Sughar Singh vs Hari Singh (Dead) Through Lrs. on 26 October, 2021


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Supreme Court of India

Sughar Singh vs Hari Singh (Dead) Through Lrs. on 26 October, 2021

Author: M.R. Shah

Bench: M.R. Shah, A.S. Bopanna

                                                       // 1 //

                                                                              REPORTABLE

                                         IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                          CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                          CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5110 OF 2021


                         Sughar Singh                                       …Appellant(s)


                                                       Versus


                         Hari Singh (Dead) Through LRs. & Ors.              …Respondent(s)



                                                  JUDGMENT

M.R. SHAH, J.

1. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned
judgment and order dated 09.09.2010 passed by the High
Court of Judicature at Allahabad in Second Appeal No.836 of
2010 by which the High Court has allowed the said Second
Appeal under Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure,
1908 (for short “CPC”) and has quashed and set aside the
judgment and decree for specific performance of the
Agreement confirmed by the First Appellate Court, the original
plaintiff has preferred the present Appeal.
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by R
Natarajan
Date: 2021.10.26
16:59:51 IST

2. The facts leading to the present appeal in nut-shell are as
Reason:

under:

// 2 //

2.1 That, one Ram Singh executed the agreement to sell in favour
of original plaintiff – Sughar Singh to sell the suit land for a
total sale consideration of Rs.56,000/-. Rs.25,000/- was
received by the executant as a part sale consideration at the
time of the agreement. The said agreement to sell was
executed on 10.10.1976. At this stage it is required to be noted
that at the relevant point of time agreement to sell was not
required to be registered. As per the sale agreement the sale
deed was to be executed within a period of 2 years. The time
period of 2 years was extended at the instance of the vendor
by the documents dated 30.09.1978 and 29.09.1981. That,
thereafter a further sum of Rs.15,000/- was paid. The vendor
agreed to receive the balance of Rs.16,000/- at the time of
execution of the sale deed vide Annexure P3. Despite
receiving Rs.40,000/- towards part sale consideration and
despite execution of the agreement to sell, the original vendor
executed the sale deed of the suit land on 23.06.1984 in
favour of defendant Nos.2 to 5. That, thereafter, Sughar Singh
– vendee filed the Civil Suit No.254 of 1984 in the Court of
learned Civil Judge, Mathura City, Mathura (for short “learned
Trial Court”) against the vendor Ram Singh and Others. The
persons in whose favour subsequently the sale deed was
executed on 23.06.1984 were impleaded as defendant Nos.2
to 5 also. In the plaint it was also the specific case on behalf of
the plaintiff that the defendant Nos.2 to 5 are the real nephews
of defendant No.1 and defendant Nos.2 to 5 and their father
had managed to get defendant No.1 in their control and that
defendant Nos.2 to 5 and their father have got one farzi
// 3 //

document in the shape of sale deed without consideration
executed by defendant No.1 on 23.06.1984 and in their favour
though they had full knowledge about the agreement to sell
executed in favour of the plaintiff.

2.2 That, the suit was contested by the defendant No.1 by filing a
written statement denying the very execution of the agreement
to sell dated 10.10.1976 as well as two documents of alleged
extension of time dated 30.09.1978 and 29.09.1981. He also
denied having received a sum of Rs.25,000/- at the time of
agreement and thereafter Rs.8000/- and Rs.7000/-
respectively at the time of alleged two extensions as part of
the sale consideration.

2.3 That, defendant Nos.2 to 5 by a separate written statement
contended that they are the bonafide purchasers in good faith
of the aforesaid land for a value vide registered sale deed
dated 23.06.1984 and that they had no knowledge about the
Agreement dated 10.10.1976.

2.4 The learned Trial Court framed the following issues.

“(1) Whether the defendant No.1 had executed the
agreement to sell (paper No.7-a) dated 10.10.1976 of the
land in dispute for a sum of Rs.56,000/- after receiving
advance of Rs.25,000/- ?

