Raveesh Chand Jain Raveesh versus Raj Rani Jain

 

Supreme Court of India (Division Bench (DB)- Two Judge)

Appeal (Civil), 1822 of 2015, Judgment Date: Feb 12, 2015

  • - The bare perusal of the aforesaid provision makes  it  clear  that  it
    confers wide discretion on the court to pass a judgment at any stage of  the
    suit on the basis of admission of facts made in the  pleading  or  otherwise
    without waiting for the determination of any other  question  arose  between
    the parties.  Since the Rule permits the passing of judgment  at  any  stage
    without waiting for determination of other question, it follows  that  there
    can be more than one decree that may be passed at different  stages  of  the
    same suit.  The principle behind Order XII Rule 6 is to give  the  plaintiff
    a right to speedy judgment so that either party may get  rid  of  the  rival
    claims which are not in controversy.-
 
  • -The principle with  respect  to  doctrine
    of res judicata is that there must be finality achieved  to  litigation  and
    parties must not be harassed over and over again merely by changing  certain
    facts with respect to the main relief claimed viz., of ownership  rights  in
    the suit property.
  • -there is no dispute with regard to  the  law
    settled by this Court that Order XII Rule 6 confers wide discretion  on  the
    Court to pass judgment either at the stage of  the  suit  on  the  basis  of
    admission of the facts made in the pleadings or  otherwise,  but  the  Court
    shall later on decide the other questions which arise for  consideration  in
    the Suit.
  • ‚Äč-It is equally well settled that the provision of Order XII Rule  6  of
    the  Code  is  not  a  mandatory  provision  rather  discretionary.    While
    exercising power of passing judgment on admission made in  the  pleading  or
    otherwise, the Court must keep the matter pending for  adjudication  so  far
    as other issues are concerned.
  • -This appeal is, therefore, dismissed.   However,  we  allow
    the appellant to remain in possession of the suit property  till  31.12.2015
    on payment  of  Rs.10,000/-  per  month  by  way  of  damages  for  use  and
    occupation of the suit property.

                                                                'REPORTABLE'

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CIVIL APPEAL NO.  1822  OF 2015
                   (arising out of SLP(C)No.29805 of 2014)

Raveesh Chand Jain                                .....Appellant
                                   versus
Raj Rani Jain                                     .....Respondent

                                  JUDGMENT


M. Y. EQBAL, J.



Leave granted.



2.    This appeal by special leave is  directed  against  the  judgment  and
order dated 28.8.2014 of the High  Court  of  Delhi  allowing  the  revision
petition preferred by the respondent/plaintiff  against  the  order  of  the
trial court which has dismissed her application in a suit  for  recovery  of
possession and damages with respect to a portion of the  property  being  in
unauthorized occupation of the appellant/defendant.



3.     The factual matrix of  the  case  is  that  the  plaintiff-respondent
filed a suit against the defendant/appellant who is her  son,  for  recovery
of possession and damages alleging that she had purchased the suit  property
out of her own fund and she is the absolute owner, but part of the  property
was under the illegal occupation of  the  appellant-defendant,  who  opposed
the suit contending that the suit property  was  a  Hindu  Undivided  Family
property having been purchased in the  name  of  the  respondent  using  the
funds of his grandfather, father  and  himself  and  not  purchased  by  the
respondent as she was a housewife  having  no  income.   Appellant-defendant
further pleaded that though there was a dispute regarding his ownership  and
possession, the same  was  settled  between  all  the  family  members  vide
compromise deed dated 22.10.1997.



4.    The respondent filed an application under Order  XII  Rule  6  of  the
Code of Civil Procedure for passing a decree in her  favour  on  the  ground
that a suit for partition, which had earlier been filed by the appellant  on
the same ground i.e. that the suit property was a  HUF  property,  had  been
dismissed by the District Court vide judgment dated  8.9.2003  and  affirmed
by  the  High  Court  vide  judgment  dated  12.9.2011  and  the  respondent
contended that  the  same  amounted  to  an  unequivocal  admission  by  the
appellant that the respondent was entitled to possession.



