09 August 2020

Unlawful possessor can not seek injunction against the true owner

It is settled law that no injunction could be granted against the true owner at the instance of persons in unlawful possession. It is true that the appellants placed reliance in their plaint on resolutions passed by the municipality on 11.11.72 and 29.11.72. A reading of those resolutions would prima facie show that possession would be taken where the acquisition proceedings have become final and land acquisition proceedings would not he pursued where award has not been made as on the date of the resolutions. In this case since the acquisition proceedings have become final, then necessarily possession has to be taken by the Corporation for the public purpose for which the acquisition was made. In that context the question arises whether the appellants can seek reliance on two resolutions. They furnish no prima facie right or title to the appellants to have perpetual injunction restraining the Corporation from taking possession of the building. The orders of eviction were passed by due process of law and had become final. Thereafter no right was created in favour of the appellants to remain in possession. Their possession in unlawful and that therefore, they cannot seek any injunction against the rightful owner for evicting them. There is thus neither balance of convenience nor irreparable injury would be caused to the appellants.[Para No.9]

Unlawful possessor can not seek injunction against the true owner

    It would thus be clear that in a suit for perpetual injunction, the court should enquire on affidavit evidence and other material placed before the court to find strong prima facie case and balance of convenience in favour of granting injunction otherwise irreparable damage or damage would ensue to the plaintiff. The court should also find whether the plaintiff would adequately be compensated by damages if injunction is not granted. It is common experience that injunction normally is asked for and granted to prevent the public authorities or the respondents to proceed with execution of or implementing scheme of public utility or granted contracts for execution thereof. Public interest is, therefore, one of the material and relevant considerations in either exercising or refusing to grant ad interim injunction. While exercising the discretionary power, the court sould also adopt the procedure of calling upon the plaintiff to file a bond to the satisfaction of the court that in the event of his failing in the suit to obtain the relief asked for in the plaint, he would adequately compensate the defendant for the loss ensued due to the order of injunction granted in p favour of the plaintiff. Even otherwise the court while exercising its equity jurisdiction in granting injunction has also jurisdiction and power to grant adequate compensation to mitigate the damages caused to the defendant by grant of injunction restraining the defendant to proceed with the execution of the work etc., which is retrained by an order of injunction made by the court. The pecuniary award of damages is consequential to the adjudication of the dispute and the result therein is incidental to the determination of the case by the court. The pecuniary jurisdiction of the court of first instance should not impede nor be a bar to award damages beyond it pecuniary jurisdiction. In this behalf, the grant or refusal of damages is not founded upon the original cause of action but the /consequences of the adjudication by the conduct of the parties, the court gets inherent jurisdiction in doing ex debito justitiae mitigating the damage suffered by the defendant by the act of the court in granting injunction restraining the defendant from proceeding with the action complained of in the suit It is common knowledge that injunction is invariably sought for in laying the suit in a court of lowest pecuniary jurisdiction even when the claims are much larger than the pecuniary jurisdiction of the court of first instance, may be, for diverse reasons. Therefore, the pecuniary jurisdiction is not and should not stand an impediment for the court of first instance in determining damages as the part of the adjudication and pass a decree in that behalf without relegating the parties to a further suit for damages. This procedure would act as a check on abuse of the process of the court and adequately compensate the damages or injury suffered by the defendant by act of court at the behest of the plaintiff.[Para No.14]

Supreme Court of India

Mahadeo Savlaram Shelke
Puna Municipal Corporatio

(1995) 3 SCC 33

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