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IF THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF A CITIZEN ARE INFRINGED THEN THE LIABILITY OF THE STATE, ITS OFFICIALS AND INSTRUMENTALS IS STRICT 2011 SC

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Justice R.V. Raveendran, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan in Municipal Corporation of Delhi VS Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy & Ors. Decided on 13 October, 2011 In a case, where life and personal liberty have been violated the absence of any statutory provision for compensation in the Statute is of no consequence. Right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India is the most sacred right preserved and protected under the Constitution, violation of which is always actionable and there is no necessity of statutory provision as such for preserving that right. Article 21 of the Constitution of India has to be read into all public safety statutes, since the prime object of public safety legislation is to protect the individual and to compensate him for the loss suffered. Duty of care expected from State or its officials functioning under the public safety legislation is, therefore, very high, compared to the statutory powers and supervision expected from officers functioning under the statutes like Companies Act, Cooperative Societies Act and such similar legislations. When we look at the various provisions of the Cinematographic Act, 1952 and the Rules made thereunder, the Delhi Building Regulations and the Electricity Laws the duty of care on officials was high and liabilities strict.

Law is well settled that a Constitutional Court can award monetary compensation against State and its officials for its failure to safeguard fundamental rights of citizens but there is no system or method to measure the damages caused in such situations. Quite often the courts have a difficult task in determining damages in various fact situations. The yardsticks normally adopted for determining the compensation payable in a private tort claims are not as such applicable when a constitutional court determines the compensation in cases where there is violation of fundamental rights guaranteed to its citizens.

This Court in Union of India v. Prabhakaran (2008) (9) SCC 527, extended the principle to cover public utilities like the railways, electricity distribution companies, public corporations and local bodies which may be social utility undertakings not working for private profit. In Prabhakaran (supra) a woman fell on a railway track and was fatally run over and her husband demanded compensation. Railways argued that she was negligent as she tried to board a moving train. Rejecting the plea of the Railways, this Court held that her "contributory negligence" should not be considered in such untoward incidents - the railways has "strict liability". A strict liability in torts, private or constitutional do not call for a finding of intent or negligence. In such a case highest degree of care is expected from private and public bodies especially when the conduct causes physical injury or harm to persons. The question as to whether the law imposes a strict liability on the state and its officials primarily depends upon the purpose and object of the legislation as well. When activities are hazardous and if they are inherently dangerous the statute expects highest degree of care and if someone is injured because of such activities, the State and its officials are liable even if they could establish that there was no negligence and that it was not intentional. Public safety legislations generally falls in that category of breach of statutory duty by a public authority. To decide whether the breach is actionable, the Court must generally look at the statute and its provisions and determine whether legislature in its wisdom intended to give rise to a cause of action in damages and whether the claimant is intended to be protected.

PUBLIC TRUST – TRANSPARENCY IN ITS ADMINISTRATION STRESSED – INTEREST OF PUBLIC IS PARAMOUNT – 2011 SC

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JUSTICE R.V. Raveendran, JUSTICE A.K. Patnaik in Trambakeshwar Devasthan Trust & ... vs President Purohit Sangh & Ors. Decided on 13 October, 2011 “By the very nature of the activities in a place used as a place of public religious worship and dedicated to or for the benefit of or used as of right by the Hindu community or any Section thereof, it is antithesis to a private and closed door management of its affairs. On the other hand there has to be complete openness and transparency in its administration and above all by observing democratic values or principles. To put it differently, it is public trust for the community, by the community and of the community or any section thereof. If such is the purport of the Trust then diversified representation and involvement of all concerned or the section of the pubic who have interest in the Trust and in particular associated with the day to day activities of the temple of the devasthan is inevitable - and the most appropriate step to further and promote the objectives of such a Trust…………………. A person can be said to be disqualified or would render himself unfit for being appointed as the trustees only when he has direct interest in the trust or the devasthan and is hostile to the affairs of the Trust and his object is to see that the Trust is destroyed. To put it differently, there is a perceptible difference between person having interest in the trust and person having conflict of interest. The former is the quintessence for being eligible to be considered or for being appointed as the trustee……………… Law is however well settled that the interest of the public is paramount in any religious public trust.”

GIVING OF REASONS IN SUPPORT OF CONCLUSIONS BY JUDICIAL AND QUASI-JUDICIAL AUTHORITIES, WHEN EXERCISING INITIAL JURISDICTION IS ESSENTIAL - AIR 1973 SC 2758

Justice DWIVEDI, S.N. Justice REDDY, P. JAGANMOHAN in Woolcombers Of India Ltd vs Woolcombers Workers Union - AIR 1973 SC 2758
“The judicial and quasi-judicial authorities when exercising initial jurisdiction should give their reasons in support of their conclusions because of the following reasons :
(a) It is calculated to prevent unconscious unfairness or arbitrariness in reaching the conclusions.
(b) It is a well known principle that justice should not only be done but should also appear to have been done. In a sense, the conclusions may be just, but they may not appear to be just to those who read them; and
(c) That from an appeal to this Court under Art. 136, if the lower courts do not give reasons for their conclusions, it will be of little assistance to this Court to come to a correct decision. The Court will have to wade through the entire record and find for itself whether the decision in appeal is right or wrong. In many cases, this investment of time and industry will be saved if reasons are given in support of the conclusions.”

Justice BHAGWATI, P.N., Justice GUPTA, A.C., Justice FAZALALI, SYED MURTAZA in Siemens Engineering & ... vs Union Of India & Anr AIR 1976 SC 1785. “If courts of law were to be replaced by administrative authorities and tribunals and with the proliferation of administrative law, they may have to be so replaced, it is essential that administrative authorities and tribunals should accord fair and proper hearing to the persons sought to be affected by their orders and give sufficiently clear and explicit reasons in support of the orders made by them. The rule requiring reasons to be given in support of an order is like the principal of audi alteram partem, a basic principle of natural justice which must inform every quasi-judicial process and this rule must be observed in its proper spirit and mere pretence of compliance with it would not satisfy the requirement of law.”

Per Chandrachud, CJ. V.D. Tulzapurkar, R.S. Pathak & D.P. Madon JJ. - M.P. Thakkar,J. dissenting in Union of India and Anr. v. Tulsiram Patel, AIR 1985 SC 1416. The principles of natural justice consist primarily of two main rules, namely, "nemo judex in cause sua" ("no man shall be a judge in his own cause") and "audi alteram partem" ("hear the other side"). The corollary deduced from the above two rules and particularly the audi alteram partem rule was "qui aliquid statuerit parte inaudita altera, adguum licet dixerit, haud aequum fecerit" ("he who shall decide anything without the other side having been heard, although he may have said what is right will not have done what is right" or as is now expressed "justice should not only be done but should manifestly be seen to be done"). These two rules and their corollary are neither new nor were they the discovery of English judges but were recognised in many civilizations and over many centuries. ………… The principles of natural justice apply both to quasi judicial as well as administrative inquiries entailing civil consequences. …… The principles of natural justice must be confined within their proper limits and not allowed to run wild. The concept of natural justice is a magnificant thorough bred on which this nation gallops forwards towards its proclaimed and destined goal of "JUSTICE, social, economic and political". This thoroughbred must not be allowed to turn into a wild and unruly house, carrering off were it lists, unsaddling its rider, and bursting into fields where the sign "no passaran" is put up.

AN INTERESTING FACT OF FABRICATION OF REVENUE RECORDS IN 1950’S REPORTED IN CASE LAW

Kolla Bovi vs Thimma Bovi ILR 1991 KAR 3834, 1991 (3) KarLJ 502 "It is quite interesting to note from the records that the 5.00 acres land was originally granted to Thimma Bovi s/o Govinda Bovi on 28-1-1951 and Saguvali Chit was issued. Subsequently on certain complaints of impersonation and Saguvali Chit was being obtained on fraudulent means the Deputy Commissioner in his order dated 12-12-1956 has directed the grant to be cancelled and restore the land to the Government he has also directed the Sub-Divisional Officer (Assistant Commissioner) to conduct enquiry into the matter and to take suitable disciplinary action against the village Officers. The records further discloses that the Shanbogue and Patel of the village were fined Rs. 3/-and 2/- respectively for having attested the wrong thumb impression of Thimma Bovi. One interesting item is there are no further orders of cancellation of grant in the records, instead there is an application dated 31-7-1957 from Thimma Bovi (page 107 of DRR/58-59 of Taluk Office file) that he has prayed for issue of permanent Saguvali Chit and to exempt him from pay Rs. 20/-. There is also a receipt for Rs. 30-47 paid by Thimma Bovi on 13-5-1958. This goes to prove that inspite of the order of the Deputy Commissioner dated 12-12-1956 the grant was not cancelled but he continued to be in possession of the land in contrary to the allegation of the appellant. This proves beyond reasonable doubt that the land is a granted land....."

