T.V. Ramakrishna Reddy vs M. Mallappa on 7 September, 2021


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Supreme Court of India

T.V. Ramakrishna Reddy vs M. Mallappa on 7 September, 2021

Author: B.R. Gavai

Bench: L. Nageswara Rao, B.R. Gavai, B.V. Nagarathna

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                                      NON­REPORTABLE



           IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
            CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

           CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5577 OF 2021
     [@ Special Leave Petition (C) No.10621 of 2020]


T.V. RAMAKRISHNA REDDY                  ...APPELLANT(S)

                           VERSUS

M. MALLAPPA & ANR.                   .... RESPONDENT(S)

                    JUDGMENT

B.R. GAVAI, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. By the present appeal, the appellant­plaintiff

challenges the judgment and order passed by the learned

single judge of the High Court of Karnataka at Bengaluru

dated 19.3.2020 in R.F.A. No. 123 of 2012 thereby allowing

the appeal filed by the respondent No.1 – M. Mallappa

(defendant No.2) herein.

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3. The facts, in brief, giving rise to the present

appeal are as under:

The plaintiff­appellant before this Court filed a

suit for grant of perpetual injunction against the defendants

restraining them or anybody claiming through them from

interfering with the plaintiff’s peaceful possession and

enjoyment of the suit property.

It is the case of the plaintiff­appellant that he is

the absolute owner in possession of the suit schedule

property. His case is that he has purchased the suit

schedule property from one Shri K.P. Govinda Reddy

through registered sale deed dated 13.4.1992 and thereafter

he is in peaceful possession and enjoyment of the suit

property. According to him, he has constructed compound

wall of 8 ft. height with hallow bricks. His further case is

that he has constructed a house on the said plot and being

a civil contractor, is using the same for storing building

materials. It is his further case that he has taken loan by

depositing the title deed of the suit property. It is his

further case that since the defendants attempted to
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demolish the compound wall and did not pay heed to the

plaintiff’s request, he was required to file a suit.

The claim of the plaintiff­appellant is resisted by

defendant No.1 (respondent No.2 herein) – The Bangalore

Development Authority (hereinafter referred to as ‘the BDA’)

by filing written statement. It is the defendant No.1’s case

that the suit was not maintainable for want of notice under

Section 64 of the Bangalore Development Authority Act,

1976. It is its further case that the khata issued in the

name of the plaintiff­appellant is only a revenue entry and

does not confer any right, title or interest upon the plaintiff­

appellant over the suit property.

The defendant No.2­M. Mallappa (respondent

No.1 herein) also resisted the claim of the plaintiff­

appellant. It is his case that he had purchased the suit

property through registered sale­deed dated 5.4.1984 from

one M. Shivalingaiah. It is his case that since the date of

purchase, he was in peaceful possession and enjoyment of

the suit schedule property. It is his further case that the

vendor of the plaintiff­appellant had no right, title and
4

interest to sell the suit schedule property in favour the

plaintiff. It is his case that entire Survey No.37

admeasuring 1 acre 29 guntas belonged to undivided family

of M. Shivalingaiah and upon partition, the entire land in

the said Survey number came to be allotted to the share of

M. Shivalingaiah. It is his case that M. Shivalingaiah had

sold plots in the said Survey number to different persons

and the suit property was sold to him. It is his further case

that he had made an application to B.D.A. for reconveyance

since the plot was under reconveyance scheme. It is his

case that compound wall was put up by him.

On the basis of the rival pleadings, the learned

trial judge framed the following issues:

“1. Does the plaintiff prove his lawful
possession of the suit property as on the
date of the suit?

             2.    Does    he   prove   this              alleged
             interference by the defendants?

             3.   Is he entitled to a               decree of
             permanent      injunction                 against
             defendants?”
                             5


All the issues came to be answered in favour of

the plaintiff­appellant and the suit came to be decreed as

prayed for.

Being aggrieved thereby, defendant No.2 i.e.

respondent No.1 herein filed Regular First Appeal before the

High Court of Karnataka at Bengaluru.

The learned single judge of the Karnataka High

Court found that in the facts and circumstances of the case,

the suit simpliciter for permanent injunction without

seeking a declaration of title was not tenable and as such,

allowed the appeal and set aside the decree.

Being aggrieved thereby, the present appeal by

way of special leave.

4. We have heard Shri Ajit Bhasme, learned Senior

Counsel appearing on behalf of the plaintiff­appellant, Shri

Basava Prabhu S. Patil, learned Senior Counsel appearing

on behalf of respondent No.1 (defendant No.2) and Shri S.K.

Kulkarni, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the BDA.

