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40 Supreme Court Civil Law Judgments Of 2019

Live Law Research Team
28 Dec 2019 11:19 AM GMT
40 Supreme Court Civil Law Judgments Of 2019
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1. Undivided Share In Joint Family Can Be Disposed By Will As Per Sec.30 Hindu Succession Act

The undivided interest of a Hindu in a joint family property can be disposed of by Will as per Section 30 of the Hindu Succession Act 1956, held the Supreme Court while dismissing appeals from a partition suit.

"Section 30 of the Act, permits the disposition by way of Will of a male Hindu in a Mitakshara coparcenary property", observed the bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi in the case

(Case :  Radhamma and others v Muddukrishna and others, Civil Appeal No. 7092/10, decided on 23.01.2019)

2. Mere Agreement To Sell The Leased Property To Tenant Would Not Terminate Landlord-Tenant Relationship

The Supreme Court observed that mere agreement to sell the property of the landlord to the tenant would not result in termination of landlord-tenant relationship between the parties unless there is a stipulation in the agreement itself to that effect.

(Case : Dr H K Sharma v Shri Ram Lal, Civil Appeal No.1237-1238/2019, decided on 28.01.2019)

3. Decree Passed On Plaintiff's Evidence Without Defendant's Appearance At Trial Is Ex-Parte Decree

The Supreme Court has held that a decree passed after taking plaintiff's evidence, without the appearance of defendant at the trial stage, is an ex-parte decree, which could be set aside under Order IX Rule 13 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

The bench of Justice A M Sapre and Dinesh Maheshwari passed the order in the case , which was an appeal against a High Court judgment, which set aside a preliminary decree under Order IX Rule 13 CPC.

(Case : G.Ratna Raj by LRs vs Sri Muthukumaraswamy Permanent Fund Ltd, Civil Appeal No. 2582-2583/2019, decided on 01.02.2019)

4. Second Appeal: Obligatory For HC To Frame Substantial Question Of Law Even If Lower Courts' Findings Are Perverse Per Se

The Supreme Court has observed that it is obligatory for a High Court, while considering a Second Appeal, to frame substantial question of law in second appeal even if lower courts' findings are perverse per se.

The bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Ajay Rastogi set aside a Kerala High Court order, on the ground that it decided the Second Appeal without formulating any substantial question of law.

(Case : Sreedevi & Ors v Sarojam & Ors, Civil Appeal No.1301/2019, decided on 30.01.2019)

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5. Irregularity In Local Commissioner's Report Not A Ground To Dismiss The Suit

The Supreme Court has observed that a civil suit could not be dismissed merely for some irregularity in the report of the Local Commissioner appointed for local investigation.

The issue before the Apex Court in the appeal filed by plaintiff (Ram Lal vs. Salig Ram) was whether was justified in setting aside the decree of First Appellate Court on the ground that the Local Commissioner had not carried out demarcation in accordance with the applicable instructions?

The bench comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari noted that the Local Commissioner omitted to scrupulously follow the applicable instructions for carrying out such demarcation and particularly omitted to fix three reference points on different sides of the land in question. But the court disapproved the dismissal of the suit by the High Court and observed that where the Court is disssatisfied with the proceedings of such a Local Commissioner, it could direct such further inquiry to be made as considered fit.

(Case : Ram Lal and others v Salig Ram and others, Civil Appeal No. 8285/2009, decided on 04.01.2019)

6. Revenue Record Entries Can Be Challenged On The Ground That It Was Made Fraudulently Or Surreptitiously

The Supreme Court has reiterated that the entries in the revenue records can be challenged on the ground that it was made fraudulently or surreptitiously.

(Case : Dharam Singh v Prem Singh, Civil Appeal No. 516/2009, decided on 05.02.2019)

7. Suit In Respect To Properties Situated In Jurisdiction Of Different Courts Can Be Instituted In One Of Those Courts

The Supreme Court has observed that, a suit in respect to immovable property or properties situate in jurisdiction of different courts may be instituted in any court within whose local limits of jurisdiction, any portion of the property or one or more properties may be situated.

The bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice KM Joseph observed that interpretation of word "portion of the property" in Section 17 CPC cannot only be understood in a limited and restrictive sense of being portion of one property situated in jurisdiction of two courts.

(Case : Shivnarayan (D) by LRs v Maniklal (D) by LRs, Civil Appeal 1052/2019, decided on 06.02.2016)

8. Section 38 Specific Relief Act: Plaintiff Has To Prove His Actual Possession On The Date Of Filing The Suit

The Supreme Court has observed that in a suit filed under Section 38 of the Specific Relief Act, permanent injunction can be granted only to a person who is in actual possession of the property on the date of suit.

(Case : Balkrishna Dattatraya Galande v Balkrishna Rambharose Gupta and another, Civil Appeal No.1509/2019, decided on 06.02.2019)

9. Liberty Granted By Court To Pursue Appropriate Remedy Does Not Bar Application Of Constructive Res Judicata

The Supreme Court has observed that liberty granted by court to avail 'appropriate remedies' to a party does not bar application of principle of constructive res judicata when he/she invokes such a remedy.

(Case : Asgar v Mohan Verma, Civil Appeal No.1500/2019, decided on 05.02.2019)

10. Section 115 CPC: Revision Petition Not Maintainable Against Interlocutory Orders

The Supreme Court has reiterated that revision petitions filed under Section 115 of the Code of Civil Procedure are not maintainable against interlocutory orders.

We are constrained to observe that every legal canon has been thrown to the winds, this is how the bench comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran described the impugned judgment in the appeal which allowed a revision petition against an interlocutory order.

(Case : Tek Singh v Shashi Verma and anr, Civil Appeal No.1416/2019, decided on 04.02.2019)

11. Sec.43 TP Act - Transfer By Erroneous Representation Of Title Will Hold Good If Transferor Acquires Title Later

Applying the principle of "feeding the grant by estoppel" under Section 43 of the Transfer of Property Act, the Supreme Court granted relief to a party, who was misled to purchase a property by erroneous representation of title by the vendor.

(Case : Tanu Ram Bora v Promod Ch.Das (D) through LRs and others, Civil Appeal 1575/2019, decided on 08.02.2019)

12. Is Amendment Of Pleadings Allowed After Commencement Of Trial? SC Explains

The Supreme Court, in a judgment delivered on Thursday, explained when and on what considerations an application for amendment of pleadings filed after commencement of Trial, can be allowed.

The bench comprising Justice NV Ramana and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar observed that, while dealing with such an application, the courts have to consider whether it is bona fide or mala fide and whether it causes such prejudice to the other side which cannot be compensated adequately in terms of money.

(Case : M. Revanna vs. Anjanamma, Civil Appeal 1669/2019, decided on 14.02.2019)

13. Sale Of Minor's Property By Guardian Can Be Avoided Only By Filing Suit To Set Aside Deed Within Period Under Art.60 Limitation Act

The Supreme Court has held that a sale of minor's property by guardian can be avoided only by filing a suit to set aside the deed within the period of limitation prescribed under Article 60 of the Limitation Act, which is three years from the date of attaining majority by the minor.

In case the minor has died before attaining majority, as it happened in the case before the SC, the legal representatives of the minor should bring the suit within 3 years from the date on which the minor would have attained majority.

The bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and K M Joseph was dealing with an appeal by the plaintiffs in a suit for declaration of title and possession of immovable property. Notably, the plaintiffs omitted to seek the prayer for setting aside the sale deeds, which turned fatal to the case.

(Case : Murugan and others vs Kesava Gounder (D) through LRs, Civil Appeal No 1782/2019 , decided on 25.02.2019)

14. When Can Transposition Of Defendants As Plaintiffs Be Permitted? SC Answers

The Supreme Court has examined the scope of Rule 1A of Order XXIII CPC which deals with power of a court to permit transposition of defendants as plaintiff.

