A person who expires has either made a ‘will’ or died ‘intestate’.

In case a person has made a ‘will’, it should be submitted for Probate after his death.

A probate means a copy of the Will, certified under the seal of a competent Court with a grant of administration of the estate to the executor of the testator. It is the official evidence of an executor’s authority. A probate granted by a competent court is conclusive evidence of the validity of a Will until it is revoked and no evidence can be admitted to impeach it except in a proceeding to revoke the probate.

In case a person dies ‘intestate’, then all the legal heirs have to apply to a competent court for a ‘Succession Certificate’ so that his property can be devolved upon his successors

What is succession Certificate:

A succession certificate is issued by a civil court to the legal heirs of a deceased person. If a person dies without leaving a will, a succession certificate can be granted by the court to realise the debts and securities of the deceased. It establishes the authenticity of the heirs and gives them the authority to have securities and other assets transferred in their names as well as inherit debts. It is issued as per the applicable laws of inheritance on an application made by a beneficiary to a court of competent jurisdiction. A succession certificate is necessary, but not always sufficient, to release the assets of the deceased. For these, a death certificate, letter of administration and no-objection certificates will be needed.

Section 372 in The Indian Succession Act, 1925
372 Application for certificate. —
(1) Application for such a certificate shall be made to the District Judge by a petition signed and verified by or on behalf of the applicant in the manner prescribed by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) for the signing and verification of a plaint by or on behalf of a plaintiff, and setting forth the following particulars, namely:—

(a) the time of the death of the deceased;
(b) the ordinary residence of the deceased at the time of his death and, if such residence was not within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the Judge to whom the application is made, then the property of the deceased within those limits;
(c) the family or other near relatives of the deceased and their respective residences;
(d) the right in which the petitioner claims;
(e) the absence of any impediment under section 370 or under any other provision of this Act or any other enactment, to the grant of the certificate or to the validity thereof if it were granted; and
(f) the debts and securities in respect of which the certificate is applied for.
(2) If the petition contains any averment which the person verifying it knows or believes to be false, or does not believe to be true, that person shall be deemed to have committed an offence under section 198 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (45 of 1860).
 [(3) Application for such a certificate may be made in respect of any debt or debts due to the deceased creditor or in respect of portions thereof.]
What is the meaning of Probate of Will in India.

A Probate is a document that certifies that the copy of the Will (including Codicils, if there are any) that is attached to it, has been proved in the relevant court. A Probate is issued under a seal of the Court. A Probate can be granted by the Court only to the Executor (ie the person who will implement or execute the Will after its maker’s death). The legal effect of the grant of a Probate is that it establishes the legal character of the Executor to implement the Will and to the validity of the Will. For example if a person appointed as the Executor, transfers certain shares of a company to another person as per the Will, then the company whose shares are being transferred can ask for the status of the Executor, since on their record, the owner is another person. In such a case the Probate establishes the Executor’s right to apply for the transfer of the shares since the owner has died and that the Will is valid.

Section 276 in The Indian Succession Act, 1925
276. Petition for probate.—
(1) Application for probate or for letters of administration, with the Will annexed, shall be made by a petition distinctly written in English or in the language in ordinary use in proceedings before the Court in which the application is made, with the Will or, in the cases mentioned in sections 237, 238 and 239, a copy, draft, or statement of the contents thereof, annexed, and stating—

(a) the time of the testator’s death,
(b) that the writing annexed is his last Will and testament,
(c) that it was duly executed,
(d) the amount of assets which are likely to come to the petitioner’s hands, and
(e) when the application is for probate, that the petitioner is the executor named in the Will.
(2) In addition to these particulars, the petition shall further state,—

(a) when the application is to the District Judge, that the deceased at the time of his death had a fixed place of abode, or had some property, situate within the jurisdiction of the Judge; and
(b) when the application is to a District Delegate, that the deceased at the time of his death had a fixed place of abode within the jurisdiction of such Delegate.
(3) Where the application is to the District Judge and any portion of the assets likely to come to the petitioner’s hands is situate in another State, the petition shall further state the amount of such assets in each State and the District Judges within whose jurisdiction such assets are situate.

 

 

Q :When Probate can be grant and to whom

Ans : can be granted when deceased had died appointing a executor in the will.

Q:When can  a letter of administration can be granted and  when:

Ans;1- deceased had died intestate.

2- the deceased has made a will, but has not appointed an executor.

The relevant sections of Indian succession act:

222. Probate only to appointed executor.- (1) Probate shall be granted only to an executor appointed by the will.

(2) The appointment may be expressed or by necessary implication.

Illustrations

(i) A wills that C be his executor if B will not. B is appointed executor by implication.

(ii) A gives a legacy to B and several legacies to other persons, among the rest to his daughter-in-law C, and adds “but should the within-named C be not living I do constitute and appoint B my whole and sole executrix”. C is appointed executrix by implication.

(iii) A appoints several persons executors of his will and codicils and his nephew residuary legatee, and in another codicil are these words,–“I appoint my nephew my residuary legatee to discharge all lawful demands against my will and codicils signed of different dates”. The nephew is appointed an executor by implication. 

218. To whom administration may be granted, where deceased is a Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist, Sikh, Jaina or exempted person.- (1) If the deceased has died intestate and was a Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist, Sikh or Jaina or an exempted person, administration of his estate may be granted to any person who, according to the rules for the distribution of the estate applicable in the case of such deceased, would be entitled to the whole or any part of such deceased’s estate.

(2) When several such persons apply for such administration, it shall be in the discretion of the Court to grant it to any one or more of them.

(3) When no such person applies, it may be granted to a creditor of the deceased.

232. Grant of administration to universal or residuary legatees.- When–

(a) the deceased has made a will, but has not appointed an executor, or

(b) the deceased has appointed an executor who is legally incapable or refuses to act, or who has died before the testator or before he has proved the will, or

(c) the executor dies after having proved the will, but before he has administered all the estate of the deceased, an universal or a residuary legatee may be admitted to prove the will, and letters of administration with the will annexed may be granted to him of the whole estate, or of so much thereof as may be unadministered.

The Indian Succession Act 1925.

To whom administration may be granted, where deceased is a Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist, Sikh, Jaina or exempted person.- (1) If the deceased has died intestate and was a Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist, Sikh or Jaina or an exempted person, administration of his estate may be granted to any person who, according to the rules for the distribution of the estate applicable in the case of such deceased, would be entitled to the whole or any part of such deceased’s estate.

(2) When several such persons apply for such administration, it shall be in the discretion of the Court to grant it to any one or more of them.

(3) When no such person applies, it may be granted to a creditor of the deceased.

Where deceased is not a Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist, Sikh, Jaina or exempted person.- If the deceased has died intestate and was not a person belonging to any of the classes referred to in section 218, those who are connected with him, either by marriage or by consanguinity, are entitled to obtain letters of administration of his estate and effects in the order and according to the rules hereinafter stated, namely:–

(a) If the deceased has left a widow, administration shall be granted to the widow, unless the Court sees cause to exclude her, either on the ground of some personal disqualification, or because she has no interest in the estate of the deceased.

Illustrations

(i) The widow is a lunatic or has committed adultery or has been barred by her marriage settlement of all interest in her husband’s estate. There is cause for excluding her from the administration.

(ii) The widow has married again since the decease of her husband. This is not good cause for her exclusion.

(b) If the Judge thinks proper, he may associate any person or persons with the widow in the administration who would be entitled solely to the administration if there were no widow.

(c) If there is no widow, or if the Court sees cause to exclude the widow, it shall commit the administration to the person or persons who would be beneficially entitled to the estate according to the rules for the distribution of an intestate’s estate:

Provided that, when the mother of the deceased is one of the class of persons so entitled, she shall be solely entitled to administration.

(d) Those who stand in equal degree of kindred to the deceased are equally entitled to administration.

(e) The husband surviving his wife has the same right of administration of her estate as the widow has in respect of the estate of her husband.

(f) When there is no person connected with the deceased by marriage or consanguinity who is entitled to letters of administration and willing to act, they may be granted to a creditor.

(g) Where the deceased has left property in India, letters of administration shall be granted according to the foregoing rules, notwithstanding that he had his domicile in a country in which the law relating to testate and intestate succession differs from the law of India.

Probate only to appointed executor.- (1) Probate shall be granted only to an executor appointed by the will.

(2) The appointment may be expressed or by necessary implication.

Illustrations

(i) A wills that C be his executor if B will not. B is appointed executor by implication.

(ii) A gives a legacy to B and several legacies to other persons, among the rest to his daughter-in-law C, and adds “but should the within-named C be not living I do constitute and appoint B my whole and sole executrix”. C is appointed executrix by implication.

(iii) A appoints several persons executors of his will and codicils and his nephew residuary legatee, and in another codicil are these words,–“I appoint my nephew my residuary legatee to discharge all lawful demands against my will and codicils signed of different dates”. The nephew is appointed an executor by implication.

Persons to whom probate cannot be granted.- Probate cannot be granted to any person who is a minor or is of unsound mind nor to any association of individuals unless it is a company which satisfies the conditions prescribed by rules to be made, by notification in the Official Gazette by the State Government in this behalf.

Administration, with copy annexed, of authenticated copy of will proved abroad.- When a will has been proved and deposited in a Court of competent jurisdiction situated beyond the limits of the State, whether within or beyond the limits of India, and a roperly authenticated copy of the will is produced, letters of dministration may be granted with a copy of such copy annexed.

Conclusiveness of application for probate or administration if properly made and verified.- The application for probate or letters of administration, if made and verified in the manner hereinafter provided, shall be conclusive for the purpose of authorising the grant of probate or administration; and no such grant shall be impeached by reason only that the testator or intestate had no fixed place of abode or no property within the district at the time of his death, unless by a proceeding to revoke the grant if obtained by a fraud upon the Court.