(2) Whether under the aforesaid agreement to sell the
defendant No.1 has been paid a further amount of Rs.8000/-
on 30.09.1978 (Paper No.8-a/1) and Rs.7000/- on
// 4 //

29.09.1981 (Paper No.8-a/2)?

(3) Whether the plaintiff has always been ready and willing
and is still ready and willing to get the sale deed executed in
accordance with the terms of the agreement of the sale. If
yes, its effect?

(4) Whether the defendant Nos.2 to 5 are the bona fide
purchasers in good faith of the land in dispute for a valuable
consideration without notice of the aforesaid agreement?

(5) What relief the plaintiff is entitled to?”

2.5 On the side of the plaintiff, 6 witnesses came to be examined.

Plaintiff also led the documentary evidences.

On the side of the defendants, 3 witnesses came to be
examined and the documentary evidences were also brought
on record.

2.6 On appreciation of evidence, the learned Trial Court held the
issue Nos.1 and 2 in favour of the plaintiff and against the
defendants. The learned Trial Court concluded that the
defendant No.1 had executed an agreement to sell dated
10.10.1976 in favour of the plaintiff for the sale of his property
at Rs.56,000/- and Rs.25,000/- as advance payment whose
validity was extended as per the documents dated 30.09.1978
after receiving Rs.8000/- and on 29.09.1981 after receiving
Rs.7000/-.

// 5 //

2.7 On appreciation of evidence, the learned Trial Court also held
the issue No.4 in favour of the plaintiff and against the
defendants. On appreciation of evidence the learned Trial
Court specifically held that the defendant Nos.2 to 5 were
aware of the execution of agreement to sell in favour of the
plaintiff at the time of execution of sale deed in their favour.
The learned Trial Court also doubted the payment of sale
consideration paid to the defendant No.1.

2.8 On appreciation of evidence the learned Trial Court held issue
No.3 in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants by
observing that the plaintiff was always ready and willing to get
the sale deed executed as per the terms and conditions of the
agreement and that the plaintiff also proved that the plaintiff
has acted as per the conditions of the agreement.

Consequently and after holding all the issues in favour of the
plaintiff and against the defendants, the learned Trial Court
decreed the suit vide judgment and decree dated 07.02.1987
and directed the defendant No.1 to execute the sale deed after
obtaining income tax certificate from the Income Tax
Department within two months and on receipt of Rs.16,000/-
(balance sale consideration). The learned Trial Court also
passed an order directing the defendant Nos.2 to 5 also to be
a party to the sale deed along with defendant No.1.

2.9 That, as the defendants neither preferred appeal nor acted as
per the judgment and decree passed by the learned Trial
Court, the plaintiff filed Execution Case No.11 of 1987 to
// 6 //

execute the judgment and decree dated 07.02.1987, on
29.08.1987. As directed by the learned Executing Court, the
plaintiff deposited the balance amount of Rs.16,000/- on
20.09.1987. The original defendant No.1 – Ram Singh died
intestate on 20.09.1989. That, after a period of almost 9 years
from the date of passing of the judgment and decree by the
learned Trial Court, the original defendant Nos.2 to 5 preferred
appeal before the learned First Appellate Court. By judgment
and order dated 24.08.1998, the learned First Appellate Court
dismissed the said appeal and confirmed the judgment and
decree passed by the learned Trial Court.

2.10 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment and order
passed by the learned First Appellate Court dismissing the
appeal and confirming the judgment and decree passed by the
learned Trial Court, the original defendant Nos.2 to 5 preferred
Second Appeal No.1388/1998 before the High Court.

The High Court raised two points for determination viz. (1)
non-compliance of the provisions of Section 16(c) of the
Specific Relief Act, 1963 (for short “the Act”) to the effect that
the plaintiff has failed to aver and prove that he was always
ready and willing to perform his part of the contract; and (2)
with regard to the effect of non-registration of the two
extensions of time for executing the sale deed pursuant to the
unregistered agreement to sell dated 10.10.1976 in view of the
U.P. Act No. 57 of 1976 and to decide the same in accordance
with law.