REGARDING IMPROVEMENTS MADE ON THE LAND – NO PROTECTION – PTCL CASES

The Constitutional validity of the Act was upheld by Karnataka High Court in Judgment reported in I.L.R. 1982 KARNATAKA 1310, Krishnappa S.V. vs. State of Karnataka and later by the Supreme Court in the Decision . , Manche Gowda vs. State of Karnataka. 6. The Transfer of Property Act, 1982 was enacted by the Parliament to define and meet certain parts of the law relating to the transfer of property by act of parties. Section 5 of Transfer of Property Act provides that the expression "transfer of property" means an act by which the living person conveys property, in present or future, to one or more other living person. The transfers covered by Transfer of Property Act are transfers inter-vivos, between the living persons and transfers by operation of law are not covered. The transfer which attracts provisions of Section 4 of the Act are made by the grantee in favour of the transferee and in contravention of the terms of grant. The land is granted by the Government and the conditions of grant confers right on the Government to resume the land in case any of the terms of the grant is contravened. The Government Grants Act, 1895 was enacted to explain the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, so far as it relates to grants from the Government and to remove certain doubts as to the powers of the Government in relation to such grants. Section 2 of this Act inter-alia provides that nothing in the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 shall apply or shall be deemed ever to have applied to any grant made by or on behalf of Government and every such grant shall be construed and take effect as if the Transfer of Property Act had not been passed. Section 3 of this Act then prescribed that all prohibitions, restrictions, conditions and limitations contained in any grant shall be valid and shall take effect according to tenor, and not Rule of Law, statutory enactment of Legislature to the contrary notwithstanding. The plain reading of Sections 2 and 3 of this Act makes it clear that the provisions of Transfer of Property Act have no application in respect of transfers effected by the Government by nature of grant. The Supreme Court in the Decision , State of UP. of Zahoor Ahmad & Anr. observed that the effect of Section 2 of Government Grants Act is that in the construction of an instrument governed by the Government Grants Act the Court shall construe such grant irrespective of the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act. The grant shall be construed to take effect as if the Transfer of Property Act does not apply. The lands in respect of which the Assistant Commissioner holds that the transfer is null and void under Section 4 of the Act are the lands granted by the Government and consequently the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act will have no application while resuming the lands under Section 5 of the Act………………… 7. Even assuming that the provisions of Transfer of Property Act, especially Section 51 of the said Act, is applicable, still the contention that the transferee is entitled to the benefit of the improvements made cannot be accepted. In the first instance, the transfers are declared null and void and the said transfer is deemed not to have conveyed any right, title or interest in favour of the transferee under Section 4 of the Act. Once the transaction is declared null and void, then in the eyes of law the transaction had never taken place and consequently the transferee cannot claim any benefit flowing from such transaction and claim cannot be made in respect of improvements made in pursuance of the transaction. Secondly, Section 51 of the Transfer of Property Act is attracted where the immovable property is transferred and improvements are made by the transferee in good faith that the transferee is absolutely entitled to the property. ……..It is a far cry to suggest that the transferee has made the improvements in good faith or the transfer war secured bona fide. The transferee was fully conscious that the transferee is in possession of the land under a grant issued by the Government and the terms and conditions of the grant specifically prohibits the transferor from alienating the land for a duration of 15 years from the date of grant It is impossible even to suggest that the transferee, who secured the transfer within the period of prohibition, can claim that the transferee acted bona fide and in good faith made improvements on the land. Thirdly, the benefit of Section 51 is available only to a certain category of transferees. The Section prescribes that when the transfree who made improvements in good faith is subsequently evicted by any person having a better title, then only the transferee has a right to require the person causing the eviction to value the improvements and pay the same. The crucial words are transferee is subsequently evicted by any person having a better title. The transferee is evicted by the Assistant Commissioner in exercise of statutory power under Section 5 of the Act and not because the Assistant Commissioner has a better title than that of the transferee. The eviction takes place because the transfer is null and void being in contravention of the terms of the grant made in favour of a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, The granted land always belong to the Government and the grantee was not entitled to alienate the land during the prohibited period and the Government had a right to resume the same. The right which flows to the transferee under Section 51 of the Transfer of Property Act is available only when the transferee is evicted by a person having better titfe and in our judgment, such a contingency does not arise when the transferee is evicted under Section 5 of the Act because the transfer is declared as null and void under Section 4 of the Act.

DEPRESSED DHARKASTH RULES AND NO RULE PERIOD IN IN MYSORE STATE

B. Mohammad vs Deputy Commissioner, Dakshina ILR 1999 KAR 634, 1998 (6) KarLJ 30 At this stage, it may be apt to advert to in brief the prior statutory position as regards the right to alienate the granted land. In 1929 by order No. R.2122-81/L.R.368-28-5 dated 12th September, 1929, we find certain concessions being granted to persons belonging to depressed classes. (Depressed class as defined did not include all communities classified as Scheduled Caste/Tribe). The main concession in this behalf is what is contained in regard to subsequent transfers. It stated thus: "With a view to speed up the disposal of darkhasts and to prevent the possibility of interested parties exploiting the ignorant members of the Depressed Classes, the Deputy Commissioner, Chitaldurg District suggested the introduction of the system of granting lands to them on a "restricted tenure" on condition that the grantees should not alienate them without the permission of the Deputy Commissioner, and stated that this system was prevalent in certain parts of the Bombay Presidency. The Revenue Commissioner who was consulted in the matter is not in favour of introducing this innovation. He however states that according to the existing standing orders grants made to Adikarnatakas are subject to the condition that the grantees should not alienate them for a period of 10 years, and that to further safeguard their interests the period may be raised suitably, if need be, upto a maximum limit of 20 years. Government agree with the views of the Revenue Commissioner, and direct that the first proposal be dropped and the period within which the lands should not be alienated be raised from 10 to 20 years". ……………….This concession is seen repeated in the subsequent Government orders as well i.e., issued under Section 233 of the Mysore Land Revenue Code from time to time. Meanwhile, the Mysore Land Revenue Act, 1964 was enacted by the Legislature and in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 197 of the said Act, the Mysore Land Grant Rules, 1968, referred to above, were framed. (A variation was made in relation to the period during which an alienation cannot be made). It did not touch upon any enabling condition, enabling to alienate the land to a member of the Scheduled Caste or Tribe.

Bandyamma vs Assistant Commissioner ILR 1993 KAR 2694 b, 1994 (1) KarLJ 1 "GOVERNMENT ORDER NO.R. 2122-81/LR.368-28-5 dated 12 September, 1929. With a view to speed up the disposal of darkhasts and to prevent the possibility of interested parties exploiting the ignorant members of the Depressed Classes, the Deputy Commissioner, Chitradurg District, suggested the introduction of the system of granting lands to them on a "restricted tenure" on condition that the grantees should not alienate them without the permission of the Deputy Commissioner, and stated that this system was prevalent in certain parts of the Bombay Presidency. The Revenue Commissioner who was consulted in the matter is not in favour of introducing this innovation. He however states that according to the existing standing orders grants made to Adikarnatakas are subject to the condition that the grantees should not alienate them for a period of 10 years, and that to further safeguard their interest the period may be raised suitably, if need be, upto a maximum limit of 20 years. Government agrees with the view of the Revenue Commissioner, and direct that the first proposal be dropped and the period within which the lands should not be alienated be raised from 10 to 20 years."



The Government Order referred to in the said judgment dated 12.9.29 reads as follows:
GOVERNMENT OF HIS HIGHNESS
The Maharaja of Mysore
GENERAL AND REVENUE DEPARTMENTS
G.O NO.R 2122-81/L.R.368-28-5, Bangalore, Dated 12th September 1929. Depressed Classess

Directs that the period within which lands granted on consessional terms should not be alienated or raised from ten to twenty years.

Read
1. Government Order No. R. 4850-8/L.R.261-72-141 dated 29th March 1924 and Government Order No. R. 869-75/ L.R 75-25-2 dated 18th August 1925 passing orders reg the grant of lands to depressed classes at concessional rates and directing that the lands granted should not be alienated by them for a period of 10 years.
2. Letter No. M5-161/27-28 dated 9th January 1928 from the Deputy Commissioner, Chitradurga District suggesting that the lands granted to the depressed classes may be given to them on a "restricted tenure" with the condition that such lands should not be alienated without the permission of the Deputy Commissioner etc. as in some parts of the Bombay Presidency.
3. Letters Nos. C3117/27-28 dated 6th February 1928 and No. C. 4800/28-29 dated 1st January 1929 from the Revenue Commissioner in Mysore furnishing his opinion on the points raised by the Deputy Commissioner, Chitradurga in the correspondence read above.

