  per
the 12.5% scheme framed by the CIDCO.

The Hon’ble Court may be pleased to issue perpetual injunction  to  restrain
the Defendant No. 7, its servants, agents,  officers,  etc.  from  allotting
lands under 12.5% scheme by it in favour of Defendant No.  1  to  6  or  any
person claiming under them.

Pending  the  hearing  and  final  disposal  of  this  suit  and  injunction
application, the Hon’ble  Court  may  be  pleased  to  grant  an  Ad-Interim
Injunctions in terms of clause (g) above.

To award any other relief this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in  the
circumstances of the case.

To award the cost of the suit.”


2.     Along  with  the  suit,  the  plaintiffs  filed  an  application  for
injunction against  the  7th  defendant  (City  and  Industrial  Development
Corporation) from allotting any land  under  a  scheme  said  to  have  been
propounded by the 7th defendant in favour of any one of  the  defendants  or
persons claiming through the defendants.  By an order  dated  23.12.2010  of
the trial court, the injunction as prayed for was  granted.  The  defendants
appealed to the High Court.   The said appeal was  disposed  of  by  setting
aside the order of the trial court with a further direction:
“16…..that the original Defendant No. 7 CIDCO is at  liberty  to  scrutinize
the application made by  the  original  Defendant  Nos.  1  to  6/Appellants
before me and in the event the CIDCO decides to allot the land  under  12.5%
scheme in their favour and  issues  an  Allotment  letter,  that  order  and
direction of the CIDCO and all steps in furtherance thereof shall  abide  by
the outcome of this civil suit,  namely,  Special  Civil  Suit  No.  632  of
2010.”

along with certain observations, the details of which may not  be  necessary
for the present purpose.

3.    Aggrieved by the same, the plaintiffs preferred the instant SLP.



4.    The litigation has a long and checkered history.  It is  the  admitted
case that both the  parties  claim  their  respective  rights  in  the  suit
scheduled  property  through  a  common  predecessors  in  interest  Ibrahim
Shahabuddin  and  Mariamba  Mohammed.    The  plaintiffs  claim  that  their
predecessor in title one Kalya Padya Patil (for  short  “Kalya  Patil”)  was
the tenant of the suit scheduled property.  The plaintiffs do  not  describe
what exactly is their relationship with Kalya  Patil  either  in  the  cause
title or in the body of the plaint (copy of the  plaint  is  placed  on  the
record of this Court), except saying that they  are  the  “heirs  and  legal
representatives of Kalya Patil who died on 27.7.1963”.

5.    It is the case of the plaintiffs that Kalya Patil’s  name  is  entered
as a protected tenant  in  the  concerned  revenue  records  “the  plaintiff
states that in the survey that took place in  1946,  the  said  Kalya  Patil
(deceased) was found in possession of following 14  survey  numbers  forming
part of suit lands….....   Accordingly, his name was mutated in the  revenue
records as a protected tenant by effecting Mutation Entry No. 289.”

6.    It is also  the  case  of  the  plaintiffs  that  the  predecessor  in
interest of the defendants one Mavjibhai Gohil “had purchased certain  lands
along with the suit lands in 1944  from  Ibrahim  Shahabuddin  and  Mariamba
Mohammed.”

7.    On 30th June, 1964, the suit scheduled property along with other
properties was acquired under the provisions of the Maharashtra Industrial
Development Act.

8.    In the year 1977, the plaintiffs filed tenancy application No.  23  of
1979  seeking  enquiry  under  Section  32G  of  the  Bombay   Tenancy   and
Agricultural Lands Act,  1948  (hereinafter  referred  to  as  the  “Tenancy
Act”).  The said case was dismissed on 11.12.1980.   Plaintiffs carried  the
matter in Appeal No. 2/1981 unsuccessfully.  By an  order  dated  25.2.1983,
the said appeal was also dismissed.  The whole process is described  in  the
plaint at para 30 as follows:-

“The Plaintiff  state  that  the  said  case  No.  23/79  was  dismissed  on
11.12.1980 by the Additional Tehsildar.  The  Plaintiffs,  therefore,  filed
Tenancy Appeal No. 2 of 1981 before the Sub-Divisional Officer.    The  Sub-
Divisional Officer dismissed the  Appeal  on  25.2.1983.    The  Plaintiffs,
thereafter,  filed  Tenancy  Application  No.  202  of   1983   before   the
Maharashtra Administrative  Tribunal.   The  Hon’ble  Tribunal  allowed  the
Revision by its order  dated  9.12.1985  and  set  aside  the  orders  dated
11.12.1980 and 25.2.1983 and  directed  that  question  of  tenancy  of  the
Plaintiffs be determined from the year  1977.    In  short  the  matter  was
remanded for fresh enquiry in respect of tenancy rights of the  Plaintiffs.”
                 (Plaint)


9.    The order of the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal  dated  9.12.1995
was challenged by the predecessors in interest of  the  defendants  in  Writ
Petition No. 3446 of 1986.

