Vs. Satnarain Singh  INSC 13 (12 January 1993)
L.M. (Cj) Sharma, L.M. (Cj) Yogeshwar Dayal (J) Bharucha S.P. (J)
1994 SCC Supl. (1) 153
This appeal arises out of a suit filed by the respondents for a decree for
possession of a piece of land described in the plaint. The appellants denied
the claim and set up their own title. The trial court disbelieved the case of
the plaintiffs and dismissed the suit. On appeal the Additional Civil Judge, Azamgarh,
reversed the finding on the question of title but dismissed the suit 154 and,
consequently, the appeal on the ground of limitation.
held that the plaintiffs were in possession of the disputed land till July 31, 1948 and were dispossessed by the
defendants on August 1,
1948. The suit having
been filed in 1961 was, therefore, held to be barred by the rule of limitation.
The plaintiffs challenged the decision before the High Court by filing a second
appeal which has been allowed by the impugned judgment.
only question which appears to have been agitated before and decided by the
High Court was whether the suit had to be dismissed on the ground of
limitation. It was contended on behalf of the plaintiffs that a proceeding for
'partition' under the U.P. Land Revenue Act was going on since 1931 and had
continued till 1952, when it stood abated by reason of the provisions of the
U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1950 read with the Rules framed thereunder
and, for that reason, the period of limitation for the present suit must be
held to commence in 1952 and not earlier. The suit having been filed in 1961
must, therefore, be held to have been filed within the period of limitation.
Agreeing with the plaintiffs, the High Court held that, in view of the facts
and circumstances of the case, the period during which the proceeding under the
Revenue Act, 1901 between the parties and the other co- sharers remained
pending after 1948 was available for computing the period of limitation
applicable to the suit and, accordingly, the suit could not be held to have
been filed after the expiry of the period of limitation. The High Court also
accepted a second ground urged on behalf of the plaintiffs, based on the
provisions of the U.P.
Tenants (Acquisition of Privileges) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1950.
far as the provisions of the U.P. Agricultural Tenant& (Acquisition of
Privileges) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1950 are concerned, they, clearly
are not at all attracted to the present case. The application of this Act is
confined to cases referred to in the Schedule to it and a perusal of the
Schedule does not leave any room for doubt that this Act is not relevant to the
case before us.
High Court has not disclosed any basis for relying on this Act and the learned
counsel for the plaintiffs has not attempted to support the impugned judgment
upon this ground.
therefore, need not detain ourselves on this point any further.
main question which arises for decision is whether the High Court was right in
applying Section 14 of the Limitation Act in favour of the plaintiffs. The
learned counsel for the appellants (defendants) has referred to the provisions
of the U.P. Land Revenue Act, 1901 and contended that a proceeding for
'partition' under the said Act is wholly irrelevant to a litigation such as
this relating to possession of the land and, therefore, Section 14 of the
Limitation Act is not available to the plaintiffs. The learned counsel appears
to be right. As is clear from the Preamble, the U.P. Land Revenue Act was
passed by way of consolidating and amending the law relating to land revenue
and the jurisdiction of Revenue Officers in the United Provinces (now Uttar
Pradesh). Chapter VII thereof deals with partition and union of mahals. Section
106 defines 'partition' as division of a mahal or portion of a mahal into two
or more portions, each consisting of one or more shares. The expression mahal
has been defined in Section 4(4) as meaning "any local area held under a
separate engagement for the payment of the land revenue". An examination
of the provisions of the U.P. Land Revenue Act clearly indicates that its scope
and application are confined 155 to proceedings in respect of land revenue and
the jurisdiction of the Revenue Officers in this connection, and do not embrace
any dispute relating to title or I possession to specific plots of land. The
subject-matter of the proceeding under the U.P. Land Revenue Act in the present
case which remained pending from 1931 to 1952 was thus entirely different from
the dispute in suit relating to the suit land. It will be observed that
exclusion of time under Section 14 is available only where the earlier
proceeding related to the same matter that is in issue in the suit, and not
otherwise. Since we find that the matter in issue in the aforesaid proceeding
under the U.P. Land Revenue Act was distinctly different from that in the suit,
the High Court was not justified in excluding the period from 1948 to 1951 while
computing the period of limitation for the suit.
Consequently, the appeal is allowed, the judgment and order of the High Court
are set aside and the suit is dismissed. In the facts and circumstances of the
case, the parties are directed to bear their own costs throughout.