Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1534 of 2009
Vikram Nath, J.
Appellant   has   assailed   the   correctness   of
Judgment and Order dated 21.07.2006 passed
by the Single Judge, Allahabad High Court in
Second Appeal No. 813 of 1975 between Farooqi
Begum vs. State of Uttar Pradesh, whereby the
Second Appeal was dismissed giving rise to the
present appeal.
2. The  State   of   U.P.   through   Collector,
Rampur,   instituted   a   suit   for   declaration,
possession   and   damages   before   the   Court   of
District Judge, Rampur, registered as Original
Suit No.1 of 1964, State of U.P. vs. Smt. Farooqi
Begum with respect to land in suit measuring
20 bighas 10 biswa (pukhta) situated in Village
Thotar, Tehsil Sadar, District Rampur, that it
was   a   government   grove   (known   as   ‘Bagh
Hazoor Pasand’) and presently belonging to the
U.P. State Garden Department, Rampur.
3. According to the plaint averments, the said
grove was rent free grant of the defendant long
before   the   merger   of   Rampur   State   and   like
other  Muafis; it was granted by His Highness
Nawab Hamid Ali Khan to his different wives
and was liable to resumption at the pleasure of
the ruler of erstwhile Rampur State; after the
death of Nawab Hamid Ali Khan in 1930, his
successor Nawab Raza Ali Khan resumed all the
Muafis of all the widows of his father including
that   of   the   defendant;   the   possession   of   the
same was taken over by the State Authorities
soon after the resumption; the same was given
effect to in the revenue papers and the grove
concerned came to be recorded in the name of
the State (Shamil Khalasa); the defendant and
her Karpoons through collusion of the revenue
officers managed to get her name continued in
the Patwari’s record even though her possession
had been removed; the grove in question along
with   similarly   resumed   grove   came   into   the
hands of the State of U.P. at the time of merger;
ever since the State has been selling its Bahar;
the defendant on the basis of continuance of her
name, though illegally, continued to interfere in
the   possession   of   the   State   even   in   1959
claiming the grove in question in her ownership;
the   State   of   U.P.   took   legal   steps   to   get   the
revenue   records   corrected   by   expunging   the
name of the defendant and for incorporating the
name   of   the   State   but   the   revenue   court
declined such request of the State as such the
necessity to file the suit arose.
4. Smt. Farooqi  Begum,  the  sole  defendant,
filed the written statement denying the plaint
allegations except that the proceedings before
the revenue courts culminated in her favour; it
was further alleged that the defendant had been
in   continuous   possession   since   1924;   the
property   in   suit   was   the   holding   of   the
defendant   on   the   commencement   of   U.P.
Zamindari   Abolition   and   Land   Reforms   Act,
1952 and as such on the commencement of the
Act,   the   defendant   became   the   ‘Bhumidhar’
thereof;   that   in   proceedings   for   ejectment
against   one   Laddan   Khan   initiated   by   the
defendant,   the   State   being   a   party   had
acquiesced to the defendant’s title as such the
suit was barred by estoppel; further that the
Bagh   Hazoor   Pasand  was   in   possession   of
defendant   and   was   her   own   property   and
adjoining grove measuring 13 bighas 2 biswas
was the grove of the plaintiff State and was in
its possession; both these groves are separated
by a Nala (a drain); the plaintiff had filed a suit
on a wrong advice that the grove in question
was resumed; other formal pleas of defence were
also taken in the written statement.
5. The Trial Court proceeded to frame issues
on   the   basis   of   pleadings   and   allowed   the
parties   to   lead   their   evidence.   The   defendant
filed an application under Order VI Rule 17 of
the   Code   of   Civil   Procedure,   19081
amendment   in   the   written   statement   on
01.11.1965.   The   Trial   Court   vide   judgment
dated 13.11.1966 decreed the suit and at the
same time rejected the amendment application
on the ground that it had been filed at a very
belated   stage   after   the   arguments   had   been
heard.   Against   the   said   judgment   dated
1 In short “CPC”
13.11.1966, the defendant preferred an appeal
which was originally filed before the High Court
and registered as First Appeal No.61 of 1967
but later on transferred to the Court of District
Judge,   Rampur,   after   the   U.P.   Civil   Laws
Amendment Act, 1970.