ORDER NO. R.2122-81/L.R.368-28-5 DATED 12th SEPTEMBER 1929

With a view to speed up the disposal of darkhasts and to prevent the possibility of interested parties exploiting the ignorant members of the Depressed classes, the Dy. Commissioner, Chitradurga Dist. Suggested the introduction of the system of granting lands to them on a "restricted tenure" on condition that the grantees should not alienate them with out the permission of the Dy. Commissioner, and stated that this system was prevalent in certain parts of the Bombay Presidency. The Revenue Commissioner who was consulted in the matter is not in favour of introducing this innovation. He however states according to the existing standing orders grants made to Adikarnatakas are subject to the condition that the grantees should not alienate them for a period of 10 years, and that to further safeguard their interests the period may be raised suitably, if need be, up to a maximum limit of 20 years. Government agree with the views of the Revenue Commissioner, and direct that the first proposal be dropped and the period within which the lands should not be alienated be raised from 10 to 20 years."
B. NARAYANASWAMY IYENGAR
Offg. General Secretary to Government.

SUCH GOVERNMENT ORDERS ARE QUASHED AND NO RULE PERIOD ENSUED AFTER 2004

This rule is quoted in Mariyappa vs Dr. N. Thimmarayappa And Ors. ILR 2004 KAR 3298, 2004 (5) KarLJ 255 And held that On the date of the grant, except this Government order, there was no rule framed by the State Government. If that is so, in the absence of any such rule regulating conditions of grant, it cannot be said that a Government Order could put restriction on alienation of such grant. Further, the restriction that could be imposed restraining alienation has to be authorised by the rules as provided under Section 36 of the Code. In the absence of any such rule framed by the State Government regarding disposal of the Government land, no reliance can be placed on the said Government order. Therefore, in our opinion, the decision referred to above has not laid down the correct proposition of law. 

PRESUMPTION OF GENUINENESS OF OLD DOCUMENTS DOES NOT APPLY TO CERTIFIED COPIES

Section 90 of the Evidence Act, lays down the presumption regarding signature and every other part of a thirty year old document to be in that person's handwriting by whom it purports to be signed and executed and permits raising of presumption of its due execution and attestation provided the document is produced from the custody which is proper in Court's view, in the circumstances of the case. The presumption under Section 90 is available and can be raised if thirty years old original document is produced. It does not apply where original is not produced. It does not apply to copy of document even namely the certified copy thereof.

Presumption under Section 90 does not apply to a copy or a certified copy even though thirty years old: but if a foundation is laid for the admission of secondary evidence under Section 65 of the Evidence Act by proof of loss or destruction of the original and the copy which is thirty years old is preduced from proper custody, then only the signature authenticating the copy may under Section 90 be presumed to be genuine. (Sri Lakni Baruan And Others vs Sri Padma Kanta Kalita & Ors AIR 1996 SC 1253.)

This section deals with the admissibility of ancient documents without proof in the usual manner. The rule is founded on Necessity and Convenience. It is extremely difficult and sometimes impossible to prove the handwriting or signature or execution of ancient documents after the lapse of many years. The words duly executed and attested merely mean execution and attestation according to the formalities prescribed by the law. It is therefore presumed that all persons acquainted with execution and of the documents, if any, are dead, and proof of those facts are dispensed with. The presumption relates to the execution of the document, i.e. signature, attestation, etc, in other words, its genuineness. Therefore, under Section 90 of the Indian Evidence Act, it can be presumed that the said Deed is duly executed and attested. The presumption so drawn only relates to the fact that the signature and every other part of such document, which purports to be in the handwriting of any particular person, is in that person's handwriting, and, in the case of a document executed or attested, and that the said document is duly executed or attested by such person. But, the proof of signature or handwriting does not establish that whatever is stated in the document is also correct. That must be proved like any other fact. That has to be proved not only by production of documents but by proving its contents as well. There is no presumption that the document has the legal effect it purports to have. It does not involve any presumption that the contents of the documents are true or that it had been acted upon. Such allegation has to be proved on adducing relevant evidence. It does not involve any presumption of correctness of every statement in it which may contain narratives of past events, or that the contents of the document are true, or that it has been acted upon. Though documents are declared admissible without proof, if produced from proper custody, the credit to be given to them depends on the discretion of the court, and the particular circumstances of each case. It has nothing to do with the question of their relevancy which must be determined in accordance with the rules regarding relevancy. Hence, no presumption under Section 90 of the Evidence Act, could be raised to the effect that the adoption recorded in the deed is proved, when the recitals in the documents show that the person who is adopted is not capable of being taken in adoption, and the deed is not executed by the person giving the boy in adoption. (Gangavva And Ors. vs Ningavva And Ors. ILR 2008 KAR 1667)

WHEN THERE IS NO ORIGINAL DOCUMENT – TO PRODUCE SECONDARY EVIDENCE OF DOCUMENT ONE MUST FOLLOW SEVERAL PROCEDURAL LEGAL ASPECTS IN DOCUMENTS AND ITS CERTIFICATION. WITHOUT THAT IT IS ILLEGAL TO ASSUME AND PRESUME OVER DOCUMENTS

Section 65 of the Evidence Act provides that in cases where the originals have been destroyed or lost, the party may adduce any secondary evidence of the contents of the document. The words "any secondary evidence of the contents of the document is admissible" are very significant and clear enough to exclude any other construction to be placed on them. The word "any" indicates that the party can adduce any kind of secondary evidence. What are public documents is described in Section 74 of the Evidence Act. The definition of "certified copies" is to be found in Section 76 of the Evidence Act. That section provides that any public officer having custody of a public document which any person has a right to inspect, shall give that person, on demand, a copy of it on payment of the legal fees prescribed therefor together with a certificate written at the foot of such copy that it is a true copy of such document or part thereof as the case may he, and that such certificate shall be dated and subscribed by such officer with his name and official title and shall be sealed whenever/ such officer is authorized by law to make use of a seal and that such copies so certified shall be called as "certified copies". That clause 'of Section 65 of the Evidence Act which provides that "in case of (e) or (f) a certified copy of the document but no other kind of secondary evidence is admissible" seems to 'apply to a case in which a public document is still in existence on the public records, and that provision appears to have been intended to protect the originals of public records from the danger to which they would be subject by constant production of such documents in Courts in 'evidence, and the said, clause does not interfere with the general rule of evidence given in Clause (c) i.e., in cases where the original is destroyed or lost.

Regarding issuance of certified copy of public documents, Section 76 Indian Evidence Act reads as follows: "Every public officer having the custody of a public document, which any person has a right to inspect, shall give that person on demand a copy of it on payment of the legal fees therefor, together with a certificate written at the foot of such copy that it is a true copy of such documents or part thereof, as the case may be, and such certificate shall be dated and subscribed by such officer with his name and his official title, and shall be sealed, whenever such officer is authorized by law to make use of a seal; and such copies so certified shall be called certified copies."

Gurubasappa And Ors. vs Gurulingappa AIR 1962 Mys 246, ILR 1961 KAR 878 In deciding this question, it would be necessary to consider the true scope and effect of sections 91 and 92 of the Evidence Act. Chapter VI of the Evidence Act which begins with section 91 deals with the exclusion of oral evidence by documentary evidence, section 91 of the Act provides: "When the terms of a contract, or a grant, or of any other disposition of property, have been reduced to the form of a document, and in all cases in which any matter is required by law to be reduced to the form of a document, no evidence shall be given in proof of the terms of such contract, grant or other disposition of property, or of such matter, except the document itself, or secondary evidence of its contents in cases in which secondary evidence is admissible under the provisions herein before contained". The normal rule is that the contents of a document must be proved by primary evidence which is the document itself in original. Section 91 is based on what is described as best evidence rule. The best evidence about the contents of a document is the document itself and it is the production of the document that is required by section 91 in proof of its contents. In a sense the rule enumerated by section 91 can be said to be an exclusive rule inasmuch as it excludes the admission of oral evidence for proving the contents of a document except in cases where secondary evidence is allowed to be led under the relevant provisions of the Evidence Act. Section 92 of the Evidence Act runs as follows: "When the terms of any such contract, grant or other disposition of property, or any matter required by law to be reduced to the form of a document, have been proved according to the last section, no evidence of any oral agreement or statement shall be admitted, as between the parties to any such instrument or their representatives in interest, for the purpose of contradicting, varying, adding to or subtracting from, its terms". It is manifest that section 92 excludes the evidence of oral agreement and it applies to cases where the terms of a contract, grant or other disposition of property have been proved by the production of the relevant documents themselves under section 91 of the Act. In other words, after the document had been produced to prove its terms under section 91, the provisions of section 92 of the Act come into operation for the purposes of excluding the evidence of any oral agreement or the statement for the purpose of contradicting, varying, adding to or subtracting from its terms. It would be noticed that sections 91 and 92 are in effect supplementary to each other. Section 91 would be frustrated without the aid of section 92 and section 92 would be inoperative without the aid of section 91. Since section 92 excludes the admission of oral evidence for the purpose of contradicting, varying, adding to or subtracting from the terms of the document properly proved under section 91, it may be said that it makes the proof of the document conclusive of its contents. Like section 91, section 92 can be said to be based on best evidence rule.