5. Shri Ajit Bhasme, learned Senior Counsel

appearing on behalf of the plaintiff­appellant would submit
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that the learned single judge of the Karnataka High Court

has grossly erred in interfering with the well­reasoned

judgment and order of the learned trial court. The learned

Senior Counsel would further submit that the learned trial

Court relying upon the voluminous documentary evidence

produced on record by the plaintiff­appellant has found the

appellant to be in peaceful possession and rightly decreed

the suit. Relying on the judgment and order of the learned

single judge of the Karnataka High Court dated 10.2.2000

in Writ Petition No.38853 of 1999, the learned Senior

Counsel submitted that possession of the plaintiff­appellant

has been found to be lawful by the High Court and as such,

another learned single judge of the Karnataka High Court

has grossly erred in reversing the judgment and order of the

learned trial court decreeing the suit.

6. Shri Basava Prabhu S. Patil, learned Senior

Counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent No.1

(defendant No.2), on the contrary, would submit that the

learned single judge of the Karnataka High Court has rightly

held that the issue involved had to be first decided on the
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basis of title and until the plaintiff’s claim for declaration of

title is decided, the suit simpliciter for permanent injunction

was not tenable.

7. Shri Basava Prabhu S. Patil, learned Senior

Counsel, would further submit that the sale­deed of the

defendant No.2 was dated 5.4.1984 whereas the sale­deed

on which plaintiff­appellant claimed was dated 13.4.1992.

He therefore would submit that no interference is warranted

in the present appeal.

8. The short question that falls for consideration

before us is:

Whether the learned single judge of the High

Court was right in holding that the suit simpliciter for

permanent injunction without claiming declaration of title,

as filed by the plaintiff, was not maintainable?

9. The issue is no more res integra. The position

has been crystalised by this Court in the case of Anathula

Sudhakar v. P. Buchi Reddy (dead) by L.Rs. and others 1

in paragraph 21, which read thus:

1 (2008) 4 SCC 594
8

“21. To summarise, the position in regard
to suits for prohibitory injunction relating to
immovable property, is as under:

(a) Where a cloud is raised over the
plaintiff’s title and he does not have posses­
sion, a suit for declaration and possession,
with or without a consequential injunction,
is the remedy. Where the plaintiff’s title is
not in dispute or under a cloud, but he is
out of possession, he has to sue for posses­
sion with a consequential injunction.
Where there is merely an interference with
the plaintiff’s lawful possession or threat of
dispossession, it is sufficient to sue for an
injunction simpliciter.

(b) As a suit for injunction simpliciter is
concerned only with possession, normally
the issue of title will not be directly and
substantially in issue. The prayer for in­
junction will be decided with reference to
the finding on possession. But in cases
where de jure possession has to be estab­
lished on the basis of title to the property,
as in the case of vacant sites, the issue of
title may directly and substantially arise for
consideration, as without a finding thereon,
it will not be possible to decide the issue of
possession.

(c) But a finding on title cannot be
recorded in a suit for injunction, unless
there are necessary pleadings and appro­
priate issue regarding title (either specific,
or implied as noticed in Annaimuthu The­
var [Annaimuthu Thevar v. Alagammal,
(2005) 6 SCC 202] ). Where the averments
regarding title are absent in a plaint and
where there is no issue relating to title, the
court will not investigate or examine or ren­
der a finding on a question of title, in a suit
9

for injunction. Even where there are neces­
sary pleadings and issue, if the matter in­
volves complicated questions of fact and
law relating to title, the court will relegate
the parties to the remedy by way of com­
prehensive suit for declaration of title, in­
stead of deciding the issue in a suit for
mere injunction.

(d) Where there are necessary pleadings
regarding title, and appropriate issue relat­
ing to title on which parties lead evidence,
if the matter involved is simple and
straightforward, the court may decide upon
the issue regarding title, even in a suit for
injunction. But such cases, are the excep­
tion to the normal rule that question of title
will not be decided in suits for injunction.
But persons having clear title and posses­
sion suing for injunction, should not be
driven to the costlier and more cumber­
some remedy of a suit for declaration,
merely because some meddler vexatiously
or wrongfully makes a claim or tries to en­
croach upon his property. The court should
use its discretion carefully to identify cases
where it will enquire into title and cases
where it will refer to the plaintiff to a more
comprehensive declaratory suit, depending
upon the facts of the case.”

10. It could thus be seen that this Court in

unequivocal terms has held that where the plaintiff’s title is

not in dispute or under a cloud, a suit for injunction could

be decided with reference to the finding on possession. It

has been clearly held that if the matter involves complicated
10

questions of fact and law relating to title, the court will

relegate the parties to the remedy by way of comprehensive

suit for declaration of title, instead of deciding the issue in a

suit for mere injunction.

11. No doubt, this Court has held that where there

are necessary pleadings regarding title and appropriate

issue relating to title on which parties lead evidence, if the

matter involved is simple and straightforward, the court

may decide upon the issue regarding title, even in a suit for

injunction. However, it has been held that such cases are

the exception to the normal rule that question of title will

not be decided in suits for injunction.

12. In this background, we will have to consider the

facts of the present case.