“32.   The Plaintiffs state that the said  Nagindas  Shah  (deceased),  Smt.
Jayalaxmi  (deceased)  and  Rasikabai  challenged  the  said   order   dated
9.12.1985 by filing Writ Petition No. 3446 of 1986.   On 24th August,  2000,
the said petition was disposed of finally by the Hon’ble  Mr.  Justice  T.K.
Chandrashekhar Das.   The Plaintiffs file copy of the  Judgement  and  Order
24.8.2000 and shall rely upon the same.    The Hon’ble High  Court  remanded
the matter back to the Tahsildar for fresh enquiry as  to  decide  what  was
the character of the suit land on 1.4.57.   The  Defendants  predecessor-in-
title therefore filed Special Leave Petition in the Hon’ble  Supreme  Court,
which was dismissed.”


10.   In view of the Order passed by the High Court on  24th  August,  2000,
remanding the matter for fresh enquiry, the Tehsildar  by  his  Order  dated
12.8.2002 held that the plaintiffs are the protected  tenants  of  the  suit
land as on 1.4.1957.  The defendants carried the matter in  Appeal  No.  163
of 2002 in the Court of the Sub-Divisional Officer, Thane.  The said  appeal
was allowed on 8.5.2003.

11.   Aggrieved by the said  appellate  order,  the  plaintiff  carried  the
matter in revision  Application  No.  292/B/2003  before  the  Commissioner,
Konkan Division, Mumbai.  Along with the revision, the plaintiffs  sought  a
stay of the operation of the appeal order dated 8.5.2003  when  the  interim
order was declined.    Plaintiffs preferred a  writ  petition  No.  6116  of
2003 challenging the said  order.   The  High  Court,  by  its  order  dated
2.12.2003,  directed  the  District  Commissioner  to  consider   the   said
application on merits while directing the  stay  of  the  execution  of  the
appellate  order  dated  8.5.2003  in  favour  of   the   defendants.    The
Commissioner, once again considered the case on merits in obedience  to  the
order of the High Court, and stayed the order dated  8.5.2004.   Challenging
the same, the plaintiff again filed another Writ Petition No. 5652 of  2004.
 During the pendency of the said writ petition, on 14.7.2004 the High  Court
directed that no land be allotted in favour of the  defendants  pursuant  to
the scheme dated 16.12.1990, referred to supra.

12.   On 18.12.2009, the revision No. 292/B/2003 came to be dismissed.    As
a consequence, writ petition No. 5652 of 2004  also  came  to  be  dismissed
holding that in the background of the  above-mentioned  intensely  contested
facts, writ petition is not an appropriate remedy  and  granted  liberty  to
the plaintiffs to file a suit.   Hence Suit No. 632 of 2010.

13.   In the said suit, the plaintiffs  filed  an  application  under  Order
XXXIX Rule 1 & 2 CPC with a prayer as follows:
“It is, therefore, prayed pending hearing and  disposal  of  this  Suit  and
this Application, the Hon’ble Court may be pleased to issue  ad-interim  ex-
parte injunction against the Defendant No.7, its servant, agents,  officers,
etc. from allotting any land under 12.5% scheme to Defendant No.1  to  6  or
any person claiming under them.”


14.   By an order dated 23.12.2010,  the  learned  Jt.  Civil  Judge,  S.D.,
Thane allowed the application.  The operative portion of the order reads  as
follows:
“37)  The foregoing facts would make it clear that many more questions  have
been raised in the dispute, which require adjudication  on  its  own  merits
for which there  definitely  exists  a  prima-facie  case  and  the  triable
issues.

The question raised by plaintiffs, have its concern with  legal  rights  and
its declaration, for the reasons of which at this juncture, no  interference
can jumped at that the wrong, if any, would be capable of being  compensated
in money terms.  But as the question of legal rights and legal character  is
involved in the dispute, the only  logical  interference  prevails  at  this
juncture that in the event of withholding the relief probability  cannot  be
ruled out that intermediate damages would be caused to plaintiffs.

Parties are litigating for years together right from the year  1963  onwards
till date.  And during crucial period of such litigation, suit property  was
ordered to be preserved in status-quo  so  as  to  protect  the  rights  and
interests of the rightful persons.   Such  rights  are  yet  to  be  finally
decided, for which present suit is claimed to have instituted.   This  being
the factual position, no interference surfaces in a  fashion  that  granting
the relief would anyway have adverse  effect  of  any  sort,  especially  on
defendants No.1 to 6, who claim themselves to  be  beneficiaries  under  the
scheme, particularly when plaintiffs also claim entitlement to  the  similar
benefit which is claimed by defendants No.1 to 6.  And being so, unless  and
until legal status and character of the persons competent  and  entitled  to
declaration of rights sought herein, is not so finally declared, any  action
on the part of defendant No.7 would amount to unnecessary haste, not at  all
warranted in available situation, for the reasons of which balance  at  this
juncture definitely tilts in plaintiffs favour.  As  such,  the  points  are
replied accordingly, with order to follow:

                                    ORDER

Application Exh.5 is allowed.