Petition for probate.- (1) Application for probate or for letters of administration, with the will annexed, shall be made by a petition distinctly written in English or in the language in ordinary use in proceedings before the Court in which the application is made, with the will or, in the cases mentioned in sections 237, 238 and 239, a copy, draft, or statement of the contents thereof, annexed, and stating–

(a) the time of the testator’s death.

(b) that the writing annexed is his last will and testament,

(c) that it was duly executed,

(d) the amount of assets which are likely to come to the petitioner’s hands, and

(e) when the application is for probate, that the petitioner is the executor named in the will.

(2) In addition to these particulars, the petition shall further state,–

(a) when the application is to the District Judge, that the deceased at the time of his death had a fixed place of abode, or had some property, situate within the jurisdiction of the Judge; and

(b) when the application is to a District Delegate, that the deceased at the time of his death had a fixed place of abode within the jurisdiction of such Delegate.

(3) Where the application is to the District Judge and any portion of the assets likely to come to the petitioner’s hands is situate in another State, the petition shall further state the amount of such assets in each State and the District Judges within whose jurisdiction such assets are situate.

Petition for letters of administration.- (1) Application for letters of administration shall be made by petition distinctly written as aforesaid and stating–

(a) the time and place of the destator’s death;

(b) the family or other relatives of the deceased, and their respective residences;

(c) the right in which the petitioner claims;

(d) the amount of assets which are likely to come to the petitioner’s hands;

(e) when the application is to the District Judge, that the deceased at the time of his death had a fixed place of abode, or had some property, situate within the jurisdiction of the Judge; and

(f) when the application is to a District Delegate, that the deceased at the time of his death had a fixed place of abode within the jurisdiction of such Delegate.

(2) Where the application is to the District Judge and any portion of the assets likely to come to the petitioner’s hands is situate in another State, the petition shall further state the amount of such assets in each State and the District Judges within whose jurisdiction such assets are situate.

The Hon’ble  Court considered the issue as to whether relief not asked for by a party could be granted and that too without having proper pleadings. The Court held as under:

“It is well settled that the decision of a case cannot be based on grounds outside the pleadings of the parties and it is the case pleaded that has to be found. Without an amendment of the plaint, the Court was not entitled to grant the relief not asked for and no prayer was ever made to amend the plaint so as to incorporate in it an alternative case.”

———————————————————————–

Supreme Court of India
Trojan & Co. Ltd vs Rm. N. N. Nagappa Chettiar on 20 March, 1953
Equivalent citations: 1953 AIR 235, 1953 SCR 780
Author: M C Mahajan
Bench: Mahajan, Mehr Chand
           PETITIONER:
TROJAN & CO.  LTD.

	Vs.

RESPONDENT:
RM. N. N. NAGAPPA CHETTIAR.

DATE OF JUDGMENT:
20/03/1953

BENCH:
MAHAJAN, MEHR CHAND
BENCH:
MAHAJAN, MEHR CHAND
DAS, SUDHI RANJAN

CITATION:
 1953 AIR  235		  1953 SCR  780
 CITATOR INFO :
 R	    1964 SC 136	 (11)
 R	    1966 SC 735	 (8)
 R	    1977 SC 890	 (8)
 D	    1980 SC 727	 (11)


ACT:
Contract-Damages-Sale  of   shares-Sale	 induced  by  fraud-
Measure of damages-Difference between price paid and  market
price  on  date of sale-Fluctuations of	 market	 and  sudden
closure	 of Stock Exchange, effect of--Interest on  damages-
Practice-Conflict  between  pleadings  and  proof-Decree  on
alternative claim not set up in plaint-Legality.



HEADNOTE:
   Where a person is induced to purchase shares at a certain
price  by fraud the measure of damages which he is  entitled
to  recover  from the seller is the difference	between	 the
price which he paid for the shares and the real price of the
shares	on  the	 date on which the  shares  were  purchased.
Ordinarily  the market rate of the shares on the  date	when
the fraud was practised would represent their real price  in
the  absence  of any other circumstance.  If,  however,	 the
market was vitiated or was in a state of flux or
790
panic in consequence of the very fact that was	fraudulently
concealed,  then  the  real value of the shares	 has  to  be
determined on a Consideration of a variety of circumstances,
disclosed by the violence led by the parties.
  A firm of sharebrokers sold 3,000 shares to the  plaintiff
who  was a constituent of the firm, on the 5th April,  1937,
at  Rs. 77 and Rs. 77-4as, per share without  disclosing  to
the plaintiff the fact that the shares were owned by one  of
the  partners  of the firm and also the fact that  they	 had
received telephonic information on that day from a member of
the  Stock  Exchange  that there was going  to	be  a  sharp
decline	 in the price of the shares.  On the 6th  April	 the
Stock  Exchange Association passed a resolution for  closing
the Exchange on the 8th and 9th April.	The plaintiff had to
sell  2,000 shares through the defendants on the 20th  April
at Rs. 47 to Rs. 42 per share, and 1,000 shares on the	22nd
April  at Rs. 428as.  The High Court awarded the  difference
between	 the  price  paid by the plaintiff  and	 the  prices
fetched on resale as damages.  On appeal,
  Held,	 that the prices received at the resale on the	20th
and  22nd  April could not represent the true value  of	 the
shares	 on   the  5th	April.	 The   real   question	 for
determination  was what the market value would have been  on
the 5th April of these shares if all the buyers and  sellers
know that the Stock Exchange was to be closed on the 8th and
9th April.
  Held also that the plaintiff was entitled to get  interest
on the amount awarded as damages from the 5th April till the
date  of suit on the principle that where money is  obtained
or  retained by fraud a court of equity will order it to  be
returned with interest.
 Johnson v. Rex ([1904] A.C. 817) referred to.
  It  is well settled that the decision of a case cannot  be
'based	on grounds outside the pleadings of the parties	 and
that it is the case pleaded that has to be found.  Where the
plaintiff based his claim for a certain sum of money on	 the
ground that the defendants had sold certain shares belonging
to  him	 without his instructions, but he was  not  able  to
prove  that  the  sale	was not	 authorised  by	 him:  Held,
reversing the decision of the High Court, that the plaintiff
could  not  be	given a decree for the sum  claimed  on	 the
ground of failure of consideration, as he had not set up any
such  alternative  claim in the plaint or even	at  a  later
stage when he sought to amend the plaint.



JUDGMENT:

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No..139 of 1962. Appeal from the Judgment and Decree dated the 17th March, 1950, of the High Court of Judicature at Madras (Horwill and Balakrishna Ayyar JJ.) in O.S.A. No. 34 of 1947, arising out of the Judgment and Decree dated the 18th April, 1947, of the said High Court (Clark J.) in the exercise of the Ordinary Original Civil Jurisdiction of the High Court in C. S. No. 208 of 1940.

V. Rangachari (K. Mangachary, with him) for the appellant.

K. Krishnaswami Iyengar (K. Parasuram, with him) for the respondent.

1953. March 20. The Judgment of the Court was delivered by MAHAJAN J.-The dispute in this appeal is between a constituent and a firm of stock-brokers. Some time before April, 1936, the plaintiff, then a young man, came into possession of property worth about 2 lakhs of rupees on a partition between him and his brothers. In the hope of getting rich by obtaining quick dividends by speculating on the stock-exchange be, through the defendant firm and certain other stockholders, entered into a series of speculative transactions and it seems he did not fare badly in the beginning. But subsequent events tell a different tale.

In 1937, two iron and steel companies in North India, vie., Indian Iron & Steel Co. Ltd., and the Bengal Iron & Steel Co. Ltd., merged into one concern and a new issue of shares was made. The scheme was that for every five shares which a person held in the Indian Iron Co. Ltd. on 22nd April, 1937, one fully paid up share would be given to him at a price of Rs. 25. The market price at the time this scheme was announced was about Rs. 55 per share. A wave of speculation followed this announcement and there was a boom in the market. Prices of Indian Iron shares were going up to unreal heights. To stabilize the situation thus created by heavy speculation, three members of the Committee of the Calcutta Stock Exchange presented a petition to the Committee on 5th April, 1937, to close the Calcutta Stock Exchange for a while. On the same evening plaintiff’s stockbroker Annamalai Chettiar, who was carrying on business in firm name Trojan & Co., had telephonic conversation with one Ramdev Chokani, a member of the Calcutta Stock Exchange, on this subject and from this conversation he gathered that a sharp fall in the prices of Indian Irons was likely. At that time Annamalai Chettiar had on his bands some 5,000 of these shares. Shortly after this conversation and after business hours the same night, between the hours of 7-30 and 8-30, Annamalai Chettiar rang up the plaintiff and suggested to him that it would be a good thing for him to buy these shares. The youthful plaintiff in his anxiety to got rich quickly accepted the suggestion and purchased these shares, some at Rs. 77 and others at Rs. 77-4-0. Another firm of brokers, Ramlal & Co., had also in their hands another 4,000 of these shares. They too found in the plaintiff a ready buyer. They also contacted him on the phone after Annamalai had done so, and sold him 4,000 shares that they held. Out of the lot which the plaintiff purchased from the defendants he sold 1,300 shares to Ramanathan Chetti at cost price. On the 6th April the Committee of the Calcutta Stock Exchange Association passed a resolution closing the Stock Exchange on the 8th and 9th April.

From the 6th April onwards the market sagged and the prices came down, at first gradually and then literally at a, run. The result of it was that the plaintiff had to sell at a very heavy loss.