By judgment and order dated 26.10.2007, the High Court
// 7 //

set aside the judgment and order passed by the First Appellate
Court and remanded the matter to the First Appellate Court for
decision afresh on issue no.3 with regard to readiness and
willingness of the plaintiff to get the sale deed executed and
for framing an additional issue with regard to the effect of non-
registration of the two documents granting extension of time to
execute the sale deed in view of the amendment made in
Section 54 of the Transfer of Property Act vide U.P. Act No. 57
of 1976 and to decide the same in accordance with law. Vide
clarificatory order dated 12.11.2008, the High Court
specifically observed and clarified that the matter has been
remanded to the First Appellate Court for decision afresh on
issue No.3 and on the aforesaid additional issue only and
without disturbing or setting aside any other findings of the
First Appellate Court.

2.11 That, thereafter, on remand the learned First Appellate Court
reconsidered issue No.3 as directed by the High Court and
held in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants and
the First Appellate Court specifically observed and held that
there were necessary averments in the plaint as required
under Section 16(c) of the Act. On the additional issue learned
First Appellate Court held that considering the relevant
provisions the registration was not must. Consequently, the
learned First Appellate Court held the issue Nos.3 and 6 in
favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants and
consequently dismissed the appeal and again confirmed the
judgment and decree passed by the learned Trial Court.
// 8 //

2.12 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment and order
passed by the learned First Appellate Court and the judgment
and decree for specific performance passed by the learned
Trial Court confirmed by the learned First Appellate Court, the
original defendant Nos.2 to 5 preferred Second Appeal before
the High Court and by impugned judgment and order the High
Court has allowed the said appeal and has quashed and set
aside the concurrent findings recorded by both the Courts
below and has reversed the judgment and decree of specific
performance solely on the ground that there are no specific
averments in the plaint as required under Section 16(c) of the
Act and that there are no specific averments in the plaint both
with regard to readiness and willingness.

2.13 Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned
judgment and order passed by the High Court, the original
plaintiff has preferred the present Appeal.

3. Shri Col. Balasubramaniam, learned Senior Advocate
appearing on behalf of the appellant – original plaintiff has
vehemently submitted that in the facts and circumstances of
the case the High Court has committed grave error in allowing
the Second Appeal under Section 100 of the CPC and has
erred in setting aside the concurrent findings recorded by both
the Courts below insofar as the issue with respect to the
readiness and willingness and non-compliance of section 16(c)
of the Act is concerned.

3.1 It is vehemently submitted by the learned Senior Advocate
// 9 //

appearing on behalf of the original plaintiff that even the
reasoning and conclusion recorded by the High Court that the
suit has to fail for non-compliance of pleadings as per section
16(c)
of the Act is contrary to the record and law laid down by
this Court. It is submitted that as per the settled proposition of
law laid down by this Court, for determining the readiness and
willingness, the suit has to be read as a whole, the pith and
substance being that ‘readiness and willingness’ has to be in
spirit and not in the letter and form.

3.2 It is further submitted that in the present case the plaintiff
specifically pleaded in paragraphs 1 to 4 of the plaint and in
paragraph 11 that he was always ready and willing to get the
sale deed executed and registered and perform his part of
agreement, but the defendant No.1 refused and hence, he had
to file the suit. It is submitted that therefore finding recorded by
the High Court is contrary to the record and hence, perverse.

3.3 It is further submitted by learned Senior Advocate appearing
for the appellant that High Court has not properly appreciated
the fact that in fact out of total sale consideration of
Rs.56,000/-, Rs.40,000/- was already paid and only a balance
of Rs.16,000/- was left to be paid, which as such was to be
paid at the time of execution of the sale deed, even as
admitted by the vendor in the document at Annexure P3. It is
submitted that therefore it cannot be said that the plaintiff was
not ready and willing to perform his part of the contract.

3.4 It is further submitted that even assuming for the sake of
// 10 //

arguments that the pleadings are not as per prescribed form,
the same does not render the suit not maintainable in view of
the law laid down by this Court in the case of Syed Dastagir
Vs. T.R. Gopalakrishna Setty reported in (1999) 6 SCC 337.

