Sunday, 3 March 2019

Whether court can impose condition to implead legal heirs while staying subsequent suit?

 The basic purpose of this section is to protect a person from multiplicity of proceedings as also to avoid conflict decisions. Section 10 CPC is an independent provision. The same is untrammeled by any provision of CPC. Provisions of Section 10 and Order 22 Rules 3 & 4 CPC operate in different field. They embrace the fields which are covered by the conditions embodied therein. The provisions of Order 22 CPC do not in any way circumscribe or limit the operation of Section 10 CPC. If the conditions enumerated in Section 10 CPC are satisfied, then the Court shall stay the further proceeding of the suit. Whether the suit will fail or abate, it is not the determining factor for deciding the application u/s. 10 CPC. While deciding the application u/s. 10 CPC, the Court cannot impose any condition.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF ORISSA AT CUTTACK

CMP No. 987 of 2014

Decided On: 05.12.2018

 Binapani Jethi  Vs. Bijay Kumar Jethi and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Dr. Akshaya Kumar Rath, J.

Citation: AIR 2019 Orissa 17


1. This petition challenges the order dated 4.8.2014 passed by the learned Senior Civil Judge, 1st Court, Cuttack in C.S. No. 146 of 2001, whereby and whereunder, learned trial court deferred the hearing of application u/s. 10 CPC to stay further proceeding of the suit and imposed conditions on the plaintiff to take steps for appearance of L.Rs of Arjuna Behera.

2. The plaintiff-petitioner instituted C.S. No. 146 of 2001 for partition of schedule-B property. The defendants entered appearance and filed an application u/s. 10 CPC to stay further proceeding of the suit till disposal of the First Appeal No. 224 of 1990 pending before this Court. It is stated that the plaintiff instituted the suit for partition claiming 1/4th share in schedule-B property which comprises of 5 Lots. Out of 5 Lots, the property covered under Lot No. 2 appertains to Hal Settlement Khata No. 303, Plot No. 296-A0.430 and Plot No. 296/942-A0.006 dec. in Mouza-Cuttack Town, Unit No. 37, Badambadi. It is further stated that Arjun Behera and his four sons filed T.S. No. 86 of 1981 against Dijabara Jethi, father of the plaintiff, defendant nos. 1 and 2 and husband of defendant no. 3 for declaration of title and confirmation of possession over the property. During pendency of the suit, Arjuna Behera died, whereafter his widow and daughters were substituted. Similarly, after death of Dijabara, the present plaintiff and defendants were substituted as defendant nos. 1(a) to 1(d) respectively. They filed a counter claim for permanent injunction, damages and other ancillary reliefs against the plaintiffs. By judgment and decree dated 30.4.1990 and 11.5.1990 respectively, the suit was decreed and counter claim was dismissed. Aggrieved by the said judgment and decree, the L.Rs of Dijabara Jethi filed First Appeal No. 224 of 1990 before this Court. The same is sub-judice. In para-5(a) of the written statement, the defendants have specifically pleaded that Ruma Bewa and others, who are the L.Rs of Arjuna Behera, have interest over the property described in Lot No. 2 of schedule-B property and figured as defendants in First Appeal No. 224 of 1990. The dispute relates to right, title, interest over Lot No. 2 of schedule-B property is pending before this Court in First Appeal No. 224 of 1990 and adjudication of the dispute in the present suit is fully dependent upon the final result of the aforementioned First Appeal. Accordingly, a prayer is made to stay the further proceeding of the present suit till disposal of First Appeal No. 224 of 1990.

3. The plaintiff filed objection denying the assertions made by the defendants. She admitted institution of the suit and pendency of the First Appeal No. 224 of 1990 before this Court. It was stated that the plaintiff filed a petition in First Appeal No. 224 of 1990 bearing Misc. Case No. 53 of 2009 praying that she relinquished her right over the suit property in favour of her brothers and mother and did not want to pursue the appeal as an appellant. The same was allowed. The plaintiff, who was appellant no. 2 in the First Appeal No. 224 of 1990, was transposed as respondent no. 9. It was further stated that the plaintiff filed an application in the suit under Order 23 Rule 1 CPC abandoning her claim in respect of Lot No. 2 of schedule-B property. The same was allowed by order dated 2.7.2011. Against the said order, defendant nos. 1 and 2 filed W.P.(C) No. 21445 of 2011 before this Court. The petition was disposed of on 27.3.2014 modifying the order dated 2.7.2011. Since the plaintiff has already relinquished her right over Lot No. 2 of schedule-B property, there is no justification to stay further proceeding of the present suit till disposal of First Appeal No. 224 of 1990.

4. The learned trial court came to hold that Lot No. 2 of schedule-B property was the subject matter of dispute in T.S. No. 86 of 1981. The suit was decreed by declaring the right, title and interest of the plaintiffs over the suit schedule property. Assailing the judgment and decree, the defendants filed First Appeal No. 224 of 1990, which is sub-judice before this Court. The result of the First Appeal No. 224 of 1990 will be the determining factor to decide the suit for partition in which the property described in Lot No. 2 of schedule-B of the plaint is also one amongst the other properties. It further held that the L.Rs of Arjuna Behera, who are respondents in First Appeal No. 224 of 1990, are necessary parties in the suit and in their absence, no effective partition can be made. Neither the plaintiffs nor the defendants have filed an application to implead the L.Rs of late Arjuna Behera, particularly when their interest are involved in the present suit. Impleadment of L.Rs of Arjuna Behera in the present suit is badly required for just decision of the case. Held so, it directed the plaintiff to make the L.Rs of Arjuna Behera as defendants in the present suit and deferred the application u/s. 10 CPC to stay further proceeding of the suit.

