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SC: High Court interfering with concurrent findings of facts by two courts– unsustainable under S.10

Naresh & others v. Hemant & others, Civil Appeal No. 8859/2019 ,SLP No. 16697/2018 – 19th Nov, 2019

The bench consisting of Justice Ashok Bhushan & Justice Navin Sinha held that non possession of property does not raise estoppels for legal heirs to assert their rights on the property.

The Appellants are to be regarded as the original Respondents, while the respondents had the role of that of a plaintiff. The brief facts of this case are that the predecessors of both the plaintiffs as well as the defendants were brothers namely, Ramachandrarao Ingole & Trimbakarao Ingole. The two brothers partitioned amongst themselves in the year 1952. The suit property had been jointly purchased in the name of both of the brothers by a sale deed dated 29th March, 1957, with a house constructed in the year 1974-75, leaving substantial vacant lands.

Trimabakarao Ingole expired in the year 1980, while Ramachandrarao Ingole expired on 22nd March, 1995. The plaintiffs, who are the legal heirs of Ramachandrarao Ingole, relying upon the sale deed had filed a Special Civil Suit in 1995 to seek partition and possession of their half share in the suit property. The suit got dismissed at the Trial Court as they noticed the gap of 36 days between the preparations of the sale deed and its subsequent registration and held Ramachandrarao Ingole had retracted from his contribution & his status as a beneficiary or a vendee of the property.

Their plea got dismissed at the First Appeal too as the plaintiffs were unable to produce proofs that their father Ramachandrarao Ingole had funded or contributed his share of money to the purchase of the suit property. Nor were they able to prove or show solid evidence that at any time he had been a beneficiary of the purchase by residence or possession. There were only evidences to show that Trimbakarao had solely built the house with his own funds & had the exclusive possession of the property too & so Ramachandrarao Ingole was held not to be a vendee of the suit property.

The issue/ question of law raised is as to whether the legal heirs of Ramachandrarao Ingole in spite of non possession of the property have a claim over it or not

Provisions such as S.45 of the Transfer of Property Act & S.100 of the Civil Procedure Code were examined while the case came in the hands of the High Court, but they dismissed their plea since they held the opinion that their claim is erroneous and that the improper appreciation of evidence amounted to perversity which is completely unsustainable.

Petitioner’s learned counsel contended that the suit property was purchased in the name of their father Late Shri Ramachandrarao Ingole too & though they did not enjoy rights or incur liabilities on it due to lack of possession of the property, still they can claim and are entitled to half share of the suit property. They have a legal right to claim a share in the property

While on the other hand, the defendant’s learned counsel contended that since from the date of registration of property, i.e., from 3rd May, 1957, till his brother’s death, which is a quite long period of 38 years, Ramachandrarao Ingole did not claim nor during the gap of 15 years between his and his brother’s death, did Ramachandrarao Ingole claim. Plus there is no reliable evidence to show that the construction of the house on the land was done by joint family funds. The plaintiffs at any point of time never purchased, resided, enjoyed the benefits, incurred the liabilities or any expenditure or possessed the property.

When the case came in front of the Supreme Court, Cases such as Madamanchi Ramappa v. Muthaluru Bojappa & Gurdev Kaur and others v. Kaki and others were closely examined.

The court observed that the High Court might have held the opinion that inferences and conclusions on the evidence were erroneous and in that process the High Court had gravely erred by interfering with the concurrent findings on the facts by both of the Courts below while exercising powers under Section 100. Drawing another conclusion that ensures satisfaction cannot be held as a satisfactory justification for the High Court to interfere in this sort of manner.

The order of the High Court interfering with concurrent findings of facts by two courts is, therefore, held to be unsustainable in exercise of the powers under Section 100 of the Civil Procedure Code. The order of the High Court is consequently set aside.

Therefore based on the above observation, the order of the High Court interfering with the concurrent finding of facts by two courts is held to be unsustainable in the exercise of the powers under Section 100 of the Civil Procedure Code. The order which the High Court passed has been set aside by the Supreme Court. The orders of the Trial Court and the First Appellate Court are restored.

View/Download Judgment: Naresh & others v. Hemant & others

Nardhana Ram

– Photo: Sruthi R Manikam



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