5.    The trial court held that though the judgment dated  8.9.2003  of  the
District Court and judgment dated 12.9.2011 of the High Court  had  rejected
the plea of the appellant that the suit property was a HUF  property,  these
findings were made in a suit for partition  whereas  the  present  suit  was
filed for recovery of possession and damages.  The trial court further  held
that for passing a decree under Order XII Rule 6 CPC, the defendant  had  to
make an unequivocal and unqualified admission.   The  appellant  herein  has
not made such an admission  regarding  his  liability  to  pay  the  damages
claimed by the respondent. The trial court dismissed  the  application  vide
judgment dated 7.6.2013.



6.    Aggrieved by the judgment of the trial court, the respondent  filed  a
revision petition before the High Court. The High Court while  allowing  the
appeal and decreeing the suit with costs held that the pleas  taken  by  the
appellant-defendant regarding the  contribution  made  by  his  grandfather,
father and himself in the purchase of the suit property  had  been  rejected
by the High Court vide judgment dated 12.9.2011 and the  same  will  operate
as res judicata.  The High Court  further  held  that  while  there  was  no
evidence for holding the suit property to  be  a  HUF  property,  the  title
deeds of the suit property and the land  records  stood  in  favour  of  the
respondent-plaintiff.   The High Court noted that the only  new  plea  taken
by the defendant in his written statement was that he was  a  co-owner  vide
compromise deed dated 22.10.1997 and held that this plea was barred  on  the
grounds of constructive res judicata having not been raised earlier  in  the
partition suit filed by the defendant. The High Court accordingly set  aside
the order passed by the trial court and decreed the suit.



7.    Hence, the present appeal by special leave by the defendant-son.



8.    We have heard learned counsel  for  the  parties.   Mr.  Sushil  Kumar
Jain, learned senior counsel  appearing  for  the  appellant,  assailed  the
order passed by the High Court manly on  the  ground  that  the  High  Court
exceeded its jurisdiction under Section 115 of the Code of Civil  Procedure.
 According to the learned senior counsel there is  categorical  denial  that
the appellant's possession in the suit property is not that of a  trespasser
but on the basis of his own right. Learned  senior  counsel  submitted  that
for passing a judgment under Order XII Rule 6 CPC there must be  unequivocal
admission by the defendant  in  the  pleading.   According  to  the  learned
counsel judgment should not have been passed by applying the  principles  of
res judicata inasmuch as the issue of res judicata does not arise in a  case
of judgment passed under Order XII Rule 6, CPC.



9.    In order to appreciate the  submission  made  by  the  learned  senior
counsel we would like to quote Order XII Rule 6 CPC, which reads as under:-

"Judgment on admissions.- (1)  Where  admissions  of  fact  have  been  made
either in the pleading or otherwise,  whether  orally  or  in  writing,  the
court may at any stage of the suit, either on the application  of  an  party
or of its own motion and without waiting for the determination of any  other
question between the parties, make such Order or give such  judgment  as  It
may think fit, having regard to such admissions.
(2) Whenever a judgment is pronounced under sub-rule (1) a decree  shall  be
drawn up in accordance with the judgment and the decree shall bear the  date
on which the judgment was pronounced."

10.   The bare perusal of the aforesaid provision makes  it  clear  that  it
confers wide discretion on the court to pass a judgment at any stage of  the
suit on the basis of admission of facts made in the  pleading  or  otherwise
without waiting for the determination of any other  question  arose  between
the parties.  Since the Rule permits the passing of judgment  at  any  stage
without waiting for determination of other question, it follows  that  there
can be more than one decree that may be passed at different  stages  of  the
same suit.  The principle behind Order XII Rule 6 is to give  the  plaintiff
a right to speedy judgment so that either party may get  rid  of  the  rival
claims which are not in controversy.