The bench comprising Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari observed that, if the plaintiff is seeking to withdraw or to abandon his claim under Rule 1 of Order XXIII and the defendant seeking transposition is having an interest in the subject-matter of the suit and thereby, a substantial question to be adjudicated against the other defendant, then the defendants can be transposed as plaintiffs.

(Case : R Dhanasundari @ R Rajeswari v A N Umakanth and others, Civil Appeal No. 7292/2009, decided on 06.03.2019)

15. Plaint Can Be Rejected If Suit Is Clearly Barred By Limitation

The Supreme Court has observed that a plaint can be rejected under Order 7 Rule 11(d) of the Code of Civil Procedure, if by considering the averments, it is found that the suit is clearly barred by law of limitation.

"Considering the averments in the plaint if it is found that the suit is clearly barred by law of limitation, the same can be rejected in exercise of powers under Order 7 Rule 11(d) of the CPC", observed the Court.

(Case : Raghwendra Sharan Singh v Ram Prasanna Sight (D) through Lrs, Civil Appeal No.2960/2019, decided on 13.03.2019)

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16. Preferential Right Of Heirs Under Section 22 Of Hindu Succession Act Applicable Also To Agricultural Lands

The Supreme Court has held that the preferential right given to an heir of a Hindu under Section 22 of the Hindu Succession Act is applicable even if the property in question is an agricultural land.

Section 22 provides that when an interest in any immovable property of an intestate devolves upon two or more heirs, and any one of such heirs proposes to transfer his or her interest in the property or business, the other heirs shall have a preferential right to acquire the interest proposed to be transferred.

The bench comprising Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice MR Shah noted that the matter relating to succession to an interest in agricultural lands is occupied only by Section 22 of the Hindu Succession Act insofar as State of Himachal Pradesh is concerned. It also observed that, with the deletion of Section 4(2) of the Act, now there is no exception to the applicability of Section 22 of the Act. The Section 4(2), which provided that provisions of the Act would not apply in cases inter alia of devolution of tenancy rights in respect of agricultural holdings, stands repealed.

(Case : Babu Ram v Santhokh Singh (D) through LRs,  Civil Appeal No. 2553/2019, decided on 15.03.2019)

17. SC explains the test for relinquishment of claim under Order II Rule 2 CPC

The correct test in cases falling under O.II R.2, is "whether the claim in the new suit is in fact founded upon a cause of action distinct from that which was the foundation for the former suit", explained the Supreme Court.

(Case : Pramod Kumar and Anr vs Zalak Singh and others, Civil Appeal No.1055/2019, decided on 10.05.2019)

18. Mitakshara Law - Property Inherited By A Male Will Remain As Coparcenary Property For Descendants Upto Three Degrees Below Him

The Supreme Court has held that the rule under Mitakshara law that whenever a male ancestor inherits any property from any of his paternal ancestors upto three degrees above him, then his male legal heirs upto three degrees below him would get an equal right as coparceners in that property will apply in cases of succession which opened before Hindu Succession Act 1956.

Applying this rule, the bench of Justices Justices U U Lalit and Indu Malhotra allowed an appeal filed by one Arshnoor Singh, to set aside the sale deeds executed by his father Dharam Singh in 1999. As per the impugned sale deeds, Dharam Singh alienated joint family property to the respondent Harpal Kaur, whom he subsequently married as second wife.

(Case : Arshnoor Singh v Harpal Kaur and others, Civil Appeal No. 5124/2019, decided on 02.07.2019)

19. Hindu Succession - Property Inherited From Father By Sons Becomes Joint Family Property In The Hands Of Sons 

The Supreme Court has ruled that property inherited from father by sons becomes joint family property in the hands of sons.

The bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi rendered the decision.