6. In the Court of District Judge, Rampur, it
was registered as Civil Appeal No. 50 of 1970,
Smt.   Farooqi   Begum   vs.   State   of   U.P.   The
District   Judge,   Rampur,   vide   judgment   and
order dated 08.09.1971 allowed the amendment
dated 01.11.1965, set aside the judgment of the
Trial Court dated 13.11.1966 and remanded the
matter to the Trial Court for a fresh decision
after   necessary   reframing   of   issues   and
opportunity to the parties to adduce evidence.
7. After remand, the Trial Court in addition to
the already framed ten issues, further framed
four more issues and allowed the parties to lead
evidence.   The   Trial   court   vide   judgment   and
order dated 01.05.1973 again decreed the suit.
8. The   First   Appeal   filed   by   the   defendant
registered as Civil Appeal No.73 was dismissed
by IInd Additional District Judge, Rampur, vide
judgment dated 06.03.1975. Aggrieved by the
same,   the   defendant   preferred   the   Second
Appeal   before   the   High   Court   registered   as
Second Appeal No. 813 of 1975. The learned
single Judge of the Allahabad High Court vide
judgment   and   order   dated   21.07.2006
dismissed the Second Appeal which has given
rise to the filing of the present appeal.
9. We have heard Ms. Nitya Ramakrishnan,
learned senior counsel for the appellants and
Mr. Tanmaya Agarwal, learned counsel for the
State. We have been taken through the material
on record by the learned counsel for the parties.
Arguments of the appellant:
10. The   following   submissions   have   been
advanced on behalf of the appellant stating that
the   courts   below   committed   the   following
serious errors of law.
i. The burden of proof was wrongly shifted
on the defendant­appellant.
ii. Inadmissible evidence was relied upon to
record finding in favour of the plaintiffrespondent.
iii. Secondary   evidence   was   relied   upon
without   the   Record­keeper   being
examined to prove the same.
iv. Even the secondary evidence relied upon
smelt of manipulation and interpolation,
which was illegally ignored.
v. Documents were prepared in the name of
the   defendant­appellant,   which   were
specifically   denied,   but   the   same   was
illegally relied upon.
vi. The   core   issue   as   to   whether   an
unconditional gift by a husband in favour
of his wife during the subsistence of the
marriage was irrevocable, has not been
looked into, thereby resulting into grave
error of justice.
vii. The   plaintiff­respondent   had   completely
failed to prove their case as there was no
evidence to support their claim but still
the suit was decreed.
viii. Relevant   and   admissible   evidence   was
illegally ignored.
ix. The pleadings of the plaintiff­respondent
were vague and not specific, nor was duly
established by evidence despite the same,
the suit was decreed.
x. The defendant­appellant was throughout
in possession and, as such, had perfected
her right, title and interest on the coming
of the U.P. Zamindari Abolition & Land
Reforms Act, 1951, which aspect has not
been considered.
11. On   all   the   above   submissions,   learned
counsel for the appellants has referred in detail
to the evidence and the relevant material, which
we will refer to at a later stage.
12. On the other hand, learned counsel for the
plaintiff­respondent   made   the   following
i. All the three courts below have recorded
concurrent findings of fact and, as such,
do not call for any interference.
ii. Once   the   plaintiff   and   defendant   both
have equal opportunity to lead evidence,
the argument regarding shifting of burden
of proof would lose its significance.
iii. The plaintiff­respondent had led cogent,
reliable   and   admissible   evidence   to
establish his case.
iv. The   courts   below   have   taken   into
consideration   all   the   material   placed
before it and after due appreciation of the
same,   in   accordance   with   law,   the
findings have been recorded.
v. All the three courts have dealt with all the
specific issues framed and have recorded
their findings after due consideration of
the material placed by both the sides.
