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S. Vanathan Muthuraja Vs. Ramalingam Aliaskrishnamurthy Gurukkal & Ors [1997] INSC 383 (3 April 1997)




O R D E R This appeal by special leave arises from the judgment of the learned single Judge of the Madras High Court , made on July 16, 1983 in Second Appeal No.222/97. For the purpose of disposal of this appeal, it is not necessary to state all the facts., Suffice it to state that one Ayyasamy Gurukkal was common ancestor in respect of the suit property. He had four sons, namely, Annasamy, Subbiah, Sundara and Neelkanda. Ramani is the grand-son of Ayyasamy Gurukkal who was impleaded as first defendant. The appellant had purchased his 1/3rd share in the property under the sale deed, Ex.A-6, dated 6.5.1967. Subbiah Gurukkal having been died unmarried; Sundara Gurukkal and Neelkanda Gurukkal had 1/3rd share each; Sundara died leaving behind him four grand-sons, D-3 to D-6 through his son Rajarathina, widow Dorai , D-7; and another son Ramalingam, D-2, Neelkanda died leaving behind him his widow, D-8 and daughter, D-9. his widow D-8 had sold her 1/3rd share to the plaintiff No.1 under sale deed, Ex.A-7 dated June 26, 1970, Initially, The plaintiff had filed OS No. 1848/67 for a declaration of title and injunction of the property purchased under Ex.A-6. Therein, it was held that though sale of undivided 1/3rd share is valid, no injunction could be granted against the co-owners and , therefore, the suit came to against the co-owners and, therefore, the suit came to be dismissed. After the purchase of the property under Ex.A-7, the OS No. 946/1972 came to be filed for partition of the 2/3rd shard and separate possession thereof. The defendants pleaded in the written statement that the lands and are burdened with services of performing pooja to the temple. Since Annasamy, eldest son of Ayyasamy Gurukkal had failed to perform the duty, he lost his right to the property. Ultimately Sundara, having been in his possession, perfected his title of adverse possession and, therefore, appellant did not acquire any title to the property. The trial court has accepted defence and dismissed the suit. However, on appeal, it was reversed with the holding that they did not acquire title of adverse possession against co-owner. The finding in that respect is correct in low.

When the appeal was pending under the Tamil Nadu Minor Inams (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1963 (30 of 1963), The Tehsildar had initiated suo motu enquiry for grant of ryotwari patta after enquiry, the Tehsildar found that Ryotwari patta was granted in favour of the institution. Thus the patta granted to the institution become final. When the second appeal was filed, the learned Judge held that by virtue of the provisions contained under the Act, the suit is not maintainable. Accordingly, the suit came to be dismissed. Thus, this appeal by special leave.

The patta under Ex.B-1 dated February 28, 1974 granted under section 8(2) (ii) of the Act by the Tehsildar was confirmed. On appeal, it was confirmed which order has become final. Thus, the title to the property was vested in the institution and thereby, none of the parties has any right, title and interest in the property. Therefore, the suit of the appellant with out impleading the institution is not maintainable. Under Section 9, CPC, the courts shall, subject to the provisions contained therein, have jurisdiction to try all suits of civil nature excepting suits cognizance of which is either expressly or impliedly barred. When a legal right is infringed, a suit would lie unless there is a bar against entertainment of such civil suit and the civil courts would tame cognizance of it.

Therefore, the normal rule of law is that civil courts gave jurisdiction to try all suits of civil nature expect those of which cognizance is either expressly or by necessary implication excluded. The Rule of construction being that every presumption would be made in favour of the existence of a right and remedy in a democratic set up governed by rule of law and jurisdiction of the civil courts is assumed.

The exclusion would, therefore, normally be an exception.

Courts generally construe the provisions strictly when jurisdiction of the civil courts is claimed to be excluded.

However, in the development of civil adjudication and abnormal delay at hierarchical stages, statutes intervene and provide alternative mode of resolution of civil disputes with less expensive but expeditious disposal. It is settled legal position That if a Tribunal with limited jurisdiction cannot assume exclusive jurisdiction and decide for itself the dispute conclusively, in such a situation, it is the court that is required to decide whether the Tribunal with limited jurisdiction has correctly assumed jurisdiction and decided the dispute within its limits. it is settled law that when jurisdiction has is conferred on a Tribunal , the court examine whether the essential principles of jurisdiction have been followed and decided by the Tribunals leaving the decision on merits to the Tribunal. It is also equally settled legal position that where a statute gives finality to the orders of the special Tribunal, the civil court's jurisdiction must be held to be excluded, if there is adequate remedy to do what the civil court would normally do in a suit. Such a provision, however does not exclude those cases where the provision, of the particular Act have not been complied with or the statutory Tribunal has not acted in conformity with the fundamental principles of judicial procedure. Where there is an express bar of jurisdiction of the Court, an examination of the scheme of the particular Act to find the adequacy or the sufficiency of the remedies provided may be relevant but is not decisive to sustain the jurisdiction of the civil Court. Where there is no express exclusion, the examination of the remedies and the scheme of the particular Act to find out the intendment becomes necessary and the result of the inquiry may be decisive. In the latter case, it is necessary that the statute creates a special right or liability and provides remedy for the determination of the right or liability and further lays down that all questions about the said right or liability shall be determined by the Tribunal so constituted and the question whether remedies are normally associated with the action in civil courts or prescribed by the statutes or not require examination.

Therefore, each case requires examination whether the statute provides right and remedy and whether the scheme of the Act is that the procedure provided will be conclusive and thereby excludes the jurisdiction of the civil court in respect thereof. After the advent of independence, the land reforms was one of the policies of the Government of the Ryotwari patta on the tiller of the soil. Thereby, the land reform laws extinguish pre-existing rights and create new rights under the Act. The act provides for the jurisdiction on the Tribunals in matters relating thereto and hierarchy of appeals/revisions are provided thereunder giving finality to the orders passed thereunder. Thereby, by necessary implication, The jurisdiction of the civil court to tame cognizance of the suits of civil nature covered under the land reforms laws stand excluded giving not only the finality to the decisions of the Tribunal and making the Ryotwari patta granted to the tiller of the soil conclusive.

Under the normal course of civil procedure, the jurisdiction of the trial of the civil suits in relation to the matters covered under the Acts being time consuming and tardy the lack of financial resources or otherwise incapacity defending or want of knowledge of the rights energy sapped civil suits and by hierarchy of appeals are intended to be avoided. Obviously, therefore, the civil suits and by hierarchy of appeals are intended to be avoided. Obviously, therefore, the civil suits by necessary implication stands excluded unless the fundamental principles of procedure are followed by the Tribunals constituted under the land reforms lows. In this case, the Act concerned extinguishes the pre- existing right, creates new rights, creates new rights under the Act and requires Tribunals to enquire into the rival claims and a forms of appeal has been provided against the order of the primary authority. Thereby the right and remedy made conclusive under the Act are given finality by the orders passed under the Act. Thereby, by necessary implication, the jurisdiction of the civil court stands excluded.

That apart, in view of the law laid down by this court in Vatticherukuru Village Panchayat vs. Norivenkatarama Deekshithulu & Ors [1991 Supp. 2 SCC 228] wherein entire case law including the law laid down in state of Tamil Nadu vs. Ramalinga Samigal Madam [(1985) 4 SCC 10] was discussed, We held that the suit is not maintainable, as held by the learned single judge.

This appeal is, accordingly, dismissed. No costs.


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