22 April 2021

Non-production/withholding a vital document in order to gain an advantage on the other side tantamounts to playing fraud on the Court

No litigant is entitled to obtain the aid of the law to protect him in carrying out a fraudulent act

    The most sagacious judgments of our Courts define "fraud" as an act of deliberate deception with the design of securing something by taking unfair advantage of another. It is a sort of cheating intended to gain an advantage. Any litigant who approaches Court is bound to produce all the documents relevant, material and germane to the litigation. Non-production or non-mentioning or withholding a vital document in order to gain an advantage on the other side
Non-production or withholding a vital document in order to gain an advantage on the other side tantamounts to playing fraud on the Court
tantamounts to playing fraud on the Court as well as the opposite party
[S.P. Chengalvaraya Naidu vs. Jagannath & Ors (1994) 1 SCC 1 (paras-1,5 & 6), A.V. Papayya Sastry & Ors. vs. Govt. of A.P. & Ors. (2007) 4 SCC 221 (paras 21-33), K.D. Sharma vs. Steel Authority of India & Ors. (2008) 12 SCC 481 (paras-26-28 & 34-52) and Dalip Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. (2010) 2 SCC 114 (paras 1- 9)].[Para No.12]

    This fact of suppression assumes more significance in a writ proceeding which has been instituted under Article 226 of the Constitution. The very basis of writ jurisdiction rests in disclosure of true, complete and correct facts. If the material facts are not candidly stated or are suppressed or are distorted the very functioning of the Writ Courts would become impossible. The jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution is extraordinary, equitable and discretionary. It is well settled that a prerogative remedy is not a matter of course and it is thus of utmost importance that a petitioner approaching the Writ Court must come with clean hands and put forward all the material facts without concealment or suppression. It there is no frank and candid disclosure of the relevant and material facts or that the petitioner is guilty of misleading the Court and the petition is liable to be dismissed. In fact, the Courts have gone to the extent of saying that in such circumstances, a Court may refuse to enter into the merits of the case. A party whose hands are soiled cannot hold the writ of the Court. In such situations, the aid of the Court is denied in order to maintain respect for the law; in order to promote confidence in the administration of justice; in order to preserve the judicial process from contamination (Miscellany-at-Law by R.E. Megarry, 2nd Indian Reprint 2004 at page-144). The rule has evolved in public interest to deter unscrupulous litigants from abusing the process of Court by deceiving it. In the facts and circumstances aforesaid and in the light of the prayers in the petition, I am of the view that the petitioners are guilty of misleading the Court and have deliberately, intentionally and mischievously suppressed the order dated 28 January, 2011 passed in Misc. Case No.26/2009.[Para No.13]

19 April 2021

Testamentary disposition by Will is not a 'transfer' as defined u/s.5 of the Transfer of Property Act

It is not necessary to obtain a probate in respect of properties which are not situated whithin the ordinary original civil jurisdiction of the High Courts of Judicature at Madras and Bombay

    In view of the rival submissions made on behalf of the parties, it will be necessary to refer to some of the provisions of the Ceiling Act and the Succession Act. Section 29 of the Ceiling Act reads thus:-
"Section 29. (1) Without the previous sanction of the Collector, no land granted under Section 27 or granted to a joint farming society under Section 28 shall be -
(a) transferred, whether by way of sale (including sale in execution of a decree of a Civil Court or of an award or order of any competent authority) or by way of gift, mortgage, exchange, lease or otherwise; or
(b) divided whether by partition or otherwise, and whether by a decree or order of a Civil Court or any other competent authority, such sanction shall not be given otherwise than in such circumstances, and on such conditions including condition regarding payment of premium or nazarana to the State Government, as may be prescribed;
    Provided that, no such sanction shall be necessary where land is to be leased by a serving member of the armed forces or where the land is to be mortgaged as provided in Sub-section (4) of Section 36 of the Code for raising a loan for effecting any improvement of such land.

(2) If sanction is given by the Collector to any transfer or division under Sub-section (1) subsequent transfer or division of land shall also be subject to the provisions of Sub-section (1).

(3) Any transfer or division of land, any acquisition thereof, in contravention of Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (2) shall be invalid; and as a penalty therefor, any right, title and interest of the transferor and transferee in or in relation to such land shall, after giving him an opportunity to show cause, be forfeited by the Collector and shall without further assurance vest in the State Government."

    This Court in the aforesaid case of Vimlabai vs. State of Maharashtra, cited supra, after considering the judgments on the point, has held that the transfers which are by act of parties made inter vivos or a result of a decree or an order of the Court, Tribunal or Authority, are alone covered by the said term as defined in Explanation (2) of Section 8 of the Ceiling Act. This Court has further held that it will not include the testamentary dispositions of the property not made inter vivos. Thus, this Court has taken a view that a testamentary disposition by Will is not covered by the word 'transfer' as per the provisions of Section 5 of the Transfer of Property Act. This Court has further while dealing with the certain provisions of the Ceiling Act has in unequivocal terms held that the transfer under the Ceiling Act would not include the testamentary disposition of the property not made inter vivos. In that view of the matter, insofar as the findings of the learned S. D. O. that the transfer is bad in law in view of provisions of Section 29(3) of the said Act is not sustainable in law.[Para No.6]

    The next question that arises is whether it is necessary to obtain a probate, so as to claim right as executor or legatee for the lands in question.[Para No.7]

    It would be appropriate to refer to certain provisions of the Succession Act. The relevant portion of Section 213 reads as under:-
Testamentary disposition by Will is not a 'transfer' as defined u/s. 5 of the Transfer of Property Act
"S. 213. Right as executor or legatee when established. - (1) No right as executor or legatee can be established in any Court of Justice, unless a Court of competent jurisdiction in India has granted probate of the will under which the right is claimed, or has granted letters of administration with the will or with a copy of an authenticated copy of the will annexed.
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