DELHI HIGH COURT HOLDS JUDGMENT ON ADMISSION CAN BE PASSED ONLY IF THE DEFENDANT’S ADMISSION IS CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS
In a recent case of Gurmeet Singh vs Manjeet Kaur and Another, C.R.P. 87 / 2022 and C.M. APPL. 29381/2022, 45118/2022, Hon’ble Justice Jyoti Singh passed a Judgment dated 02-06-2023 and observed that if the facts raised by one party are admitted by the opposite party and the Court is satisfied about the nature of admission, then a full-fledged trial is not necessary and judgment may be pronounced based on such admission. But such admission has to be categorical and unambiguous, failing which, the Court cannot pass a judgment based on admission.
1) In the present case, the Plaintiffs, Manjeet Kaur and Another had filed a Civil Suit before the Trial Court, New Delhi under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act 1963 (Act) (Suit by person dispossessed of immovable property) seeking possession, injunction and damages from the Defendant, Gurmeet Singh for forcefully dispossessing them and taking over possession of the Plaintiff’s house on the First Floor with roof rights and roof rights of Third Floor of the property bearing Municipal No. CB-8, Hari Nagar, Clock Tower, New Delhi -110064 (Suit Property).
2) The Plaintiffs claimed that the Defendant in collusion with one, Joginder wanted to grab the Suit Property and construct a multi-storeyed building and thus, they were repeatedly harassing the Plaintiffs to sell the Suit Property to them.
3) The Plaintiffs had earlier agreed to sell the Suit Property to the Defendant and thereby, executed an Agreement to Sell for Rs. 57 Lakhs and Joginder was the attesting witness to the said Agreement. As per the Agreement to Sell, the Plaintiffs received Rs. 1 Lakh as the earnest money and balance Rs. 56 Lakhs was payable within 120 days i.e. by 31-12-2018, as the Sale Deed was to be executed by then.
4) Thereafter, the Defendant paid another Rs. 1 Lakh to the Plaintiff on 21-09-2018 and entered into a fresh Agreement dated 15-11-2018, which was also witnessed by Joginder. As per the said Agreement, the sale deed was to be executed on 21-05-2019 after receiving the full and final payment of the balance sale consideration.
5) Thereafter, the Defendant paid another Rs. 4 Lakhs and the Plaintiff gave a receipt to this effect. The Defendant asked for extra time to clear the balance payment on the ground that he was facing difficulty in getting bank loan sanctioned, as the Plaintiff No. 2 was the General Power of Attorney (GPA) holder of the Suit Property. Hence, the Plaintiff No. 2 executed a Gift Deed dated 09-01-2019 in favor of the Plaintiff No. 1 so that the loan is sanctioned to the Defendant.
6) However, the Defendant again sought for some more time on 20-01-2019 for clearing the balance amount.
7) Thus, the Plaintiff No. 2 issued a Legal Notice to the Defendant, thereby, calling upon the latter to appear before the Sub-Registrar Office (SRO) on 21-05-2019 with the balance sale consideration of Rs. 51 Lakhs.
8) Accordingly, the Plaintiffs visited the SRO-IIB, Janakpuri on 21-05-2019 and their presence was established by two Receipts bearing No. 38590 and 38591. However, the Defendant did not come to the SRO with the demand draft, although the Defendant expressed his willingness to conclude the transaction and also assured payment of balance sale consideration.
9) Based on the said assurance, the Plaintiffs shifted some household stuff from the Suit Property to their daughter’s house at Noida on 20-01-2019. But to their utter shock, the Defendant along with Joginder and some musclemen entered the Suit Property on 02-02-2019 and threatened the Plaintiffs of forcible dispossession.
10) Hence, the Plaintiff No. 2 lodged a Police Complaint but on 16-02-2019, but the Defendant still came back to the Suit Property to forcibly take possession thereof and also abused the Plaintiffs and their daughter.
11) That during the absence of the Plaintiffs at the Suit Property, the Defendant tried to forcefully break open the house on 05-03-2019. When the Plaintiffs returned on 07-03-2019, they found that the door had a new lock and were later informed that the Defendant had placed his own luggage and household articles in the house.
12) Thereafter, an FIR was registered against the Defendant in the aforesaid regard and the Plaintiffs kept requesting the Defendant to hand over possession of the Suit Property back to the Plaintiffs.
13) Aggrieved, the Plaintiffs filed the aforementioned Civil Suit seeking the relief of possession, injunction and damages.
14) The Defendant in his written statement claimed that (i) he had paid Rs. 35 Lakhs advance for purchasing the Suit Property against receipts from the Plaintiffs, thereby acknowledging the receipt of the advance. (ii) Hence, the Plaintiffs handed over the keys to the Defendant on 21-01-2019 with the assurance that the Sale Deed would be executed on 25-01-2019. (iii) Further, the Defendant claimed that he had appeared before the SRO for registration of Sale Deed but the Plaintiffs failed to appear. (iv) Thus, the Defendant claimed that he was always willing to perform his part of the contract.