11.   The provision of Order XII Rule 6 has been discussed by this Court  in
the case of Karam Kapahi and Others  vs.  Lal Chand Public Charitbale  Trust
and Another, (2010) 4 SCC 753, wherein this Court observed:-
"39. In the 54th Law  Commission  Report,  an  amendment  was  suggested  to
enable the court to give a judgment not only on the application of  a  party
but on its own motion. It is thus  clear  that  the  amendment  was  brought
about to further the ends of justice  and  give  these  provisions  a  wider
sweep by empowering the Judges to use it  "ex  debito  justitiae",  a  Latin
term, meaning a debt of justice. In our opinion the thrust of the  amendment
is that in an appropriate case, a party,  on  the  admission  of  the  other
party, can press for judgment, as a matter  of  legal  right.  However,  the
court always retains its discretion in the matter of pronouncing judgment.
40. If the provision of Order 12 Rule 1 is compared with Order  12  Rule  6,
it becomes clear that the provision of Order 12 Rule 6 is wider inasmuch  as
the provision of Order 12 Rule 1 is limited to  admission  by  "pleading  or
[pic]otherwise in writing" but  in  Order  12  Rule  6  the  expression  "or
otherwise" is much  wider  in  view  of  the  words  used  therein,  namely:
"admission of fact ... either in the pleading or otherwise,  whether  orally
or in writing".
41. Keeping the width of this provision (i.e. Order 12 Rule 6) in mind  this
Court held that under this Rule admissions can be inferred  from  the  facts
and circumstances of the case  (see  Charanjit  Lal  Mehra  v.  Kamal  Saroj
Mahajan, SCC at p. 285, para 8). Admissions  in  answer  to  interrogatories
are also covered under this Rule (see Mullas's Commentary on the Code,  16th
Edn., Vol. II, p. 2177).
42. In Uttam Singh Duggal & Co. Ltd. v. United Bank  of  India  this  Court,
while construing this provision, held  that  the  Court  should  not  unduly
narrow down its application as the object is to enable  a  party  to  obtain
speedy judgment."

12.   Coming back  to  the  instant  case  there  is  no  dispute  that  the
plaintiff/respondent filed the suit for possession of the suit property  and
also for recovery of Rs.5,55,000/- and future damages at  the  rate  of  Rs.
15,000/- per month.  The plaintiff/respondent  claimed  title  in  the  suit
property and averred that the appellant is  in  unauthorized  occupation  of
the suit property without any authority or justification.  In the plaint  it
was specifically pleaded that the ownership right in the suit  property  has
already been decided in favour of the respondent and against  the  appellant
by judgment and decree dated 8.9.2003 and the appeal filed by the  appellant
was also dismissed vide judgment dated 12.9.2011.  Hence, the  appellant  is
in illegal possession of the suit property.



13.   On an application filed by the plaintiff/respondent  under  Order  XII
Rule 6 CPC seeking a judgment in the suit, the  trial  court  dismissed  the
application stating that there is no unequivocal  admission  for  passing  a
judgment in the suit.  The High Court, however, reversed  the  order  passed
by the trial court and held that considering the earlier  judgment  deciding
the ownership of the suit property in favour of the appellant, the suit  for
possession ought to have been decreed by  the  trial  court.   Consequently,
the High Court decreed the suit.  Paras 6 and 7  of  the  impugned  judgment
passed by the High Court are quoted hereinbelow:-



"6. The only new aspect urged in the present written statement is  that  the
respondent/defendant claimed that he received ownership share  in  the  suit
property by virtue of a written compromise entered into  before  the  police
station Anand Vihar on 22.10.1997, however, it is  noted  that  the  earlier
suit, which was a suit for partition filed by the respondent/defendant,  the
issue as regards the claim of  the  respondent/defendant  to  the  ownership
rights in  the  suit  property  was  very  much  in  issue,  and  hence  the
respondent/defendant had to urge in the earlier proceedings  all  the  basis
of his claims of ownership rights in the suit property and if that  was  not
done  the  respondent/defendant  is  now  barred   by   the   principle   of
constructive res judicata from raising any claims which ought to  have  been
urged in the earlier proceedings.  The principle with  respect  to  doctrine
of res judicata is that there must be finality achieved  to  litigation  and
parties must not be harassed over and over again merely by changing  certain
facts with respect to the main relief claimed viz., of ownership  rights  in
the suit property.


7.    In view of the above, the impugned order dated 7.6.2013 is  completely
illegal and the issues  in  the  present  case  stand  covered  against  the
respondent / defendant  by  the  principle  of  res  judicata  enshrined  in
Section 11 CPC.  So far as the relief of possession is  concerned,  suit  of
the  plaintiff/petitioner/mother  will  hence  stand  decreed  against   the
respondent/defendant   for   the   portion   so   in   possession   of   the
respondent/defendant as per the site plant filed.  Since  the  respondent  /
defendant / son is harassing the mother from 1998 and today we  are  in  the
year 2014, this appeal is allowed with actual cost.  Petitioner /  plaintiff
will file an affidavit in this Court supported by  certificate  of  fees  of
her counsels in this appeal with respect to the fees paid to  the  counsels,
and such fees paid will be the cost which will be payable by the  respondent
/  defendant  to  the  petitioner  /  plaintiff.   The  aforesaid  affidavit
accompanied by the certificate of the fees of the counsels be filed  by  the
petitioner within a period of  four  weeks  and  costs  be  paid  thereafter
within a period of four weeks."




