Friday, April 19, 2024

Punjab and Haryana High Court dismisses petition seeking reversal of property gifted for welfare

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has dismissed a revision petition while holding that it is free from any illegality, irregularity, infirmity, or perversity.

A single-judge bench of Justice Meenakshi I. Mehta passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Malkiat Singh.

The revisionist petitioner had challenged the order dated 14.01.2020 passed by the Civil Judge (Junior Division) Ludhiana dismissing his application under Order 6 Rule 17 CPC for seeking amendment in the plaint.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner (as plaintiff) filed a Civil Suit against the respondents (defendants before the trial court) for seeking the decree for declaration to the effect that the suit property, as detailed in the headnote of the plaint, was the property of respondent No1 and the Sale Deed dated 11.11.2013 allegedly executed by this respondent in favour of respondent No 2 was illegal, null and void and was the result of collusion and fraud and was, therefore, liable to be set aside.

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Thereafter, he moved the afore-said application for seeking the amendment in the plaint by way of adding the relief therein to the effect that the suit property should be reverted back to him and its ownership was required to be recorded in his name and also by way of incorporating in the plaint with the averments that the suit property was gifted for the welfare of the children of the village and the said Sale Deed was executed in violation of the very purpose of ‘gift’ and therefore, the said gift stood revoked on this count. As a result, the suit property deserved to be reverted back to him as the owner of the same and its possession was also required to be restored to him. However, the trial court, vide the impugned order, has dismissed the said application.

Counsel for the petitioner has contended that the father of the petitioner had gifted the suit property to respondent No 1-Trust for the welfare of village children but the Trust had sold it to respondent No 2 in contravention of the very object of the gift and therefore, the suit property is liable to revert back to the petitioner but somehow, the aforesaid relief as well as Para 5-A, as sought to be added in the relevant parts of the plaint by way of the proposed amendment, could not be incorporated in the original plaint whereas the same are material and necessary for the proper adjudication of the dispute between the parties.

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The Court observed that the petitioner has sought therein the decree for declaration to the effect that the suit property is the property of respondent No 1-Trust by way of gift and he has, further, assailed the Sale Deed executed by the said Trust in favour of respondent No 2, on the ground of the said property being non-transferable but by way of the proposed amendment, he has prayed for adding the relief qua his own ownership over the suit property by way of its reversion on account of the violation of the terms of the said gift on the part of the Trust and also Para 5-A in the plaint, containing averments to the same effect.

Thus, it is explicit that the relief, as originally claimed in the plaint and the relief, as sought to be added therein by way of the proposed amendment, are mutually destructive being contradictory to each other. It is well-settled that the amendment in the pleadings, by way of adding mutually destructive inconsistent/contradictory pleas / reliefs /claims, is not permissible.

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To add to it, the petitioner has not mentioned in the proposed Para 5-A as to whether any gift deed had been executed by the donor, i.e his father, at the time of donating the suit property to respondent No 1-Trust or not and if so executed, then which part/clause/condition thereof has been violated by respondent No1 by executing the said Sale Deed in favour of respondent No 2. Further, as categorically observed in the order Annexure P-6, the said Civil Suit was filed in the year 2014 to challenge the Sale Deed dated 11.11.2013 whereas the afore-said application was moved by the petitioner in the year 2019. The petitioner has not been able to come forward with any fair, candid and plausible explanation for remaining in deep slumber for almost five years before moving the afore-said application, the Court further observed.

The Court held,

“The observations as made in South Konkan Distilleries & Anr (supra), Navtej Singh (supra), Nirmala Handa (supra), Sunil Gupta (supra) and Bhola Nath and Bros. (supra), are of no avail to the petitioner because the facts and circumstances of the above-cited cases are distinguishable from those of the present one because in South Konkan Distilleries & Anr (supra), the proposed amendment pertained to the addition of the amount intended to be claimed on account of the loss suffered subsequent to the filing of the counter-claim wherein some amount had already been claimed on the same score and was, thus, consistent with the pleadings as set-forth the written statement-cum-counter claim whereas in this case, as discussed earlier, the petitioner intends to introduce a new relief on the basis of altogether different pleas which are not in consonance with his pleadings, as canvassed in original plaint.

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Then, in Navtej Singh (supra), the amendment was sought in view of the provisions as contained in Section 26 of the Specific Relief Act whereas it is not so in this case. Further, in Nirmala Handa (supra), Sunil Gupta (supra) and Bhola Nath & Bros (supra), the proposed amendment was not in contradiction to the pleas and the relief as initially set-forth in the pleadings whereas in the instant case, as mentioned earlier, the proposed amendment in the plaint is inconsistent with the original pleadings as put forth in the plaint.

“As a sequel to the fore-going discussion, it follows that the impugned order, as passed by the Court below, does not suffer from any illegality, irregularity, infirmity or perversity so as to call for any interference by the Court. Resultantly, the revision petition, being sans any merit, stands dismissed”

-the order reads.


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