High Court should deal with all issues and evidence while deciding First Appeal: SC
The Supreme Court of India in Madina Begum & Anr. Vs. Shiv Murti Prasad Pandey has observed that it is unfortunate that the Parties have to undergo another round of litigation because of non-consideration of settled legal priciples by High Court. The apex Court has reiterated that, in the absence of a specified date for the performance of the agreement,the limitation period of three years,prescribed in Article 54 of the Limitation Act, for filing Suit for Specific Performance of Contract would begin when the plaintiff has notice that the defendant has refused the performance of the agreement.
The Bench comprising of Justices Madan B. Lokur and R.K. Agrawal also held that, the High Court when it acts as First Appellate Court, has a duty to deal with all the issues and evidence led by the parties before recording its findings.
The High Court in this case, had reversed the finding of Trial Court and held that the Suit is barred for limitation. The High Court did not go into the merits of the dispute between the parties but only adverted to the issue oflimitation. The Plaintiff approached Apex Court.
On appeal, referring to Ahmadsahab Abdul MullaDead) v. Bibijan and Ors. and Rathnavathi and Another v. KavitaGanashamdas, the Apex Court observed: “a mere reading of Article 54 would show that if the date is fixed for the performance of an agreement, then non-compliance with the agreement on the date would give a cause of action to file a suit for specific performance within three years from the date so fixed. But when no such date is fixed, the limitation of three years would begin when the plaintiff has notice that the defendant has refused the performance of the agreement.”
In facts of the instant case, the Court observed that the agreement between GulabBai and Madina Begum did not specify a calendar date as the date fixed for the performance of the agreement.
The Court also referred to Vinod Kumar v. Gangadhar and Madhukar v. Sangram and observed that it is the duty of the High Court, when it acts as First Appellate Court, to deal with all the issues and evidence led by the parties before recording its findings.The Court further said: “In so far as the present appeal is concerned, the High Court only considered the issue of limitation and did not consider the other issues in the appeal. This was impermissible.”
Read the Judgment here.