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Ajudh Raj And Ors. Versus Moti S/O Mussadi

1991 (5) TMI 258 - SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Civil Appeal No. 2225 of 1991 - Dated:- 3-5-1991 - SHARMA L.M. And VERMA JAGDISH SARAN, JJ. JUDGMENT: L.M. Sharma. Special leave is granted. The appeal is directed against the judgment of the High Court setting aside the decree passed by the trial court and the first appellate court in favour of the plaintiffs appellants, and dismissing their suit, on the ground of being barred by limitation. 2. The subject matter of the present case is agricultural land in Himachal Pradesh belonging to one Sham .....

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nt of compensation payable under Section 27(4) of the Act was determined by the Compensation Officer and consequential orders were passed in his favour. The present suit was filed by Sham Sunder challenging the aforesaid orders on the allegation that Moti was merely a labourer employed by him and he never cultivated the disputed land and he, therefore, was not entitled to the acquisition of the proprietory right under Section 27 (4) of the Act. The Suit was resisted by the defendant. Both the tr .....

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ndant contended before the High Court that the suit having been filed after a period of more than three years from the day of the order under Section 27(4) of the Act, was barred by limitation. The Court agreed with him and dismissed the suit by the impugned judgment. The High Court did not deal with any other aspect in the case, stating that the defendant had not urged any other point in support of the second appeal. 4. In the impugned judgment the High Court has held that "as a consequenc .....

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ight. 5. The principle for deciding the question of limitation in a suit filed after an adverse order under a Special Act is well-settled. If the order impugned in the suit is such that it has to be set aside before any relief can be granted to the plaintiff the provisions of Article 100 will be attracted if no particular Article of the Limitation Act is applicable the suit must be governed by the residuary Article 113, prescribing a period of three years. Therefore, in a suit for title to an im .....

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d in favour of the plaintiff-appellant and the findings were not challenged before the High Court. The position, thus, is that the plaintiff was the owner in cultivating possession of the land and the defendant Moti was merely a labourer without any right of a tenant or sub- tenant. The question is as to whether in this background it is necessary to set aside the order passed in favour of the respondent under Section 27(4) of the Act before the suit can be decreed or whether the plaintiff can ge .....

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d in the sense they have been used in the other statutes dealing with the relationship of landlord and tenant in agricultural lands. Section 27 of the Act provides for a transfer by the law of the right title and interest of the land owner to the State Government under sub-section (1) Sub-section (2) is by way of an exception with respect to land under the personal cultivation of the land owner. Sub-section (4) directs that the right, title and interest of the land owner thus acquired, shall be .....

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e State at all. Further, for the additional reason that Moti was not a tenant of the land the order passed in his favour under Section 27(4) was again without jurisdiction. In absence of the conditions necessary for the exercise of power under Section 27(4) the Officer lacked jurisdiction to act and it was not necessary for the civil court to formally set aside his order before passing a decree. What necessitated the plaintiff to come to the civil court was the challenge to his title, and the su .....

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s filed a suit in respect of the trees, and the High Court held that the suit was barred by limitation either under Article 100 or Article 113. The grievance of the tenant was not against the exercise of the power of the Compensation Officer under Section 27 (4) of the Act, rather he relied upon the same. The observations, mentioned below, from the judgment of Pathak, C.J. (as he then was) are enlightening and supporting the view expressed by us. "This is not a case where the order made by .....

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ation went against the plaintiff on account of the special facts an circumstances of the case, as is clear from the enunciation of the proposition (at page 389, column 2) to the effect that if it is necessary for a plaintiff to get rid of an order made by an Officer of the Government, which stands in his way before he can obtain a certain relief and in order to obtain that relief he does not specifically ask for the setting aside of the order but merely for a declaratory decree still the suit sh .....

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