The defendants made demands on the plaintiff for the price of those shares. Between 5th April and 20th April, 1937, he made payments to defendants of various amounts totalling Rs. 60,000. A lot of 700 shares was sold by the plaintiff to Pilani & Co. and on 19th April, 1937, he instructed the defendants.for sale of the remaining 3,000 shares at the best price obtainable. The defendants sold 2,000 shares on 20th April, 1937, for prices ranging between Rs. 47-4-0 toRs.44-12-0 per share. The remaining 1,000 shares were sold by him through Messrs. Ramlal & Co. at Rs. 42-8-0 per share on 22nd April, 1937. The result of it was that on 22nd May, 1937, when the accounts between the plaintiff and the defendants were settled it was found that plaintiff was heavily indebted to them in the sum of Rs. 51,712-7-0 and the credit balance of Rs. 64,000 that he had with the defendants at the end of March, 1937, had been wiped off. For the amount found due he passed a promissory note in favour of defendants, Exhibit P-33. After giving credit for payments received on the promissory note the defendants filed a suit against him (O.S. 150 of 1937) on the Original Side of the Madras High Court and obtained an ex-parte interim order for attachment before judgment and attached plaintiff’s movable and immovable properties at Madras, and also at Kottaiyur in Ramnad district. Owing to the attachment proceedings the firm of Ramlal & Co. filed a petition for adjudication of the plaintiff as an insolvent. On 22nd September, 1937, Trojan & Co. also filed a petition for the same relief. An order adjudicating the plaintiff an insolvent was made by the High Court on 5th October, 1937, on the petition of Ramlal & Co.

In the course of the insolvency proceedings defendants tendered proof of their claim on the promissory note, Exhibit P-33. The Official Assignee having acquired knowledge about the telephonic conversation that had passed between Annamalai Chettiar and Ramdev Chokani on the evening of the 5th April, 1937, came to the conclusion that the insolvent had been a victim of a fraud perpetrated by the defendants and dismissed their claim. Defendants-firm was guilty of fraud both in respect of the failure to disclose the fact that the Indian Iron shares or most of them be- longed to one of its partners, Annamalai Chettiar, and also on account of the failure on its part to disclose its knowledge of the likelihood of a slump in the market because of the notice given by its members to close the Stock Exchange.

On an application made to the High Court against the order of the Official Assignee it was set aside by Mockett J. and he directed that the claim of the defendants be disposed of on a court motion, the claim being heard as if it were a suit. In pursuance of this direction Trojan and Co. on 29th September, 1938, filed an application in the High Court, No. 313 of 1938. The Official Assignee representing the estate of the plaintiff denied its liability on the promissory note on the ground of fraud. On 15th March, 1940, Somayya J. dismissed the claim of the defendants. He held the defendants-firm guilty of fraud in both respects. From this there was an appeal which was dismissed on 12th August, 1942. The defendants applied for leave to appeal to His Majesty in Council but leave wag refused. Defendants then applied to the Privy Council for special leave and that application was also dismissed some time in October, 1943.. On the 28th September, 1940, when the appeal from the decision of Somayya J. was still pending, the Official Assignee as representing the estate of the plaintiff filed the suit out of which this appeal arises against Trojan & Co. for an account of the transactions between himself as principal and the defendants as agents and claiming damages for loss sustained by him and for various other reliefs. The suit embraced in particular claims in respect of four transactions. The first related to the 5,000 Indian Iron shares. The second referred to a transaction of Associated Cements. On 22nd March,1937, the plaintiff had sold through the defendants 5O shares in Associated Cements at Rs.180-8-0 per share. On 30th March, 1937, he had similarly sold a further 200 shares in Associated Cements at Rs. 183 per share. The plaintiff did not have on hand even a single share in Associated Cements. It became necessary for him therefore to “cover the sales”. On 21st July, 1937, defendants purchased on plaintiff’s account 100 shares at Rs. 161-12-0 per share. On 1st September, 1937, they purchased a further 150 shares at Rs. 151 a share. The difference between the prices at which these shares had been sold and bought amounted to Rs. 6,762- 8-0 and for this amount the defendants gave the plaintiff credit by adjusting it towards the promissory note account. In respect of this transaction the case of the Official Assignee was that the purchase which had been made by the defendants was not only unauthorized, but contrary to instructions and was not valid and binding on the plaintiff as it had been made after the commencement of the insolvency. No claim was made in the alternative that if this contention failed, the plaintiff was entitled to recover the amount credited towards the promissory note on the ground of failure of consideration. The third transaction related to 300 shares in Tatas, and the fourth one was in respect of shares in Ayer Mani Rubber Co. The last claim was abandoned at the trial and the claim on the third transaction was decreed in favour of the plaintiff and the correctness of the order of the trial judge was not canvassed in the appeal before the High Court. The amount decreed as regards these 300 shares was in the sum of Rs. 1,050.

The defendants denied liability for the entire claim and pleaded that they were not guilty of any fraud and that in any case the plaintiff was not entitled to claim any damage, as he could have easily sold away all his shares soon after his purchase without incurring any loss, and that he retained them in order to make profit.

The suit was first heard by Bell J. who decreed the claim of the plaintiff on 9th March, 1943. The defendants appealed. The appellate court set aside the decision of Bell J. and ‘remanded the suit for fresh disposal on 26th August, 1944. Meantime, that is to say, on 21st February, 1944, the adjudication of the plaintiff was annulled and on his application he was brought on the record in the place of the Official Assignee and he continued the suit. Clark J. who tried the suit after remand gave a decree in favour of the plaintiff for the sum of Rs. 61,787-9-0 with interest at the court rate of six per cent. per annum from 1st September, 1937, until payment or realization with costs. Against this decree the defendants preferred an appeal. The appellate Bench modified the decree of Clark J., and reduced the amount of the decree by a sum of Rs. 9,100. Each party was made to pay proportionate costs throughout. Leave to appeal to this court against the decree was granted and the appeal is now before us under the certificate so granted. As above stated, the claim in respect of Ayer-Mani Rubber shares was abandoned at the trial and the claim on the third transaction relating to 300 shares in Tatas was decreed for the sum of Rs. 1,050 and the correctness of this order was not canvassed in the appeal before the High Court. The two claims discussed in that court were in respect of the trans- action of 5,000 Indian Iron shares and in respect of the transaction made in Associated Cements. The dispute before us so far as the Indian Iron shares are concerned has narrowed down to the question of quantum of damages in respect of 3,000 out of the 5,000 shares that were transferred by the defendants to the plaintiff on the night of the 6th April, 1937, 1,300 out of these shares having been sold at cost price by the plaintiff the day after the purchase, and 700 having been sold to Pilani & Co., and regarding which the plaintiff’s claim was rejected in the High Court and plaintiff preferred no further appeal. The finding of Somayya J., that the defendants firm was guilty of fraud both in respect of the failure to disclose the fact that the Indian Iron shares or most of them belonged to one of its partners, Annamalai Chettiar, and also on account of its failure to disclose its knowledge of the probable slump in the market by reason of the notice given by three members of the Stock Exchange to temporarily close it, was not contested before Clark J., and it was conceded that that finding had become final. The main ques- tion canvassed at this trial was whether the plaintiffhad suffered any damage as a consequence of this fraud and if so, how were the damages to be measured. In the plaint plaintiff claimed that he was entitled to be recompensed for all loss and damage which he had suffered. A sum of Rs. 45,042-9-0 was credited in his account in respect of the sale of 3,000 shares made on 20th and 22nd April, 1937. He claimed the whole of this amount as damages on this count; in other words, according to the plaintiff, the damage suffered by him was to be measured according to the difference between the purchase price of the shares and the price for which they were ultimately sold. The shares were bought on 5th April at Rs. 77 and Rs. 77-4-0 and sold at prices ranging between Rs. 42-8-0 and Rs. 47-4-0 on the 20th and 22nd April, 1937. This method of measuring damages was successfully challenged by the defendants before the trial judge. Clark J., in spite of holding that the measure of damages in a case like this could not be as suggested by the plaintiff, estimated the damage suffered by him at the difference between the rate at which the plaintiff purchased the shares and the rate at which he actually sold them, on the ground that the price at which he sold them was more than the fair value of these shares realizable on the 6th April, 1937, between bona fide purchasers and sellers having knowledge of the real state of affairs.

Before the appeal Bench of the High Court it was contended that the trial judge was in error in his assessment of the real value of these shares on 5th April, 1937, and that in any case they could not be valued at four different rates. It was urged that. damages had been over estimated. This contention was negatived and it was held that in the circum- stances of this case it could not be said that the plaintiff acted unreasonably in holding on to the shares for the time that be did and that the defendants had by their own double dealings placed the plaintiff in a difficult position. The learned-counsel for the appellant reiterated before us the contentious raised by him in the High Court and urged that the true measure of damages in actions like this is the difference between the price paid and the real value of the shares at the time of the transaction, and that any loss caused to the plaintiff by his retaining the shares after that date could not be decreed. It was strenuously contended that had the plaintiff sold the remaining shares like the 1,300 he sold, he would not have suffered any damage whatsoever, as the market price of these shares on the 6th and 7th was not below the cost price. It was said that the loss that the plaintiff suffered was merely due to the circumstance that he retained the shares for a fortnight, and was not as a consequence of the fraud. Lastly, it was contended that even if it could be held that the market on the 6th and 7th was affected by the very fact concealed from the plaintiff, its effect disappeared by the 10th April, when the fact became fully known and damage should have been assessed on the difference between the market price of these shares which ruled at Rs. 62 per share on 10th April, 1937, and their cost price.