Bhinka And Others vs Charan Singh 1959 AIR 960, 1959 SCR Supl. (2) 798 " The Court shall presume to be genuine every document purporting to be a certificate.......... which is by law declared to be admissible as evidence of any particular fact, and which purports to be duly certified by any officer -of the Central Government or of a State Government................................................ Provided that such document is substantially in the form and purports to be executed in the manner directed by law in that behalf. The Court shall also presume that any officer by whom any such document purports to be signed or certified, held, when he signed it, the official character which he claims in such paper ". Under this section a Court is bound to draw the presumption that a certified copy of a document is genuine and also that the officer signed it in the official character which he claimed in the said document. But such a presumption is permissible only if the, certified copy is substantially in the form and purported to be executed in the manner provided by law in that behalf.

C.H. Shah vs S.S. Malpathak And Ors. AIR 1973 Bom 14, Section 79 only raises a rebuttable presumption with regard to the genuineness of certified copies and that too only if they are executed substantially in the form and in the manner provided by law. ……………………..Section 79, as laid down by the Supreme Court in Bhinka's case already referred to above it must be shown that the certified copy was executed substantially in the form and in the manner provided by law. There would, therefore, be a check or safeguard in so far as the officer certifying it in the manner required by law would have to satisfy himself in regard to the authenticity of the original and in regard to the accuracy of the copy which he certifies to be a true copy thereof. On the other hand if the original of a public document is to be admitted in evidence without proof of its genuineness, there would be no check whatever either by way of scrutiny or examination of that document by an officer or by the Court.

WHEN IT IS NOT A FREE GRANT AND WHEN IT IS FOR UPSET PRICE KPTCL PROVISION ATTRACTION IS TO BE VERIFIED

Hanumanna vs Machappa ILR 1995 KAR 3507, 1996 (1) KarLJ 359 A plain reading of the above contents of the Grant Certificate (Annexure-A) would clearly indicate that it was not a free grant. On the other hand, it would indicate that the land had either been sold or granted for an upset price. There is nothing to indicate from the Grant Certificate that it was a free grant. When the grant is not made free of cost and it is made for an upset price, the condition embodied in the above Rule would clearly indicate that it shall not be alienated for a period of 10 years. It would be required to be stated here itself that the word "upset price" has been defined in Rule 43(2) of the Rules under the Mysore Land Revenue Code, which was in force from 1939 onwards and Rule 43(3) of the amended Rules, which were in force in 1956. Both the definitions are identical and they are extracted herein below :- "43(2). The "Upset Price" shall not be arbitrarily fixed but shall represent the actual market value of the land, as nearly as it can be ascertained by local enquiries and by the examination of records of sales of similar lands in the neighbourhood, and if necessary, of the registration statistics relating to them."

In this context, it has to be stated that in case where the land had been granted to persons belonging to Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes, who are poor, under Rule 43-A(1), the Competent Authority can even waive Rs. 200/- out of the upset price; the balance being payable in annual instalments not exceeding three. Therefore, in the case of poor Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe persons, the price may be fixed by waiving Rs. 200/- out of the upset price. The above definition would clearly indicate that the upset price would represent the actual market value of the land as nearly as it can be ascertained by local enquiries and by the examination of records of sales of similar lands in the neighbourhood and if necessary, of the registration statistics relating to them. But, at the same time, a discretion has also been given to the Competent Authority to reduce the price in the case of persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who are poor. The order of the Assistant Commissioner is, however, silent with regard to the nature of the grant. But, the Order of the Deputy Commissioner would clearly indicate vide Paragraph-2 that the land in question was actually granted to the first respondent as per Order No. HKF.20/59-60 on 29.12.1959 at an upset price. The learned Single Judge, however, on his own interpretation of the sum of Rs. 45/- mentioned in the Grant Certificate, came to the conclusion that the grant was free of cost. There is absolutely no scope for such interpretation having regard to a plain reading of the terms of the grant as incorporated in the preamble to the Grant Certificate, In fact, the learned Single Judge himself has stated in the course of his order that the Saguvali Chit (Annexure-A) does disclose that a sum of Rs. 45/- was collected from the grantee towards Kimmat and Phodi Fee. This would clearly indicate that in the Grant Certificate, the Kimmat and Phodi fee have been separately mentioned and the word 'Kimmat' in its common connotation would mean the 'price'. It may be that the price mentioned therein may not be equal to the market value of the land that was prevailing at the time of the grant, but it was certainly not a free grant. It is to be remembered that in the case of poor Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe persons, even from the upset price, a sum of Rs. 200/- can be waived. Therefore, there was no scope for the learned Single Judge to have interpreted the grant as free of cost. In fact, under the Land Grant Rules, the term 'free grant' and the term 'upset price' are used in different context and in the case of poor Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe persons, even out of the upset price, Rs. 200/- can be waived. Therefore, it is very clear from a plain reading of the contents of the Grant Certificate (Annexure-A), in the light of the provisions of the Land Grant Rules, that it was not a free grant and in all probability, it was for an upset price or for a reduced upset price. In fact, the Deputy Commissioner himself would observe in the course of his order that it was a grant for an upset price. Therefore, by no stretch of imagination, the grant in this Case can be regarded as a free grant. We are unable to share the view of the learned Single Judge that it was a free grant. We shall, therefore, conclude on the basis of the materials placed on record that it was not a free grant, but it was made for an upset price as has been stated by the Deputy Commissioner. That being so, the period of non-alienation would be 10 years and not 15 years as per the Rule stated supra. In this case, the first respondent had sold the land to the appellant after the expiry of the period of 10 years from the date of the Grant Certificate (the Grant Certificate was issued on 4.5.1967 and the land in question was sold on 24.8.1977). Therefore, in any event, there was no contravention of the terms of the grant and as such, the transaction in question was not hit by Section 4 of the Act. Therefore, the alienation made in favour of the appellant cannot be declared as null and void under Sections 4 and 5 of the Act as there was no contravention of the terms of the grant of such land or the law providing for such grant.

PERSONS WHO GOT GRANT OF LANDS AS TENANTS DOES NOT GET ATTRCTED WITH KPTCL ACT

The Full Bench in Chikka Kullegowda's case, ILR 1991 KAR 4557, 1991 (3) KarLJ 142 , after considering the various cases, including Siddamma's case, held as follows: "The above discussion makes it clear: (a) Rule 43-J contemplated grants to persons who were already cultivating the lands for several years, by being in possession in pursuance of temporary leases granted to them, who formed a separate and distinct class; and in such cases, there was no need to stipulate any of the conditions specified in Rule 43-G which were applicable to only grants relating to unoccupied lands where possession was yet to be delivered; (b) in view of the non-obstante clause with which Rule 43-J began and in the absence of any indication in Rule 43-J that the grants under that rule to persons who were already in possession would be governed by the conditions in Rule 43-G and having regard to the express provision in Rule 43-G that the conditions therein would apply only to the grants made in the preceding rules (that is, Rules 43-C and 43-D, the only inescapable conclusion is that conditions stipulated in Rule 43-G were inapplicable to grants under Rule 43-J. We are thus in respectful agreement with the views expressed in Siddamma's case, supra. We, therefore, answer the question referred for opinion in the negative"

Smt. Hambamma vs State Of Karnataka And Others AIR 1998 Kant 91, ILR 1999 KAR 261, 1998 (3) KarLJ 688 Once the conditions stipulated in Rule 43-G cannot be applied to the grants under Rule 43-J as there is no power or authority to impose any condition stating that the land granted under Rule 43-J cannot be alienated for a period of 15 years or any other period. It is a settled principle of law that the delegate cannot exceed his power and he has only to act within the power conferred on him. Therefore, the condition imposed by the Tahsildar in the Saguvali Chit, at the time of issuing the same, that the grantee shall not alienate the land for a period of fifteen years, when such condition was not imposed by the order or the authority making the grant, cannot be sustained.

Smt. Hambamma vs State Of Karnataka And Others AIR 1998 Kant 91, ILR 1999 KAR 261, 1998 (3) KarLJ 688 The second question for consideration is what is the effect of the condition imposed by the Tahsildar at the time of issuing the Saguvali Chit. The granting Authority, as well as the Tahsildar, derive their power from Rule 43-J. When there is no power to impose any condition in the Saguvali Chit under Rule 43-J, at the time of grant, the subordinate authority, i.e., the Tahsildar has exceeded his limit in imposing the condition. The Tahsildar being the delegate, has no power to impose any condition in the Saguvali Chit. Even if such condition is imposed, the same is not valid in the eye of law and it is without power and jurisdiction. Therefore, the condition imposed by the Tahsildar in the Saguvali Chit stating that the grantee cannot alienate the land for a period of 15 years or any other period is not valid. In the absence of any such condition, it is open to the grantees to enjoy the land as they like, including the right to alienate the land.

