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Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Sections 34, 61 and 114. Books of account–Entries–Proof of–Nobody supporting correctness of entries—-Account books liable to be reject- ed. Title–Proof- Presumption on basis of revenue entry–When arises. Limitation Act, 1963. Article 65–Adverse possession–Proof-Actual physical possession by claimant not necessary–Fact that property was in possession of tenants would be of no consequence. Indian Contract Act, 1872. Sections 182 and 188–Joint possession-Claim by agent–Agent actually collecting rent from tenants-Cannot claim joint possession of property. = Respondent No. 1 in the appeals instituted a suit for partition against his younger brothers and sisters, and the heirs of his deceased brothers. The plaintiff was the eldest among the brothers and sisters. The 1st and 2nd Defendants were his brothers, the 3rd Defendant his sister, the 4th and 5th Defendants, the widow and son respectively of the third brother. Defendant 6 was the widow of the fourth brother, and Defendants 7 to 12 were his children, while Defendant No. 14 was the wife of Defendant No. 1, and Defendants 13, 15, 16 and 17 were their children. The subject matter of the appeals related only to one item of property known as “Naroda Chawl” measuring 7 acres and 2 gunthas of land, where 115 rooms and huts stood con- structed, out of which 114 rooms had been let out to ten- ants, and one room was retained for the caretaker. According to Defendants No. 6 to 12 this property exclu- sively belonged to defendant No. 6 and was not liable to partition. The other defendants however supported the plain- tiff’s case that it belonged to the 233 joint family and was liable to partition. Defendants 6 to 12 pleaded that the plaintiff’s father- Bapalal orally gifted this property to his daughter-in-law Defendant No. 6 in March 1946 and made a statement before the Revenue authorities on . the basis of which her name was mutated and she was put in possession thereof, that although she came in peaceful possession, the management which in- cluded realisation of rent was in the hands of Defendant No. 1, that as some dispute arose in 1952 she assumed direct charge of the chawl and had remained in possession thereaf- ter, and that she had acquired good title therein by adverse possession before the suit was filed in 1960. The City Civil Judge who tried the suit, held that there was a joint Hindu family and a business was carried on for the benefit of the family and the income therefrom was thrown into the common pool and all the properties including the disputed chawl were treated as belonging to the family. As the case of Defendant No. 6 about the gift, the mutation of her name, and her exclusive possession from 1946 till the date of the suit was found correct, it was held that she had acquired title by adverse possession, and the suit was dismissed with respect to the disputed chawl. The plaintiff appealed to the High Court. Some of the defendants also filed appeals in respect of the other items of property. All these appeals were heard and disposed of by a common judgment. The High Court reversed the finding of adverse posses- sion in regard to the disputed chawl and granted a decree for partition. It held that Defendant No. 6 remained in exclusive possession of the property only since 1952, the period was thus short of the time required for prescription of title. It further held that since the rents of the chawl from 1952 were collected by her husband and after his death by her son (Defendant No. 7), she was liable to render accounts till the death of her husband, and she along with Defendant No. 7 would be jointly liable for the period thereafter. Separate Appeals were preferred by Defendant Nos. 6 and 7 to this Court. Allowing the Appeals, setting aside the decision of the High Court and restoring that of the Trial Court. 