13. The plaintiff­appellant claims to be the owner of

the suit property on the basis of a sale­deed executed by

one K.P. Govinda Reddy in his favour on 13.4.1992. In

turn, according to him, the said property was sold by one

Smt. Varalakshmamma in favour of his vendor K.P. Govinda

Reddy on 26.3.1971. He claims that he had mortgaged the
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suit property for taking loan from one financial institution.

He further claimed that an endorsement was also issued by

the Corporation of City of Bangalore that Khata regarding

the suit property is transferred to the appellant. According

to the plaintiff­appellant, when the Bangalore Mahanagar

Palike withdrew the Khata in his favour, he went to the High

Court and succeeded therein.

14. Per contra, the defendant No.2 (respondent No.1

herein) is specifically denying the title of the plaintiff­

appellant. He claims to be the owner of the suit property on

the basis of a sale­deed dated 5.4.1984 from one M.

Shivalingaiah. He also claims to be in peaceful possession

and enjoyment of the same on the basis of the said sale­

deed. It is his case that K.P. Govinda Reddy got the title set

up falsely and created fabricated documents with regard to

possession. It is also his case that compound wall was

constructed by him and not by the plaintiff, as claimed.

15. It could thus clearly be seen that this is not a

case where the plaintiff­appellant can be said to have a clear

title over the suit property or that there is no cloud on
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plaintiff­appellant’s title over the suit property. The

question involved is one which requires adjudication after

the evidence is led and questions of fact and law are

decided.

16. In that view of the matter, we do not find any

reason to interfere with the judgment and order passed by

the Karnataka High Court.

17. Insofar as the reliance on the order passed by the

learned single judge of the Karnataka High Court dated

10.2.2000 in Writ Petition No.38853 of 1999 is concerned, it

will be relevant to refer to the following observations made

therein:

“3. It is evident from the plain reading
of the above that any entry made in the
Corporation Register by fraud,
misrepresentation or suppression of facts
or by furnishing false, incorrect and
incomplete material could be corrected
within a period of three years from the date
of such recording. The Order in the instant
case was passed admittedly much beyond
the period of limitation prescribed by the
provision extracted above. The same is
therefore unsustainable on that ground
itself. The parties being in litigation before
the Civil Court could upon adjudication of
the controversy regarding the title to the
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property approach the Corporation for any
modification in the entry which is no more
any modification in the entry which is no
more than a fiscal entry relevant only for
purpose of payment of taxes and does not
by itself create or extinguish title to the
property in regard to which it is made. Till
such time the competent Court declared
the 3rd respondent as the true owner of the
property, the Corporation could not on its
own correct the entry after a period of 3
years stipulated under Sec. 114­A of the
Act
.

4. This writ petition accordingly
succeeds and is hereby allowed. The
impugned order shall stand quashed
reserving liberty for the parties to have the
matter adjudicated upon by the Civil Court
and to approach the Corporation for a fresh
entry/modification of the existing entry to
bring the same in consonance with the
Civil Court’s determination. No costs.”

18. It could thus be clearly seen that the High Court

in the said order has clearly noted that the parties are in

litigation before the Civil Court and that adjudication of

controversy regarding the title of the suit property could be

done only by the Civil Court. The entry with the

Corporation is nothing more than a fiscal entry relevant

only for the purpose of payment of taxes and does not by

itself create or extinguish title to the property. The Court
14

observed that till such time the competent Court declared

the third respondent therein as the true owner of the

property, the Corporation could not on its own correct the

entry after a period of 3 years stipulated under Section 114­

A of the Act. The High Court has therefore set aside the

order reserving liberty for the parties to have the matter

adjudicated upon by the Civil Court.

19. In that view of the matter, the said judgment and

order would be of no assistance to the case of the plaintiff­

appellant.

20. It will also be relevant to refer to the following

observations of this Court in the case of Jharkhand State

Housing Board v. Didar Singh and another2:

“11. It is well settled by catena of judg­
ments of this Court that in each and every
case where the defendant disputes the title
of the plaintiff it is not necessary that in all
those cases plaintiff has to seek the relief of
declaration. A suit for mere injunction does
not lie only when the defendant raises a
genuine dispute with regard to title and
when he raises a cloud over the title of the
plaintiff, then necessarily in those circum­

2 (2019) 17 SCC 692
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stances, plaintiff cannot maintain a suit for
bare injunction.”

21. In the facts of the present case, it cannot be said

at this stage that the dispute raised by the defendant No.2

with regard to title is not genuine nor can it be said that the

title of the plaintiff­appellant over the suit property is free

from cloud. The issue with regard to title can be decided

only after the full­fledged trial on the basis of the evidence

that would be led by the parties in support of their rival

claims.

22. In the result, the appeal is without merit and as

such, dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs.

…….……………………, J.

[L. NAGESWARA RAO]

…….……………………, J.

[B.R. GAVAI]

NEW DELHI;

SEPTEMBER 07, 2021



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