Smt. Hambamma vs State Of Karnataka And Others AIR 1998 Kant 91, ILR 1999 KAR 261, 1998 (3) KarLJ 688 The learned Counsel for the original grantees contended that the grant is not under Rule 43-J, but it is under Rule 43-G. We have perused the orders of the original authority cancelling the grant and upholding the same by the Appellate Authority. Both the orders show that the grantees were in possession on temporary lease when they were granted the land by virtue of Rule 43-J; whereas for the grantees under Rule 43-C the unoccupied lands are given. Therefore, the grants involved in these cases are under Rule 43-J and therefore, we are not able to accept the contention of the original grantees. .. It is also contended that the State has collected the upset price from the grantees. Therefore, the grant has to be presumed under Rule 43-C and Rule 43-D and other sub-clauses. Government has taken a policy decision to grant the lands to temporary holders on a concessional price. After Rule 43-J is framed, such lands are granted to various persons and concessional price is collected. Merely because some price is collected, it cannot be said that the collection of upset price is not correct. The impugned grant is under Rule 43-G, when it was actually made under Rule 43-J. Even on this aspect, we do not see any force in the contention raised by the learned Counsel for the original grantees.

THIS ABOVE FULL BENCH DECISION IS OVERRULED BY SUPREME COURT IN AIR 2005 SC 4013 CLICK HERE TO READ IT

Smt. Siddamma v. Chikkegowda and Ors., 1991(1) Kar. L.J. 210 (DB) which was affirmed by a Division Bench in Siddamma's case, wherein law has been clearly stated that in respect of lands granted under the provisions of Section 43-J of the Mysore Land Revenue Code, 1888, no condition restricting alienation of the land could have been imposed; that any sale of such land can never be said to be in violation of the terms of the grant nor of any condition which in fact cannot be imposed by the authorities granting the land; that in spite of such sale transactions, the authorities under the Act does not assume jurisdiction for examination of an application under Section 4 of the Act.

Onkarappa vs Sanna Neelappa ILR 1990 KAR 727, 1990 (1) KarLJ 54 Another important aspect which requires to be noticed in these cases is that all these grantees were invested with possession anterior to the grand of lands made on 11-2-1960 by lease of lands to the grantees prior to 11-2-1960 under the "Grow More Food Scheme". Even though undue importance cannot be attached to possession given under the Grow More Food Scheme in the form of a lease, too much of emphasis on possession becomes superfluous in the context. At the risk of repetition, it has to be observed that what is relevant and germane to the issue is whether in all these cases alienation has taken place before the expiry of a period of ten years from the date of commencement of the grants. My opinion is that there is no violation of the condition imposed against alienation for a period of ten years. Computing the period from the date of the grant, it has to be held that in all these cases, alienation has taken place after the expiry of the period of ten years.

GROW MORE FOOD SCHEME LAND GRANT DOES NOT ATTRACT KPTCL PROVISIONS

Smt. Hambamma vs State Of Karnataka And Others AIR 1998 Kant 91, ILR 1999 KAR 261, 1998 (3) KarLJ 688 The erstwhile Government of Mysore introduced a Scheme, with the intention of improving the food production in the State issued an order dated 11-4-1942 (clarified by Act 13 of 1978) authorising the Deputy Commissioner to grant uncultivated land, to persons who are agriculturists, for a temporary period of not less than three years with option to purchase the same at reasonable upset price which will not exceed more than the amount prescribed therein. Thus number of persons, irrespective of the caste and creed were granted lease and in most of the cases their successors are in possession of such lands.

Mysore Cultivation of Fallow Lands Act, 1951

Mysore Cultivation of Fallow Lands Act, 1951 (Mysore Act No. XVII of 1951). By a perusal of the preamble of the Act, it is seen that it is with a view to bring fallow lands under cultivation in the State of Mysore except Bellary District, the provisions are made so as to enable landless to cultivate the lands subject to certain conditions. Sub-section (4) of Section 1 thereof makes it clear that the Act shall remain in force for a period of five years, and upon its expiry, the provisions of Section 6 of the Mysore General Clauses Act, 1899, shall be applicable as if it had been repealed by a Mysore Act. In other words, those persons who continued to cultivate the lands belonging to the Government under the said Act, even after the expiry of five years, shall continue to be lessees under the State of Karnataka. Therefore, even after the expiry of the period of five years, the right or interest accrued in such persons by virtue of the said Act cannot be taken away without due process of law. Section 12 of the said Act conferred upon the State Government power to make Rules for carrying out the purposes of that Act and in the absence of any Rules made thereunder, as long as their rights and interests are not taken away in accordance with law, they cannot be said to be persons who have lost their rights.

WOMEN RIGHT TO ANCESTRAL PROPERTY – WOMEN WHO DIED BEFORE 09-09-2005, WHEN THERE IS NO PENDING CASE – IS NOT A CO-PARCENER – JUSTICE SMT ROSHAN DALVI

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SMT. ROSHAN DALVI, J of Bombay High Court, in Sadashiv Sakharam Patil & Ors vs Chandrakant Gopal Desale & Ors Judgment passed on 6 September, 2011 It is stated "Only on and from 9th September 2005 on which date the Amendment Act 39 of 2005 came into force that the daughter who was then living would become a coparcener."

In the case of Sugalabai Vs. Gundappa A. Maradi & Ors. ILR 2007 KAR 4790 the first three words of the aforesaid section came to be considered and interpreted in paragraph 24. It has been observed that the words "on and from" mean "immediately and after" - the commencement of the Act. It is observed that in other words as soon as the amending Act came into force the daughter of the coparcener becomes, by birth, a coparcener in her own right in the same manner as the son. In that case the change in law came into effect during the pendency of the Appeals. It was held that the changed law applied to pending Appeals and consequently, the said Appeal. Hence the daughter in that case was held to be the coparcener. It was observed that there was nothing in the Act which showed that only those born on and after the commencement of the Act would become coparceners. Hence it was held that even a daughter who was born prior to the amendment Act became a coparcener immediately on and after the Amendment Act.

This is the case where the daughters had already expired prior to the coming into force of the amendment Act and prior to any litigation, her son having filed the suit himself. There is nothing in the Section which shows that it would apply to all females retrospectively including a daughter who had expired prior to the coparcener himself, prior to any litigation and prior to the amendment Act itself. If such a daughter was also to be included the entire population would come to be included and the children and grandchildren of all deceased females would claim their share in the estate of their grandparents and great grandparents through their mother. It would have to be seen whether the legislation is capable of such an absurd interpretation.

The words "on" and "from" show and suggest that on a date prior to the Act coming into force the daughter (female) would not be included as a coparcener. Consequently, all daughters born to coparceners in a Hindu joint family living at the time the Act came into force would become coparcener. Daughters (females) who had expired a day prior thereto, unfortunately, could not, because they would be covered by the law prior to the amendment. If such interpretation is not given the words "on" and "from" "the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005" would lose their significance all together and would be rendered otiose.

This aspect is essentially decipherable from the proviso to Section 6(1) of the Act cited above. This provision has been specifically enacted to lay down a cutoff date for the daughter of a coparcener to claim her right as a coparcener including her right of partition which is restricted by any disposition or alienation made prior to 20th December 2004. Hence when the Act came into force on 9th September 2004 partition could be claimed by a daughter, if the coparcenery property was not partitioned about nine months prior thereto. This shows that the earlier dispositions and alienations could not be challenged so that whilst the daughter was not a coparcener and certain rights were created they would stand. This is to lend stability to facts and circumstances that may have prevailed in innumerable families having joint family properties prior to the creation of the new right in favour of the daughter. Counsel on behalf of the original Plaintiff sought to show that the proviso has been held to be ultra vires the constitution by the Karnataka High Court which judgment shall be considered presently.

It has been held in the case of Pravat Chandra Pattnaik & Ors. Vs. Sarat Chandra Pattnaik & Anr. AIR 2008 Orissa 133 that the aforesaid Section was enacted for removing the gender discrimination that prevailed leading to oppression and negation of the fundamental right of equality to women and to render social justice by giving them equal status in the Society. The Act came into force from 9th September 2005 and the statutory provisions under Section 6 of Hindu Succession Act, 1956 thereof created a new right. The provisions are not expressly made retrospective by the legislature. The Act is clear and there is no ambiguity. Therefore, words cannot be interpolated. They do not bear more than one meaning. The Act is therefore, prospective. It creates a substantive right in favour of the daughter. The daughter gets a rights of a coparcener from the date when the amended Act came into force. Consequently, the contention that only the daughters who were born after 2005 would be treated as coparceners was not accepted. It specifically clarifies that the daughter gets a right as a coparcener from the year 2005 whenever she may have been born. She can claim a partition of the property which was not partitioned earlier. However, the judgment specifies a rider. That is in view of the proviso to Section 6(1) of the Act.

