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Brij Narayan Shukla (D) Thr. Lrs. vs Sudesh Kumar Alias Suresh Kumar Thr. Lrs. & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 9) - (Supreme Court) (03 Jan 2024)

Tenancy is permissive, tenant cannot claim adverse possession



The Plaintiff is in appeal assailing the correctness of the judgment passed by the Allahabad High Court allowing Second Appeal whereby, both the judgments of the First Appeal Court and the Trial Court were set aside and the suit of the Plaintiff Appellant was dismissed on the ground of limitation being barred by time.

High Court has not dealt with the findings recorded by the Trial Court and the First Appeal Court with respect to the issue of Limitation and the evidence considered by them.The High Court was hearing the Second Appeal under Section 100 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) and it having reappreciated the findings to disturb findings of fact, committed an error.The High Court has not recorded any finding that, the Plaintiff Appellants were not the owners or that they have failed to prove the ownership. .

The suit of the year 1944 was for the arrears of rent and not relating to any dispute of possession. The defendant Respondents were tenants and therefore their possession was permissive as against the then landlords. There was no question of them claiming any adverse possession from 1944.

The plaintiff Appellants got their ownership/title under the registered sale deed on 21.01.1966. The dispute for possession vis-à-vis the defendant respondents would arise only after the said date and not on any date prior to it. Admittedly from the date of the sale deed, the suit was filed within the period of 12 years in May, 1975. Even if it is assumed that, the Defendant Respondents were in possession from prior to 1944, their possession could not have been adverse even to the Zamindars as they were tenants and their tenancy would be permissible in nature and not adverse. There were no proceedings for possession prior to 1966.

Further, the first appellate court having recorded a specific finding that, the land in suit was not covered by Zamindari Abolition as it was non- agricultural land, the claim of ownership from the date of abolition of Zamindari was also without any merit. The finding has not been disturbed by the High Court. The Defendant- Respondents thus having failed to establish their title, would have no right to retain the possession. The impugned judgment and order of the High Court is set aside and that of the First Appellate Court decreeing the suit for possession is maintained. Appeal allowed.


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