3.5 It is further submitted that as such the question of readiness
was very much pleaded and demonstrated by the necessary
averments in the plaint. It is submitted that the finding by the
High Court that the plaintiff has only stated about his readiness
and not expressed his willingness to perform his obligation is
fatal and it overlooks the contents of document P3 wherein it
was agreed by the vendor to receive balance of Rs.16,000/- at
the time of executing sale deed and in the plaint itself there
were specific averments that the plaintiff had gone to Sub-
Registrar office and asked the vendor to execute the deed but
he refused.

3.6 It is further submitted that the High Court has even erred in
non-suiting the plaintiff on applicability of proviso to Section 20
of the Act. It is submitted that the High Court has erred in
observing that it is not mandatory but discretionary to grant
specific relief. It is submitted that the reasoning given by the
High Court that even if the agreement to sell is proved and
even if the part or major portion of the sale consideration is
paid and even if the readiness and willingness is also proved,
grant of decree for specific performance is discretionary is
unsustainable. It is submitted that if such an interpretation is
accepted, in that case, in no case, the decree for specific
performance would be passed. It is submitted that even the
// 11 //

discretion not to grant relief cannot be exercised dehors the
conduct of the parties. It is submitted that every discretion has
to be exercised soundly and reasonably.

3.7 It is further submitted that even otherwise looking to the
conduct on the part of the defendants more particularly
defendant Nos.2 to 5 to get the sale deed executed in their
favour despite having knowledge of the agreement to sell
executed by the defendant No.1 in favour of the plaintiff and
even the payment of sale consideration by the defendant
Nos.2 to 5 is doubtful and is not proved, section 20 of the Act
shall not come in the way of the plaintiff in getting the relief of
decree for specific performance.

It is submitted that as such in the facts and
circumstances of the case, section 20 of the Act shall not be
applicable and/or attracted at all.

3.8 It is further submitted that as such there were concurrent
findings of fact recorded by both the Courts below on
readiness and willingness which were on appreciation of
evidence. The High Court ought not to have set aside the
concurrent findings, in exercise of powers under Section 100
of the CPC.

3.9 It is further submitted that even no issue was framed either by
the learned Trial Court or by the First Appellate Court on
applicability of Section 20 of the Act and the High Court has
dealt with and considered the same for the first time in a
Second Appeal under Section 100 of the CPC, which is wholly
// 12 //

impermissible and which is beyond the scope and ambit of
exercise of powers under Section 100 of the CPC.

Making above submissions and relying upon the above
decisions, it is prayed to allow the present appeal.

4. Present appeal is vehemently opposed by Shri Pramod
Swarup, learned Senior Advocate appearing on behalf of the
defendant Nos.2 to 5.

4.1 It is submitted that the High Court has rightly dismissed the
suit and refused to grant the relief for specific performance in
favour of the plaintiff on the ground that there were no
sufficient required averments in the plaint as per Section 16(c)
of the Act.

4.2 It is submitted that the High Court has rightly drawn the
distinction between readiness and willingness. It is submitted
that cogent reasons have been given by the High Court on
readiness and willingness. It is submitted that non-compliance
of section 16(c) of the Act is fatal to the case of the plaintiff and
therefore, the plaintiff is not entitled to the discretionary relief
of decree for specific performance.

4.3 It is further submitted that even otherwise the High Court is
absolutely justified in observing that in view of section 20 of
the Act, the decree for specific performance is discretionary. It
is submitted that therefore as such the High Court has rightly
ordered the transferees to refund the amount of Rs.40,000/- to
// 13 //

the plaintiff with interest at the rate of 8% per annum with
effect from 23.06.1984 till the payment which they had
deposited. It is submitted that as such the respondents –
defendant Nos.2 to 5 had deposited a sum of Rs.1,24,135/- on
11.10.2010 in the bank, however the plaintiff refused to take
the money which was calculated as per the directions of the
High Court.

