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"Inadequate Opportunity For Parties In Second Appeal Process Requires Remand For Fresh Consideration - Supreme Court Remanded A Second Appeal Case Due To A Procedural Error In The High Court, Emphasizing The Importance Of Fairness And Allowing Parties To Address Substantial Legal Questions."

SUDHANGEE HANDOO ,
  28 September 2023       Share Bookmark

Court :
Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
CIVIL APPEAL No. 6070 OF 2023

Case title:

SURESH LATARUJI RAMTEKE v. SAU SUMANBAI PANDURANG

PETKAR & ORS

Date of Order:

21st SEPTEMBER 2023

Bench:

HON’BLE JUSTICE B.R GAVAI & HON’BLE JUSTICE SANJAY KAROL

Parties:

APPELLANT - SURESH LATARUJI RAMTEKE

RESPONDENT – SAU SUMANBAI PANDURANG

PETKAR & ORS

SUBJECT:

The case's central issue is a contractual disagreement over the purchase of a plot of land in Navegaon with the survey number 236/2, measuring roughly 1.19 hectares. It primarily focuses on whether the parties reached an agreement for the defendant to sell the plaintiff's land for a specific price, whether earnest money was paid, and whether the plaintiff was prepared and willing to uphold the contract's obligations. The case also explores the plaintiff's right to specific relief, particularly the enforcement of the sale agreement. The legal proceedings concern matters pertaining to the agreement's legality and execution, financial transactions, and contractual obligations.

 

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS:

Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) -

  1. Section 100: This section deals with the second appeal to the High Court and outlines the conditions under which a second appeal can be filed on substantial questions of law.
  2. Section 100(5): This subsection of Section 100 allows the respondent in a second appeal to argue that the case does not involve substantial questions of law.

 

OVERVIEW:

This legal dispute is based on a convoluted chain of circumstances and rulings. It concerns issues with the execution and legality of a land sale contract, payments made, and the willingness of one party to carry out the terms of the agreement. The case also investigates whether the plaintiff is entitled to the particular relief requested, raising legal concerns about contractual obligations, evidence, and the appellate procedure. The case involves complex legal and factual issues that the courts will need to carefully consider and analyse.

 

ISSUES RAISED:

Whether the High Court, in a second appeal, framed substantial questions of law at the time of admission and allowed the parties adequate opportunity to address those questions before making a decision?

 

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT:

  1. The appellant argued that the High Court's decision was against accepted legal principles because the crucial legal issues were raised during the second hearing without giving the parties enough time to respond.
  2. The appellant claimed that the High Court's decision to dismiss the appeal without giving the parties a full opportunity to present their cases was hurried and in violation of the law that requires hearings on all issues.
  3. The appellant emphasised that the Court should have followed the sequential procedure outlined in pertinent legal precedents for framing substantial questions, hearing the parties, and then ruling on the appeal.
  4. It was argued that the High Court should have adhered to the established guidelines for interfering with factual findings and that overturning concurrent findings of fact without properly reviewing the trial court records was unfair to the Court of First Appeal.
  5. In order to support overturning such findings, the appellant expressed concerns about a lack of evidence or perverseness in the findings, emphasising that this should be proven after a careful examination of the trial court records.

 

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT:

  1. The respondent argued that the High Court rendered a valid judgement because it correctly applied the rules for framing important legal issues at the second hearing.
  2. It was argued that the appellant had the opportunity to respond to any substantial legal questions that the High Court decided to raise during the hearing.
  3. The respondent insisted that the High Court's strategy was legal and permitted a quicker resolution of the appeal.
  4. According to the argument, the findings of fact were correctly overturned based on legal analysis and did not necessitate a review of the trial court's files.
  5. The respondent made sure to emphasise that the High Court's choice to pose important questions during the hearing was both legal and did not harm the appellant's rights.

 

JUDGEMENT ANALYSIS:

  1. The appellant in the case opposed the concurrent factual conclusions reached by the lower courts regarding a property dispute in a second appeal before the High Court.
  2. The appellant claimed that during the second hearing, the High Court had improperly framed important legal issues without giving the parties enough time to respond.
  3. The respondent argued that the High Court's strategy was appropriate because it permitted a quicker resolution of the appeal and did not contravene legal requirements.
  4. The Supreme Court emphasised that in second appeals, important legal issues should be raised at the time of admission and that the parties should have enough time to respond.
  5. It was observed that the High Court had raised important issues during the second hearing and dismissed the appeal without giving it due consideration.
  6. The Supreme Court emphasised the significance of hearing parties on all posed questions and held that the High Court's strategy violated the procedural requirements for second appeals.
  7. The case was returned to the High Court so that it could be reviewed properly.
  8. The judgement reaffirmed the importance of adhering to the sequential procedure in second appeals, including formulating substantial questions of law, hearing parties, and reviewing trial court records when reversing findings of fact.
  9. The decision emphasised the importance of following the law and ensuring procedural fairness in appellate proceedings.

 

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, the Supreme Court's ruling in this case emphasises how crucial it is to uphold procedural fairness and legal requirements when deciding second appeals. The case emphasises the necessity of a step-by-step procedure that includes appropriate framing of significant legal issues, hearing parties on those issues, and, when overturning findings of fact, a careful review of trial court records. The Supreme Court reiterates the requirement that appellate proceedings follow a structured and equitable approach, ensuring that parties are given sufficient opportunities to present their arguments and that judgement are reached in accordance with the law, by remanding the case to the High Court.

 

 
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