The Supreme Court of India on December 3rd of 2009 passed a judgement in the case of Dalip Singh Versus State of U.P. and others (Civil Appeal No. 5239 Of 2002) that deterred the misrepresentation of facts and suppression of material facts by litigants. This case was presided over by a bench comprising of The Honourable Mr. Justice G.S. Singhvi and The Honourable Mr. Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
In this appeal, the appellants had challenged an order dated 21.5.2001 passed by the Allahabad High Court which elaborates on how unscrupulous, dishonest litigants can mislead the authorities entrusted with the task of implementing the provisions of the U.P. Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1960(further referred to as the act) and the courts, for retaining possession of their surplus land. In this case, the tenure-holder, Praveen Singh did not file a statement in terms of Section 9(2-A) of the Act in respect of his holding as on the date 24.1.1971. After four years, the Prescribed Authority issued a notice dated 29.11.1975 under Section 10(2) of the Act and called upon Praveen Singh to show cause within a period of 15 days as to why the statement prepared under Section 10(1) of the Act may not be taken as correct and his land may not be declared surplus accordingly. The authority also said on the failure to dispute the correctness of the statements in any court, within the time allowed, the aforesaid statement shall be treated as final and ceiling area applicable to Praveen Singh and the surplus land shall be determined accordingly.
Praveen Singh neither filed any objection to the proposed determination of his surplus land nor sought extension of time for the said same purpose. After the service of notice, the Prescribed Authority also adjourned the case, twice with the hope that the tenure-holder may file an objection to the statement prepared under Section 10(1) but Praveen Singh had not filed any objection in the stipulated time. The Prescribed authority, finally on 27.12.1975 declared that 18.22 acres of irrigated land was surplus in the hands of the tenure-holder.
After about six months, Praveen Singh submitted an application along with an affidavit before the Prescribed Authority and requested that the ex parte order passed on 27.12.1975 may be set aside and he may be given an opportunity to file objections and tender evidence but the Prescribed Authority rejected his application by observing that no valid ground had been made out for reconsidering the matter after six months. The appeal against the order of the Prescribed Authority was also dismissed by the Additional Commissioner of Allahabad (Appellate Authority) by default because no one had appeared on the date of the hearing. Praveen Singh then challenged the orders of the Prescribed Authority and Appellate Authority in a Writ Petition, which was allowed by the High Court and the matter was remitted to the Appellate Authority with an order to decide the application of the petitioner in accordance with the law.
The Appellate Authority heard the appeal of Praveen Singh but dismissed the same on the ground that the tenure-holder had not filed an application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act for condonation of the delay and even in the application filed for setting aside the ex parte order did not show any cause for the delay. The Appellate Authority also observed that the tenure-holder had not filed any objection till the passing of ex parte order on 27.12.1975 and that his claims of finding out about the ex parte order came from, a third person Lekhpal Halqa is not believable. After the remand of the matter by the High Court, Praveen Singh died and his legal representatives were substituted in his place.
The legal representatives of Praveen Singh jointly filed a Civil Miscellaneous Writ Petition and prayed for quashing of the orders passed on 27.12.1975, 8.7.1976, 7.8.1990 by the Prescribed Authority and the Appellate Authority respectively. They also requested for issue of a direction to the Appellate Authority to remand the case to the Prescribed Authority for entertaining their objections. The learned Single Judge of the Allahabad High Court stayed the operation of the orders passed by the Prescribed Authority and the Appellate Authority and the interim order remained operative till 21.5.2001 and after that the writ petition was finally dismissed.
The appellants then filed a special leave petition against the order of the High Court, but the appellants prayer for stay was declined. After that, the surplus land of the tenure-holder was distributed among the landless persons who were joined as parties pursuant to an order dated 27.3.2006.
During the case, the appellants pleaded that the reason they could not file the objections were because of Mr. Praveen Singh’s continuous illness for ten months and also claimed that they weren’t informed and found out through a third party.
The Supreme Court in their Judgement said that no evidence was produced in support of the assertion regarding serious illness of Praveen Singh and the court came to the conclusion that Sunil Kumar Singh made a false statement that his grandfather did not receive the notice dated 29.11.1975 along with the statement of surplus land prepared under Section 10(1).
The court said “it is clear that in this case efforts to mislead the authorities and the courts have transmitted through three generations and the conduct of the appellant and his son to mislead the High Court and this Court cannot but be treated as reprehensible. They belong to the category of persons who not only attempt but succeed in polluting the course of justice. Therefore, we do not find any justification to interfere with the order under challenge or entertain the appellant’s prayer for setting aside the orders passed by the Prescribed Authority and the Appellate Authority.”
Hence the appeal was dismissed.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY TANAV ZACHARIAH.