-Report by Ojas Bhatnagar
In the case of Satyendar and ors. vs Saroj and ors, the plaintiff had filed a suit and claimed to be the owners of a certain property. The defendant claimed that not only was the property the plaintiff claimed his own, but he is also in possession of 2 other properties. The counter-claim was allowed in the trial court. The first appeal was dismissed by the appellate court. The second appeal was allowed in Punjab and Haryana. Now the matter was taken by the Supreme Court.
The plaintiff’s-initiated proceedings by claiming possession of agricultural land which measured 80 Kanals and 19 Marlas, it comes under Haryana. Defendant no.2 was the tenant who sub-let the land to his son without the consent of the plaintiffs. The 2 defendants are hence liable to be evicted and the land would now be in the possession of the plaintiff. This land was earlier in the possession of Ram Kaur, Ganpat Rai was the tenant (father of defendant no.2). The tenancy was surrendered and the plaintiff had won a case against Ram Kaur and now they claim that the land belongs to them.
It was argued that the agricultural land belonged to them. The tenant has wrongfully given the land to his son. The consent of petitioners was not asked in this regard. This makes eviction their full right and they have total authority over the land. They also rightfully won the case against Ram Kaur in 1994. Ganpat Rai had surrendered his tenancy to Ram Kaur, and now the land belongs to them and the trial court wrongfully gave the decision in favor of the defendants. The appellate court also dismissed their appeal. But now the High Court has rightfully allowed their claim
on 2 plots. The counter-claim by the defendants is dysfunctional.
The defendants argued that they have no concern with the land in question. The year that the defendant was born is 1966, and he was only 12 at 1978, there was no cultivation done by him or his. The revenue record showing him as a tenant and sub-tenant is completely wrong. Indraj was the original owner of the property, who gave his tenancy to Ganpat Rai. Indraj died and was succeeded by Ram Kaur. When Ganpat Rai died, his 2 brothers took the inheritance of the property. The defendants are also in possession of the 2 other properties and filed a counter-claim from them. The Trial Court rightfully dismissed the suit by the plaintiff. The plaintiff could not even prove that the tenancy of Gupta Rai came to an end in 1976 by surrendering the land, the appellate court rightfully dismissed the appeal. The counter-claim filed by the defendants was rightfully decreed before however, the high court did not allow it as the plaintiffs never claimed it.
All the arguments about the second appeal being a ‘substantial question of law’ and should not be allowed is not strong argument in this case. This present case is from Haryana and the Governing Provision is Section 41 of the Punjab Courts Act, 1918 and not Section 100 of the CPC. This act was enacted under the Government of India Act, 1935. The Punjab Courts Act has not been altered, repealed, or amended by the State Legislature of Punjab or Haryana, it is still in force. The laws applicable to Punjab are also applicable to Haryana.
Defendant No.2 and his brothers were the tenants of the property and the defendant had not sub-let the property in favor of his son. The revenue entries in 1978 are wrong, there is no basis for those entries. Plaintiffs had failed to prove that they are the owners The pleadings in the appellate court show that the defendants made a general denial of the plaintiffs’ claim for the plots, then the giving of plots by the High Court to the plaintiff comes into question. Also, the counter-claim by the defendant is barred under Order VIII, Rule 6A of the CPC.
“The Legislature permits the institution of a counter claim, in order to avoid multiplicity of litigation. But then it has certain limitations such as that the counter claim cannot exceed the pecuniary limits of the jurisdiction of the court,
and that such counter claim must be instituted before the defendant has delivered his defence or before the time limit for delivering his defence has expired. More importantly, such a counter claim must be against the plaintiff! Evidently, in the present case the counter claim was not against the plaintiffs.”
The counterclaim has been rightfully rejected by the High Courts. The decreed claim of the plots by the order of the High Court is set aside. This appeal stands disposed.