& Others Vs. Paras Finance Co. Mankanwar w/o Parasmal Chordia (D)& Ors.
 Insc 1003 (4
K. Mathur & Markandey Katju Markandey Katju, J.
This appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment and order dated
7.1.2000 in S.B. Civil Revision Petition No. 835of 1997.
Heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record.
Revision Petition was filed in the High Court against an order dated 6.8.1997
passed by the trial court whereby the application filed by the revisionists
under Order 22 Rule 4(2) CPC read with Order 1 Rule 10 CPC was rejected.
appellants are the legal representatives of late Kapoor Chand. A suit was filed
by the respondent herein against Kapoor Chand for specific performance of a contract
for sale. It was alleged that Kapoor Chand had entered into an agreement to
sell the property in dispute to the plaintiff- respondent, M/s. Paras Finance
Co. In that agreement Kapoor Chand stated that the property in dispute was his
self acquired property. During the pendency of the suit Kapoor Chand died and
his wife, sons etc. applied to be brought on record as legal representatives.
After they were impleaded they filed an application under Order 22 Rule 4(2)
read with Order 1 Rule 10 CPC praying inter alia, that they should be permitted
to file additional written statement and also be allowed to take such pleas
which are available to them. The trial court rejected this application against
which a revision was filed by the appellant which was also dismissed by the
appeal by special leave.
are of the opinion that a party has a right to take whatever plea he/she wants
to take, and hence the view taken by the High Court does not appear to be
Learned counsel for the respondent submitted that in view of Order 22 Rule 4(2)
a person who has been made a party can only take such pleas which are
appropriate to his character of legal representative of the deceased. Learned
counsel also submitted that two of the applicants/legal representatives of
deceased Kapoor Chand, i.e. Narainlal and Devilal, had applied to the court
under Order 1 Rule 10 to be impleaded, but their applications were rejected. An
application was also filed by late Kapoor Chand praying that his sons be impleaded
in the suit but that application was also rejected. Hence, the learned counsel
submitted that the appellants cannot be permitted to file an additional written
statement in this suit.
Before adverting to the question involved in this case, it may be noted that in
the registered sale deed dated 12.8.1960 the shop in dispute has been mentioned
and the sale was shown in favour of Kapoor Chand and his sons, Narainlal, Devilal
and Pukhraj. Hence, the registered sale deed itself shows that the purchaser
was not Kapoor Chand alone, but also his sons as co- owners. Hence, prima
facie, it seems that the sons of Kapoor Chand are also co-owners of the
property in dispute. However, we are not expressing any final opinion on the
question whether they are co-owners as that would be decided in the suit. But
we are certainly of the opinion that the legal representatives of late Kapoor Chand
have a right to take this defence by way of filing an additional written
statement and adduce evidence in the suit.
this defence is accepted or not, of course, is for the trial court to decide.
Hence, in our opinion, the courts below erred in law in rejecting the
applications of the heirs of Kapoor Chand to file an additional written
Every party in a case has a right to file a written statement. This is in
accordance with natural justice. The Civil Procedure Code is really the rules
of natural justice which are set out in great and elaborate detail. Its purpose
is to enable both parties to get a hearing. The appellants in the present case
have already been made parties in the suit, but it would be strange if they are
not allowed to take a defence. In our opinion, Order 22 Rule 4(2) CPC cannot be
construed in the manner suggested by learned counsel for the respondent.
Learned counsel for the respondent relied on a three-Judge Bench decision of
this Court in Kasturi vs. Iyyamperumal and others - (2005) 6 SCC 733. He has
submitted that in this case it has been held that in a suit for specific
performance of a contract for sale of property a stranger or a third party to
the contract cannot be added as defendant in the suit. In our opinion, the
aforesaid decision is clearly distinguishable. In our opinion, the aforesaid
decision can only be understood to mean that a third party cannot be impleaded
in a suit for specific performance if he has no semblance of title in the
property in dispute. Obviously, a busybody or interloper with no semblance of
title cannot be impleaded in such a suit. That would unnecessarily protract or
obstruct the proceedings in the suit. However, the aforesaid decision will have
no application where a third party shows some semblance of title or interest in
the property in dispute. In the present case, the registered sale deed dated 12.8.1960
by which the property was purchased shows that the shop in dispute was sold in favour
of not only Kapoor Chand, but also his sons. Thus prima facie it appears that
the purchaser of the property in dispute was not only Kapoor Chand but also his
sons. Hence, it cannot be said that the sons of Kapoor Chand have no semblance
of title and are mere busybodies or interlopers.
observed by this Court in State of Orissa vs. Sudhansu Sekhar Misra (AIR 1968 SC 647 vide para 13):- A
decision is only an authority for what it actually decides.
is of the essence in a decision is its ratio and not every observation found
therein nor what logically follows from the various observations made in it. On
this topic this is what Earl of Halsbury, LC said in Quinn v. Leathem, 1901 AC
before discussing the case of Allen v. Flood (1898) AC 1 and what was decided
therein, there are two observations of a general character which I wish to
make, and one is to repeat what I have very often said before, that every
judgment must be read as applicable to the particular facts proved, or assumed
to be proved, since the generality of the expressions which may be found there
are not intended to be expositions of the whole law, but governed and qualified
by the particular facts of the case in which such expressions are to be found.