(Case : Dodamuniyappa through LRs vs Muniswamy and others, Civil Appeal No.7141/2008, decided on 01.07.2019).

20. Father's Self Acquired Property Given To Son By Will/Gift Retains Character Of Self Acquired Property Unless The Deed Intends Otherwise

The Supreme Court has held that as per Mitakshara Law of Succession, father's self-acquired property given to son by way of Will/gift will retain the character of self acquired property and will not become ancestral property, unless a contrary intention is expressed in the testament.

The bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta was dealing with an appeal from the High Court of Gujarat.

(Case : Govindbhai Chhotabhai Patel and ors v Patel Ramanbhai Mathurbhai, Civil Appeal No.7528/2019, decided on 25.09.2019)

21. Specific Performance Decree Not To Be Rescinded Merely Because Plaintiff Deposited Balance Sale Consideration After Appeal

The Supreme Court has found fault with the judgment of a Punjab and Haryana High Court which had held that a decree for specific performance to be inexecutable as the balance sale consideration was deposited by the plaintiff after the appeal, beyond the period fixed by the trial court.

The SC bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee held that the trial court's decree had merged with the appeal court's decree. Hence, there was no delay on the part of plaintiff in depositing the balance sale consideration.

(Case : Surinder Pal Soni v Sohan Lal (D) through LRs, Civil Appeal No.5360/2019, decided on 23.07.2019)

22. Order VII Rule 11(d) CPC: Plaint Can Either Be Rejected As A Whole Or Not At All

Plaint can either be rejected as a whole or not at all, remarked the Supreme Court while reiterating that it is not permissible to reject plaint qua any particular portion of a plaint including against some of the defendant(s) and continue the same against the others.

"If the plaint survives against certain defendant(s) and/or properties, Order 7 Rule 11(d) of CPC will have no application at all, and the suit as a whole must then proceed to trial", the bench observed.

(Case : Madhav Prasad Aggarwal vs. Axis Bank, SLP(c) No. 31579/2018, decided on 01.07.2019)

23. Execution Petition Filed Without Certified Copy Of Decree Maintainable

In an appeal filed before the Supreme Court, the bench comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice and Dinesh Maheshwari observed that it is not necessary to file a copy of the decree along with execution application unless the Court directs the decree holder to file a certified copy of the decree. 

(Case : Sir Sobha Singh and Sons Pvt Ltd v Shashi Mohan Kapur (D) through LRs, Civil Appeal No.5534/2019, decided on 15.07.2019)

24. Cross Objection Should Be Disposed On Merits Notwithstanding Dismissal Of Appeal

The Supreme Court has observed that cross has to be disposed of on its merits by assigning reasons notwithstanding the dismissal of the appeal.

"Rejection of cross objection without any discussion and reason cannot be countenanced", observed the bench.

(Case : Shri Badru (since deceased) through L R Hari Ram etc vs NTPC, Civil Appeal No.5557-5559/2019, decided 16.07.2019)

25. Plaintiff Cannot Be Forced To Add Parties Against Whom He Does Not Want To Fight

The Supreme Court has reiterated that, in a suit, the plaintiff is the dominus litis and cannot be forced to add parties against whom he does not want to fight unless there is a compulsion of the rule of law.

(Case : Gurmit Singh Bhatia v Kiran Kant Robinson and others, Civil Appeal No.5522/2019, decided on 17.07.2019)

26. Compromise Decree In Representative Suit Void If Obtained Without Leave Of Court And Notice To Interested Parties

The Supreme Court has observed that a compromise decree in a representative suit obtained without the leave of the court and without issuing notice to the parties interested would be void.

(Case : Aliyathammuda Beethathebiyyappura Pookoya vs. Pattakal Cheriyakoya, Civil Appeal No. 9586/2010, decided on 01.08.2019)

27. Filing Of Cross Objections By Defendants Not Necessary To Dispute Adverse Findings In The Dismissed Suit

The Supreme Court has observed that it is not necessary that defendants should file cross objections to the appeal against dismissal of a suit to dispute certain findings adverse to them in the judgment appealed against.