"But if the same was effected earlier i.e., prior to 20th December, 2004 the same should not be reopened."

It is, therefore, that it is rightly contended on behalf of the Defendants in the suit that Sakharam's succession opened on 4th October 1995 on that date his daughters Muktabai and/or Narmadabai were not coparceners. His coparcenery property would devolve by survivorship to his only son Sadashiv. The devolution of interest in the coparcenery property as specified in the sub- title/heading of Section 6 would take place only to the son. The words in the sub-title "devolution of interest" also therefore, show that for an interest to devolve upon a person that person must be alive. No devolution of interest in coparcenery property can take place upon a deceased coparcener. On the date of the death of Sakharam his daughters were not even coparceners; they were not even alive. No devolution of interest upon them could take place.

In the case of Sheela Devi & Ors. Vs. Lal Chand & Anr. (2006) 8 SCC 581 the Court considered the estate of one Babu Ram who died in the year 1989. He was one of the 5 sons of Tulsi Ram and one of the members of the coparcenery property. He left behind two sons and three daughters. Babu Ram had inherited 1/5th share of the property of his father and 1/20th share through another brother who had died intestate without issues. The succession between the two brothers and their descendants was in issue. The applicability of the Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 was under consideration. Though that is a different matter, observation in paragraph 21 of the judgment relates to the new Act of 2005. It was inter alia observed that the succession was opened in 1989 and hence the provisions of the amendment Act 2005 would have no application. Thereupon Section 6(1) of the old Act of 1956 which related to succession on the death of a coparcener in the event the heirs were only male descendants came to be considered.

My attention has been drawn by Counsel on behalf of the original Plaintiff to the judgment in the case of G. Sekar Vs. Geetha & Ors. (2009) 6 SCC 99 to show that this aspect has been negated in the later judgment of the Supreme Court. Paragraph 49 of the judgment extracts the case of Sheela Devi and the entire paragraph 21 thereof. It is observed that in the case of Sheela Devi the amendment Act had no application as the succession has opened prior to 1989 and hence that contention came to be negatived to consider and interpret the vesting of the right of the coparcener under the old Act. It is, therefore, entirely erroneous to contend upon reading the word "negatived" that the contention that upon the succession opening in 1989 the amendment would have no application was negatived without reading the entire paragraph 49 as a whole. It may be clarified that in the case of Sheela Devi upon the applicability of Section 6 of the old Act, the contention with regard to the applicability of the new Act was negatived and the old Section was considered. Consequently, the fact that succession did open in 1989 when Babu Ram died which did not make the new Act applicable was accepted. We would do well to read the two judgments together.

We are concerned with only the aspect of the applicability of the amendment Act on the date the succession opened. Since it was held that the new Act would not apply when succession opened prior to the date on which it came into force - in that case in 1989 - the Court considered Section 6 of the earlier Act.

In fact the observation in paragraph 8 of the judgment in the case of Miss. R. Kantha, d/o Doddarmaiah Reddy Vs. Union of India & Anr. AIR 2010 Karnataka 27 to which also my attention has been drawn by Counsel on behalf of the original Plaintiff would be material. It runs thus: "It follows, therefore, that the provisions of the Act can be enforced when the right to succession opens and not before. The petitioner's father is said to be alive and hence her right to succession as a co-parcener has not opened." In that case the Plaintiff/Petitioner applied for partition of the coparcenery property whilst her father was alive under Section 6 of the new Act of 2005 upon the premise that she, as a coparcener, was entitled to all the rights of coparcener including partition. Her father was alive at that time. It was held that Section 6 of the new Act of 2005 was the law relating to intestate succession which regulates the succession of properties of all Hindus by its heading itself which speaks of "devolution" of interest. It was held that "Devolve" means to pass from a person dying to a person living. Hence, the right of a daughter to be treated like a son should be construed only with regard to the share that "devolves" on her when her right to succession opens having regard to the scope and ambit of the Act itself. Hence the judgment in the case of Ms. R. Kanta shows the restrictive operation of Section 6 as applying to devolution of interest upon the death of coparcener only.

WOMEN RIGHT TO ANCESTRAL PROPERTY – WOMEN WHO DIED BEFORE 09-09-2005, WHEN THERE IS NO PENDING CASE – IS NOT A CO-PARCENER – JUSTICE SMT ROSHAN DALVI

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SMT. ROSHAN DALVI, J of Bombay High Court, in Sadashiv Sakharam Patil & Ors vs Chandrakant Gopal Desale & Ors Judgment passed on 6 September, 2011 It is stated "Only on and from 9th September 2005 on which date the Amendment Act 39 of 2005 came into force that the daughter who was then living would become a coparcener."

In the case of Sugalabai Vs. Gundappa A. Maradi & Ors. ILR 2007 KAR 4790 the first three words of the aforesaid section came to be considered and interpreted in paragraph 24. It has been observed that the words "on and from" mean "immediately and after" - the commencement of the Act. It is observed that in other words as soon as the amending Act came into force the daughter of the coparcener becomes, by birth, a coparcener in her own right in the same manner as the son. In that case the change in law came into effect during the pendency of the Appeals. It was held that the changed law applied to pending Appeals and consequently, the said Appeal. Hence the daughter in that case was held to be the coparcener. It was observed that there was nothing in the Act which showed that only those born on and after the commencement of the Act would become coparceners. Hence it was held that even a daughter who was born prior to the amendment Act became a coparcener immediately on and after the Amendment Act.

This is the case where the daughters had already expired prior to the coming into force of the amendment Act and prior to any litigation, her son having filed the suit himself. There is nothing in the Section which shows that it would apply to all females retrospectively including a daughter who had expired prior to the coparcener himself, prior to any litigation and prior to the amendment Act itself. If such a daughter was also to be included the entire population would come to be included and the children and grandchildren of all deceased females would claim their share in the estate of their grandparents and great grandparents through their mother. It would have to be seen whether the legislation is capable of such an absurd interpretation.

The words "on" and "from" show and suggest that on a date prior to the Act coming into force the daughter (female) would not be included as a coparcener. Consequently, all daughters born to coparceners in a Hindu joint family living at the time the Act came into force would become coparcener. Daughters (females) who had expired a day prior thereto, unfortunately, could not, because they would be covered by the law prior to the amendment. If such interpretation is not given the words "on" and "from" "the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005" would lose their significance all together and would be rendered otiose.

This aspect is essentially decipherable from the proviso to Section 6(1) of the Act cited above. This provision has been specifically enacted to lay down a cutoff date for the daughter of a coparcener to claim her right as a coparcener including her right of partition which is restricted by any disposition or alienation made prior to 20th December 2004. Hence when the Act came into force on 9th September 2004 partition could be claimed by a daughter, if the coparcenery property was not partitioned about nine months prior thereto. This shows that the earlier dispositions and alienations could not be challenged so that whilst the daughter was not a coparcener and certain rights were created they would stand. This is to lend stability to facts and circumstances that may have prevailed in innumerable families having joint family properties prior to the creation of the new right in favour of the daughter. Counsel on behalf of the original Plaintiff sought to show that the proviso has been held to be ultra vires the constitution by the Karnataka High Court which judgment shall be considered presently.

It has been held in the case of Pravat Chandra Pattnaik & Ors. Vs. Sarat Chandra Pattnaik & Anr. AIR 2008 Orissa 133 that the aforesaid Section was enacted for removing the gender discrimination that prevailed leading to oppression and negation of the fundamental right of equality to women and to render social justice by giving them equal status in the Society. The Act came into force from 9th September 2005 and the statutory provisions under Section 6 of Hindu Succession Act, 1956 thereof created a new right. The provisions are not expressly made retrospective by the legislature. The Act is clear and there is no ambiguity. Therefore, words cannot be interpolated. They do not bear more than one meaning. The Act is therefore, prospective. It creates a substantive right in favour of the daughter. The daughter gets a rights of a coparcener from the date when the amended Act came into force. Consequently, the contention that only the daughters who were born after 2005 would be treated as coparceners was not accepted. It specifically clarifies that the daughter gets a right as a coparcener from the year 2005 whenever she may have been born. She can claim a partition of the property which was not partitioned earlier. However, the judgment specifies a rider. That is in view of the proviso to Section 6(1) of the Act.

"But if the same was effected earlier i.e., prior to 20th December, 2004 the same should not be reopened."