Defendant No.7 is temporarily  restrained  from  making  allotment  of  land
under 12.5% scheme in favour of Defendants No.1 to 6 until disposal of  main
suit.”

15.   Aggrieved by the same, the defendants carried the matter in appeal  to
the High Court of Bombay which came to be  allowed  by  the  order  impugned
herein.  The High  Court  noticed  various  proceedings  reiterated  by  the
plaintiffs without success and opined that  the  Courts  below  ignored  the
said fact while granting the injunction.  The relevant portion of  the  said
order reads as follows:
“14.  To my mind, there is a serious issue which needs to  be  tried  as  to
whether the status as claimed and the declaration sought  can  be  given  in
the facts and circumstances by the Civil Court.  As held this  issue  cannot
be  ignored  and,  equally,  maintainability  of   the   proceedings.    The
Plaintiffs do not dispute that their predecessor has not been successful  in
obtaining that declaration.  The  last  order  in  the  list  of  dates  and
events,  namely,  that  of  the  Maharashtra  Revenue  Tribunal  dated   8th
December, 2009 records all findings against the original Plaintiffs.

15.    When  such  serious  issues  were   raised   with   regard   to   the
maintainability of the proceedings and  after  checkered  litigation,  then,
the Trial Court should not have restrained the CIDCO from  making  allotment
of the land under 12.5%  in  favour  of  the  Appellants/Original  Defendant
Nos.1 to 6 until disposal of  the  main  suit.   There  is  nothing  in  the
impugned order which would enable me to hold that  the  original  Plaintiffs
have made out a strong prima facie case, that the balance of convenience  is
in their favour or that irreparable loss and injury would be caused to  them
if merely the CIDCO processes the application  of  the  Defendant  Nos.1  to
6/Appellants before me and makes any allotment in their favour.”



16.   The plaintiffs in their pleadings of Suit No.632 of 2010  at  para  19
have admitted that in the prior proceedings initiated by  the  predecessors-
in-title of the plaintiffs Deo Kalya,  Rama  Kalya,  Halya  Kalya  and  Smt.
Barkibai Kalya made statements to the effect that their names  were  wrongly
entered in the revenue records through oversight.  The said paragraph  reads
as follows:
“In order to  deprive  the  plaintiffs  from  participating  in  acquisition
proceedings and  claiming  proportionate  share  in  the  compensation,  the
predecessors in title of defendants to 1  to  6  without  having  locus  and
valid title deliberately filed Tenancy  Case  No.22/64  against  Rama  Kalya
Patil and four others and 23/64 against Deo Kalya  Patil  to  seek  negative
declaration that they were not concerned with  the  49  Acres  of  the  suit
lands.  In the said proceedings the predecessors in title  of  Defendants  1
to 6 by taking undue advantage of their poverty and  illiteracy  managed  to
procure depositions of Deo Kalya, Rama Kalya, Halya Kalya and Smt.  Barkibai
Kalya on 23.1.1965 against their own  interest  to  the  effect  that  their
names were wrongly entered in the revenue  records  through  oversight.  The
Tenancy Awal Karkun without holding any enquiry accepted depositions of  the
said persons  as  it  is  and  deleted  their  names  by  his  orders  dated
30.1.1965.  Copies of the depositions are filed herewith and the  plaintiffs
shall rely upon the same.  The copies of  the  Orders  dated  30.1.1965  are
filed herewith and the plaintiffs shall rely upon the same.”

17.   We do not wish to examine the implication of  the  said  statement  as
such examination by this Court at this stage is, in our opinion,  likely  to
adversely effect the rights of the parties in the suit one way or the  other
but it is a relevant factor which ought to be kept in mind  before  granting
an interim order, such as the one passed by the trial Court.

18.    Shri  Dushyant  Dave,  learned  senior  counsel  for  the  plaintiffs
submitted that since the Tenancy Act is meant for  protecting  the  interest
of the tenants, the High Court (by the impugned judgment) ought not to  have
interfered with the interim injunction granted by the trial Court.

19.   In response, Shri Harish N. Salve,  learned  senior  counsel  for  the
defendants submitted that the plaintiffs  have  already  parted  with  their
rights by assigning their rights, title or interest,  whatever  they  assert
in the disputed property, in favour of a third party for a consideration  of
an amount of Rs.8,39,14,001/-.

20.   In our opinion, the petition such as the one on  hand  ought  to  have
been dismissed on the simple ground that it arises out of  an  interlocutory
order during the pendency of the suit.  The legality of  such  interlocutory
order has  already  been  considered  by  an  appellate  Court  which  is  a
constitutional Court.  But in matters where the stake is huge, such  as  the
one on hand, passionate arguments are advanced before this court  giving  an
impression that  something  really  untoward  has  happened  in  the  matter
inducing the Court to undertake detailed examination.

21.   On a closer examination, we do not find any reason to  interfere  with
the impugned order.   Special Leave Petition is therefore, dismissed.

                                                               ………………………….J.
                                                              (J.
Chelameswar)


                                                              ……………………..….J.
                                                      (A.K. Sikri)
New Delhi;
October 15, 2014




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