15) Based on the aforesaid submissions of the Defendant, the Plaintiffs filed an Application under Order XII Rule 6 of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 (CPC) (Judgment on admissions) seeking a decree on the basis of the admissions made by the Defendant in respect of (a) ownership of Plaintiffs in respect of the Suit Property, (b) execution of documents such as Agreement to Sell dated 15-11-2018, Gift Deed dated 09-01-2019, (c) Receipt dated 31-08-2018 and (d) the fact that the Defendant has been in possession of the Suit Property since 20-01-2019.
16) The Plaintiffs further contended that the Defendant cannot take refuge under Section 53-A of the Transfer of Property Act 1882 (TP Act) (Part performance) and claim that he was given possession of the Suit Property in part performance of the Agreement to Sell, as the said Agreement is an unregistered document and as per the terms of the Agreement, it was agreed by the Parties that the possession would be handed over only after receipt of the full sale consideration.
17) The Trial Court, vide Order dated 04-02-2022, allowed the Application filed by the Plaintiffs and partly decreed the Suit for Possession in favor of the Plaintiffs on the grounds that (i) the Defendant was a trespasser who dispossessed the Plaintiffs and unlawfully occupied the Suit Property and (ii) the Defendant made certain admissions regarding ownership of the Plaintiffs in respect of the Suit Property in his written statement. The Trial Court further held that the Agreement to Sell was unregistered and not duly stamped, so the relief of part performance claimed by the Defendant was held unsustainable.
Delhi High Court Observations
Aggrieved, the Defendant filed a Civil Revision Petition in C.R.P. 87 / 2022 before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. The High Court passed an Order and Judgment dated 02-06-2023 and made the following observations in this case:
(1) That in the present case, the Suit was filed by the Plaintiffs under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act 1963 (Suit by person dispossessed of immovable property) seeking recovery of possession of the Suit Property from the Defendant. The nature and scope of Section 6 of the Act is as follows:
(i) That as per Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act 1963, if any person is dispossessed from his property, without his consent, the said person may file a suit to recover possession thereof within 6 months of such dispossession.
(ii) That the essential ingredients for obtaining relief of possession under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act 1963 are to establish (a) previous possession of plaintiffs and (b) subsequent forcible dispossession / dispossession without consent, otherwise than in due course of law.
(iii) That the proceedings under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act 1963 are summary in nature the object of which is to afford an immediate remedy to an aggrieved party to reclaim possession of which he may have been unjustly denied by an illegal act of dispossession. Questions of title or better rights of possession does not arise for adjudication in a suit under Section 6….
(iv) That a person who is unsuccessful under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act may file a regular suit establishing his title to the suit property. In the event that he proves his title, he will be entitled to recover possession of the property, notwithstanding the adverse decision under Section 6 of the Act.
(2) That in the present case, the Trial Court decreed the Suit under Order XII Rule 6 of CPC based on the admissions made by the Defendant. The nature and scope of Order XII Rule 6 of CPC is as follows:
(i) A judgment on admission is a discretion of the Court and cannot be sought by a party as a matter of right.
(ii) A judgment on admission is a judgment without trial which permanently denies any remedy to the defendant, by way of an appeal on merits.
(iii) Thus, the admission should be categorical, conscious and a deliberate act of the party making the same.
(iv) The admission should be clear and unambiguous.
(v) Where the defendant raises objections that goes to the root of the case, it would not be appropriate for a Court to exercise its discretionary power under Order XII Rule 6 CPC.
(3) That in the present case, the Defendant’s written statement shows admissions made in respect of (a) ownership of the Plaintiffs with regard to the Suit Property, (b) execution of various documents by the Parties for sale of Suit Property to the Defendant, (c) possession of Suit Property by Defendants on 20-01-2019.
(4) However, the Defendant has established that the possession was duly handed over to him by the Plaintiffs, as the Defendant made advance payment for purchasing the Suit Property towards part performance of the Agreement to Sell under Section 53A of the TP Act and hence, he had possession of the Suit Property with the consent of the Plaintiffs. Thus, there is no admission on the essential point of the Suit filed under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act i.e. forcible dispossession by the Defendant / dispossession without consent of the Plaintiffs.
Therefore, based on the aforesaid observations, the High Court held that in the absence of categorical and unequivocal admission of the Defendant in respect of the aforementioned crucial requirement of Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act, i.e. dispossession of the Plaintiffs from the Suit Property without their consent, the Trial Court erred in passing the Judgment on Admission under Order XII Rule 6 CPC. Hence, the Trial Court Order dated 04-02-2022 was set aside, with directions to the Trial Court to decide the Suit within 6 months of the High Court Order, by affording opportunity to both Parties to lead the evidence.
The Indian Lawyer