13. The suit of the respondent instituted for the
relief   of   declaration,   possession   and   mesne
profits   was   based   on  the  averments   that   the
grant given by Nawab Hamid Ali Khan in 1924
in favour of the appellant, had been resumed by
his successor, Nawab Raza Ali Khan in the year
1930,   thereafter,   the   respondent   had   entered
into   possession,   the   records   were   corrected,
however,   the   appellant   on   account   of   some
omission in the maintenance of the records, reentered into possession sometimes in 1959 and,
therefore, they were compelled to file a suit. It is
also   stated   that   the   respondent   made   an
attempt to get the records corrected through the
revenue   court   by   way   of   an   application   for
correction of revenue records, but the same was
rejected by the Deputy Collector in 1953.
14. On   the   above   pleadings,   the   first   thing
required to be proved by the plaintiff­respondent
was   that   there   was   resumption   of   the   grant
given in favour of the appellant. For the said
purpose, neither any such order resuming the
earlier   grant   was   filed,   nor   any   order   of   the
revenue court was filed to show that the said
resumption of grant had been incorporated in
the revenue records. The defense taken was that
all the records had been destroyed in a fire in
1947.   The   only   evidence   led   by   the   plaintiffrespondent was filing of a true copy of Muafiat
Register   and   the   statement   of   PW­2   (Roop
Kishore), who was said to be working as a Clerk
in the Revenue Department.
15. We have examined the statement of PW­2.
According to learned counsel for the appellant,
two basic objections were taken for not relying
upon the Muafiat Register.  Firstly, it had torn
binding   and   had   loose   pages.   Secondly,   the
entire register was written in blue­black ink and
it   is   only   the   entry   relating   to   the   land   in
question regarding resumption was written in
black ink. These two aspects casted a doubt on
the veracity of the entries in the register and in
particular the entry relating to the resumption.
The document was, thus, a document not free
from suspicion and as such, no reliance could
be placed upon it.
16. Apart   from   the   above,   no   other   evidence
was led by the plaintiff­respondent to prove the
resumption. PW­2 in his cross­examination, had
no explanation for the loose pages, the index i.e.
the first page and the last page being missing
with no detail of the number of pages in the said
register. Further, there was no explanation for
the difference in the ink and that too only on the
page by which, the entry relating to resumption
with respect to the land in dispute was made.
The courts below relied upon the entries in the
Muafiat Register only for the reason that it was
a document produced by the State and the State
would   have   no   reason   to   make   any   kind   of
interpolation.   There was no other supporting
document   with   regard   to   presumption   of   the
land in question.
17. Referring   to   the   above   documents   and
statements,   counsel   for   the   appellants
submitted that grave injustice has been done to
the   appellant  by  the  courts   below  in   holding
that there was a resumption, in the absence of
any credible, reliable evidence to that effect.
18. Prima   facie,   we   find   substance   in
submission   of   the   learned   counsel   for   the
appellants   that   apparently   there   was   no
evidence to prove the resumption of the grant.
19. Insofar  as   the   issue   of   possession   is
concerned,   learned   counsel   for   the   appellant
submitted that it was the specific case of the
defendant­appellants that they had continued in
possession right from 1924 i.e. the time when
the grant was given. It is also submitted that
throughout   in   the   revenue   records,   the
possession   of   the   defendant­appellant   is
recorded. It was also submitted that 20 bighas
and odd piece of land given under the grant was
separated by a Nala(drain) with a separate piece
of land measuring 13 bighas and odd, which
was in the possession of State Department of
Government   Garden   and   it   was   this   smaller
piece of land, which was being let out by the
State   of   U.P.,   Garden   Department   by   selling
usufruct thereof. 
20. It was next submitted that Deputy Collector
in   the   proceedings   for   correction   of   records
initiated by the plaintiff­respondent, had made a
spot inspection not once but a couple of times.
In its order dated 03.01.1961, while rejecting
the   application   of   the   State   for   deleting   the
name of the defendant­appellant and recording
the   name   of   the   plaintiff­respondent,   had
categorically   recorded   that   the   defendantappellant was in occupation and in possession
of the land in question. 
21. It may be noted that the finding recorded
by a Class­I Officer of the State could not be
easily ignored. It is true that correction of record
proceedings is summary in nature, but when
the   inspection   was   carried   out,   such   finding
recorded   in   the   order   regarding   possession
ought not to have been ignored.