5. Heard Mr. Damodar Deo, learned Advocate for the petitioner and Mr. Soumya Mishra, learned Advocate on behalf of Mr. S.P. Mishra, learned Senior Advocate for opposite parties 1 & 2.

6. Mr. Deo, learned Advocate for the petitioner submits that the Court cannot impose any condition on the plaintiff while deciding an application u/s. 10 CPC. The order is not sustainable in the eye of law.

7. Per contra, Mr. Mishra, learned Advocate for opposite parties 1 & 2 submits that the order passed by the learned trial court is perfectly legal, valid and justified. Lot No. 2 of schedule-B property is the subject matter of dispute. The result of the First Appeal No. 224 of 1990 shall decide the fate of the suit. The L.Rs of Arjuna Behera are respondents in the First Appeal. They are necessary parties. In view of the same, learned trial court has directed the plaintiff to implead them.

8. Before proceeding further, it is apt to refer to Section 10 CPC. Section 10 CPC reads as follows:-

"10. Stay of suit.-No Court shall proceed with the trial of any suit in which the matter in issue is also directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit between the same parties, or between parties under whom they or any of them claim litigating under the same title where such suit is pending in the same or any other Court in India having jurisdiction to grant the relief claimed, or in any Court beyond the limits of India established or continued by the Central Government and having like jurisdiction, or before the Supreme Court."
9. On a bare reading of Section 10 CPC, it is evident that the following conditions must be fulfilled to attract the provisions of Section 10 CPC.

1. The suit must be between the parties.

2. The matter in issue in the later suit must be directly and substantially the same as in the previous suit.

3. On the date of application, both the suits must be pending.

4. The parties must be litigating under the same title.

10. In Indian Bank v. Maharastra State Co-operative Marketing Federation Ltd., MANU/SC/0350/1998 : A.I.R. 1998 SC 1952, the Apex Court in paragraph-8 of the report held:

"8. .......The object of the prohibition contained in Section 10 is to prevent the Courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously trying two parallel suits and also to avoid inconsistent findings on the matters in issue. The provision is in the nature of a rule of procedure and does not affect the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain and deal with the later suit nor does it create any substantive right in the matters. It is not a bar to the institution of a suit. It has been construed by the Court as not a bar of the passing of interlocutory orders such as an order for consolidation of the later suit with earlier suit, or appointment of a Receiver or an injunction or attachment before judgment. The course of action which the Court has to follow according to Section 10 is not to proceed with the 'trial' of the suit but that does not mean that it cannot deal with the subsequent suit any more or for any other purpose. In view of the object and nature of the provision and the fairly settled legal position with respect to passing of interlocutory orders it has to be stated that the word 'trial' in Section 10 is not used in its widest sense."
11. In National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences v. C. Parameshwara, MANU/SC/1063/2004 : AIR 2005 SC 242, the Apex Court in paragraph-8 of the report held:

"8. The object underlying section 10 is to prevent Courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously trying two parallel suits in respect of the same matter in issue. The object underlying Section 10 is to avoid two parallel trials on the same issue by two Courts and to avoid recording of conflicting findings on issues which are directly and substantially in issue in previously instituted suit. The language of Section 10 suggests that it is referable to a suit instituted in the civil Court and it cannot apply to proceedings of other nature instituted under any other statute. The object of Section 10 is to prevent Courts of concurrent jurisdiction from simultaneously trying two parallel suits between the same parties in respect of the same matter in issue. The fundamental test to attract section 10 is, whether on final decision being reached in the previous suit, such decision would operate as res judicata in the subsequent suit. Section 10 applies only in cases where the whole of the subject matter in both the suits is identical. The key words in section 10 are "the matter in issue is directly and substantially in issue" in the previous instituted suit. The words "directly and substantially in issue" are used in contradistinction to the words "incidentally or collaterally in issue". Therefore, section 10 would apply only if there is identity of the matter in issue in both the suits, meaning thereby, that the whole of subject matter in both the proceedings is identical."
12. The basic purpose of this section is to protect a person from multiplicity of proceedings as also to avoid conflict decisions. Section 10 CPC is an independent provision. The same is untrammeled by any provision of CPC. Provisions of Section 10 and Order 22 Rules 3 & 4 CPC operate in different field. They embrace the fields which are covered by the conditions embodied therein. The provisions of Order 22 CPC do not in any way circumscribe or limit the operation of Section 10 CPC. If the conditions enumerated in Section 10 CPC are satisfied, then the Court shall stay the further proceeding of the suit. Whether the suit will fail or abate, it is not the determining factor for deciding the application u/s. 10 CPC. While deciding the application u/s. 10 CPC, the Court cannot impose any condition.

13. Resultantly, the impugned order is quashed. The learned trial court shall decide the application u/s. 10 CPC on merit. The petition is allowed. No costs.


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