14.   From the reading of para 7 of the order,  as  quoted  hereinabove,  it
reveals that the High Court not only decreed the  suit  for  possession  but
also directed the  plaintiff  /  respondent  to  file  an  affidavit  giving
details of the cost of litigation since the appeal was allowed with cost.




15.   As discussed hereinabove, there is no dispute with regard to  the  law
settled by this Court that Order XII Rule 6 confers wide discretion  on  the
Court to pass judgment either at the stage of  the  suit  on  the  basis  of
admission of the facts made in the pleadings or  otherwise,  but  the  Court
shall later on decide the other questions which arise for  consideration  in
the Suit.



16.   It is equally well settled that the provision of Order XII Rule  6  of
the  Code  is  not  a  mandatory  provision  rather  discretionary.    While
exercising power of passing judgment on admission made in  the  pleading  or
otherwise, the Court must keep the matter pending for  adjudication  so  far
as other issues are concerned.



17.   Indisputably, the plaintiff/respondent filed the  suit  for  following
relief:-


i) A decree for possession of the suit property;


ii)    A  decree  for  recovery  of  Rs.5,55,000/-  and  future  damages   @
Rs.15,000/- per month against the defendant.



18.   So far as the first relief for a decree for possession  is  concerned,
we are in full agreement with the  view  taken  by  the  High  Court  having
regard to the question of ownership already  decided  in  the  earlier  suit
filed by the defendant/ appellant.   The said issue  need  not  have  to  be
decided afresh and hence on the basis of the finding  of  ownership  decided
in favour of the plaintiff/respondent, the suit has to be decreed so far  as
the recovery of possession is concerned.



19.   So far as the second question with regard to the  entitlement  of  the
plaintiff/respondent to claim  a  decree  for  recovery  of  a  sum  of  Rs.
5,55,000/-  and  future  damages  @  Rs.15,000/-  per  month  is  concerned,
admittedly this question has not been decided either in the earlier suit  or
in this suit.  In that view of the matter, decreeing the entire suit on  the
basis of ownership  of  the  plaintiff/respondent  already  decided  in  the
earlier suit, the decree for recovery of damages  ought  not  to  have  been
passed by the High Court.



20.   However, in the instant  case,  at  the  time  of  admission  of  this
Special Leave Petition, the following order was passed on 12.11.2014:-



      "In the event the petitioner deposit a sum  of  Rs.5,00,000/-  (Rupees
Five Lakhs) in the account of his mother-Respondent, notice shall be  issued
only confining to the question as to whether the  decree  passed  under  the
provisions of Order  XII  Rule  6  CPC  is  justified.   The  amount  to  be
deposited within four weeks from today.

      Put up the case on 11.12.2014.

      Till then, status quo, as on today, shall be maintained."



21.   In compliance of  the  aforesaid  order,  the  appellant  had  already
deposited the  aforesaid  amount.   Hence,  taking  into  consideration  the
relationship of the appellant and the respondent being mother  and  son,  we
do not think it proper to again remand the matter to  the  trial  court  for
deciding the issue as to the quantum of damages the respondent  is  entitled
to get from the appellant  for  his  unauthorized  possession  of  the  suit
property.  We, therefore, hold that the amount  of  Rs.5,00,000/-  would  be
just and proper so far as the claim for damages is concerned.



22.   We, therefore, think it fit not to interfere with the order passed  by
the High Court.  This appeal is, therefore, dismissed.   However,  we  allow
the appellant to remain in possession of the suit property  till  31.12.2015
on payment  of  Rs.10,000/-  per  month  by  way  of  damages  for  use  and
occupation of the suit property.  It is made clear that  in  the  event  the
appellant   fails   to   vacate and   hand over    the    vacant  possession
of the suit property and also fails in payment of monthly damages  as  fixed
hereinabove on or before 31.12.2015, respondent will be entitled to  execute
the decree for recovery of possession and also for damages.igh  High  Court.
This appeal

.....................................J.
                                                        (M.Y. Eqbal)


..................................J.
      (Shiva Kirti Singh)
New Delhi
February 12, 2015.