22. It is thus apparent that plaintiff­respondent
led   no   evidence   to   establish   that   it   was
throughout in possession since 1930 after the
resumption. The courts below have proceeded
on assumptions and presumptions to hold in
favour of the State on the question of possession
and to decree the suit.
23. On the other hand, we find that that the
defendant­appellants   had   filed   not   only
documentary evidence to prove their continuous
possession but also oral evidence, which has
been ignored. 
24. It was further submitted on behalf of the
appellants   that   courts   below   have   placed
reliance upon a letter of the defendant­appellant
dated 19.07.1954 to draw presumption that the
defendant­appellant   was   not   in   possession   in
1954   and   it   is   for   this   reason   that   she   had
applied   for   seeking   to   be   put   back   into
possession. The contents of the said letter have
been perused.   According to it, there is some
land   of   Government   and   after   merger   the
Government Garden Department, Rampur has
taken possession over her grove and the request
made   was   to   direct   the   Government   Garden
Department, Rampur to remove their possession
from   her   garden   so   that   she   may   have   full
possession of her share. This clearly means that
there was issue of some part of the land granted
to the defendant­appellants being in possession
of the Garden Department, Rampur.
25. This letter has been heavily relied upon by
the   courts   below   to   record   the   finding   of
possession in favour of the plaintiff­respondent.
The signatures on the said letter were denied by
the   defendant­appellant,   but   the   same   was
sought to be proved through a nephew of stepsister instead of getting the same verified by a
hand­writing expert.
26. P.W.­3, Shakir Ali Khan, who claims to be a
Clerk posted as Clerk in the Garden Department
Office,   in   his   examination­in­chief   has   stated
that   he   recognizes   the   signature   of   the
defendant­appellant   as   his   wife   is   the   stepdaughter   of   the   sister   of   the   defendantappellant.   However,   in   his   cross­examination,
he states that:
i. he does not know the name of the sister
of   Farooqui   Begum,   the   defendantappellant,  whose   step­daughter was  his
wife; he even does not know the name of
her father; he had never exchanged any
letter   with   the   defendant­appellant;   he
had not seen defendant­appellant reading
and writing; he does not have any direct
relationship   with   the   defendant.     The
credibility   of   the   statement   of   PW­3   to
prove the signature of the defendant also
appears to be far­fetched and doubtful.
We may also note here that even if the
said   letter  contain  the   signature   of   the
defendant, it’s content cannot be read to
mean that the defendant was expecting
complete   loss   of   possession   over   her
entire piece of land but it was only with
respect   to   part   of   the   land   where   the
Government   Garden   Department   had
apparently   encroached   upon   while
27. Learned counsel for the plaintiff­respondent
has sought to justify the findings recorded by
the courts below referring to the various parts of
the judgments and also taking us through the
evidence on record.
28. Learned   Counsel   for   the   defendantappellant has vehemently argued that the gift by
a muslim husband to his wife during marriage
will   be   irrevocable.     She   has   placed   reliance
upon a few judgements in support of the said
submission.   We are not inclined to enter into
that question as prima facie, we are of the view
that the matter requires reconsideration by the
High Court and such an issue could be raised at
that stage.
29. We have given our anxious consideration to
the arguments advanced and are of the view
that the High Court fell in error in not taking
into   consideration   the   relevant   material   and
instead relying upon inadmissible evidence or
evidence which had no bearing to the findings.
Even the burden had been wrongly placed on
the   defendant­appellant.   Further,   the   High
Court  ought to  have carefully  scrutinized the
evidence available on record and only thereafter
arrived at a conclusion.
30. In view of the above, the appeal deserves to
be allowed. It is, accordingly, allowed.
31. The judgment of the High Court impugned
in the appeal is set aside. The matter is remitted
back to the High Court.
32. The   Second   Appeal   be   restored   to   its
original number and may be heard and disposed
of afresh in the light of the observations made
33. Learned counsel for the parties would be at
liberty to raise all the points before the High
Court.   They   undertake   to   extend   all   cooperation in the hearing of the appeal before the
High Court.  We also request the High Court to
decide the appeal as expeditiously as possible.
JULY 12, 2022. 


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