Now the rule is well settled that damages due either for breach of contract or for tort are damages which, so far as money can compensate, will give the injured party reparation for the wrongful act and for all the natural and direct consequences of the wrongful act. Difficulty however arises in measuring the amount of this money compensation. A general principle cannot be laid down for measuring it, and every case must to some extent depend upon its own circum- stance. It is, however, clear that in the absence of ,any special circumstances the measure of damages cannot be the amount of the loss ultimately sustained by the representee. It can only be the difference between the price which he paid and the price which he would have received if he had resold them in the market forthwith after the purchase provided of course that there was a fair market then. The question to be decided in such a case is what could the plaintiff have obtained if he had resold forthwith that which he bad been induced to purchase by the fraud of the defendants. In other words, the mode of dealing with damages in such a case is to see what it would have cost him to get out of the situation, i.e., how much worse off was his estate owing to the bargain in which he entered into. The law on this subject has been very appositely stated in McConnel v. Wright(1) by Lord Collins in these terms:- “As to the principle upon which damages are assessed in this case, there is no doubt about it now. It has been laid down by several judges, and particularly by Cotton L. J. in Peek v. Derry(2), but the common sense and principle of the thing is this. It is not an action for breach of contract, and, therefore, no damages in respect of prospective gains which the person contracting was entitled by his contract to expect to come in, but it is an action of tort-it is an action for a wrong done whereby the plaintiff was tricked out of certain money in his pocket ; and therefore, prima facie the highest limit of his damages is the whole extent of his loss, and that loss is measured by the money which was in his pocket and is now in the pocket of the company. That is the ultimate, final, highest standard of his loss. But, in so far as he has got an equivalent for that money, that loss is diminished; and I think, in assessing the damages, prima facie the assets as represented are taken to be an equivalent and no more for the money which was paid. So far as the assets are an equivalent, he is not damaged; so far as they fall short of being an equivalent, in that proportion he is damaged.”

The sole point for determination therefore in the case is whether the shares handed over to the plaintiff were an equivalent for the money paid or whether they fell short of being the equivalent and if so, to what extent. Ordinarily the market rate of the shares on the date when the fraud wag practised would represent their real price in the absence of any other circumstance. If, however, the market was vitiated or was in a state of flux or panic in consequence of the very fact that was fraudulently concealed, (1) [1903] 1 Ch. 546. (2) 37 Ch. D. 541.

then the real value of the shares has to be determined on a consideration of a variety of circumstances disclosed by the evidence led by the parties. Thus though ordinarily the market rate on the earliest date when the real facts became known may be taken as the real value of the shares, never- theless, if there is no market or there is no satisfactory evidence of a market rate for some time which may safely be taken as the real value, then if the representee sold the shares, although not bound to do so, and if the resale has taken place within a reasonable time and on reasonable terms and has not been unnecessarily delayed, then the price fetched at the resale may well be taken into consideration in determining retrospectively the true market value of the shares on the crucial date. If there is no market at all or if the market rate cannot, for reasons referred to above, be taken as the real or fair value of the thing and the representee has not sold the things, then in ascertaining the real or fair value of the thing on the date when deceit was practised subsequent events may be taken into account, provided such subsequent events are not attributable to extraneous circumstances which supervened on account of the retaining of the thing. These, we apprehend, are the well settled rules for ascertaining the loss and damage suffered by a party, in such circumstances.

If damages had been measured on the rules above stated by the courts below, this court would have then respected the concurrent finding on this point as the question of assessment of damages primarily is a question of fact and the concurrent findings of the courts below on such points except in very exceptional circumstances are not reviewed by this court. We however find that in spite of the circumstance that the courts below correctly enunciated the rule of measuring damages in such cases, they estimated them on the difference between the cost price and the price realized at the sale on the 20th and 22nd at four different rates. These four rates could obviously not represent the true value of the shares on the 5th.

Moreover the finding that the true value of these shares was lower than what was actually realized on their resale on the 20th and 22nd is not based on any evidence whatsoever. Such a finding could only be arrived at on the basis of evidence on the record and by reference to that evidence, and this has not been done. The High Court did not make an attempt to find out to what extent the value of the ‘Shares fell short of being an equivalent for the money taken from the plaintiff. Without determining this crucial issue we think it was not right to estimate the damage on the vague finding that the true value of the shares was lower than the value which they fetched at the resale on the 20th and 22nd. In this situation, we have no alternative but to-arrive at our own finding on this question in spite of the concurrent finding and we have to find as to what could be said to have been the true value of these shares on the relevant date. In other words, the question for our determination is what the market value would have been on 5th April of these shares if all buyers and sellers had information that the market was to be closed on 8th and 9th April to enable settlement of outstanding transactions to be effected, and had appreciated the effect of that decision. In the words of Buckley J. in Broome v. Speak(1), it is indeed a difficult question to answer beat that difficulty is no ground for refusing to answer it as has been done by the court below.

in order to determine the real price of these 3,000 shares sold to plaintiff by concealment of certain facts, the first question that needs decision is whether the market for these shares, the rate prevailing wherein would prima facie be a true index of their value, had been affected by the very fact concealed of which the plaintiff complains. In this case from the proved facts it is clear that the market rate of these shares was seriously affected by reason of the impending decision of the Stock Exchange for closing it to stop the wave of speculation that had taken the frenzy of the market by reason of the merger of the two steel (1) [1931] I. Ch. 586.

companies doing business in northern India. The market reports for the week ending March 19, show that the Indian Irons were standing at or around Rs. 55. By Satur day the 3rd April after the announcement of the terms of the merger by reason of the keen speculation the shares were being dealt at around Rs. 73. On Monday the 6th April the price was Rs. 77. On Tuesday the 6th, the day when the decision was taken to close the market for two days, these shares touched Rs. 79 but by the close of business fell back to Rs. 72 a sudden drop of Rs. 7. On Wednesday the 7th April in the Calcutta market they closed at Rs. 58, a drop of Rs. 14 in a day. These sudden rises and falls in the market during the course of these two days are sufficient indication of the fact that the drop was due to the decision of the Stock Exchange to close the Exchange for two days. There is no evidence that any other factor was then disturbing the market rate of these shares. The share market report of the defendants themselves issued on 10th April, 1937, amply bears out this fact. In this report it was stated as follows :-

” The outstanding feature of the Indian markets during the week under review was the sudden landslide in Indian Iron and Steel shares, which proved infectious to the other sections of the market. The week opened with a cheerful bullish sentiment and Indian Iron and Steels touched Rs. 80. At this dizzy height, the markets lost their equilibrium and frenzied selling resulted in a sensational decline of about 25 points. The heavy liquidation was due to a predominance of weak holders-that had come into the market at a late stage. Further, selling was accentuated by the decision of Calcutta Stock Exchange to close the Calcutta market on the 8th and 9th April to enable brokers to make deliveries and effect settlements for transactions in Indian Iron and Steel shares. Heavy volume of business has been outstanding between brokers on account of the delay in getting certificates. Prospect of immediate delivery of share certificates scared off weak holders and prices declined on heavy liquidation.”

It is clear therefore that the decision of the calcutta Stock Exchange to close the Calcutta market on 8th and 9th affected the market prices considerably. The Calcutta market on the 7th dropped from 72 to 58 as already stated. The decision of the Calcutta Stock Exchange was published in the Hindu of Madras on the evening of the 7th. From the statement of account, Exhibit P-41, filed by Trojan & Co. on 7th, about half a dozen transactions in these shares took place through them. Most of the transactions, it appears, were by small holders of 100 scrips or so, who unloaded their shares between 71 to 60 per share. On the 8th three transactions took place at Rs. 62. No transaction took place between 8th and 14th. There were two transactions on the 14th at Rs. 56, and there was a transaction on the 16th at Rs. 57-8-0. On the 20th Trojan and Co. sold 2,000 of the plaintiff’s shares at rates varying between Rs. 44-12-0 and Rs. 47-4-0.

According to the statement of account of another broker, Ramlal & Co., there were about 16 transactions in these shares on the 7th. Most of them were sold in lots of 100 or 200 and the sale price of these shares ranged from Rs. 74 to

64. On the 8th there were a few transactions, the rates varying between Rs. 57 to Rs 66. There was a transaction on the 9th at Rs. 60. There were two or three transactions on the 10th also near about this rate. No transaction after the 10th made by this company has been exhibited on the record. Exhibit P-23 is another weekly share market report of Trojan & Co. issued on 17th April, 1937. It states as follows :-

“In the first place, Indian Irons are very cheap around Rs. 46. The company is doing extremely well and the stage is set for a steady rise to Rs. 70…………… Indian Iron and Steels fluctuated between Rs. 55 to Rs. 60 and closed at Rs. 47. The recent hectic speculation has brought its own nemesis.”

This report proves that there was really no market as it appears from the evidence on the record in Madras between the 8th and 17th which was a Saturday, and on the 17th the prices seemed to be settling down at Rs. 46. On the 19th the plainti gave to the, defendants an order to sell his 3,000 shares and it was said “Please retain this order till-executed”. The defendants were only able to dispose of 2,000 of these shares on the 20th at prices varying between Rs. 44-12-0 to Rs. 47-4-0. The remaining 1,000 shares the plaintiff was able to sell through Ramlal and Co. at Rs. 42-8-0 on 22nd April, 1937. It is quite possible and probable that had the plaintiff placed an order before the 19th, say on the 16th or 17th, with the defendants or with Ramlal & Co., he might have been able to sell these 1,000 shares also at about the same price as he was able to dispose of his 2,000 shares. No member of the defendants-firm gave evidence in the case. Plaintiff went into the witness box and stated that had he known what the defendants knew, he would not have purchased the shares. The information was withheld from him that these shares were likely to godown. He said that he was told by the defendants to sell the shares but no purchasers were available and in spite of his keenness to liquidate them he was not able to do so before the 20th and 22nd, that he approached Trojan & Co., the defendants-firm for selling them, but they were not able to sell more than 2,000 shares.’ Considering the whole of this material, we are satisfied that the market rate prevailing on the 5th, 6th and 7th had been affected by reason of the decision of the Calcutta Stock Exchange to keep the market closed on the 8th and 9th and the market did not settle down till about the 17th or 18th and the prices then ruling can in the circumstances of this case be said to be their true market price. In our judgment, Rs. 46 per share was the real price of these shares when they were put in the plaintiff’s pocket and he got Rs. 46 for each share in lieu of what he paid for either at Rs. 77 or at Rs. 77-4-0. He is entitled to commission also which he would have to pay on the sale of these shares. The difference between these two rates is the damage that he has suffered and he is entitled to it. For the reasons given above we modify the order passed by Clark J., and by the appellate Bench of the High Court to the extent indicated above and we estimate the plaintiff’s damage at Rs. 93,000 on account of the 3,000 shares at the rate of Rs. 31 per share.

