The purpose to provide limitation for taking recourse to a legal remedy is not to destroy the rights of parties but to ensure that parties do not resort to dilatory tactics: High Court of J&K and Ladakh

The interest of state requires that there should be an end to litigation. The public policy therefore requires application of law of limitation. The object of the law of limitation is to prevent disturbance of what has been acquired in equity and justice by long enjoyment and not to restore what may have been lost by party’s own inaction. This was held by the High Court of J&K through a learned bench of The Chief Justice and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul in the case of Ghulam Qadir Bhat & Ors Vs Financial Commissioner (Revenue) & Ors [LPAOW No. 33/2017].

The controversy raised in this appeal was regarding the two mutations entries No. 156 dated 28 Fag 1996 Bikrami Samvat (corresponding to the year 1939-40 AD) and to the mutation entry 470 dated 10.08.1999 which was alleged to be of the 10th day of the 8th month of 1999 Bikrami Samvat whereas the other side contends that it is of the year 1999 AD of the Georgian Calendar.

In the instant appeal the dispute only remained with regard to the mutation entry No. 470. The sole controversy involved is whether the said entry could have been challenged by way of a revision after more than 70 years if the date of attestation of mutation is taken to be 10.08.1999 Bikrami or it is within reasonable time from the attestation of the mutation if the date is taken to be 10.08.1999 AD.

The sole argument of Mr. M. A. Qayoom, learned counsel for the petitioner, is that the aforesaid mutation No. 470 was attested on 10th day of 8 th month of 1999 Bikrami Samvat and not on 10.08.1999 AD and as such the revision against it filed on 01.07.2005 before the Settlement Commissioner under Section 15 of the J&K Land Revenue Act was highly belated and the said mutation could not have been disturbed by filing revision after such a long distance of time.

Mr. Azhar-ul-Amin, learned counsel for the respondent, contends that the aforesaid mutation was attested on 10.08.1999 AD and since there is no limitation provided for the revision, it was rightly entertained after 5-6 years of the said entry. The mutation was rightly modified in accordance with the Muslim Personal Law which was applicable to the parties.

The Hon’ble High Court after hearing both the parties, relied on Judgments in the cases of Joint Collector Ranga Reddy Dist. & Anr. vs. D. Narsing Rao & Ors (2015) 3 SCC 695, Zaina vs. Financial Commissioner & Ors. 1983 SLJ 1, n State of Gujarat vs. Patel Raghav Natha & Ors. AIR 1969 SC 1297, to conclude that the revisional powers cannot be exercised arbitrarily after an inordinate delay of the passing of the order sought to be revised and stated that “The law of limitation is based upon the public law doctrine that there should be an end to a litigation and that there ought to be finality attained to a decision with the passage of time. The purpose to provide limitation for taking recourse to a legal remedy is not to destroy the rights of parties but to ensure that parties do not resort to dilatory tactics and seek their remedy within the prescribed time or a reasonable time so that the matter may not remain alive forever.”

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Judgment Reviewed by – Aryan Bajaj

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