Civil court has no jurisdiction to interfere with acquisition of land

Forum for judicial review of Land Acquisition:

Section 9 of CPC exclude jurisdiction of Civil Court:

Futile attempts have been made by respondent no. 4 only to see that the allottees are harassed and to keep the litigation pending. After the final notification, an award was passed and compensation was deposited. Possession was taken and the same was evidenced by the Panchanama prepared as far back as 23.09.1986. Notification under Section 16(2) of the Land Acquisition Act was issued on 20.01.1987 disclosing the factum of taking possession of the land in question. Attempt made by respondent no. 4 for getting the disputed land de-notified has also failed as far back as 15.01.1993, when the State Government has rejected the representation of respondent no. 4 seeking de-notification. The writ petition filed by respondent no. 4 challenging such order of dismissal of the representation was also dismissed. Despite the same, respondent no. 4 is pursuing the matter by filing writ petition after writ petition. It is a clear case of abuse of process of law as well as the Court.

Abuse of process of Court:

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Eviction under Delhi Rent Act.

Delhi Rent Act to prevail upon NDMC Act.

Effect of arrears of House tax:

The question is whether non-payment of property tax recoverable from the tenant as rent can be a ground for his eviction/ejectment from the premises. The Rent Act is beneficial and also restrictive in nature. It is primarily an Act to provide for the control of rents and evictions. It is settled that while interpreting the provisions of this Act, the Courts are under a legal compulsion to harmoniously read the provisions of the Act so as to balance the rights of the landlord and the obligations of the tenant towards each other, keeping in mind that one of the objects of the legislature while enacting the Rent Act was to curb the tendency of the greedy landlords to throw out the tenants paying lower rent and to rent out the premises at the market rate.

Delhi Rent Act:

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Contradictory defence of tenancy and adverse possession in a suit for possession

Pleading and Proof:

Plea of being tenant raised for the first time in second appeal:

First, the respondent (defendant) had not raised such plea in his written statement. In other words, the respondent did not set up such defense in the written statement.

Second, the Trial Court, therefore, had no occasion to frame any issue on such plea for want of any factual foundation in the written statement.

Third, the Trial Court and First Appellate Court, in these circumstances, had no occasion to record any finding on this plea either way.

Fourth, in the light of these three reasonings, the High Court ought to have seen that such plea really did not arise for consideration because in order that any question is involved in the case, the party concerned should lay its factual foundation in the pleading and invite finding on such plea. Continue reading “Contradictory defence of tenancy and adverse possession in a suit for possession”

Remand of suit for retrial due to mistrial

What constituted Mistrial of suit?

In our considered opinion, the need to remand the aforementioned two LGCs to the Special Court is considered necessary due to the following reasons:

Non-consolidation of identical suits:

First, we find that the trial of the two cases before the Special Court was not satisfactory inasmuch as when admittedly two LGCs (41/1994 and 50/2004) arising between the same parties and in relation to the same piece of suit land were filed for grant of identical reliefs under the Act then, in our view, both the cases should have been clubbed together for their disposal on merits in accordance with law to avoid any conflicting decision in both the cases.

It was more so when both the cases were capable of being clubbed together because both were pending though filed one after the other, neither the parties nor the Courts below took note of this with the result, the same resulted in passing two conflicting orders – one was decreed and the other suffered dismissal. This recourse adopted by the Court below caused prejudice to the parties and, especially, to the party who lost the case. Continue reading “Remand of suit for retrial due to mistrial”

Unauthorised Construction and Rule of Law

Demolition of unauthorised construction

The High Court has directed dismantling of the whole project and for restoration of the park to its original condition. This Court in numerous decisions has held that no consideration should be shown to the builder or any other person where construction is unauthorised. This dicta is now almost bordering the rule of law. Stress was laid by the appellant and the prospective allottees of the shops to exercise judicial discretion in moulding the relief. Such discretion cannot be exercised which encourages illegality or perpetuates an illegality. Unauthorised construction, if it is illegal and cannot be compounded, has to be demolished. There is no way out. Judicial discretion cannot be guided by expediency. Courts are not free from statutory fetters. Justice is to be rendered in accordance with law. Judges are not entitled to exercise discretion wearing the robes of judicial discretion and pass orders based solely on their personal predilections and peculiar dispositions. Judicial discretion the wherever it is required to be exercised has to be in accordance with law and set legal principles.
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Limitation for revocation of Probate is three years

Application of Limitation Act to Probate Proceedings

Court in Kerala State Electricity Board, Trivandrum v. T.P. Kunhaliumma, AIR 1997 SC 282 has held that any application under any Act, including a Writ Petition under any Special Act will fall under within Article 137 of the Limitation Act and have a limitation period of three years.