It is, therefore, that it is rightly contended on behalf of the Defendants in the suit that Sakharam's succession opened on 4th October 1995 on that date his daughters Muktabai and/or Narmadabai were not coparceners. His coparcenery property would devolve by survivorship to his only son Sadashiv. The devolution of interest in the coparcenery property as specified in the sub- title/heading of Section 6 would take place only to the son. The words in the sub-title "devolution of interest" also therefore, show that for an interest to devolve upon a person that person must be alive. No devolution of interest in coparcenery property can take place upon a deceased coparcener. On the date of the death of Sakharam his daughters were not even coparceners; they were not even alive. No devolution of interest upon them could take place.

In the case of Sheela Devi & Ors. Vs. Lal Chand & Anr. (2006) 8 SCC 581 the Court considered the estate of one Babu Ram who died in the year 1989. He was one of the 5 sons of Tulsi Ram and one of the members of the coparcenery property. He left behind two sons and three daughters. Babu Ram had inherited 1/5th share of the property of his father and 1/20th share through another brother who had died intestate without issues. The succession between the two brothers and their descendants was in issue. The applicability of the Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 was under consideration. Though that is a different matter, observation in paragraph 21 of the judgment relates to the new Act of 2005. It was inter alia observed that the succession was opened in 1989 and hence the provisions of the amendment Act 2005 would have no application. Thereupon Section 6(1) of the old Act of 1956 which related to succession on the death of a coparcener in the event the heirs were only male descendants came to be considered.

My attention has been drawn by Counsel on behalf of the original Plaintiff to the judgment in the case of G. Sekar Vs. Geetha & Ors. (2009) 6 SCC 99 to show that this aspect has been negated in the later judgment of the Supreme Court. Paragraph 49 of the judgment extracts the case of Sheela Devi and the entire paragraph 21 thereof. It is observed that in the case of Sheela Devi the amendment Act had no application as the succession has opened prior to 1989 and hence that contention came to be negatived to consider and interpret the vesting of the right of the coparcener under the old Act. It is, therefore, entirely erroneous to contend upon reading the word "negatived" that the contention that upon the succession opening in 1989 the amendment would have no application was negatived without reading the entire paragraph 49 as a whole. It may be clarified that in the case of Sheela Devi upon the applicability of Section 6 of the old Act, the contention with regard to the applicability of the new Act was negatived and the old Section was considered. Consequently, the fact that succession did open in 1989 when Babu Ram died which did not make the new Act applicable was accepted. We would do well to read the two judgments together.

We are concerned with only the aspect of the applicability of the amendment Act on the date the succession opened. Since it was held that the new Act would not apply when succession opened prior to the date on which it came into force - in that case in 1989 - the Court considered Section 6 of the earlier Act.

In fact the observation in paragraph 8 of the judgment in the case of Miss. R. Kantha, d/o Doddarmaiah Reddy Vs. Union of India & Anr. AIR 2010 Karnataka 27 to which also my attention has been drawn by Counsel on behalf of the original Plaintiff would be material. It runs thus: "It follows, therefore, that the provisions of the Act can be enforced when the right to succession opens and not before. The petitioner's father is said to be alive and hence her right to succession as a co-parcener has not opened." In that case the Plaintiff/Petitioner applied for partition of the coparcenery property whilst her father was alive under Section 6 of the new Act of 2005 upon the premise that she, as a coparcener, was entitled to all the rights of coparcener including partition. Her father was alive at that time. It was held that Section 6 of the new Act of 2005 was the law relating to intestate succession which regulates the succession of properties of all Hindus by its heading itself which speaks of "devolution" of interest. It was held that "Devolve" means to pass from a person dying to a person living. Hence, the right of a daughter to be treated like a son should be construed only with regard to the share that "devolves" on her when her right to succession opens having regard to the scope and ambit of the Act itself. Hence the judgment in the case of Ms. R. Kanta shows the restrictive operation of Section 6 as applying to devolution of interest upon the death of coparcener only.

SALE TRANSACTIONS BY GPA DOES NOT CONVEY TITLE

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Bench consisting of JUSTICE R.V. Raveendran, JUSTICE A.K. Patnaik, JUSTICE H.L. Gokhale in their Judgment in case of Suraj Lamp  Industries (P) ... vs State Of Haryana & Anr. Decided on 11 October, 2011

ILL-EFFECTS OF SA/GPA/WILL TRANSACTIONS

1. Suraj Lamp & Industries Pvt.Ltd. vs. State of Haryana & Anr. - 2009 (7) SCC 363 noted the ill-effects of such SA/GPA/WILL transactions (that is generation of black money, growth of land mafia and criminalization of civil disputes.

2. Recourse to `SA/GPA/WILL' transactions is taken in regard to freehold properties, even when there is no bar or prohibition regarding transfer or conveyance of such property, by Vendors with imperfect title who cannot or do not want to execute registered deeds of conveyance.

3. Recourse to `SA/GPA/WILL' transactions is taken in regard to freehold properties, even when there is no bar or prohibition regarding transfer or conveyance of such property, by Purchasers who want to invest undisclosed wealth/income in immovable properties without any public record of the transactions. The process enables them to hold any number of properties without disclosing them as assets held.

4. Recourse to `SA/GPA/WILL' transactions is taken in regard to freehold properties, even when there is no bar or prohibition regarding transfer or conveyance of such property, by Purchasers who want to avoid the payment of stamp duty and registration charges either deliberately or on wrong advice. Persons who deal in real estate resort to these methods to avoid multiple stamp duties/registration fees so as to increase their profit margin. Whatever be the intention, the consequences are disturbing and far reaching, adversely affecting the economy, civil society and law and order. Firstly, it enables large scale evasion of income tax, wealth tax, stamp duty and registration fees thereby denying the benefit of such revenue to the government and the public. Secondly, such transactions enable persons with undisclosed wealth/income to invest their black money and also earn profit/income, thereby encouraging circulation of black money and corruption.

5. When the market value increases, many vendors (who effected power of attorney sales without registration) are tempted to resell the property taking advantage of the fact that there is no registered instrument or record in any public office thereby cheating the purchaser. When the purchaser under such `power of attorney sales' comes to know about the vendors action, he invariably tries to take the help of musclemen to `sort out' the issue and protect his rights. On the other hand, real estate mafia many a time purchase properties which are already subject to power of attorney sale and then threaten the previous `Power of Attorney Sale' purchasers from asserting their rights. Either way, such power of attorney sales indirectly lead to growth of real estate mafia and criminalization of real estate transactions.

6. It also makes title verification and certification of title, which is an integral part of orderly conduct of transactions relating to immovable property, difficult, if not impossible, giving nightmares to bonafide purchasers wanting to own a property with an assurance of good and marketable title.

DECISION

1. We therefore reiterate that immovable property can be legally and lawfully transferred/conveyed only by a registered deed of conveyance. Transactions of the nature of `GPA sales' or `SA/GPA/WILL transfers' do not convey title and do not amount to transfer, nor can they be recognized or valid mode of transfer of immoveable property.

2. The courts will not treat such transactions as completed or concluded transfers or as conveyances as they neither convey title nor create any interest in an immovable property. They cannot be recognized as deeds of title, except to the limited extent of section 53A of the TP Act.

3. Such transactions cannot be relied upon or made the basis for mutations in Municipal or Revenue Records.

4. What is stated above will apply not only to deeds of conveyance in regard to freehold property but also to transfer of leasehold property. A lease can be validly transferred only under a registered Assignment of Lease.

5. It is time that an end is put to the pernicious practice of SA/GPA/WILL transactions known as GPA sales.

HARDSHIP PLEADED

It has been submitted that making declaration that GPA sales and SA/GPA/WILL transfers are not legally valid modes of transfer is likely to create hardship to a large number of persons who have entered into such transactions and they should be given sufficient time to regularize the transactions by obtaining deeds of conveyance. It is also submitted that this decision should be made applicable prospectively to avoid hardship.

REPLIES AND RELIEFS GIVEN TO HARDSHIP

1. We have merely drawn attention to and reiterated the well-settled legal position that SA/GPA/WILL transactions are not `transfers' or `sales' and that such transactions cannot be treated as completed transfers or conveyances. They can continue to be treated as existing agreement of sale. Nothing prevents affected parties from getting registered Deeds of Conveyance to complete their title. The said `SA/GPA/WILL transactions' may also be used to obtain specific performance or to defend possession under section 53A of TP Act. If they are entered before this day, they may be relied upon to apply for regularization of allotments/leases by Development Authorities.

2. We make it clear that if the documents relating to `SA/GPA/WILL transactions' has been accepted acted upon by DDA or other developmental authorities or by the Municipal or revenue authorities to effect mutation, they need not be disturbed, merely on account of this decision.

3. We make it clear that our observations are not intended to in any way affect the validity of sale agreements and powers of attorney executed in genuine transactions. For example, a person may give a power of attorney to his spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister or a relative to manage his affairs or to execute a deed of conveyance.