(Case : State of Andhra Pradesh and others v B Ranga Reddy (D) through LRs, Civil Appeal No. 17486/2017, decided on 10.08.2019)

28. Second Appeal Not To Be Dismissed Merely On The Ground Of 'Concurrent Findings'

The Supreme Court has observed that a High Court cannot dismiss a second appeal merely on the ground that that there is a concurrent finding of two Courts (whether of dismissal or decreeing of the suit), and thus such finding becomes unassailable.

(Case : State of Rajasthan vs. Shiv Dayal, Civil Appeal No. 7363/2000, decided on 14.08.2019)

29. Order VII Rule 11 CPC: Plaint Can Be Rejected When It Does Not Disclose Clear Right To Sue

The Supreme Court has observed that a plaint can be rejected Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure, when it is manifestly vexatious, meritless and groundless, in the sense that it does not disclose a clear right to sue.

The bench comprising of Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Sanjiv Khanna also observed that a mere contemplation or possibility that a right may be infringed without any legitimate basis for that right, would not be sufficient to hold that the plaint discloses a cause of action.

(Case : Colonel Shrawan Kumar Jaipuriyar @ Sarwan Kumar Jaipuriyar v Krishna Nandan Singh and another, Civil Appeal No. 6760/2019, decided on 07.09.2019)

30. Order IX Rule 9 CPC-Decree Against Plaintiff By Default Bars Fresh Suit On Same Cause Of Action By Successor In Title

The Supreme Court has observed that the decree against plaintiffs by default bars fresh suit on the same cause of action by their successor in title.

The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice MR Shah set aside a High Court order on the ground that in the previous suit filed by vendors of the plaintiff; a similar relief was prayed. The said suit was dismissed under the provisions of Order IX Rule 8 of the CPC as the counsel for defendants was present and counsel for the plaintiffs was absent.

(Case : Mayandi v Pandarachamy and another, Civil Appeal No. 6424/2019, decided on 09.09.2019)

31. Executing Court Cannot Travel Beyond The Order Or Decree Under Execution

The Supreme Court has reiterated a settled proposition that an executing court cannot travel beyond the order or decree under execution.

(Case : S. Bhaskaran vs. Sebastian (Dead) through LRs, Civil Appeal No. 7800/2014, decided on 13.09.2019)

 32. Section 9A CPC (Maharashtra)- Question Of Limitation Cannot Be Decided As A Preliminary Issue

The Supreme Court has observed that, under Section 9A of the Code of Civil Procedure applicable in the state of Maharashtra, question of limitation cannot be decided as a preliminary issue.

The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice MR Shah and Justice BR Gavai observed that under the provisions of Section 9A and Order XIV Rule 2, it is open to decide preliminary issues if it is purely a question of law and not a mixed question of law and fact by recording evidence.

(Case : Nuslie Neville Wadia vs Ivory Properties and others, Civil Appeal No.31982/2013, decided on 06.10.2019)

33. Should Proceedings In New Court Where 'Returned' Plaint Is Filed Be Started De Novo? SC Refers To Larger Bench

Whether after a plaint is returned in terms of Order VII Rule 10 and Rule 10A, Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), should the trial in the Court where the plaint is now filed start de novo or from such stage at which the plaint was ordered to be returned? The Supreme Court has referred this issue to larger bench.

In M/S EXL Careers vs. Frankfinn Aviation Services Pvt. Ltd, the bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose made this reference after it noticed apparent conflict between the judgment in Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd.v. Modern Construction and Joginder Tuli vs. S. L. Bhatia.