The second question canvassed before the High Court and also before us was in respect of the Associated Cement shares. As above stated, the plaintiff’s account was credited in the sum of Rs. 6,762-8-0 on account of the purchase of these shares. Plaintiff had pleaded that the transaction was not authorised by him and that it had been made in contravention of his instructions. He had claimed compensation on the ground of breach of instructions he did not in the alternative claim on the ground of failure of consideration the amount credited by the defendants in the promissory note account and which credit disappeared by reason of the failure of the suit on the promissory note. At the hearing of the case before Bell J. the contention that the purchase was unauthorized was abandoned by counsel and the same position was adopted before Clark J. During cross-examination of the plaintiff it was elicited that he either instructed the defendants to purchase the shares or at any rate ratified the purchase which the defendants had made on his behalf. It was argued before the appellate Bench of the High Court that having pleaded one thing and having led evidence in support of that thing but later on having been forced to admit in the witness box that the true state of things was different the plaintiff had disentitled himself to relief as regards these shares and he could not be granted the relief that he had not asked for. The High Court negatived this contention on the ground that though a claim for damages in respect of a particular transaction may fail, that circumstance was no bar to the making of a direction that the defendants should pay the plaintiff the money actually due in respect of that particular transaction. It also held that the plaintiff’s claim in respect of this item of Rs.6,762-8-O was with in limitation. We are unable to uphold. the view taken by the High Court on this point. It is well settled that the decision of a case cannot be based on grounds outside the pleadings of the parties and it is the case pleaded that has to be found. Without an amendment of the plaint the court was not entitled to grant the relief not asked for and no prayer was ever made to amend the plaint so as to incorporate in it an alternative case. The allegations on which the plaintiff claimed relief in respect of these shares are clear and emphatic. There was no suggestion made in the plaint or even when its amendment was sought at one stage that the plaintiff in the alternative was entitled to this amount on the ground of failure of consideration. That being so, we see no valid grounds for entertaining the plaintiff’s claim as based on failure of consideration on the case pleaded by him. In disagreement with the courts below we hold that the plaintiff was wrongly granted a decree for the sum of Rs. 6,762-8-0 in respect of the Associated Cement shares in this suit. Accounts settled could only be reopened on proper allegations. The next point canvassed in the courts below was in respect of the claim of the plaintiff regarding interest on the amount found due to the plaintiff from 5th April, 1937, to the date of the suit. It was contended that no interest could be allowed on damages because to do so would amount to awarding damages on damages which is opposed to precedent and principle. Clark J., however, awarded interest by placing reliance on certain English decisions which enunciate the rule that an agent who receives or deals with the money of his principal improperly and in breach of his duty or who refused to pay it over on demand is liable to pay interest from the time when he so receives or deals with the same or from the time of the demand. We think it is well settled that interest is allowed by a court of eqity in the case of money obtained or retained by fraud. As stated in article 423 of Volume 1 of Halsbury, the agent must also pay interest in all cases of fraud and on all bribes and secret profits received by him during his agency. Their Lordships of the Privy Council in johnson v. Rex(1) observed as follows: —

“In order to guard against any possible misapprehension of their Lordships’ views they desire to say that in their opinion there can be no doubt whatever’ that money obtained by fraud and retained by fraud can be recovered with interest, whether the proceedings be taken in a court of equity, or a court of law, or in a court, which has jurisdiction both equitable and legal.”

The appeal court affirmed the view of Clark J. on this point. The learned counsel for the appellant contended that the decisions relied upon concerned cases where the agent had retained some money of his principal in his hands but that in the present case the claim was merely for damages. This contention is fallacious. By reason of the transaction brought about by fraudulent concealment plaintiff paid to the defendants a sum of Rs. 60,000 in cash which he would not have parted with otherwise and he also lost the money which stood at his credit with the defendants. It is thus clear that the agents had a large sum of the plaintiff with them which they would not have acquired but by reason of the fraud that they practised on him. In this view of the case we see no force in the contention of the learned counsel and we repel it.

The only other point that was argued before us was in respect of future interest. It was not denied that plaintiff was entitled to future interest as allowed to him at the rate of 6% on the amount found due. it was however argued that the plaintiff should not have been allowed interest for the period of one year and six months during which the decree stood satisfied. The facts are that on 9th March, 1943, a decree for Rs. 51,805-1-0 carrying interest at six per cent. was (1) [1904] A.C. 817.

passed in favour of the plaintiff. On the 11th May, 1943, an amount of Rs. 71,000 due under this decree was paid by the defendants to the Official Assignee. This amount was returned by the Official Assignee to the defendants on 12th September, 1944, after that decree had been set aside. Meanwhile the plaintiff’s adjudication had been annulled and he had been brought on the record on 16th March, 1944. It was contended that during the period when the money remained with the Official Assignee who was the plaintiff no future interest was payable as the decree stood satisfied during that period. The High Court rejected this contention on the ground that when this money was paid into court, it was coupled with a prayer that it should not be paid out to the creditors of the insolvent’s estate pending disposal of the appeal, and therefore as the money was not distributable amongst the insolvent’s creditors, interest for this period had been rightly allowed. In our opinion, this view -cannot be sustained. So far as the defendants judgment-debtors are concerned they had done their part and paid the money to the decree-holder and had thus satisfied the decree. It was open to the Official Assignee, the decree-holder, not to take the money on the condition on which it was given to him and if he had not taken the money from the defendants he could then justly have claimed future interest on this amount, but having taken the money and kept it, it could not be said that during this period anything was due to the plaintiff from the defendants. The defendants certainly had paid the decretal amount and whether the plaintiff or his predecessor in interest was able to use it or not was a circumstance wholly immaterial in considering whether future interest should or should not be allowed. In our judgment, the plaintiff was not entitled to future interest at the rate allowed for one year and six months period, beginning from 9th March, 1943, and ending with 12th September, 1944. The appeal is therefore allowed to the extent indicated above. The decree of the High Court will bemodified and plaintiff will be entitled to damages in the sum of Rs. 93,000 on the 3,000 Indian Iron shares. The decree given to the plaintiff in respect of’ Rs. 6,762-8-0 is set aside over and above the’ decree for Rs. 9,100 in his favour set aside by the High Court. In the calculation of future interest the plaintiff will not be allowed interest from 9th March, 1943, to 12th September, 1944. In the result the decree given to the plaintiff in the sum of Rs. 61,787 is reduced to Rs. 42,175. He will get interest at six per cent. per annum from 5th April, 1937, until payment or realization except for a period of one year and six months. Plaintiff will get proportionate costs throughout.

Appeal allowed in part.

Agent for the appellant: Ganpat Rai.

Agent for the respondent: M. S. K. Sastri.

In exercise of powers conferred by Section 9 of Suits Valuation Act, Punjab High Court made rules which are applicable to Delhi.

Suits for partition of property–

Courtfee–(a) as determined by the Courtfees Act, 1870 Value–(b) For the purpose of theSuit Valuation Act, 1887, and the Punjab Court Act, 1918 the value of the whole of the property as determined by Sections 3, 8 and 9 of the Suits Valuation Act, 1887.

6. It would thus be seen that in view of the rules framed by Punjab High Court under Section 9 ofSuits Valuation Act, which admittedly are applicable to Delhi, there can be separate valuations for the purpose of Court fee and jurisdiction. The valuation for the purpose of jurisdiction has to be the value of the whole of the properties subject matter of partition, whereas valuation for the purpose of Court fee would be such as is provided by the Courtfees Act.

————————————————————————————————————————–

            THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

%                     Judgment Reserved on:   25.02.2011
                      Judgment Pronounced on: 04.03.2011

+           CS(OS) No. 2642/2008


SUSHMA TEHLAN DALAL                             .....Plaintiff


                            - versus -


SHIVRAJ SINGH TEHLAN & ORS                      ....Defendant

Advocates who appeared in this case:
For the Plaintiff:      Mr. Y.P. Narula, Sr. Adv. with
                        Ms. Nandita Rao, Adv.

For the Defendant:            Mr. Mohinder Madan, Adv. for
                              D-1. Mr Vivek Singh, Adv. for D-
                              7.

CORAM:-
HON'BLE MR JUSTICE V.K. JAIN

1.

Whether Reporters of local papers may Yes be allowed to see the judgment?

2. To be referred to the Reporter or not? Yes

3. Whether the judgment should be reported Yes in Digest?

V.K. JAIN, J IA No. 10367/2010 (O.7 R.11 CPC by D-1)

1. This is a suit for partition, cancellation of sale deeds, permanent injunction, rendition of accounts and mesne profits. Late Chaudhary Hukum Singh was the owner of the following properties:

(a) 2/28, Roop Nagar, Delhi of 246 square yards on GT Road.

(b) Lands in Village Nunglai Sakrawati, Najafgarh Tehsil Jila, Delhi, Delhi in Khasra Nos. 32/3,4,7/1,12/16,13/20,19,25/21/1,27/5/1,1 3/2,242,49,49/1.

(c) 3 Farm Land Plots, Alipur Delhi, approximately 18 bighas.

(d) Sansar Service Station, Najafgarh (Near Vikas Puri), Delhi;

(e) Anup Service Station, Alaknanda upon land on 99 year lessee from DDA;

(f) Harjeet Filling Statin with adjoining plot Alipur (on GT Karnal Road), Delhi;

(g) 189 Bighas of land situated in Alwar at Khaderpur, Tehsil, Tejara Distt. Alwar, Rajasthan in Khasra No.2 to 16, 23 to 26, 38, 140, 138, 142M, 34M, 1M, 46, 43, 44, 930, 939, 942/1058, 918, 920, 940, 928, 870, 871, 911, 893, 908, 909, 1029, 905, 890, 891, 894, 892, 868, 869, 872 to 875, 878, 906, 907, 1026, 1027, 1028, 896, 897 and 1023 total area around 189 bighas.

