Joinder Of Parties Not Allowed In Suit For Specific Performance Involving Separate Agreements Of Sale With Multiple Defendants: MP High Court
The Madhya Pradesh High Court, Indore Bench recently held that a Plaintiff cannot institute only a single suit arraying parties with whom it has entered into separate agreements of sale as each of its non-performance would constitute a separate cause of action.
The bench comprising Justice Vivek Rusia observed that in cases of specific performance, there cannot be an omnibus allegation or generalized way of conduct between the seller and purchaser in different agreements to sale-
Even otherwise, it is the suit for specific performance of the contract, in which certain issues like continuous readiness and willingness by the parties or who have breached the contract are liable to be examined. There cannot be an omnibus allegation or generalized way of conduct between the seller and purchaser in different agreements to sale. The plaintiff entered into a separate agreement to sale with each landowners i.e. respondents No.1 to 11 in respect of the land, therefore, especially in the suit for specific performance of a contract, there cannot be a joinder of cause of action as well as the parties when every agreement to sale or its non-performance constitutes a separate cause of action.
Facts of the case were that the Petitioner had entered into an agreement with Respondents/Defendants to own a chuck of land. Each of the eleven Defendants owned a piece of the said land. As per the Petitioner, though he had paid the amount, the Defendants did not honour their part as per the terms of the contracts. The Petitioner, thus, instituted a suit for specific performance against all the Defendants.
The Defendants moved an application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC, before the trial court, contending that each agreement between the Petitioner/Plaintiff and every Defendant constituted a separate cause of action and that they cannot be collectively sued in a single suit. Vide the impugned order, the lower court directed the Petitioner to file ten additional suits against each owner of the respective land. Aggrieved, the Petitioner moved the Court.
The Petitioner submitted before the Court that the cause of action and relief against all the Respondents were identical. Therefore, in order to avoid multiplicity of the proceedings, he had instituted a single suit against all the Respondents which was permissible under Order I Rule 3 CPC.
Per contra, the Respondents submitted that the Petitioner ought to have filed separate suits against every Defendant. Corollary to the same, the requisite ad valorem court fees and the pecuniary jurisdiction of the trial court would have been properly determined.
Examining the submissions of parties and documents on record, the Court concurred with the submissions put forth by the Respondents/Defendants. The Court noted that in a suit regarding specific performance of the agreement between the Petitioner and a particular Defendant, the remaining Defendants were not required to be impleaded as they were not necessary parties to the suit regarding the agreement concerned-
In this case, in respect of the agreement between the plaintiff and respondent No.1, defendants No.2 to 11 are neither necessary or the proper parties. The Apex Court in the case of Anil Kumar Singh v/s Shivnath Mishra Alias Gadasa Guru reported in (1995) 2 SCC 147 has specifically held that Order I Rule 3 is not applicable to the suit for specific performance because admittedly, the respondent was not a party to the contract. The Apex Court has held that under Order I Rule 10(2) of the CPC, the Court may have the power to strike out the name of parties improperly joined or add the parties on an application, but the condition precedent is that Court must be satisfied that presence of parties would not be necessary in order to enable the Court to effectually and completely adjudicate upon the question involved in the suit.
With the aforesaid observations the Court did not find any fault in the impugned order. Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.