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Order XXI Rule 101 CPC- The question relating to right, title or interest in a Property Suit is required to be adjudicated upon by the Court dealing with such an Application: Supreme Court of India

As per Order XXI Rule 101 CPC, all questions including questions relating to right, title or interest in the property arising between the parties to a proceeding on an application under Order XXI rule 97 or rule 99 CPC and relevant to the adjudication of the application shall have to be determined by the Court dealing with the application. For that a separate suit is not required to be filed. This was observed by Hon’ble, Mukeshkumar Rasikbhai Shah, J in the matter of Bangalore Development Authority vs. N. Nanjappa and another [Criminal Appeal No. 6996-6997 of 2021].

In the present case, a land (disputed land in question) was acquired by BDA under Section 17 of the Bangalore Development Authority Act, 1976. It appears that after a period of approximately 17 years and after vesting of the acquired land in question in favour of BDA, respondent no.1 entered into an agreement of lease with respondent no.2 herein in respect of part of the land in question. That respondent no.1 thereafter filed a civil suit against respondent no.2 before the City Civil Court, Bangalore for ejectment, which was dismissed by the Trial Court. Having come to know of this decree, the appellant-BDA filed a suit before the City Civil Court, Bangalore, seeking a declaration that the lease agreement between the respondents herein is null and void and prayed for permanent injunction to restrain respondent no.1 from executing the decree. BDA filed two applications in the execution proceedings but these came to be rejected by the Executing Court mainly on the ground that there was no material on record to show that pursuant to the acquisition, the BDA had taken possession of the said land and therefore the BDA cannot obstruct or object to the execution of the decree passed by the competent Court. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied, the obstructor-BDA filed two writ petitions before the High Court were dismissed. Hence, the present appeals were filed in the Supreme Court.

The learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant submitted that while rejecting the applications filed by BDA, both, the High Court as well as the learned Executing Court have misread and misinterpreted Order XXI Rule 97 r/w Rule 101 CPC. It was submitted that for raising the obstruction/objection to the decree which is sought to be executed, the obstructor need not be in possession and it is enough that the obstructor claims title with respect to the said property. It was submitted that in the present case the property/land in question has already been acquired by BDA and even the award was also declared and the possession of the land in question was already taken over and thereafter illegally respondent no.1 entered into agreement of lease with respondent no.2. It was further submitted that while raising an obstruction/objection to the execution of the decree, the obstructor need not prove his/its possession but when it claims right, title or interest in the suit property, the same is required to be determined, decided and/or adjudicated upon by the Executing Court in such an application.

The learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent tried to support the orders passed by the High Court as well as the Executing Court submitted that though the land in question might have been acquired, unless and until the possession by the obstructionist is established and proved, an application under Order XXI Rule 97 CPC is liable to be dismissed.

Supreme court after perusing the facts and arguments presented, held that – “At the outset, it is required to be noted that the BDA is claiming right, title or interest in the land in question being acquired. It is required to be noted that the lease agreement between the decree holder and the judgment debtor is subsequent to the acquisition of the suit land and therefore, such a transaction is null and void once the suit land for which the lease agreement was executed was acquired. Considering Order XXI Rule 101 CPC, the question relating to right, title or interest of the BDA in the suit property was required to be adjudicated upon by the Executing Court. In view of the above, the order passed by the Executing Court dismissing the applications filed by the BDA for impleadment in the execution proceedings and/or dismissing the obstruction application, and the impugned order passed by the High Court, are unsustainable and the same deserve to be quashed and set aside. The Executing Court is directed to implead the appellant in the execution petition and thereafter adjudicate upon the obstruction/objection raised by BDA including the question relating to right, title or interest claimed by BDA in the suit land on the basis of the acquisition of the suit property/land acquired under the provisions of the 1976 Act, in exercise of powers under Order XXI rule 97 r/w Rule 101 11 CPC.”

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Judgement Reviewed by- Mehvish Alam

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