He died intestate on 15th August, 1969, leaving six legal heirs, including his widow Smt. Barfo Devi. Smt. Berfo Devi died on 26 th June, 1981, leaving five legal heirs, namely, her son, late Shri Anup Singh Tehlan, her other son Harjeet Singh Tehlan, defendant No.1 Shivraj Singh Tehlan, defendant No. 6 Kaushalya Chaudhary and the plaintiff Sushma Singh Tehlan. Shri Harjeet Singh Tehlan died intestate in the year 2003, without any issues and his wife, who was estranged from him, is stated to have since re- married. It is alleged that his share in the above-referred properties devolved on the plaintiff and the defendants, they being his Class-II legal heirs. Defendants 2 to 5 are the legal heirs of late Shri Anup Singh Tehlan.

2. The plaintiff claims to be in possession of two rooms, two verandahs, two stores, two toilets and washroom in the western wing of the first floor of house No. 2/28, Roop Nagar, Delhi and joint possession of the kitchen, open terrace of the second floor, the flat on second floor and shops and garage on the ground floor. It is further alleged that defendant No. 1 sold some portion of the parental property by executing a General Power of Attorney dated 26th May, 1987. One sale deed in respect of land in village Nangli is alleged to have been executed by defendant No. 1 on 02nd July, 2008 in favour of defendant No. 7, Bharat Singh and another sale deed of the same date is alleged to have been executed in favour of defendant No. 8 Vijay Sharma. The plaintiff has sought partition of the above- referred properties, besides seeking rendition of accounts and mesne profit with respect to the profits earned from the service stations. She has also sought cancellation of the sale deeds dated 02nd July, 2008, executed by defendant No. 1 in favour of defendant Nos. 7 and 8.

3. Para 2 of the plaint which deals with valuation reads as under:

“The suit is valued over a crore for the purpose of jurisdiction. As regards the reliefs of permanent injunction, the suit is valued at Rs 20,01,000/- and a court fee of Rs 22,000/ has been paid. As regards the relief of partition and mesne profits, the suit is valued at Rs 200/- and a court fee of Rs 20 has been paid. As regards the relief of cancellation for the documents being sale deeds dated 02.07.2008 which are a fraud, nullity the suit is valued at Rs 200. The plaintiff also undertakes to pay any further court fee which may be required to be paid on actual partition of the property.”

4. IA No. 10367/2010 has been filed by defendant No. 1, seeking rejection of the plaint on the ground that the plaintiff has not paid requisite Court fee.

5. Section 8 of the Suits Valuation Act, 1887 provides that where other than those referred to in the Court-fees Act, 1870 Section 7, paragraph v, vi and ix, and paragraph x, clause (d), Court-fees are payable ad valorem under the Court-fees Act, 1870, the value as determinable for the computation of court-fees and the value for purposes of jurisdiction shall be the same. Section 9of the above- referred Act provides that when the subject-matter of suits of any class, other than suits mentioned in the Court-fees Act, 1870, Section 7, paragraph v and vi, and paragraph x, clause (d) is such that in the opinion of the High Court it does not admit of being satisfactorily valued, the High Court may with the previous sanction of the State Government, direct that suits of that class shall, for the purposes of the Court-fees Act, 1870, and of this Act and any other enactment for the time being in force, be treated as if their subject-matter were of such value as the High Court thinks fit to specify in this behalf.

In exercise of powers conferred by Section 9 of Suits Valuation Act, Punjab High Court made rules which are applicable to Delhi.

Suits for partition of property–

Court-fee–(a) as determined by the Court-fees Act, 1870 Value–(b) For the purpose of the Suit Valuation Act, 1887, and the Punjab Court Act, 1918 the value of the whole of the property as determined by Sections 3, 8 and 9 of the Suits Valuation Act, 1887.

6. It would thus be seen that in view of the rules framed by Punjab High Court under Section 9 of Suits Valuation Act, which admittedly are applicable to Delhi, there can be separate valuations for the purpose of Court fee and jurisdiction. The valuation for the purpose of jurisdiction has to be the value of the whole of the properties subject matter of partition, whereas valuation for the purpose of Court fee would be such as is provided by the Court-fees Act.

7. Section 7(iv)(b) of Court Fees Act, provides that in a suit to enforce the right to share in any property on the ground that it is a joint family property, the amount of fee payable under Court-fee Act, shall be computed according to the amount at which the relief sought is valued in the plaint or memorandum of appeal. It further provides that in all such suits the plaintiff shall state the amount at which he values the relief sought by him. Article 17(vi) of Schedule II of Court-fees Act provides for payment of a fixed Court fee in a suit where it is not possible to estimate at a money value the subject matter in dispute, and which is not otherwise provided for by this Act.

8. In S. Rm. Ar. S. Sp. Sathappa Chettiar v. S. Rm. Ar. Rm. Ramanathan Chettiar AIR 1958 SC 245, Supreme Court, inter alia, read as under:

“If the scheme laid down for the computation of fees payable in suits covered by the several sub-sections of S. 7 is considered it would be clear that in respect of suits falling under sub-section

(iv), a departure has been made and liberty has been given to the plaintiff to value his claim for the purposes of court- fees. The theoretical basis of this provision appears to be that in cases in which the plaintiff is given the option to value his claim, it is really difficult to value the claim with any precision or definiteness. Take for instance the claim for partition where the plaintiff seeks to enforce his right to share in any property on the ground that it is joint family property. The basis of the claim is that the property in respect of which a share is claimed is joint family property. In other words, it is property in which the plaintiff has an undivided share. What the plaintiff purports to do by making a claim for partition is to ask the court to give him certain specified properties separately and absolutely on his own account for his share in lieu of his undivided share in the whole property. Now it would be clear that the conversion of the plaintiff’s alleged undivided share in the joint family property into his separate share cannot be easily valued in terms of rupees with any precision or definiteness. That is why legislature has left it to the option of the plaintiff to value his claim for the payment of court-fees. It really means that in suits falling under S. 7(iv)(b) the amount stated by the plaintiff as the value of his claim for partition has ordinarily to be accepted by the court in computing the court-fees payable in respect of the said relief. In the circumstances of this case it is unnecessary to consider whether, under the provisions of this section, the plaintiff has been given an absolute right or option to place any valuation whatever on his relief.”

9. In Neelavathi and Ors. v. N. Natarajan and Others, AIR 1980 SC 691, which arose out of a suit for partition, the plaintiff averred in the plaint that they were in joint possession of the property along with the defendants. The plaintiffs had valued their share of the property and paid fixed court fee of Rs 200/- under Section 37(2) of Tamil Nadu Court-Fee and Suits Valuation Act. It was contended by the defendants in that suit that the plaintiff were not in joint possession and, therefore, were required to pay ad valorem Court fee at the market rate. The suit was dismissed on the ground that ad valorem Court fee had not been paid. Allowing the appeals, filed by the plaintiff, Supreme Court held that the question of Court fee was to be considered in the light of allegations made in the plaint and decision of this issue cannot be influenced either by the plea taken in the written statement or by final decision of the suit on merits. In that case, the plaintiff had stated in the plaint that the defendants had failed to give their share of income and they could not remain in joint possession. It was held that this averment would not mean that the plaintiffs had been excluded from possession of the suit property. During the Course of judgment, Supreme Court, inter alia, observed as under:

“It will be seen that the Court-fee is payable under Section 37(1) if the plaintiff is ‘excluded’ from possession of the property. The plaintiffs who are sisters of the defendants, claimed to be members of the joint family, and prayed for partition alleging that they are in joint possession. Under the proviso to Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (Act 30 of 1956) the plaintiffs being the daughters of the male Hindu who died after the commencement of the Act having at the time of the death an interest in the mitakshara coparcenary property, acquired an interest by devolution under the Act. It is not in dispute that the plaintiffs are entitled to a share. The property to which the plaintiffs are entitled is undivided joint family property’ though not in the strict sense of the term. The general principle of law is that in the case of co-owners, the possession of one is law possession of all unless ouster or exclusion is proved. To continue to be in joint possession in law, it is not necessary that the plaintiff should be in actual possession of the whole or part of the property. Equally it is not necessary that he should be getting a share or some income from the property. So long as his right to a share and the nature of the property as joint is not disputed the law presumes that he is in joint possession unless he is excluded from such possession. Before the plaintiffs could be called upon to pay Court-fee under Section 37(1) of the Act on the ground that they had been excluded from possession, it is necessary that on a reading of the plaint, there should be a clear and specific averment in the plaint that they had been ‘excluded’ from joint possession to which they are entitled to in law.”

(emphasis supplied)

10. In Jagannath Amin vs. Seetharama (dead) by Lrs. and Ors. 2007 (1) SCC 674, a suit for partition of agricultural land was filed seeking its division into two equal shares. The plaintiff had paid Court fee of Rs 200 under Section 35(2) of Karnataka Court-fees and Suit Valuation Act, 1958. The plaintiffs had also alleged to be in joint possession of the suit property. During the course of the judgment, Supreme Court, referred to the following observation made by it in Commercial Aviation and Travel Co. Vs. Vimla Panna Lal, AIR 1988 SC 1636:

“It is true that the Court did not consider whether the plaintiff had been given an absolute right or option to place any valuation whatever on his relief under the provision of Section 7(iv) of the Court-fees Act, but the difficulty that would be felt by the Court in exercising its power under Order VII, Rule 11(b) of the Code of Civil Procedure is that if it is unable to determine the correct value of the relief, it cannot direct the plaintiff to correct the valuation. Order VII, Rule 11(b) contemplates correct valuation and not approximate correct valuation and such correct valuation of the relief has to be determined by the Court. If the Court cannot determine the correct valuation of the relief claimed, it cannot require the plaintiff to correct the valuation and, consequently. Order VII, Rule 11(b) will not be applicable.”

