SUPREME COURT HOLDS THAT LITIGANT CANNOT TAKE CONTRADICTORY STAND BEFORE TWO DIFFERENT COURTS/AUTHORITIES
In a recent Civil Appeal, of Premlata @ Sunita Vs Naseeb Bee & Ors.’ (Civil Appeal No’s. 2055-2056 of 2022), the Supreme Court vide Judgment dated 23.03.2022, reversed the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur Judgement and Order dated 27.11.2019 (Impugned Order) in Civil Revision Application No. 385 of 2019 and held that a litigant cannot take contradictory stand before two different courts/authorities.
In the present case, Ms. Premlata (Appellant–original Plaintiff) filed the original proceedings before the Revenue Authority/Tehsildar under Section 250 of M.P Land Revenue Code (MPLRC) 1959 (Reinstatement of bhumiswami improperly dispossessed). Ms. Naseeb Bee (Respondent-original Defendant) raised the objection against the maintainability of the Application under Section 250 MPLRC and the Jurisdiction of the Revenue Authority/Tehsildar. The Tehsildar rejected the said Application, thereby accepting the objections raised by the Respondents (The date of Order passed by Tehsildar is not known to us, as it is not reported in the Judgment).
Aggrieved by the Order of Tehsildar, the Plaintiff preferred an Appeal before the Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) under Section 44 of MPLRC (Appeal and appellate authorities). During the pendency of the said Appeal, the Appellant filed a Suit for Recovery of Possession and Injunction before the Learned Trial Court. After being served the notice of the said Suit, the Defendant filed an Application under Order 7 Rule 11 (Rejection of Plaint) of Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 and prayed for rejection of Plaint on the ground that the Suit instituted in barred under Section 257 of MPLRC before the Civil Court.
The Learned Trial Court rejected the Application filed by the Defendant and refused to reject the Plaint. (The date of Order passed by the Trial Court is not known to us, as it is not reported in the Judgment) Aggrieved by the Order of the Trial Court, the Defendants preferred a Civil Revision Application No. 385 of 2019 before the Hon’ble High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur.
The High Court allowed the Revision Application vide Impugned Order dated 27.11.2019, thereby setting aside the Order passed by the Learned Trial Court. The Impugned Order allowed the Application filed by the Defendants under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC thus rejecting the Plaint and holding a view that Section 257 of MPLRC is barred by the jurisdiction of Civil Court.
Being aggrieved and dissatisfied by the Impugned Order, the Appellant preferred Civil Appeals No. 2055 and 2056 of 2022 before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
The Apex Court observed that the Respondents in the above stated matter took the objection before Revenue Authority that the Revenue Authority/Tehsildar lacked jurisdiction. The Respondents took contrary stand before the Trial Court stating that the Trial Court also lacked jurisdiction. If the objections raised by the Respondents are accepted by both the Authorities, then the Appellant would be left remediless.
Even the High Court has failed to appreciate the fact that based on the Respondent’s arguments, when the Revenue Authority already decided that they did not have jurisdiction to decide the dispute in respect of title to the suit property, it was not open for the Respondents to again plead before the Trial Court that they lacked jurisdiction. The Respondents cannot be permitted to approbate and reprobate and take a stand contrary to that taken before the Revenue Authority.
The Supreme Court concluded its observation by stating, that the Trial Court had rightly rejected the Application under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC filed by the Respondents for rejection of Plaint. But the High Court committed a grave error by setting aside the order of Learned Trial Court and allowing the Application for Rejection of Plaint as prayed by the Respondents.
Thus, the Apex Court allowed the following Appeals, thereby setting aside the Impugned Order dated 27.11.2019 in Civil Revision Application No. 385 of 2019 passed by the High Court and restored the Order of Learned Trial Court.
The Indian Lawyer