4.4 It is further submitted by Shri Swarup, learned Senior
Advocate appearing on behalf of the defendant Nos.2 to 5 that
the agreement to sell was executed as far as back on
10.10.1976 and by now more than 45 years have passed and
the defendant Nos.2 to 5 are in possession since many years,
therefore, if the judgment and decree passed by the learned
Trial Court is restored, defendant Nos.2 to 5 have to vacate
the suit land and it will cause undue hardships to the
defendant Nos.2 to 5 and therefore, considering Section 20 of
the Act, it is prayed not to interfere with the impugned
judgment and order passed by the High Court by which the
High Court has granted equitable relief.

Making above submissions, it is prayed to dismiss the
present appeal.

5. Heard learned counsel appearing for the respective parties at
length.

5.1 At the outset it is required to be noted that the appellant herein
– original plaintiff instituted the suit for specific performance of
the agreement to sell dated 10.10.1976. The learned Trial
// 14 //

Court as well as the learned First Appellate Court decreed the
suit in favour of the plaintiff. Both, the learned Trial Court as
well as the learned First Appellate Court held all the issues in
favour of the plaintiff including the issue that the plaintiff was
always ready and willing to perform his part of contract.
However, the High Court in exercise of powers under Section
100 of the CPC has reversed the concurrent findings recorded
by both the Courts below on readiness and willingness, mainly
/ solely on the ground that there are no specific averments in
the plaint which are required as per section 16(c) of the Act.
The High Court has also allowed the appeal and consequently
dismissed the suit for specific performance on the ground that
the relief of specific performance is the discretionary relief
under Section 20 of the Act and that even though the
execution of the agreement to sell is proved and even the
plaintiff was found to be always ready and willing to perform
his part of the obligation under the agreement to sell, the
decree of specific performance is not automatic and such
grant of decree is dependent upon the principles of justice,
equity and good conscience.

6. Now, so far as the observations made by the High Court on
non-compliance of the provision of Section 16(c) of the Act is
concerned, having gone through the necessary averments in
the plaint it cannot be said that the averments / pleadings lack
the requirement of Section 16(c) of the Act. The necessary
averments and pleadings on readiness and willingness read
as under:

// 15 //

“2. That when two years were about to complete,
the defendant requested the plaintiff to extend the
date till 31.10.1981 and also took Rs.8000/- out of
the balance money. Defendant No.1 is the father-in-
law of the plaintiff and for that reason, the plaintiff
was ready to give all kinds of accommodations to
him. Plaintiff gave further Rs.8000/- to the
defendant No.1 on 30.09.1978 and the time period
for the execution between the plaintiff and the
defendant No.1 was extended to 31.10.1981. The
defendant No.1 got this agreed date written legally
and appended his thumb impression on it and gave
it to the plaintiff.

3. That even by 31.10.1981, the defendant no.1
could not get his land cleared of the loan from the
bank because his brother Ranjeet Singh was also
involved in that loan and he did not want to give his
share of money completely and for this reason, the
defendant No.1 requested to further increase the
time period for the execution so that the bank loan
could be cleared and the land gets free from all
liabilities and the same could be executed and
registered in the name of the plaintiff. For the
reason of the relation and also that there was too
much of love and affection between the defendant
No.1 and the wife of the plaintiff who is the daughter
of the defendant No.1, the plaintiff agreed to
accommodate the defendant No.1 in all manner and
for this reason, plaintiff accepted the prayer of the
defendant No.1 and extended the date for execution
and registration till 31.10.1984 and also gave
Rs.7000/- out of the balance amount of money to
the defendant No.1. In this manner, out of the total
amount of Rs.56,000/- agreed for the land,
Rs.40,000/- had already reached the defendant
No.1 and only Rs.16,000/- was balance to be paid
by the plaintiff. The defendant No.1 also gave this in
writing on 29.09.1981 to the plaintiff.

4. That the plaintiff has always been and even
today, ready and willing to get the sale deed
// 16 //

executed and registered and perform his part of the
agreement in terms of its terms and conditions and
the same is in complete knowledge of the defendant
No.1.