11. The following legal proposition of law emerges from the above-referred decisions:

(i) In order to ascertain whether the suit has been property valued for the purpose of Court fee or not, only the averments made in the plaint have to be seen, without reference to the plea taken by the defendants;

(ii) If the plaintiff claims to be in joint possession of the suit property, he has to pay a fixed Court fee in terms of Article 17(vi) of Court-fees Act.

(iii) If the averments made in the plaint show that the plaintiff has been completely ousted from possession and is not in possession of any part of the suit property, he is required to claim possession and also pay ad valorem Court fee on the market value of his share in the suit property.

12. In the present case, the plaintiff has specifically alleged that she is in exclusive possession of house No. 2/28, Roop Nagar, Delhi and in joint possession of certain other parts of the aforesaid house. Thus, the plaintiff has undisputedly claimed joint possession with respect to one of the properties in respect of which partition has been sought by her. In my view, in order to constitute joint possession, it is not necessary that the plaintiff should claim to be in joint possession of each of the properties in respect of which partition is sought by him/her. If she claims to be in joint possession of even one of the properties either wholly or partly, that would be sufficient to bring the case within the ambit of Article 7(iv) of Court-fees Act, because what is relevant is joint possession of the estate in respect of which partition is sought. The plaintiff is seeking partition not with respect to any one property, but with respect to all the properties which were owned by her late parents. If partition is sought in respect of more than one property and one of the co-owners possesses one property or a part of it and the other co-owners possess the remaining properties, all of them will be deemed to be in joint possession of the properties subject matter of partition. In this regard, the following observations made by this Court in Sudershan Kumar Seth vs. Pawan Kumar Seth & Ors. 124 (2005) DLT 305:

“It is settled that in order to decide as to what relief has been claimed by the plaintiff, the whole of the plaint has to be read. From the perusal of the plaint if it can be inferred that the plaintiff is in possession of the any of properties to be partitioned, then the court fees shall be payable under Article 17 (6) of Schedule II of the Court fees Act i.e. fixed court fees at the time of institution of the suit but if the conclusion is that the plaintiff is not in possession of any part of the properties then the plaintiff has to pay Court fees under section 7(iv)(b) of the Court fees Act i.e. on the value of plaintiff’s share.”

13. Moreover, in the case before this Court, there is no averment in the plaint that the plaintiff has been ousted from the possession of the other properties which were owned by her parents. It is true that she has not specifically averred that she is in joint possession of the other properties, but, it is also equally true that she does not claim or admit ouster from those properties. She being one of the co-owners of the other properties is by fiction of law, deemed to be in joint possession of those properties along with other co-owners unless she pleads or admits complete ouster from those properties. This view also confirms to the observations made by Supreme Court in the case of Neelavathi (supra) that the general principle of law is that in case of co-owners, it is not necessary that the plaintiff should be in actual possession of the property, the possession of one co-owner is in law the possession of all unless ouster or exclusion is proved and so long as his right to share and the nature of the property as joint is not disputed, the law presumes that he is in joint possession, unless he is excluded from such possession.

14. The logic behind not insisting on payment of ad valorem Court fee in a case of joint possession was explained by Supreme Court in the case of Sathappa Chettiar (supra) when the Court said that in such cases what the plaintiff seeks by claiming partition is to ask the Court to give certain specific properties to him for his absolute and exclusive enjoyment, to the exclusion of other co-owners of that property and, thereby what he is seeking only a conversion of his undivided share into a separate share. Moreover, as observed by Supreme Court in the case of Jagannath Amin (supra), the Court needs to have exact valuation before it, before it can reject the plaint under Order VII Rule 11(d) of Code of Civil Procedure and that determination cannot be made in such a case.

15. Therefore, there is no ground to reject the plaint, as far as Court fee on the relief of partition is concerned. During the course of arguments, the learned counsel for the plaintiff fairly stated that as far as relief of cancellation of sale deeds are concerned, the plaintiff would pay ad valorem Court fee on the sale consideration, shown in the sale deeds, executed in favour of defendants 7 and 8. Therefore, the plea taken by the plaintiff with regard to inadequate Court fee on the relief of cancellation of sale deeds does not survive anymore. The plaintiff is directed to pay deficient Court fee on the relief of cancellation of sale deeds within two weeks.

The application stands disposed of accordingly.

(V.K. JAIN) JUDGE MARCH

 

Civil Litigation

Civil Law is known for civil procedure code, 1908, in India. There are three things in this Act by which this act is going on/functioning:

  1. SECTION
  2. ORDER
  3. RULES
  4. CIVIL PROCEDURE CODE: It is a complete code itself. Once proceedings are initiated there under, rights and remedies have to be looked into.

There are four modes to decide the matters under the civil procedure code by the courts:

  • CIVIL JUDGE
  • ADDITIONAL DISTRICT JUDGE
  • SMALL CLAUSES COURT
  • HIGH COURTS, IN CERTAIN CASES (WHERE THE JURISDICTION IS MORE THAN 2 Crore after amendment in Delhi High Court Rules 2015.)

We Deals in Certain Matters under This Laws and Act:-

  • CIVIL MONEY RECOVERY SUIT
  • CIVIL RIGHTS CASES
  • SUIT FOR INJUNCTION AND DAMAGES
  • MONEY RECOVERY SUIT UNDER SECTION XXXVII CIVIL PROCEDURE CODE
  • RENT SUIT
  • PROBATE OF WILL SUIT.
  • SUIT FOR DECLARATION & POSSESSION SUIT
  • ANTI INJUNCTION SUIT
  • SUIT FOR PERMANENT & MANDATORY INJUNCTION SUIT
  • SUIT FOR PARTITION & POSSESSION
  • SUIT FOR DIVISION,PARTITION AND POSSESSION OF PROPERTY
  • SUIT UNDER INDIAN SUCCESSION ACT
  • SUIT FOR PROBATE IN RESPECT OF WILL OF PROPERTY
  • SUIT FOR POSSESSION OF PROPERTY AND DECLARATION
  • SUIT FOR STAY IN RESPECT OF PROPERTY
  • SUIT FOR PARTITION AND DIVISION IN PROPERTY
  • ALL THE SUITS UNDER THE CIVIL PROCEDURE CODE AND CIVIL LAWS.

the Supreme Court had been approached by the NRI husband whose defence had been struck off in a maintenance suit filed by the wife in the High Court as he had not appeared in the High Court despite the High Court�s order directing him to personally appear and giving him several opportunities. The High court had directed him to personally appear to give clarifications to the court on the circumstances in which the US court had proceeded with and granted decree in a divorce petition filed by the husband in the US despite order of restraint having been issued by the Indian court against the proceedings in the US. The High Court had also rejected his application for exemption from personal appearance on the basis that he apprehended that he would be arrested in the case under Section 498 A, IPC filed by the wife.

The Supreme Court upheld the High Court�s order and held that Order X of CPC is an enabling �provision that gives powers to courts for certain purposes. The Delhi High Court was therefore justified in requiring the husband to personally appear before the Court for his clarification, especially since the affidavit of his counsel in America annexed with the affidavit filed in the trial court was not enough to clarify the position and his father, as found by the trial court, could not throw further light in the matter, having not been present during the proceedings in America. Also the inherent powers of the Court under Section 151 C.P.C. can always be exercised to advance interests of justice and it was open for the Court to pass a suitable consequential order under Section 151 CPC as may be necessary for ends of justice or to prevent the abuse of process of Court.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Supreme Court of India
Vikas Aggarwal vs Anubha on 12 April, 2002
Author: B Kumar
Bench: D.P. Mohapatra, Brijesh Kumar
           CASE NO.:
Appeal (civil) 2660  of  2002



PETITIONER:
VIKAS AGGARWAL

	Vs.

RESPONDENT:
ANUBHA

DATE OF JUDGMENT:	12/04/2002

BENCH:
D.P. Mohapatra & Brijesh Kumar




JUDGMENT:

BRIJESH KUMAR, J.

Leave granted.

Heard learned counsel for the parties. This appeal has been preferred against the judgment and order dated 18.10.2000 passed by Delhi High Court dismissing the appeal challenging the order by which appellant’s defence was struck of in the proceeding, suit No.1966 of 1999 pending in Delhi High Court on the Original side.

The appellant and the respondent were married on 11.05.1999. Thereafter they went to USA. They do not seem to have pulled on well so much so that the appellant filed a divorce petition in America as early as on 22.7.1999. The notice of the said proceedings was served on the respondent. She however, left America and somehow managed to come back to India. She filed a suit on 6.9.1999 in Delhi High Court being Suit No.1966 of 1999 impleading the appellant Shri Vikas Agarwal as defendant and praying that a decree be passed declaring that the plaintiff is entitled to live separately, for maintenance amounting to 1500 dollars (Rs.65,250/-) expenses pendantalite etc. and for such other, further orders, directions as the Court would deem fit and proper in the circumstances of the case, so as to meet the ends of justice. The learned Single Judge of Delhi High Court passed an interim order on 5.11.1999 in the following terms:-

“For the present in the interest of justice, and since no permanent prejudice is likely to be caused to the Defendants if the hearing in divorce case pending in the Superior Court, State of Connecticut, U.S.A. is deferred for a short period, I restrain the Defendant from proceeding further in the Superior Court, State at Connecticut, U.S.A. for a period of thirty days from today.”

The appellant however, moved an application on 12.11.1999 for recall of the order dated 5.11.1999. The Court was later on informed on 16.12.1999 that decree for divorce had been passed at Connecticut U.S.A. The learned Single Judge, on 9.3.2000 passed an order, directing the defendant to appear in person, under order 10 C.P.C. The defendant preferred an appeal against the Order dated 9.3.2000 before the Division Bench which was withdrawn with a statement that an application will be moved before the learned Single Judge for recall of the order. It will not be necessary to mention about many other applications, which have been moved in that connection from time to time. The fact remains that ultimately by order dated 24.8.2000, the Court struck of the defence of the appellant: The operative part of the order reads as under:-

“It is quite clear that despite several opportunities granted to the defendant to appear before this Court he has resolutely refused to do so. The defence of defendant is therefore, struck of.”

