Kirpal Kaur Vs Ritesh - Supreme Court Case

Kirpal Kaur Vs Ritesh - Supreme Court Case

REPORTABLE

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1991 OF 2022
Kirpal Kaur and another …Appellants
Versus
Ritesh and others …Respondents
J U D G M E N T
M.R. SHAH, J.
1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment
and order dated 11.09.2017 passed by the High Court of Punjab &
Haryana at Chandigarh in R.S.A. No. 2891 of 2010, by which the High
Court has dismissed the said second appeal and has confirmed the
judgment and decree passed by the first appellate Court, granting the
relief of specific performance of the agreement to sell dated 11.02.2004,
the original defendants have preferred the present appeal.
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2. The facts leading to the present appeal in a nutshell are as under:
That one Gurmeet Singh, predecessor-in-interest of the
defendants (husband of defendant no.1 and father of defendant no.2 to
4) was the owner and in possession of land admeasuring 8 kanals
situated in village Nilokheri, District Karnal. That the said Gurmeet Singh
executed an agreement to sell dated 11.02.2004 in favour of one Jai
Parkash, predecessor-in-interest of the plaintiffs for a sale consideration
of Rupees Four Lakhs. That a sum of Rupees Three Lakhs and Fifty
Thousand was paid as an earnest money to the said Gurmeet Singh.
The target date for execution of the sale deed in favour of the vendee or
his assignee was fixed as 10.02.2005, on payment of balance sale
consideration. In the agreement, it was also stated that if the vendor
fails to perform his part of the agreement, then the vendee would be
entitled to double the earnest money or in the alternative, to get the sale
deed executed and registered through the Court.
2.1 According to the plaintiffs, during his life time, the vendee Jai
Parkash was willing to perform his part of the agreement and after his
death, the plaintiffs, as his legal representatives had to perform.
According to the plaintiffs, they approached the defendants to perform
their part of the agreement, in terms of agreement to sell dated
11.02.2004, however, the defendants kept on deferring the matter.
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Therefore, the plaintiffs served a legal notice dated 14.01.2005 asking
the defendants to appear in the office of Sub Registrar, Nilokheri on
10.02.2005 for execution of the sale deed, which was the target date
fixed in the agreement. According to the plaintiffs, they reached the
office of Sub Registrar, Nilokheri on 10.02.2005 with the balance sale
consideration and the money required for purchase of stamp papers and
other expenses. However, the defendants did not turn up at the Sub
Registrar’s office. The plaintiffs got their presence marked by moving
an application before the Sub Registrar, Nilokheri, who made an
endorsement thereon and returned the application, along with the
affidavit of the plaintiffs, which were attested by Sub Registrar.
Thereafter the plaintiffs again served registered legal notice on
18.02.2005. In reply to the said notice, the defendants totally denied the
execution of the agreement to sell dated 11.02.2004 by Gurmeet Singh.
They also denied having received an amount of Rs.3,50,000/- mentioned
in the agreement to sell. Hence, the plaintiffs instituted the suit, being
Civil Suit No. 681 of 2005 in the Court of Additional Civil Judge (Senior
Division), Karnal for specific performance and for possession along with
consequential relief of permanent injunction.
2.2 The suit was resisted by the defendants by filing their written
statement. In the written statement, the original defendants denied
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execution of the agreement to sell dated 11.02.2004. It was the case on
behalf of the defendants that Gurmeet Singh was an illiterate person,
addicted to vices and his thumb impressions were obtained on blank
papers by Jai Parkash, who was a cloth shop owner in Nilokheri. The
defendants also denied receipt of Rs.3.50,000/- by Gurmeet Singh from
the plaintiffs. Both the parties led their evidence.
2.3 On appreciation of the evidence on record and on hearing the
parties, the learned trial Court, though held that the agreement was
validly executed between Gurmeet Singh and Jai Parkash, for a sale
consideration and though held that Rs.3,50,000/- was indeed paid by Jai
Prakash to Gurmeet Singh, nevertheless denied the relief of specific
performance by observing that the agreement, Ex. P2, may have been
executed as a security document for repayment of a loan. Therefore,
instead of granting the relief of specific performance, the learned trial
Court passed a decree for return of earnest money along with interest at
the rate of 6% per annum by way of an alternative relief.
