Arvindbhai Kalyanji Bhanusali & Ors. – Respondent
Bench: Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice L. Nageswara Rao
A plot of agricultural land measuring approximately 8701 sq. meters in village Mota Varachha in Sub-district Surat was under restrictive tenure as per Section 73AA of the Land Revenue Code. As Plaintiff wanted to sell the land he filed an application before the Collector to take permission for selling the land to Respondent No.1. The application was dated 13 May 2008. It was clearly stated in the application that the property was non-irrigated and that Plaintiff was in no objection to selling the property to Respondent No.1.
The Collector after verification permitted the sale of the property on 19 June 2009. He fixed the selling price as per jantri issued by the Gujarat government which at that time was Rs. 2000/- per sq. mtr., which would make Rs. 1,74,02,000/-. The permission was granted on the terms and conditions of Section 73AA of the Land Revenue Code.
After this, the land was sold to Respondent No.1 and the sale deed was registered dated 02.07.2009. he issued 36 cheques for payment, and details of it were mentioned in the sale deed. Respondent No.1 subsequently sold the property to Respondent Nos. 2 and 3 and the sale deed was registered dated 01.04.2013. The property was sold for Rs. 2,01,00,000/-.
PLAINTIFF FILES THE SUIT
On 15.12.2014, Plaintiffs filed Special Civil Suit before the Principal Civil Judge, Surat against Respondent No. 1, and also for Respondent Nos. 2 and 3. It was prayed that the Sale Deed dated 02.07.2009 between the Plaintiff and Respondent No.1 should be declared illegal, void, ineffective, and not binding on any of the parties. The ground for cancellation of the deed was argued to be the non-payment of sale consideration fixed by the Collector. Only the part payment was made. Plaintiffs argued that since they were illiterate they had only put their thumb impression on the Sale deed and they had obtained only Rs. 40,000 through 6 cheques and the rest 30 cheques were Bogus cheques (A bogus check is dishonored because an account either contains insufficient funds or it does not exist). The Plaintiffs also prayed to declare the subsequent sale deed as illegal and requested Court to grant the possession of the property to Plaintiff.
Respondent Nos. 2 and 3 filed an Application for Rejection of the plaint under Order VII Rule 11 (a) and (d) of the CPC, contending that the suit filed by the Plaintiffs was barred by limitation and that no cause of action had been disclosed in the plaint. Further, it was contended that according to the rule sale deed should have been challenged within three years of registration. It was further said that Plaintiff with his will had participated in the proceedings before the Revenue Officer for transfer of the suit property.
Whether non-payment of the part of sale consideration is a ground for cancellation of registered sale deed?
TRIAL COURT PROCEEDINGS
The court carried out a detailed analysis of facts and documents. It was contended that Plaintiffs did not file an FIR, or suit or did not go for any proceedings if the cheques were not cashed even if they also failed to produce the returned cheques, their passbooks, bank statements, or any other document to support their averments in the plaint.
It was held by the court that the time period for filing the suit was three years from the registration date of the sale deed which is 02.07.2009. The suit should have been filed by 2012, i.e., within three years according to Articles 58 and 59 of the Limitation Act, 1963 but Plaintiff filed it on 15.12.2014. When the property was subsequently sold to Respondent Nos. 2 and 3, they issued public notice then also no objection was been raised by the Plaintiffs. It was held that the suit of the Plaintiffs was barred by limitation, and allowed the application under Order VII Rule 11(d) CPC.
GUJARAT HIGH COURT PROCEEDINGS
Aggrieved by the judgment of the Trial Court, Plaintiff filed the first appeal before High Court. The Division Bench of the High Court took note of the facts that Plaintiff for the five years during registration of Sale deeds between him and Respondent No.1 and then between Respondent No.1 and Respondent Nos. 2 and 3 had not raised any objections. The High Court rightly affirmed the findings of the Trial Court and held that the suit was barred by limitation since it was filed beyond the period of limitation of three years. It was also said that the suit could not even be continued for Respondent Nos. 2 and 3 as there was no privity of contract between the Plaintiff and them and also Plaintiff has raised no objection against them.
PROCEEDINGS AT SUPREME COURT
Aggrieved by the order of the High Court, the original Plaintiff went to Supreme Court. The Court referred to the case Vidyadhar v. Manikrao & Anr. Even if the whole price is paid or not and the document is registered after execution, the sale will be considered to be complete and the title will be validly transferred. Once the title of the property is transferred even if the part payment is not made it cannot be considered invalid on this ground.
It was said that even if the averments of Plaintiff if considered to be true that the entire consideration is unpaid, still it cannot be the ground to reject the sale deed. According to law Plaintiff would have prayed for some other remedies but canceling the deed cannot be done. the event of non-payment of the sale consideration occurred in 2009 and the plea by Plaintiff in 2014 is just to create an illusion. The plea raised is devoid of truth and is meritless. The act of Plaintiff not taking any action for five years shows that the institution of the present suit is an after-thought.
In view of the above, the present Civil Appeal was dismissed by the Court. The costs of Rs. 1,00,000/- were asked to be paid by the Appellant to Respondents 2 and 3, within a period of twelve weeks from the date of the Judgment.
ORDER VII RULE 11 CPC
According to this rule, the plaint shall be rejected when it does not discloses a cause of action or where the suit appears from the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law. This provision provides an independent and special remedy under which the Court can summarily dismiss a suit at the threshold, without recording evidence and conducting a trial on the basis of facts and evidence adduced if there exist reasonable grounds to believe that the suit should be terminated. The object behind making this provision was that the suit barred by limitation under Rule 11 (d) would not permit Plaintiff to unnecessarily protract the proceedings in the suit. It will save judicial time.
In the case, Azhar Hussain v. Rajiv Gandhi, it was held that any litigation which is meaningless and bound to prove to be abortive, should not be permitted to waste the judicial time of the court.
In the case Saleem Bhai v. the State of Maharashtra, it was held that at any stage of the suit, Court can exercise its power under this rule either before registering the plaint, or after issuing summons to the defendant, or before the conclusion of the trial and reject the plaint.