Thursday, May 19, 2011

Supreme Court nullifies sale deed after 60 years

The Supreme Court has held as invalid a sale deed relating to a minor's portion in a joint family property as it was executed by the de facto guardian in 1951, on behalf of the minor, without court permission.

A Bench comprising Justices J.M. Panchal and Gyan Sudha Misra allowed an appeal filed by one Rangammal against a Madras High Court judgment dismissing her application in a suit filed by her in 1982 questioning the execution of the sale deed in 1951 without her knowledge and without court permission.

It was claimed that the sale of the minor's portion was done in order to discharge the debt which the deceased mother of the appellant alleged to have been owing to someone.

Writing the judgment, Justice Misra said: “In a suit for partition, it is expected of the plaintiff to include only those properties for partition to which the family has clear title and unambiguously belong to the members of the joint family which is sought to be partitioned.”

The Bench held that if someone else's property, meaning thereby disputed property, was included in the schedule of the suit for partition and the same was contested by a third party who was allowed to be impleaded by the trial court, the plaintiff would have to establish that the disputed property belonged to the joint family.

The Bench said:

“When a person, after attaining majority, questions any sale of his/her property by the guardian during his/her minority, the burden lies on the person who upholds/asserts the purchase not only to show that the guardian had the power to sell but further that the whole transaction was bona fide.”

In the instant case, though the sale deed was executed in 1951 by the previous generation, the appellant got herself impleaded only in 1982 in a suit filed by the plaintiff-respondent Kuppuswami against his brother Andivelu for partition of the property, which included the portion of the property that belonged to Ms. Rangammal.

It was claimed that Ms. Rangammal's share was transferred by her guardian Kumara Naicker to the predecessors of Mr. Andivelu and that she had no right in the said property. After the High Court dismissed her plea, she filed the present appeal.

In her appeal, Ms. Rangammal contended that the sale deed, executed in 1951 when she was a minor, ought not to be legally binding on her so as to include her property for partition in the suit, instituted by an altogether different branch of the family that had separated more than three generations ago.

Allowing the appeal, the Bench said the High Court fell into a clear error in holding that the suit was barred by limitation as it was filed after 31 years which was factually incorrect. She had merely impleaded herself in the partition suit when it came to her knowledge that the property, which was in her occupation and possession, had been included in the schedule for partition.

The Bench set aside the High Court judgment in so far as the share of Ms. Rangammal was concerned and consequently the decree passed by the trial court and upheld by the High Court.

The said decree would exclude her portion of the property, the Bench said, and allowed the appeal with costs.

No comments:

Post a Comment