An appeal preferred against the said order before the Division Bench of the High Court has also been dismissed which order has been impugned in the present appeal. It appears that need to seek clarification from the defendant-appellant arose when it came to the notice of the learned Single Judge of Delhi High Court that on 23rd November, 1999 the Court in America passed decree of divorce despite the order of restraint against the defendant passed on 5.11.1999. The Court seems to have doubts if the order passed by it was truly communicated to the American Court since there was no mention at all about that fact in the order passed by the American Court. The appellant also moved an application for seeking exemption from appearing in the Court in Delhi, as he apprehended that on coming to India he may be arrested in pursuance of the proceedings initiated against him under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code. By order dated July 3, 2000 the learned Single Judge took care of the same and provided that the defendant would not be arrested in pursuance to any complaint or pending FIR filed by the plaintiff. The defendant was required to appear on August 24, 2000. He again failed to appear in the Court, instead an affidavit of the Attorney of the appellant in America was filed stating that he had brought the injunction order to the notice of the American Court, but the Court had refused to enforce any restraint order, as Indian Court had no jurisdiction over the U.S. Court’s proceedings. Such information, it is submitted on behalf of Respondent, as furnished through affidavit also leads to the inference that the interim order dated November 5, 1999 was not correctly placed at all before the American Court as the Delhi High Court had not passed any order putting any restraint on the American Court to proceed with the matter. The restraint order was against the defendant, namely the appellant before us. It is submitted on behalf of the Respondent that the defendant-appellant should also have moved appropriate application along with interim order before the court in America. In this back ground, the learned Single Judge ordered for presence of the defendant in Court under Order 10 CPC. On non-compliance of the said order, ultimately the defence was struck of.

Shri Vikas Singh learned counsel appearing for the appellant has vehemently urged that Order X CPC would not be applicable at all and the order of the Delhi High Court in that respect is invalid. Our attention has been brought to Order X CPC which reads as under:-

Examination of parties by the Court.

1. Ascertainment whether allegations in pleadings are admitted or deniedAt the first hearing of the suit the court shall ascertain from each party or his pleader whether he admits or denies such allegations of fact as are made in the plaint or written statement (if any) of the opposite party, and as are not expressly or by necessary implication admitted or denied by the party against whom they are made. The court shall record such admission and denials.

2. Oral examination of party, or companion of party.– (1) At the first hearing of the suit, the court

(a) shall, with a view to elucidating matters in controversy in the suit examine orally such of the parties to the suit appearing in person or present in the court, as it deems fit; and

(b) may orally examine any person, able to answer any material question relating to the suit, by whom any party appearing in person or present in court or his pleader is accompanied.

(2) At any subsequent hearing the court may orally examine any party appearing in person or present in court, or any person, able to answer any material question relating to the suit, by whom such party or his pleader is accompanied.

(3) The court may, if it thinks fit, put in the course of an examination under this rule questions suggested by either party.}

3. Substance of examination to be written. the substance of the examination shall be reduced to writing by the Judge, and shall form part of the record.

4. Consequence of refusal or inability of pleader to answer.(1) Where the pleader of any party who appears by a pleader or any such person accompanying a pleader as is referred to in Rule 2, refuses or is unable to answer any material question relating to the suit which the court is of opinion that the party whom he represents ought to answer, and is likely to be able to answer if interrogated in person, the court may postpone the hearing of the suit to a future day and direct that such party shall appear in person on such day.

(2) If such party fails without lawful excuse to appear in person on the day so appointed, the court may pronounce judgment against him, or make such order in relation to the suit as it thinks fit.”

On the basis of the above provision, it is submitted that a party can be examined under Order X CPC on the first hearing of the suit, but that stage has not yet reached in the present case. It is submitted that first hearing of the suit would not be any date before a date fixed for settlement of issues. In that connection, he has placed reliance upon certain decisions in which first date of hearing has been indicated in reference to rent control disputes between landlord and tenant. The next contention is that under Rule 4 of Order X a party may be required to appear where the counsel or the person accompanying the pleader refuses to or is unable to answer any material question relating to the suit. In the present case, it is submitted that the information sought was furnished to the Court. There was no refusal on the part of the counsel or the person accompanying the counsel, namely father of the defendant appellant to answer the questions. Therefore, it was not necessary to order for personal attendance of the defendant. Yet another submission is that question in relation to which a party is required to be present to be examined should be an important or material question relating to the suit. It is submitted that the defendant was not required to give clarification to any such important or material question. It is submitted that for the above three reasons the order is bad. Yet another submission which has been made is that no order of injunction could be passed against a foreign court in view of the provisions contained under Section 41(a) & (b) of the Specific Relief Act.

Shri Shanti Bhushan, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the respondent submitted that the questions raised by the learned counsel for the appellant are not relevant, since undisputedly there is non-compliance of the order passed by the Court requiring the defendant to be personally present in the Court. It is submitted that the Section 41 (a) & (b) of the Specific Relief Act would not bar passing of an order as passed on 5.11.1999 by the learned Single Judge of Delhi High Court since such a bar is in relation to the superior Courts i.e. to say the Courts in India, it would not apply to Courts out side India and next that the restraint order is against the party namely, the defendant, who was restrained from proceedings in the matter for a period of one month. (reliance has been placed on 1987(1) SCC 496 Oil and Natural Gas Commission Vs. Western Company of North America). It has been held in an appropriate case, it is open to pass a restraint order against a party in proceedings pending in foreign courts. It is further submitted that the learned Single Judge had passed the injunction order on 5.11.1999 for a period of one month, but the decree was granted on 23.11.1999. The defendant was bound by the order and should not have taken any steps in furtherance of the proceedings pending in American Court. On the other hand, the decree of divorce shows that the decree was sought and passed on agreement (no fault divorce) between the parties which is described as fair and equitable. The agreement is also stated to be attached with the decree. It is also to be seen that columns meant for alimony etc. were left blank. The defendant was restrained by the learned Single Judge of Delhi High Court, at the instance of the wife, the respondent, from further proceeding in the divorce case. It is submitted that this itself shows that the divorce was far from one on the basis of agreement. In this view of the matter, learned counsel for the respondent submits that the Court rightly felt need for personal appearance of the defendant for clarification. The defendant failed to appear on one ground or the other and lastly on the ground of apprehension of loosing job in America.

This Court also gave time to the learned counsel for the appellant to find out in case it would be possible for him to appear before the learned Single Judge of Delhi High Court. The learned counsel has placed before the Court a letter received from the appellant addressed to his counsel dated March 7,2002 expressing his inability to visit India for another 6 to 9 months due to financial and job constraints. He further informs that he is involved in many mission- critical projects. Therefore, granting of leave, would also not be possible, to him. It is also indicated that he has no property, no house, no bank account, no job and no place to live in India. These facts are hardly relevant for the purposes of present matter. We need not go into the other facts and circumstances, which have been placed by the learned counsel for the respondent to show the manner in which, within two months of the marriage, the appellant had filed “no fault divorce” in American Court and obtained decree on agreement in the teeth of injunction order dated 5.11.1999 passed by Delhi High Court and the appellant having abandoned the plaintiff-respondent in America and the difficulties with which she managed to return to India.

Shri Shanti Bhushan, learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent submits that in the facts and circumstances of the case as indicated above, the learned Single Judge of the Delhi High Court was quite justified in requiring the defendant-appellant to personally appear before the Court for his clarification. It is further submitted that the affidavit of the counsel for the appellant in America annexed with the affidavit filed in the trial court was not enough to clarify the position and the father of the appellant, as found by the trial court, could not throw further light in the matter, having not been present during the proceedings in America. So far the question regarding first date of hearing is concerned, it is too technical a ground to consider the matter like one in hand. The decisions which have been relied upon relate to the disputes between tenant and landlord and while interpreting the term “first date”, the provisions of the Rent Control Statutes have also been taken into account. It is submitted that inherent powers of the Court under Section 151 C.P.C. can always be exercised to advance interests of justice and the technicalities will have no place in such matters. In this connection a reference has been made to a decision of this Court reported in (1966) 3 S.C.R. 856 – M/s. Ram Chand and Sons Sugar Mills Pvt. Ltd. Versus Kanhaya Lal Bhargava and others. In this case also the defendant was required to attend the Court to answer certain questions but flouted the order and did not appear. Ultimately the defence was struck of. The contention that inherent powers under Section 151 CPC could not be exercised was repelled and it was held that there was nothing in Order XXXIX of the Code which expressly or by necessary implication precluded the exercise of inherent power of Court under Section 151 CPC and it was open for the Court to pass a suitable consequential order under Section 151 CPC as may be necessary for ends of justice or to prevent the abuse of process of Court. A reference has also been made to a decision reported in 1962 Supp. (1) S.C.R. 450 – Manohar Lal Chopra versus Rai Bahadur Rao Raja Seth Hiralal so as to indicate the wide scope of Section 151 CPC where as per the majority view, in the facts and circumstances of the case, it was open to pass an injunction order under Section 151 CPC where it may not be in conflict with any provision of Order XXXIX of the Code or other provision of law. The submission which has been advanced by the learned counsel for the respondent is that in the present case the learned trial court was totally justified in requiring the presence of the defendant and on his failure to comply with that order the trial court rightly struck of defence which order would be perfectly justified in view of inherent powers of the Court under Section 151 CPC besides other powers vested in it.

We would like to observe that Order X CPC in an enabling provision providing that the court at the first hearing of the suit shall ascertain from each party about their pleadings. It does not in any manner place any bar on the powers of the court to seek clarification from any party in an appropriate case, at any date earlier than one fixed for framing of issues so as to advance the interest of justice. It would not be in violation of Order X CPC or in conflict thereof. Considering the facts and circumstances of the case we agree with the submission made on behalf of the respondent and find that the appeal lacks merit so as to call for any interference by us under Article 136 of the Constitution.

In the result the appeal is dismissed with costs.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 30 other followers