(Case : M/s Exel Careers and another vs Frankfinn Aviation Services, SLP(c) No. 16893/2018, decided on 08.10.2019)

34. Entirety Of Plaint Averments Have To Be Taken Into Account While Considering A Plea Seeking Rejection Of Plaint

The entirety of the averments in the plaint have to be taken into account while considering a plea seeking rejection of plaint, the Supreme Court has reiterated.

(Case : Shaukathussain Mohammed Patel v Khatunben Mohmmedbhai Polara, Civil Appeal No. 8197/2019, decided on 29.10.2019)

35. Specific Relief- Mere Extension Of Time For Deposit Will Not Absolve Plaintiff Of Obligation To Prove Readiness & Willingness

The Supreme Court has held that mere extension of time for deposit of balance sale consideration will not absolve the plaintiff of obligation to prove readiness and willingness to perform his part in an agreement for sale.

The grant of extension of time cannot ipso facto be construed as otherwise demonstrating readiness and willingness on part of the plaintiff, observed the bench comprising Justices Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee.

(Case : Ravi Setia vs Madan Lal and others, Civil Appeal No. 2837/2011, decided on 04.10.2019)

36. Section 144 CPC [Restitution] Not Attracted When There Is No Variation Or Reversal Of A Decree Or Order

The Supreme Court has observed that the provisions of Section 144 of the Code of Civil Procedure will not be attracted when there is no variation or reversal of a decree or order .

"The principle of doctrine of restitution is that on the reversal of a decree, the law imposes an obligation on the party to the suit who received the benefit of the decree to make restitution to the other party for what he has lost", observed the bench.

(Case : Bansidhar Sharma(Since Deceased) Vs The State Of Rajasthan, Civil Appeal No.8400/2019, decided on 05.11.2019)

37. Order VIII Rule 6A CPC: No Embargo On Filing Counter-Claim After Filing Written Statement

The Supreme Court has held that a Court can exercise its discretion and permit the filing of a counter-claim after the written statement, till the stage of framing of the issues of the trial.

The three judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana held that Order VIII Rule 6A of the CPC does not pose an embargo on filing the counter-claim after filing the written statement.

(Case : Ashok Kumar Kalra v Wing Cdr Surendra Agnihotri and others, SLP(c) 23599/2018, decided on 19.11.2019)

38. Mere Error In Framing Substantial Question Of Law Would Not Render A Judgment In Second Appeal To Be Set Aside

The Supreme Court has observed that mere error in framing a question of law would not render a judgment in Second Appeal liable to be set aside, if it is found that a substantial question of law existed and such question has in fact been answered by the High Court.

(Case : Illoh Valappil Ambunhi (D) through LRs v Kunhambu Karnavan, Civil Appeal No.1429/2011, decided on 14.10.2019)

39. Succession And Inheritance Of Goan Domicile Shall Be Governed By Portuguese Civil Code

The Supreme Court has held that the rights of succession and inheritance of a Goan domicile shall be governed by the Portuguese Civil Code, 1867 as applicable in the State of Goa.

Rights of succession and inheritance even in respect of properties of a Goan domicile situated outside Goa, anywhere in India, will also be governed by the Code, the bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose has held.

"The Portuguese law which may have had foreign origin became a part of the Indian laws, and, in sum and substance, is an Indian law", observed the bench.

(Case : Jose Paulo Coutinho v Maria Luiza Valentai Pereira and another, Civil Appeal No. 7378/2010, decided on 13.09.2019)

40. Second Appeal Cannot Be Dismissed On Merits When Appellant Is Unrepresented On The Day Fixed For Hearing

The Supreme Court has observed that a High Court cannot dismiss a second appeal on merits where the appellant is unrepresented on the date fixed for hearing.

If the appellant does not appear, the Court may if it deems fit dismiss the appeal for default of appearance but it does not have the power to dismiss the appeal on merits, the bench observed.

(Case : Sri Prabodh Ch.Das and Anr vs Mahamaya Das and another, Civil Appeal No. 9407/2019, decided on 14.12.2019)




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