234 HELD: 1. The principle that revenue entry furnishes presumptive evidence of title is inapplicable in the instant case. It cannot be denied that title to Naroda Chawl could not have passed to Defendant No. 6 by virtue of the entry Ext. 247. The value of the chawl even in 1946 was large and no registered instrument of transfer was executed. Besides Ext. 247 describes the plaintiff’s father (Bapalal) and Defendant No. 6 (Chandrakanta) as Kabjedar, that is occu- pant. In such circumstances, the presumption which can be raised in favour of Defendant No. 6 from this entry is with respect of her possession and possession only. [238F-G] Gangabai and others v. Fakirgowda Somaypagowda Desai and others, AIR 1930 Privy Council 93; and Desai Navinkant Kesarlal v. Prabhat Kabhai, 9 Gujarat Law Reporter 694, referred to. 2. The account books have to be rejected as not reli- able. It is apparent from the evidence that nobody takes the responsibility of supporting the correctness of the entries therein. Many of the documents produced by Defendant No. 1 were accepted, but the account books which were S. Nos. 123-75 to 123-97 of Ext. 123 were in express terms not admitted. The plaintiff filed his objection–Ext. 172. Defendant No. 6 also filed her objection–Ext. 275. The books were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits on the statement of the plaintiff which he made in cross-exami- nation. The plaintiff by saying that he had written as per the instructions of Defendant No. 1 made it clear that he Could not vouchsafe for its reliability. Defendant No. 1 could not summon courage to support them either personally or through any witness. No reason has been suggested as to why he did not produce other important documents in his possession which could have supported the account books and the joint case of the parties resisting the appellant’s claim. [243B-E] 3. Defendant No. 1 cannot be treated to be in joint possession as he was actually collecting the rents from the tenants. it is well settled that the possession of the agent is the possession of the principal and in view of the fidu- ciary relationship, Defendant No. 1 cannot be permitted to claim his own possession. [247D-E] David Lyeii v. John Lawson Kennedy, [1889] XIV H.L.(E) 437; Williams v. Pott, L.R. XII Equity Cases 149 and Secre- tary of State for India v. Krishnamoni Gupta, 29 Indian Appeals 104, referred to. 4(a). It is the intention to claim exclusive title which makes 235 possession adverse and this animus possidendi must be evi- denced and effectuated by the manner of occupancy which again depends upon the nature of the property. The manner of possession depends upon the kind of possession which the particular property is susceptible. That possession to the extent to which it is capable of demonstration must be hostile and exclusive and will cover only to the extent of the owner’s possession. [246E-F] (b). The title to the chawl as owner, subject to the tenancy was an interest in immovable property so as to be covered by Article 144 of the Indian Limitation Act, 1908, which specifically mentioned, “.. . or any interest therein”. [246E] In the instant case, the parties have been fighting for the rent from the chawl so long as it continued in posses- sion of the tenants. Before the gift of 1946 the Defendant No. 1 was collecting the rent and he continued to do so even thereafter till 1952. The appellant has, however, estab- lished her case that the Defendant No. 1 acted as her agent after 1946 and when he repudiated this agency in 1952 he was effectively removed from the management of the chawl. Since 1946 the tenants attorned to the Defendant No. 6 and paid rent to her under printed receipts announcing her ownership, but of course through her agent the Defendant No. 1. The fact that the tenants have been in actual physical posses- sion of the chawl is, in the circumstances, of no assistance to the respondents. What is material is that they paid the rent to the Defendant No. 6. Defendant No. 6 was in adverse possession from the period 1946 to 1952 through her agent Defendant No. 1 and thereafter through her husband and son Defendant No. 7 till 1960 when the suit was filed, the total period being more than 12 years. [246G-H; 248G] Uppalapati Veera Venkata Satyanarayanaraju and another v. Josyula Hanumayamma and another, [1963] 3 SCR 910 and Hari Prasad Agarwalla and another v. Abdul Haw and others, A.I.R. 1951 Patna 160, referred to. =1989 AIR 1269, 1989( 2 )SCR 232, 1989( 2 )SCC 630, 1989( 1 )SCALE802 , 1989( 4 )JT 115

PETITIONER: SMT. CHANDRAKANTABEN ETC. Vs. RESPONDENT: VADILAL BAPALAL MODI & OTHERS. DATE OF JUDGMENT30/03/1989 BENCH: SHARMA, L.M. (J) BENCH: SHARMA, L.M. (J) KANIA, M.H. CITATION: 1989 AIR 1269 1989 SCR (2) 232 1989 SCC (2) 630 JT 1989 (4) 115 1989 SCALE (1)802 ACT: Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Sections 34, 61 and 114. Books of … Continue reading

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