8. That the plaintiff even got the notice served
through registered post by Sh. Mahesh Chandra
Chaturvedi, Advocate in respect of the
abovementioned agreement and gave him the
warning that he would not get the execution and
registration done in the name of any other person
than the plaintiff. In hurry, there were some
mistakes that occurred in the notice.

11. That it was told to the defendant No.1 to come
to the Sub-Registrar’s office at Chatta and in
respect of the abovementioned agreement, execute
and register the disputed land in the name of the
plaintiff and also give the possession of the same
and also told to the defendants No.2 – 5 that
because they got the false sale deed registered in
their favour, they should also get involved with the
defendant No.1 in the execution and registration in
the favour of the plaintiff. But the defendant No.1
said that because the defendants No.2 – 5 and their
father are denying him and that he cannot go
against their wished, he cannot do the execution
and registration and the defendants No.2 – 5 also
denied to do or get involved with defendant No.1 to
do the execution and registration and for this
reason, the plaintiff is forced to institute the present
suit.”

6.1 Even in the deposition it was the specific case on behalf
of the plaintiff that he paid initially Rs.25,000/- as part sale
consideration and the sale deed was to be executed within a
period of two years. That, thereafter, the period was extended
on the prayer of Ram Singh who as such was the father-in-law
of the plaintiff. The time period was extended till 31.10.1984
// 17 //

and then the plaintiff paid a further sum of Rs.7000/- to Ram
Singh for which also the document was executed. Thus, from
time to time, a total sum of Rs.40,000/- was paid out of the
total sale consideration of Rs.56,000/-. As per the last
document executed which has been held to be proved even by
all the Courts below, the balance amount of Rs.16,000/- was to
be paid at the time of execution of sale deed. It is specifically
stated in the deposition that he was ready and willing to
perform his part of the obligation in terms of agreement to sell
and this fact was known to Ram Singh. Considering the
aforesaid facts and circumstances, the High Court has
committed a grave error in holding the issue with respect to
readiness and willingness against the plaintiff solely on the
ground that there are no specific averments / pleadings in the
plaint as required under Section 16(c) of the Act. Considering
the fact that initially payment of Rs.25,000/- was made at the
time of execution of the agreement to sell and further sum of
Rs.15,000/- in two installments were paid at the time when the
subsequent two documents were executed for extension of
time and even the time was extended at the instance of
defendant No.1 and the balance amount of Rs.16,000/- was to
be paid at the time of execution of the sale deed, it can safely
be said that the plaintiff was always ready and willing to
perform his part of the contract under the agreement to sell.

At this stage, the decision of this Court in the case of Syed

Dastagir (supra) on pleadings as required under Section 16(c)

of the Specific Relief Act on readiness and willingness to
// 18 //

perform essential terms of the contract is required to be

referred to. In the case before this Court, the short question

raised was, how to construe a plea of “readiness and

willingness to perform” to subserve to the requirement of

Section 16(c) of the Specific Relief Act and the interpretation of

its explanation. In paragraph 9, it is observed and held as

under:

“9. So the whole gamut of the issue raised is, how
to construe a plea specially with reference to
Section 16(c) and what are the obligations which
the plaintiff has to comply with in reference to his
plea and whether the plea of the plaintiff could not
be construed to conform to the requirement of the
aforesaid section, or does this section require
specific words to be pleaded that he has performed
or has always been ready and is willing to perform
his part of the contract. In construing a plea in any
pleading, courts must keep in mind that a plea is
not an expression of art and science but an
expression through words to place fact and law of
one’s case for a relief. Such an expression may be
pointed, precise, sometimes vague but still it could
be gathered what he wants to convey through only
by reading the whole pleading, depending on the
person drafting a plea. In India most of the pleas
are drafted by counsel hence the aforesaid
difference of pleas which inevitably differ from one
to the other. Thus, to gather true spirit behind a
plea it should be read as a whole. This does not
distract one from performing his obligations as
required under a statute. But to test whether he
has performed his obligations, one has to see the
pith and substance of a plea. Where a statute
requires any fact to be pleaded then that has to be
pleaded maybe in any form. The same plea may be
// 19 //