2.4 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment and decree
passed by the learned trial Court, refusing to grant the relief of specific
performance, the original plaintiffs preferred an appeal before the first
appellate Court. The first appellate Court allowed the appeal and set
aside the judgment and decree passed by the learned trial Court
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refusing to pass a decree for specific performance by categorically
observing that the agreement to sell dated 11.02.2004 cannot be said to
be a loan agreement and/or security document for repayment of a loan.
2.5 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment and order
passed by the first appellate Court granting relief of specific performance
of the agreement to sell dated 11.02.2004, the appellants – defendants
preferred regular second appeal before the High Court. By the
impugned judgment and order, the High Court has dismissed the said
second appeal, which has given rise to the present appeal.
3. Shri Tarun Gupta, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the
appellants – original defendants has vehemently submitted that in the
facts and circumstances of the case, both, the first appellate Court as
well as the High Court have committed a grave error in holding that the
agreement to sell dated 11.02.2004 is not a security document/loan
agreement.
3.1 Shri Tarun Gupta, learned counsel for the appellants has taken us
to the agreement dated 11.02.2004. It is submitted that in the
agreement itself, it has been specifically mentioned that as there was a
marriage of the daughter of Gurmeet Singh, the amount was required
and therefore Rs. 3,50,000/- was taken as a loan towards the expenses
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of his daughter’s marriage. It is submitted therefore that, as such,
agreement dated 11.02.2004 was a loan agreement/security document.
3.2 It is further submitted by learned counsel appearing on behalf of
the appellants – original defendants that against the sale consideration
of Rs. 4,00,000/- mentioned in the agreement, Rs. 3,50,000/- was
alleged to have been paid by Jai Parkash, vendee. It is submitted that
therefore when the substantial amount was alleged to have been paid
without any possession, the agreement be treated as a security
document/loan agreement.
3.3 It is further contended by learned counsel appearing on behalf of
the appellants – original defendants that though in the agreement, it was
stated that the possession is handed over to the vendee, the defendants
continued to be in possession and the possession was never handed
over to the vendee and/or his legal heirs. It is submitted that all the
aforesaid circumstances would go to show that the agreement dated
11.02.2004 was a loan agreement/security document.
3.4 It is urged by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the
appellants – original defendants that the suit land is an agricultural land
and the only source of income of the defendants and their family
members and therefore considering Section 20 of the Specific Relief Act
and when the grant of specific performance is a discretionary relief, the
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said discretion may be exercised in favour of the defendants. It is
submitted that the valuable property has been sought to be purchased
by the plaintiffs for a meagre sum of Rs. 4,00,000/- only.
3.5 Making the above submissions, it is prayed to allow the present
appeal and restore the judgment and decree passed by the learned trial
Court.
4. The present appeal is vehemently opposed by Shri Tathagat Harsh
Vardhan, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the original plaintiffs.
4.1 It is submitted that as such there are concurrent findings of facts
recorded by all the courts below on the execution of the agreement
executed by Gurmeet Singh in favour of Jai Parkash. It is submitted that
all the courts below have also believed the payment of sale
consideration by the vendee to the vendor. It is contended that the said
findings of facts recorded by all the courts below are not required to be
interfered with by this Court, in exercise of powers under Article 136 of
the Constitution of India.
4.2 It is further contended that, as such, it was never the case on
behalf of the defendants before the trial Court that agreement dated
11.02.2004 was a loan agreement/security document. It is submitted
that before the trial Court, the defendants totally denied the execution of
the agreement dated 11.02.2004 by Gurmeet Singh and receipt of
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Rs.3,50,000/-. That for the first time before the first appellate Court, it
was the case on behalf of the defendants that agreement dated
11.02.2004 was a loan agreement/security document.
4.3 It is further submitted by learned counsel appearing on behalf of
the respondents – original plaintiffs that even the trial Court also held
that the agreement was validly executed between Gurmeet Singh and
Jai Parkash for a valuable consideration. However, the trial Court
refused to pass a decree for specific performance solely on the ground
that the agreement might have been executed as a security document
for repayment of a loan. Therefore, the trial Court, instead of granting
the relief of specific performance, passed a decree for return of earnest
money. It is contended that the defendants did not prefer any appeal
before the first appellate Court against the findings recorded by the trial
Court on the execution of the agreement dated 11.02.2004 between
Gurmeet Singh and Jai Parkash and on the payment of Rs. 3,50,000/-
paid by vendee to the vendor. That, in fact, the original plaintiffs
preferred the appeal before the first appellate Court against refusal of
the decree for specific performance.