“22. The changed definition of the words “applicant” and “application” contained in Section 2(a) and 2(b) of the 1963 Limitation Act indicates the object of the Limitation Act to include petitions, original or otherwise, under special laws. The interpretation which was given to Article 181 of the 1908 Limitation Act on the principle of ejusdem generis is not applicable with regard to Article 137 of the 1963 Limitation Act. Article 137 stands in isolation from all other Articles in Part I of the third division. This Court in Nityanada Joshi’s case (supra) has rightly thrown doubt on the two Judge Bench decision of this Court in Athani Municipal Council case (supra) where this Court construed Article 137 to be referable to applications under the Civil Procedure Code. Article 137 includes petitions within the word “applications.”

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Relief of declaration without specific performance if maintainable

Can a suit for declaration be filed without seeking specific performance of agreement?

Right under agreement to sell

The appellant had no title to the suit land. All that he had claimed to possess in relation to the suit land was an agreement dated 24.04.1980 to purchase the suit land from its owner (Shri Ved Prakash Kakaria). The appellant, as mentioned above, failed to prove the agreement. In this view of the matter, the appellant had no prima facie case in his favour to file a suit nor he had even any locus to file the suit in relation to the suit land once the agreement was held not proved.

Specific performance is proper remedy

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Tort: Compensation for death

Principles for determination of Compensation for death:

Loss of estate, loss of consortium and funeral expenses:

The conventional and traditional heads, needless to say, cannot be determined on percentage basis because that would not be an acceptable criterion. Unlike determination of income, the said heads have to be quantified. Any quantification must have a reasonable foundation. There can be no dispute over the fact that price index, fall in bank interest, escalation of rates in many a field have to be noticed. The court cannot remain oblivious to the same. There has been a thumb rule in this aspect. Otherwise, there will be extreme difficulty in determination of the same and unless the thumb rule is applied, there will be immense variation lacking any kind of consistency as a consequence of which, the orders passed by the tribunals and courts are likely to be unguided. Therefore, we think it seemly to fix reasonable sums. It seems to us that reasonable figures on conventional heads, namely, loss of estate, loss of consortium and funeral expenses should be Rs. 15,000/-, Rs. 40,000/- and Rs. 15,000/- respectively. The principle of revisiting the said heads is an acceptable principle. But the revisit should not be fact-centric or quantum-centric. We think that it would be condign that the amount that we have quantified should be enhanced on percentage basis in every three years and the enhancement should be at the rate of 10% in a span of three years.

Just Compensation:

Section 168 of the MV Act deals with the concept of “just compensation” and the same has to be determined on the foundation of fairness, reasonableness and equitability on acceptable legal standard because such determination can never be in arithmetical exactitude. It can never be perfect. The aim is to achieve an acceptable degree of proximity to arithmetical precision on the basis of materials brought on record in an individual case. The conception of “just compensation” has to be viewed through the prism of fairness, reasonableness and non- violation of the principle of equitability. Continue reading “Tort: Compensation for death”

Court fee in a suit for possession of agricultural land converted to urban use

Court fee in a suit for partition in Maharashtra.

Section 6(v) and (vii) of the Bombay Court Fees Act, 1959 is as under:

“(6) Computation of fees payable in certain suits – The amount of fee payable under this Act in the suits next hereinafter mentioned shall be computed as follow:

(i) to (iv) xxx xxx xxx

(v) For the possession of land, houses and gardens – In suits for the possession of land, houses and gardens —
according to the value of the subject-matter; and such value shall be deemed to be where the subject-matter is a house or garden — according to the market value of the house or garden and where the subject-matter is land and –

(a) where the land is held on settlement for a period not exceeding thirty years and pays the full assessment to Government — a sum equal to forty times the survey assessment;

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Admiralty Jurisdiction of High Courts in India

Power to arrest a ship docked on ports of India:

Powers of High Courts:

In the absence of any statute in India comparable to the English statutes on admiralty jurisdiction, there is no reason why the words `damage caused by a ship’ appearing in section 443 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 should be so narrowly construed as to limit them to physical damage and exclude any other damage arising by reason of the operation of the vessel in connection with the carriage of goods. The expression is wide enough to include all maritime questions or claims. If goods or other property are lost or damaged, whether by physical contact or otherwise, by reason of unauthorised acts or negligent conduct on the part of the shipowner or his agents or servants, wherever the cause of action has arisen, or wherever the ship is registered, or wherever the owner has his residence or domicile or place of business, such a ship, at the request of the person aggrieved, is liable to be detained when found within Indian jurisdiction by recourse to sections 443 and 444 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 read with the appropriate rules of practice and procedure of the High Court. These procedural provisions are but tools for enforcement of substantive rights which are rooted in general principles of law, apart from statutes, and for the enforcement of which a party aggrieved has a right to invoke the inherent jurisdiction of a superior court. Continue reading “Admiralty Jurisdiction of High Courts in India”