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Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. And Anothervs. ATM Constructions Pvt. Ltd. (Neutral Citation: 2023 INSC 1042) - (Supreme Court) (30 Nov 2023)

Suit seeking damages for illegal use of property is maintainable, even after, filing of suit for possession against the same property

MANU/SC/1283/2023

Property

Challenge in the present appeal is to the order passed by the High Court, vide which the application filed by the Appellants/Defendants under Order VII Rule 11(d) of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) in the suit filed by the Respondent-Plaintiff, was dismissed.

The primary issue which requires consideration by present Court to appreciate the arguments regarding maintainability of the is with reference to cause of action. The first suit was filed by the respondent for possession, whereas the second suit was filed for damages for use and occupation of the property after expiry of the lease period.

it is undisputed that, the Respondent-Plaintiff is the absolute owner of the property in dispute at present. The lease of the property in favour of the Appellants by the predecessors-in-interest of the respondents expired on 31st December, 1997. After a prolonged litigation, the possession was handed over to the respondent only in June 2022. The first suit was filed seeking possession of the property. No claim was made regarding mesne profits. Subsequent suit was filed claiming damages for use and occupation of the property from 1998 onwards.

Suit for possession and suit for claiming damages for use and occupation of the property are two different causes of action. There being different consideration for adjudication, second suit filed by the respondent claiming damages for use and occupation of the premises was maintainable. The application filed by the appellants for rejection of the plaint was rightly dismissed by the Courts below. However, the Appellants are well within their right to raise the issue, if any part of the claim in the suit is time-barred but the entire claim cannot be said to be so. There is no merit in the present appeal. Appeal dismissed.

Tags : SUBSEQUENT SUIT   CAUSE OF ACTION   MAINTAINABILITY  

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