4.4 It is urged that, both, the first appellate Court as well as the High
Court have rightly observed and held that agreement dated 11.02.2004
cannot be said to be a loan agreement and/or security document.
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Therefore, the first appellate Court rightly passed a decree of specific
performance which is rightly confirmed by the High Court.
4.5 Making the above submissions, it is prayed to dismiss the present
appeal.
5. We have heard learned counsel for the respective parties at
length.
At the outset, it is required to be noted that as such there are
concurrent findings of facts recorded by all the courts below on the
execution of the agreement dated 11.02.2004 by Gurmeet Singh in
favour of Jai Parkash. There are concurrent findings of fact recorded by
all the courts below on the payment of part sale consideration of
Rs.3,50,000/- by the vendee to the vendor. The trial Court refused to
grant the relief of specific performance solely on the ground that the
agreement might have been executed as a security document for
repayment of loan. However, as observed hereinabove, even the trial
Court also specifically held that the agreement was validly executed
between Gurmeet Singh and Jai Parkash for a sale consideration. The
plaintiffs preferred the appeal before the first appellate Court against
refusal to pass a decree for specific performance. The defendants did
not prefer any appeal before the first appellate Court against the findings
recorded by the trial Court on execution of the agreement and on
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payment of part sale consideration. Therefore, the findings recorded by
the trial Court that the agreement was validly executed for a sale
consideration has attained finality.
6. On a careful consideration of the agreement dated 11.02.2004, the
first appellate Court and the High Court have observed and held that the
agreement dated 11.02.2004 cannot be said to be a loan agreement
and/or security document, as alleged by the defendants. We have also
gone through and considered the agreement dated 11.02.2004. On
reading the entire agreement, it cannot be said that the agreement dated
11.02.2004 can be said to be a loan agreement and/or security
document. Merely because in the document the purpose of sale of the
property was stated to be for the marriage expenses, the document
which otherwise can be said to be an agreement to sell, will not become
a loan agreement and/or security document. If the agreement as a
whole is read, we find that it is an agreement to sell. Both, the first
appellate Court and the High Court have rightly not accepted the case
on behalf of the defendants that the agreement is a loan agreement
and/or security document. At this stage, it is required to be noted that as
such it was never the case on behalf of the defendants before the trial
Court that the agreement is a loan agreement and/or security document.
Before the trial Court, the defendants denied totally the very execution of
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the agreement and receipt of Rs.3,50,000/-, which has been rightly
disbelieved even by the trial Court. It appears that before the first
appellate Court, for the first time, the defendants came out with a case
that the agreement is a loan agreement and/or security document.
7. Once the execution of the agreement to sell for a sale
consideration has been believed and it has been found that Jai Parkash
and thereafter, the original plaintiffs were always ready and willing to
perform their part under the agreement and in fact they remained
present before the Sub Registrar, Nilokheri on 10.02.2005, which has
been established and proved, the decree for specific performance is
rightly passed by the first appellate Court, which is rightly confirmed by
the High Court. In the facts and circumstances, clauses (a) & (c) of
Section 20 of the Specific Relief Act shall not be applicable and/or
attracted. We are in complete agreement with the view taken by the first
appellate Court and the High Court. However, at the same time to do
the complete justice between the parties and in exercise of powers
under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, we direct the original
plaintiffs to pay additional Rs.3,50,000/- to the appellants - original
defendants, over and above the balance sale consideration of
Rs.50,000/- (Rs.50,000/- to be paid with 6% interest from the date of
execution of the Agreement to Sell i.e., 11.02.2004 to actual payment).
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It is further directed that on such payment the original defendants –
appellants herein shall execute the sale deed in favour of respondents
herein – original plaintiffs.
8. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, the present
appeal fails and deserves to be dismissed and is accordingly dismissed.
No order as to costs.
………………………………..J.
[M.R. SHAH]
NEW DELHI; ………………………………..j.
MARCH 22, 2022. [B.V. NAGARATHNA]
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