Gurdwara Committee Vs. Jaswant Singh  INSC 1076 (4 September 1996)
K. Ramaswamy, K. Faizan Uddin (J)
O R D
special leave petition has been filed against the order of the High Court of
Punjab & Haryana made on May 17, 1996 in
civil Revision No. 1023/96. The respondent instituted a suit for declaration of
his title to the land admeasuring 134 canals 14 marlas in Hb. No.349 in village
Japuwal, Tehsil and District Gurdaspur and also for possession of the property.
It is his case that he is adopted son of one Isher Singh and that while he was
in possession and enjoyment of the property, the petitioner had disputed his
title to and interest in the said land and filed a suit. The petitioner had
pleaded in the written statement that Isher Singh had no title in the property
and they set up the title in Darbar Sahib and that he had gifted the property
in favour of Darbar Sahib. Subsequently, the parties, on the basis of issues
raised, adduced evidence. At the end of the trial, the petitioner had filed an
application under Order 6, Rule 17, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 for amendment
of the written statement pleading that Isher Singh had gifted over the property
to Darbar Sahib, Amritsar Shromani Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee and it was
in possession as a legatee of the property. There was neither an issue nor any
evidence adduced in that behalf.
the High Court hes set aside the order on two grounds, namely, one, though
inconsistent pleas are permissible to be taken in the written statement, this
case is not one of inconsistence but mutually destructive of the pleadings and
two, for unexplained delay.
learned counsel appearing for the petitioner in the High Court conceded that
there is to explanation for not taking that plea in the written statement and
for coming up with an application for amendment at a belated stage.
he contended that they have remotely stated in the written statement that Isher
Singh had gifted the property but by way of amendment what the petitioner would
be making specific amendment in the written statement. That contention was not
accepted by the High Court.
same contention has been reiterated before us. We find no force in the
contention of learned counsel for the petitioner that the pleading does contain
the gift clause in the original written statement and that it is sought to be
elaborated by obtaining proper documents at this belated stage. It is settled
law that the defendant can raise mutually inconsistent pleadings in the written
statement it is for the Court to consider whether the case can be properly
considered in deciding the issue. But in this case the plea in the written
statement is mutually destructive.
first written statement, they have denied the title of Isher Singh himself.
When such is the situation, how can they set up a title in him and plead gift
made by Isher Singh in favour of the petitioner-Committee. Under these
circumstances, the High Court has rightly refused to grant the plaint. Moreover,
there is no explanation given as to why they came forward with this plea at the
belated stage after the parties had adduced the evidence and the matter was to
the argued. Under these circumstances, we do not find any error of jurisdiction
or material irregularity in the exercise of jurisdiction warranting
special leave petition is dismissed accordingly.