The other is that a case is only an authority for what it actually decides. I
entirely deny that it can be quoted for a proposition that may seem to follow
logically from it.
mode of reasoning assumes that the law is necessarily a logical Code, whereas
every lawyer must acknowledge that the law is not always logical at all.
Ambica Quarry Works vs. State of Gujarat & others (1987) 1 SCC 213 (vide para 18) this Court observed:-
The ratio of any decision must be understood in the background of the
facts of that case. It has been said long time ago that a case is only an
authority for what it actually decides, and not what logically follows from
Bhavnagar University vs. Palitana Sugar Mills Pvt. Ltd (2003) 2 SC 111 (vide para
59), this Court observed:- It is well settled that a little difference in
facts or additional facts may make a lot of difference in the precedential
value of a decision. 13. As held in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd.
& another vs. N.R.Vairamani & another (AIR 2004 SC 4778), a decision
cannot be relied on without disclosing the factual situation. In the same
Judgment this Court also observed:- Court should not place reliance on
decisions without discussing as to how the factual situation fits in with the
fact situation of the decision on which reliance is placed.
of Courts are neither to be read as Euclid`s theorems nor as provisions of the
statute and that too taken out of the context. These observations must be read
in the context in which they appear to have been stated. Judgments of Courts
are not to be construed as statutes. To interpret words, phrases and provisions
of a statute, it may become necessary for judges to embark into lengthy
discussions but the discussion is meant to explain and not to define. Judges
interpret statutes, they do not interpret judgments. They interpret words of
statutes; their words are not to be interpreted as statutes.
In London Graving dock co. Ltd. vs. Horton
(1951 AC 737 at p. 761), Lord Mac Dermot observed:
matter cannot, of course, be settled merely by treating the ipsissima vertra of
Willes, J. as though they were part of an Act of Parliament and applying the
rules of interpretation appropriate thereto. This is not to detract from the
great weight to be given to the language actually used by that most
distinguished judge. In Home Office vs. Dorset Yacht Co. (1970 (2) All ER
294) Lord Reid said, Lord Atkin`s speech . is not to be treated as if it
was a statute definition it will require qualification in new
circumstances. Megarry, J. in (1971)1 WLR 1062 observed: One must
not, of course, construe even a reserved judgment of Russell L. J. as if it
were an Act of Parliament. And, in Herrington v. British Railways Board
(1972 (2) WLR 537) Lord Morris said:
is always peril in treating the words of a speech or judgment as though they
are words in a legislative enactment, and it is to be remembered that judicial
utterances are made in the setting of the facts of a particular case.
Circumstantial flexibility, one additional or different fact may make a world
of difference between conclusions in two cases. Disposal of cases by blindly
placing reliance on a decision is not proper.
following words of Lord Denning in the matter of applying precedents have
become locus classicus:
case depends on its own facts and a close similarity between one case and
another is not enough because even a single significant detail may alter the
entire aspect, in deciding such cases, one should avoid the temptation to
decide cases (as said by Cardozo, J. ) by matching the colour of one case
against the colour of another. To decide therefore, on which side of the line a
case falls, the broad resemblance to another case is not at all decisive.
*** *** *** Precedent should be followed only so far as it marks the path
of justice, but you must cut the dead wood and trim off the side branches else
you will find yourself lost in thickets and branches.
plea is to keep the path of justice clear of obstructions which could impede
view of the aforesaid decisions we are of the opinion that Kasturis case
(supra) is clearly distinguishable. In our opinion it cannot be laid down as an
absolute proposition that whenever a suit for specific performance is filed by
A against B, a third party C can never be impleaded in that suit. In our
opinion, if C can show a fair semblance of title or interest he can certainly
file an application for impleadment. To take a contrary view would lead to
multiplicity of proceedings because then C will have to wait until a decree is
passed against B, and then file a suit for cancellation of the decree on the
ground that A had no title in the property in dispute. Clearly, such a view
cannot be countenanced.
Also, merely because some applications have been rejected earlier it does not
mean that the legal representatives of late Kapoor Chand should not be allowed
to file an additional written statement. In fact, no useful purpose would be
served by merely allowing these legal representatives to be impleaded but not
allowing them to file an additional written statement. In our opinion, this
will clearly violate natural justice.
For the reasons aforementioned, the impugned orders of the High Court dated
7.1.2000 as well as the trial court dated 6.8.1997, are set aside.
appellants shall be allowed to file additional written statement and thereafter
the suit should proceed expeditiously in accordance with law.
The appeal is allowed. There shall be no order as to costs.