Boutique Litigation Law Firm - Retain Lawyers - Research based Law Firm - Complete legal services

Decree of permanent injunction in favour of trespasser in possession of DDA property for more than 60 years stands set aside, Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on April 30, 2020 {DDA v. PUSHPA LATA & ORS.} held that the question of the respondents / plaintiffs claiming such possession to be adverse to the appellant / defendant DDA or its predecessor, also does not arise since the respondents / plaintiffs have been claiming lawful title to the land and it is the settled position in law that the plea of lawful possession is antithetical to the plea of adverse possession.

The Court held that even otherwise under the Land Reforms Act a person can be either a bhumidhar or an asami of an agricultural land in a village and all other kinds of lands and property vest in the Gaon Sabha. Reference if any in this context may be made to Hatti Vs. Sunder Singh, (1970) 2 SCC 841, Gaon Sabha Vs. Nathi, (2004) 12 SCC 555 and Ram Niwas Vs. Financial Commissioner, Delhi 2011 SCC OnLine Del 1338.

The Court held in view of judgment of SC in Gaon Sabha Vs. Nathi (2004) 12 SCC 555 that: (i) there cannot be even a slightest doubt that the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit which was filed seeking a declaration that the order of vesting of land in the Gaon Sabha was illegal; (ii) once the legal position is that the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit, the inevitable consequence is that the decree passed by the Civil Court in the earlier suit in that case, was wholly without jurisdiction; (iii) in such circumstances, the principle would come into play, that a decree passed by a Court without jurisdiction is a nullity and that its invalidity could be setup whenever and wherever it is sought to be enforced or relied upon, even at the stage of execution and even in collateral proceedings and that a defect of jurisdiction strikes at the very authority of the Court to pass any decree and such a defect cannot be cured even by consent of parties; and, (iv) therefore the finding that the order passed (in that case) under Section 7(2) of the Land Reforms Act vesting the property in the Gaon Sabha was illegal, recorded in the earlier Civil Suit, had to be completely ignored.  

In the present case, the assail was to judgment and decree dated 19th January, 2011 of the Court of Additional District Judge  of dismissal of Regular First Appeal under Section 96 of the CPC preferred by the appellant / defendant (DDA) against the judgment and decree dated 1st February, 2005 of the Court of Civil Judge, Delhi, whereby the below Courts, allowed the suit of the predecessor of the respondents / plaintiffs against the appellant / defendant DDA and its officials as well as against the Union of India (UOI), restraining the appellant / defendant DDA and its officials from forcibly or illegally demolishing the room / khoka situated in Khasra No.2931/1661/2/1 in Khewat No.178, Khatauni No.479 of village Mehrauli, New Delhi. In second appeal, the HC was considering the said judgment of below Courts, and eventually set aside the decree of injunction passed by lower Court.

The suit, from which this Second Appeal arose before the HC, was filed by predecessor of the respondents / plaintiffs herein, against the appellant / defendant DDA, it officials and UOI, for permanent injunction to restrain the appellant / defendant DDA, its officials and UOI from demolishing the room in the suit property. However, undisputedly, there was an order dated 30th September, 1959, in earlier litigation, of vesting of subject land in the Gaon Sabha which was passed by the Revenue Assistant under the provisions of the Delhi Land Reforms Act, 1954, which had attained finality, as it was not challenged by the predecessor of the respondents/ plaintiffs in appropriate forum.

It was held by the HC that since the respondents / plaintiffs are admittedly in possession since long, whether it would be appropriate to maintain the decree for permanent injunction against the forceful dispossession, permitting appellant / defendant DDA to take legal recourse. The Court held, however on deeper consideration, it has decided against this course of action.  It was held that the reason therefor is, that the respondents / plaintiffs, whose rights in the subject land stood extinguished more than half a century back on 30th September, 1959, have, by resorting to successive legal proceedings, continued in possession. It was held that else it is abundantly borne out from above that the respondents / plaintiffs are rank trespassers over public property. It was held by the HC that it is thus not deemed appropriate to, by continuing the decree for permanent injunction against forceful dispossession, perpetuate the said illegal possession of the respondents / plaintiffs any further. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed by the HC, setting aside the decree of perpetual injunction.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published