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Questions of fact to be settled initially to avoid inefficient litigation between parties: SC

U.A. Basheer Thr. G.P.A. Holder v. State of Karnataka & Anr.

Civil Appeal No. 3032 of 2010

Decided on 17th February 2021

A division bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Vineet Saran decided upon this matter.

There were 5 properties that totally measured 3 acres and 11 cents, in Ullal village; this land was entitled to two sisters, one of them had 3 children and the other had 7 children. After the death of the two sisters, Smt. Korapal Sapalyathi and Smt. Nemu Sapalyathi, the children were benefitted through a partition deed dated 9.01.1984. This deed distributed the property to all the 10 children in the family. After the enactment of the Urban Lands Act, the property which was acquired by one of the sons, Padmanabha, was ordered to surrender the excess land of 9489.48 sq. mts.

It came to notice that a sale deed was executed before this wherein the appellant party bought the part of the excess land which comprises of an old house D. No. 20-6. The appellant took possession of that property from the day of purchase and has been in that place till date. He also got this property under his name in RTC. It came to appellant’s notice, when he planned to renovate the house and in the RTC, that it was the Government’s name instead of his. He then appealed to the authority praying for his name back on the RTC List under Section 4 and Section 5 of the Urban Lands Act. The appeal was being rejected by the Authority.

The Appellant therein filed a Writ Petition in the High Court, Writ Petition No. 35449/2001. This was dismissed by the High Court and later, the appellant filed a Writ Appeal to the Division Bench of the High Court, which was also dismissed by the order dated 26.03.2009. The Appellant then appealed to the Supreme Court.

The learned Counsel of the Appellant submitted that the Competent Authority erred in concluding that the declarant Padmanabha owns excess property while, in reality, Survey No. 53/3A belongs to the Appellant's vendor, Leela Sapalyathi; that the appellant or his vendor have not been informed of the land proceeding by the authority. It was submitted that the directions issued by the Competent Authority under the Principal Act had been suspended because neither fee nor custody has been paid or taken on the date of the Repeal Act's enactment, i.e. on 8.07.1999.

The learned Counsel of the Respondent Party submitted that on the basis of Padmanabha's declaration filed under Section 6(1) of the Principal Act on 15.06.1984, an area of 0.57 acre in Survey No. 53/3A and 0.7134% in Survey No. 53/3B2 of Ullal Village has been proclaimed excess under Section 10(3) of the Principal Act, and that the suit property vests in the Government free of all encumbrances after the issuance of a notice under Section 10(3) of the Principal Act. It was contended that at all times, proper warnings were sent to the declarant and hence, the Appellant has no legal claim to the surplus property.

The Court heard the Counsels for both parties.

The Court stated:

In our considered opinion, since it is an admitted fact that the partition, if any, was only effected after the Principal Act’s commencement, the Division Bench was correct in holding that the partition deed dated 9.01.1984 would not affect the validity of the Competent Authority’s determination of excess land owned by the joint family at the time of commencement of the Act. Hence, to this limited extent, we concur with the findings of the Division Bench. (Para 13)

The Court stated that there was nothing on record to establish Appellant’s purchase of, possession of, or interest in the suit property.

The Court set aside the impugned judgment of the High Court. It stated:

It was incumbent on the Division Bench to enquire into and settle the questions of fact arising from the present controversy, such as whether the Appellant’s claim over the suit property was valid, whether he was in actual physical possession of the suit property, and resultantly, whether he had the locus standi to pray for abatement of the proceedings under the Repeal Act. This would have settled finally the question of abatement of the proceedings, and prevented the inefficient proliferation of further litigation between the parties. (Para 19)

The Court held:

Instead, we direct the matter to be remitted to the Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court to consider the case afresh. All questions of fact outlined above are to remain open, and the parties are given liberty to place on record additional evidence not made a part of the proceedings heretofore. (Para 21)

Yashwardhan Bansal



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