4. A person may enter into a development agreement with a land developer or builder for developing the land either by forming plots or by constructing apartment buildings and in that behalf execute an agreement of sale and grant a Power of Attorney empowering the developer to execute agreements of sale or conveyances in regard to individual plots of land or undivided shares in the land relating to apartments in favour of prospective purchasers. In several States, the execution of such development agreements and powers of attorney are already regulated by law and subjected to specific stamp duty. Our observations regarding `SA/GPA/WILL transactions' are not intended to apply to such bonafide/genuine transactions.

LEGAL REASONS FOR SUCH JUDGEMENT DISCUSSED BY COURT

1. Section 5 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 transfer of property means an act by which a living person conveys property, in present or in future, to one or more other living persons, or to himself and one or more other living persons; and to transfer property ; is to perform such act.

2. Section 54 of the TP Act defines `sales' thus: Sale is a transfer of ownership in exchange for a price paid or promised or part-paid and part-promised.

3. Sale how made. Such transfer, in the case of tangible immoveable property of the value of one hundred rupees and upwards, or in the case of a reversion or other intangible thing, can be made only by a registered instrument.

4. In the case of tangible immoveable property of a value less than one hundred rupees, such transfer may be made either by a registered instrument or by delivery of the property.

5. Delivery of tangible immoveable property takes place when the seller places the buyer, or such person as he directs, in possession of the property.

6. A contract for the sale of immovable property is a contract that a sale of such property shall take place on terms settled between the parties. It does not, of itself, create any interest in or charge on such property.

7. Section 53A of the TP Act defines `part performance' - Where any person contracts to transfer for consideration any immoveable property by writing signed by him or on his behalf from which the terms necessary to constitute the transfer can be ascertained with reasonable certainty, and the transferee has, in part performance of the contract, taken possession of the property or any part thereof, or the transferee, being already in possession, continues in possession in part performance of the contract and has done some act in furtherance of the contract, and the transferee has performed or is willing to perform his part of the contract, then, notwithstanding that where there is an instrument of transfer, that the transfer has not been completed in the manner prescribed therefor by the law for the time being in force, the transferor or any person claiming under him shall be debarred from enforcing against the transferee and persons claiming under him any right in respect of the property of which the transferee has taken or continued in possession, other than a right expressly provided by the terms of the contract : Provided that nothing in this section shall affect the rights of a transferee for consideration who has no notice of the contract or of the part performance.

8. Section 27 of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 casts upon the party, liable to pay stamp duty, an obligation to set forth in the instrument all facts and circumstances which affect the chargeability of duty on that instrument. Article 23 prescribes stamp duty on `Conveyance'. In many States appropriate amendments have been made whereby agreements of sale acknowledging delivery of possession or power of Attorney authorizes the attorney to `sell any immovable property are charged with the same duty as leviable on conveyance.

9. Section 17 of the Registration Act, 1908 which makes a deed of conveyance compulsorily registrable. We extract below the relevant portions of section 17 Section 17 - Documents of which registration is compulsory- (1) The following documents shall be registered, namely:--… (b) other non-testamentary instruments which purport or operate to create, declare, assign, limit or extinguish, whether in present or in future, any right, title or interest, whether vested or contingent, of the value of one hundred rupees and upwards, to or in immovable property……. (1A) The documents containing contracts to transfer for consideration, any immovable property for the purpose of section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (4 of 1882) shall be registered if they have been executed on or after the commencement of the Registration and Other Related laws (Amendment) Act, 2001 and if such documents are not registered on or after such commencement, then, they shall have no effect for the purposes of the said section 53A.

10. The Registration Act, 1908, was enacted with the intention of providing orderliness, discipline and public notice in regard to transactions relating to immovable property and protection from fraud and forgery of documents of transfer. This is achieved by requiring compulsory registration of certain types of documents and providing for consequences of non-registration.

11. Section 49 of the said Act (Registration Act, 1908) provides that no document required by Section 17 to be registered shall, affect any immovable property comprised therein or received as evidence of any transaction affected such property, unless it has been registered. Registration of a document gives notice to the world that such a document has been executed.

12. Registration provides safety and security to transactions relating to immovable property, even if the document is lost or destroyed. It gives publicity and public exposure to documents thereby preventing forgeries and frauds in regard to transactions and execution of documents. Registration provides information to people who may deal with a property, as to the nature and extent of the rights which persons may have, affecting that property.

13. In other words, it enables people to find out whether any particular property with which they are concerned, has been subjected to any legal obligation or liability and who is or are the person/s presently having right, title, and interest in the property. It gives solemnity of form and perpetuate documents which are of legal importance or relevance by recording them, where people may see the record and enquire and ascertain what the particulars are and as far as land is concerned what obligations exist with regard to them. It ensures that every person dealing with immovable property can rely with confidence upon the statements contained in the registers (maintained under the said Act) as a full and complete account of all transactions by which the title to the property may be affected and secure extracts/copies duly certified.

14. Registration of documents makes the process of verification and certification of title easier and simpler. It reduces disputes and litigations to a large extent.

15. Section 54 of TP Act makes it clear that a contract of sale, that is, an agreement of sale does not, of itself, create any interest in or charge on such property.

16. A contract of sale does not of itself create any interest in, or charge on, the property. This is expressly declared in Section 54 of the Transfer of Property Act. The fiduciary character of the personal obligation created by a contract for sale is recognised in Section 3 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963, and in Section 91 of the Trusts Act. The personal obligation created by a contract of sale is described in Section 40 of the Transfer of Property Act as an obligation arising out of contract and annexed to the ownership of property, but not amounting to an interest or easement therein." In India, the word `transfer' is defined with reference to the word `convey'. The word `conveys' in section 5 of Transfer of Property Act is used in the wider sense of conveying ownership... ...that only on execution of conveyance ownership passes from one party to another....

17. In Rambhau Namdeo Gajre v. Narayan Bapuji Dhotra [2004 (8) SCC 614] this Court held: Protection provided under Section 53A of the Act to the proposed transferee is a shield only against the transferor. It disentitles the transferor from disturbing the possession of the proposed transferee who is put in possession in pursuance to such an agreement. It has nothing to do with the ownership of the proposed transferor who remains full owner of the property till it is legally conveyed by executing a registered sale deed in favour of the transferee. Such a right to protect possession against the proposed vendor cannot be pressed in service against a third party. It is thus clear that a transfer of immoveable property by way of sale can only be by a deed of conveyance (sale deed). In the absence of a deed of conveyance (duly stamped and registered as required by law), no right, title or interest in an immoveable property can be transferred. 

18. Any contract of sale (agreement to sell) which is not a registered deed of conveyance (deed of sale) would fall short of the requirements of sections 54 and 55 of TP Act and will not confer any title nor transfer any interest in an immovable property (except to the limited right granted under section 53A of TP Act). According to TP Act, an agreement of sale, whether with possession or without possession, is not a conveyance. Section 54 of TP Act enacts that sale of immoveable property can be made only by a registered instrument and an agreement of sale does not create any interest or charge on its subject matter.

19. A power of attorney is not an instrument of transfer in regard to any right, title or interest in an immovable property. The power of attorney is A power of attorney is not an instrument of transfer in regard to any right, title or interest in an immovable property. The power of attorney is creation of an agency whereby the grantor authorizes the grantee to do the acts specified therein, on behalf of grantor, which when executed will be binding on the grantor as if done by him (see section 1A and section 2 of the Powers of Attorney Act, 1882). It is revocable or terminable at any time unless it is made irrevocable in a manner known to law. Even an irrevocable attorney does not have the effect of transferring title to the grantee. Creation of an agency whereby the grantor authorizes the grantee to do the acts specified therein, on behalf of grantor, which when executed will be binding on the grantor as if done by him (see section 1A and section 2 of the Powers of Attorney Act, 1882). It is revocable or terminable at any time unless it is made irrevocable in a manner known to law. Even an irrevocable attorney does not have the effect of transferring title to the grantee.

20. An attorney holder may however execute a deed of conveyance in exercise of the power granted under the power of attorney and convey title on behalf of the grantor.

21. A will is the testament of the testator. It is a posthumous disposition of the estate of the testator directing distribution of his estate upon his death. It is not a transfer inter vivos. The two essential characteristics of a will are that it is intended to come into effect only after the death of the testator and is revocable at any time during the life time of the testator. It is said that so long as the testator is alive, a will is not be worth the paper on which it is written, as the testator can at any time revoke it. If the testator, who is not married, marries after making the will, by operation of law, the will stands revoked. (see sections 69 and 70 of Indian Succession Act, 1925). Registration of a will does not make it any more effective.

KARNATAKA LAND LAWS

CASE LAW ON LAND LAWS