stated by different persons through different words;
then how could it be constricted to be only in any
particular nomenclature or word. Unless a statute
specifically requires a plea to be in any particular
form, it can be in any form. No specific phraseology
or language is required to take such a plea. The
language in Section 16(c) does not require any
specific phraseology but only that the plaintiff must
aver that he has performed or has always been and
is willing to perform his part of the contract. So the
compliance of “readiness and willingness” has to be
in spirit and substance and not in letter and form.
So to insist for a mechanical production of the exact
words of a statute is to insist for the form rather
than the essence. So the absence of form cannot
dissolve an essence if already pleaded.”

7. Even otherwise it is required to be noted that as such
there were concurrent findings of fact recorded by the learned
Trial Court as well as the learned First Appellate Court on
readiness and willingness on the part of the plaintiff, which
were on appreciation of evidence on record. Therefore, in
exercise of powers under Section 100 of the CPC the High
Court ought not to have interfered with such findings of fact
unless such findings are found to be perverse. Having gone
through the findings recorded by the learned Trial Court as
well as the learned First Appellate Court on readiness and
willingness on the part of the plaintiff, we are of the opinion
that findings recorded cannot be said to be perverse and/or
contrary to the evidence on record. On the contrary High Court
has ignored the necessary aspects on readiness and
willingness which are stated hereinabove including the
conduct on the part of the parties.

8. Even the observations made by the High Court that
// 20 //

Forms 47 and 48 of the Appendix A to the CPC provide for
making an averment that the plaintiff has been “and still is
ready and willing specifically to perform the agreement on his
part” or that “the plaintiff is still ready and willing to pay the
purchase money of the said property to the defendant” and
that “there is non-compliance of Section 16(c) of the Specific
Relief Act and the plaint does not even contain any averment
that the plaintiff ever required defendant no.1 to attend the
office of the Sub-Registrar to execute the sale deed within time
agreed are too technical in the facts and circumstances of the
case. The overall circumstances and the conduct on the part
of the parties are relevant consideration for the purpose of
deciding the aforesaid issues and the prayer of the plaintiff in
whose favour the execution of the agreement to sell has been
held to be proved. The High Court has given unnecessary
stress on the word “still”.

9. Even while proving the readiness and willingness the
plaintiff is not required to make any averment that the plaintiff
required executant of the agreement to sell to attend the office
of the Sub-Registrar to execute the sale deed within the time
agreed. Even as held by this Court in the case of C.S.
Venkatesh Vs A.S.C. Murthy (Dead) By Lrs. and Ors.
reported in (2020) 3 SCC 280 to adjudge whether the plaintiff
is ready and willing to perform his part of contract, the Court
must take into consideration the conduct of the plaintiff prior
and subsequent to filing of the suit alongwith other attending
circumstances in a particular case. It is also further observed
that whether the plaintiff was ready and was always ready to
// 21 //

perform his part of contract may be inferred from the facts and
circumstances of a particular case. It is further observed that it
is not necessary for the plaintiff to produce ready money but it
is mandatory on his part to prove that he has means to
generate consideration amount. In the present case even it
was not the case on behalf of the defendants and even there
is no finding by the High Court that the plaintiff was not having
any means to generate consideration amount. It is required to
be noted that as per the last extension and the document
executed the balance amount of sale consideration i.e.
Rs.16,000/- was to be paid at the time of execution of the sale
deed and earlier out of Rs.56,000/- of total sale consideration,
Rs.40,000/- was already paid and there were two extensions
at the instance of the original defendant No.1 who was his
father-in-law.

