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Bona-fide arrangements made to resolve family disputes are enforceable: Odisha High Court

The undisputed position of law states that, all the arrangements brought to resolve the family disputes, by its members are governed by a special equity, specific only to such family members. But, the Hon’ble bench of the Odisha HC, chaired by Justice D.Dash, in the matter of Natabar Padhan and others v. Lalita Padhan and another [S.A. No.243 of 1989] hold that only the bona-fide family arrangements, with fair & equitable distribution, are legally enforceable.

The present case was originally filed by the plaintiff to recover the title, interest and possession of the suit land which was earlier a joint family property but was later upon a family arrangement given to Ghanashyam (plaintiff no.1).

The case was originally brought before the trial court, which dismissed the case, thereby giving the decision in favor of the defendants. The matter was then brought before lower appellate court; here the sub-ordinate judge altered the judgment of the trial court and gave the decision in favor of the appellant. The aggrieved party of the case then went before the Odisha HC u/s 100 of C.P.C., where it challenged the legality of the judgment passed by the lower appellate court.

Two main question of law that were framed by court for discussion, are produced hereinbelow:

“(a)If the lower appellate court committed serious illegality in holding that the suit house was allotted to the share of Ghanashyam Padhan in view of the admission of Ext.2 into evidence without objection in spite of the evidence of P.Ws2, 3 and 4 to the effect that they are unable to say as to when item no.18 was included in Ext.2? and (b)If Ext.2 is admissible as a document of partition without being registered?”.

 After examining all the documents and evidences forwarded in the trial court and the lower appellate court, the court observed that, “… the view taken by the lower appellate court that Ext.2 is acceptable to judge character as to ownership of the properties as stated under item no.18 therein from that time onwards is right more particularly when the evidence as to possession of the parties after Ext.2 is not so clarified in detail by the defendants so as to negate plaintiffs claim.” The court further stated that the family arrangement, which was made bona fide during the time of partition, is to be held justified, and hence enforceable.

The court even after hearing all the forwarded arguments of councils, remained unsuccessful in answering the above stated question of laws, considering which the lower appellate court gave its decision and hence the Hon’ble HC here decided to restore the original decision of the trial court, helding that, “Resultantly, the appeal stands dismissed and in the facts and circumstances, without cost.”

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