Sunday 18 February 2024

Supreme Court: Suit for declaration of title simpliciter is not maintainable without claiming consequential relief of possession

 In Ram Saran v. Ganga Devi [MANU/SC/0523/1972 : (1973) 2 SCC 60] this Court had categorically held that the suit seeking for declaration of title of ownership but where possession is not sought, is hit by the proviso of Section 34 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 and, thus, not maintainable. In Vinay Krishna v. Keshav Chandra [MANU/SC/0136/1993 : 1993 Supp (3) SCC 129] this Court dealt with a similar issue where the Plaintiff was not in exclusive possession of property and had filed a suit seeking declaration of title of ownership. Similar view has been reiterated observing that the suit was not maintainable, if barred by the proviso to Section 34 of the Specific Relief Act. (See also Gian Kaur v. Raghubir Singh [MANU/SC/0289/2011 : 2011:INSC:97 : (2011) 4 SCC 567).{Para 56}


57. In view of the above, the law becomes crystal clear that it is not permissible to claim the relief of declaration without seeking consequential relief.

58. In the instant case, the suit for declaration of title of ownership had been filed, though Respondent 1-Plaintiff was admittedly not in possession of the suit property. Thus, the suit was barred by the provisions of Section 34 of the Specific Relief Act and, therefore, ought to have been dismissed solely on this ground. The High Court though framed a substantial question on this point but for unknown reasons did not consider it proper to decide the same.

30. In Venkataraja and Ors. v. Vidyane Doureradjaperumal (Dead) thr. LRs (2-Judge Bench) MANU/SC/0354/2013 : 2013:INSC:236 : (2014) 14 SCC 502, the purpose behind Section 34 was elucidated by this Court. It was observed that the purpose behind the inclusion of the proviso is to prevent multiplicity of proceedings. It was further expounded that a mere declaratory decree remains non-executable in most cases. This Court noted that the suit was never amended, even at a later stage to seek the consequential relief and therefore, it was held to be not maintainable. 


Civil Appeal No. 3854 of 2014

Decided On: 13.02.2024

Vasantha (Dead) thr. L.R. Vs. Rajalakshmi (Dead) thr. L.Rs.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:

Hrishikesh Roy and Sanjay Karol, JJ.

Author: Sanjay Karol, J.

Citation:  MANU/SC/0105/2024.

Read full Judgment here: Click here.

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