10. Now, so far as the finding recorded by the High Court
and the observations made by the High court on Section 20 of
the Act and the observation that even if the agreement is found
to be duly executed and the plaintiff is found to be ready and
willing to perform his part of the Agreement, grant of decree of
specific performance is not automatic and it is a discretionary
relief is concerned, the same cannot be accepted and/or
approved. In such a case, many a times it would be giving a
premium to the dishonest conduct on the part of the defendant
/ executant of the agreement to sell. Even the discretion under
Section 20 of the Act is required to be exercised judiciously,
soundly and reasonably. The plaintiff cannot be punished by
refusing the relief of specific performance despite the fact that
// 22 //

the execution of the agreement to sell in his favour has been
established and proved and that he is found to be always
ready and willing to perform his part of the contract. Not to
grant the decree of specific performance despite the execution
of the agreement to sell is proved; part sale consideration is
proved and the plaintiff is always ready and willing to perform
his part of the contract would encourage the dishonesty. In
such a situation, the balance should tilt in favour of the plaintiff
rather than in favour of the defendant – executant of the
agreement to sell, while exercising the discretion judiciously.

For the aforesaid, even amendment to the Specific Relief Act,
1963 by which section 10(a) has been inserted, though may
not be applicable retrospectively but can be a guide on the
discretionary relief. Now the legislature has also thought it to
insert Section 10(a) and now the specific performance is no
longer a discretionary relief. As such the question whether the
said provision would be applicable retrospectively or not
and/or should be made applicable to all pending proceedings
including appeals is kept open. However, at the same time, as
observed hereinabove, the same can be a guide.

10.1 Even otherwise it is required to be noted that as such on
applicability of Section 20 of the Act, no issue was framed
either by the learned Trial Court or by the learned First
Appellate Court or even by the High Court. The same has
been dealt with by the High Court for the first time in a Second
Appeal under Section 100 of the CPC. Even otherwise no
cogent reasons have been given as to why the decree of
// 23 //

specific performance shall not be passed in favour of the
plaintiff.

11. Now, so far as the submission on behalf of the defendant
Nos.2 to 5 that the agreement to sell was executed long back
and that defendant Nos.2 to 5 are in possession of the suit
property / land since many years and if the suit is decreed, in
that case, they will have to vacate the suit land and therefore,
the discretion may be exercised in favour of defendant Nos.2
to 5 while declining the decree of specific performance in
favour of the plaintiff is concerned, the aforesaid cannot be
accepted in the facts and circumstances of the case narrated
hereinabove. There are concurrent findings of fact recorded by
the Courts below that the defendant Nos.2 to 5 were in
knowledge of the agreement to sell in favour of the plaintiff;
despite the same they purchased the suit land surreptitiously.
Even the sale consideration mentioned in the sale deed in
their favour is found to be doubtful. Apart from the same, for all
these years the defendant Nos.2 to 5 cultivated the suit land
and enjoyed the fruits while in possession. On the contrary the
balance must tilt in favour of the plaintiff as plaintiff is deprived
of the possession for all these years because of the long-
drawn litigation. The learned trial Court passed the decree as
far as back on 07.02.1987 but because of the appeal before
the learned First Appellate Court and thereafter, Second
Appeal before the High Court and thereafter a remand order
by the High Court and again the decision by the learned First
Appellate Court and thereafter by the High court and the
proceeding before this Court, huge time has lapsed, which
// 24 //

cannot be to the disadvantage of the plaintiff.

12. In view of the above and for the reasons stated
hereinabove, the impugned judgment and order 09.09.2010
passed by the High Court in Second Appeal No.836/2010 is
unsustainable and same deserves to be quashed and set
aside and is, accordingly, quashed and set aside. The
judgment and decree dated 07.02.1987 passed by the learned
Civil Judge, Mathura City, Mathura in Civil Suit No.254 of 1984
is hereby restored and the suit is decreed and there shall be a
decree for specific performance of the agreement to sell dated
10.10.1976 in favour of the plaintiff. The defendants – heirs
and legal representatives of defendant No.1 as well as
defendant Nos.2 to 5 to execute the sale deed in favour of the
plaintiff within a period of four weeks from today and hand over
the peaceful and vacant possession of the suit land to the
appellant – original plaintiff within a period of four weeks from
today.

Appeal is allowed accordingly. No costs.

………………………………….J.

                                   [M.R. SHAH]



NEW DELHI;                         ………………………………….J.
OCTOBER 26, 2021.                  [ANIRUDDHA BOSE]



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