This legal conclusion is undisputed and binding on this Court- Delhi High Court
The Trial Court has highlighted that the lawsuit was filed in 2007 and that it is the oldest case still outstanding there. It is also important to note that disagreements regarding the Plaintiff’s rights in the subject properties, the validity of the consent decrees, and the statute of limitations have been resolved. Hitender Shokeen vs Rajan Kumar Shokeen & Ors. on 12 May, 2023, Delhi High Court.
Facts: By filing this revision petition, the petitioner challenges the learned Trial Court’s decision in Civ DJ 7729/2016, Rajan Kumar Shokeen v. Om Parkash Shokeen & Ors., dated August 17, 2022, which dismissed the petitioner’s application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC to have the plaint rejected. Respondent No. 1 is the Plaintiff, Petitioner is Defendant No. 3(C), and Respondents Nos. 2(a), 2(b), 3, 4, and 5 are all Defendants before the Trial Court. Parties are referred to in the following paragraphs by their position as parties to the litigation before the Trial Court. Plaintiff filed Special Leave Petitions with SLP Nos. 15955-15956/2007, which were rejected by order dated September 14, 2007, in defiance of the Division Bench’s decision. Under the terms of the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, the government purchased all of the agricultural land in Khasra No. 487/1 in 1963 and paid compensation, with the exception of 2 Bighas and 10 Biswas.
According to the petitioner, Om Parkash, Bal Kishan, and Rajinder Singh bought Property No. 1, Sector-4 Market, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi on June 19, 1968, in the name of Smt. Manmohini Shokeen (now deceased), Om Parkash’s wife and the mother of Rajan Shokeen, the plaintiff in the lawsuit. Property No.6, Sector-4 Market, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi, also known as “Property No.6,” was bought in the name of Smt. Kamla Rani, a stranger to the family, using money obtained from the sale of the land and personal cash. Om Parkash, Bal Kishan, and Rajinder Singh sued Smt. Kamla Rani for a declaration of title on November 6, 1971, claiming to be the true owners of Property No. 6 in Suit No. 925/1971. On Verification of Signature A consent decree was issued in the case on January 3, 1972, as Smt. Author: KAMAL KUMAR 22:51:02 Number of Neutral Citations: 2023:DHC:3281 Rani acknowledged that the parcel in question was bought by the Plaintiffs benami in her name and belonged to the Plaintiffs, both in her written testimony and in her statement under oath. Om Parkash, Bal Kishan, and Rajinder Singh brought action against Smt. Manmohini on March 2nd, 1972, claiming to be the rightful owners and asking for a declaration of ownership in their names.
The learned Trial Court dismissed the applications after hearing the respective arguments from the Plaintiff and the Defendants, ruling that: (a) only the plaint and the documents filed with the plaint can be taken into consideration when deciding an application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC; (b) the Order VII Rule 11 CPC power is to be used when the suit encounters a legal obstacle such as being barred by any statutory provision or having another legal defect in the plaint; The question of whether the lawsuit is time-barred by limitation was previously resolved in 2011; (d) the evidence has begun, and the plaintiff has undergone a protracted cross-examination by three Defendants. In denying the application on the grounds that the suit was in the evidentiary stage, the trial court violated established legal precedent and the plain language of Order VII Rule 11 CPC, which states that applications for the rejection of plaints may be brought at any point of the litigation. The Supreme Court ruled in Saleem Bhai v. State of Maharashtra, (2003) 1 SCC 557, that the Trial Court may use its authority under Order VII Rule 11 CPC at any time during the course of the lawsuit, even before the plaint is registered, after summonses have been issued, and at any point before the trial’s end. A Division Bench of this Court decided in Butna Devi v. Amit Talwar & Ors., 2014 SCC OnLine Del 3494, that once it appears to the Court.
The two consent decrees passed in 1972 are invalid because they were obtained by Defendants Nos. 1, 3, and 4 by deceiving the court. It is established law that no one can be permitted to benefit from a judgement that was acquired by deceiving the court and hiding crucial information. According to the Supreme Court’s rulings in A.V. Papaya Sastry and Others v. Govt. of A.P. and Others, (2007) 4 SCC 221 and Naresh Kher v. S. Jagjit Singh and Others, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 363, the question of whether the suit is time-barred does not arise because the decrees are void and non-est/void ab-initio.
Held: The Trial Court has highlighted that the lawsuit was filed in 2007 and that it is the oldest case still outstanding there. It is also important to note that disagreements regarding the Plaintiff’s rights in the subject properties, the validity of the consent decrees, and the statute of limitations have been resolved. The plaintiff’s argument that the court in this case modified the earlier status quo order on title and possession and lifted the stay on proceeding with partition on May 31, 2007, has merit. However, the caveat that the partition of the suit properties will be subject to the outcome of the suit means that the plaint cannot be rejected at this stage, shortening the trial.
As a result, it is incorrect for knowledgeable counsel for Signature Not Verified Defendant No. 3(C) to assert that just because a partition has been signed by KAMAL KUMAR, it is valid. 22:51:02 The plaint merits a rejection at this point because Neutral Citation Number: 2023:DHC:3281 has been implemented and distinct shares have been assigned to Defendants Nos. 1, 3, and 4, together with possession of the suit properties. It needs a mention that Defendants have themselves brought to fore that a suit has been filed by Defendant No.3(C) himself being CS(OS) No.1357/2013, re- numbered as CS(OS) No.13556/2016, wherein he has alleged that the decrees in CS(OS) No.2719/2000 and CS(OS) No.965/2001 pertaining to partition of the suit properties between Om Parkash, Bal Kishan and Rajinder have been obtained by fraud, misrepresentation and concealment of facts. The Trial Court has highlighted that the lawsuit was filed in 2007 and that it is the oldest case still outstanding there. It is also important to note that disagreements regarding the Plaintiff’s rights in the subject properties, the validity of the consent decrees, and the statute of limitations have been resolved. In my opinion, the judgements on which the Petitioner has relied do not support him either.
The Supreme Court ruled in Saleem Bhai (supra) that the Trial Court can exercise its authority under Order VII Rule 11 CPC at any point in the litigation. This legal conclusion is undisputed and binding on this Court. For all of the aforementioned reasons, there is no need to interfere with the impugned order, which was issued by the Trial Court on August 17, 2022 and rejected Defendant No. 3(C)’s request under Order VII Rule 11 CPC. In light of this, the Revision Petition is denied, upholding the contested ruling. It is made clear that the observations in the current judgement are only for the purpose of deciding the current Revision Petition and will not have any influence on the adjudication of the suit and/or any other related processes. This Court has not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case. Both the revision petition and the open applications are dismissed.
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Judgment Reviewed by Kushala Simha