Mumtaz Yarud Dowla Wakf v. M/S Badam Balakrishna Hotel Pvt. Ltd. & Ors.
Date of Order:
20 October, 2023
Hon’ble Mr. Justice M.M. Sundresh
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra
Appellant(s): Mumtaz Yarud Dowla Wakf
Respondent(s): M/S Badam Balakrishna Hotel Pvt. Ltd. & Ors.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (hereinafter referred to as the ‘the Supreme Court’ or ‘the Court’) in the case dealt with the impugned order of the Hon’ble High Court of Telangana over the possession of a Wakf property, condemning the dilatory tactics of the respondent(s).
The Wakf Act, 1995 (the Act):
- Section 6
- Section 7
- Section 83 r/w Section 85
The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC):
- Section 9
- Section 47
- The Appellant was the undisputed owner of the suit property who leased it to the respondent for a period of 33 years. Respondents 1&2 sublet the property without permission.
- Upon the expiry of the lease, the Appellant issued a legal notice to the respondents to vacate the property but the respondents did not do so claiming that the lease had been orally extended for another 33 years in their reply.
- Appellant filed a suit before the Wakf Tribunal for ejectment & recovery of possession along with arrears of rent and damages. The suit was passed, dismissed against respondents 3,4,5, & 7.
- Respondents 1 and 2 filed a revision petition, dissatisfied with the decree passed, and kept adopting deferring tactics to the extent at which the Appellant had to file an execution petition.
- Respondents filed a counter plea relying on the dictum of Faseela M. v. Munnerul Islam Madrasa Committee & Another (2014), which relied upon Ramesh Gobindram (Dead) through Lrs. V. Sugra Humayun Mirza Wakf (2010).
- Telangana High Court passed a judgment reversing the decision of the Executing Court by relying on Ramesh Gobindram (Supra) which has been challenged in this appeal.
- Can Executing Court go beyond the decree?
- Does a party to a suit have any vested right of forum as against action?
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT:
- No objections filed by respondents till the stage of execution petition.
- Ramesh Gobindram (Supra) has been considered and explained by this Court in Rashid Wali Beg v. Farid Pindari and Ors., 2022 where the basis of the judgment has been removed through the amendment brought under Act 27 of 2013.
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT:
- There are many jurisdictions to be considered besides Ramesh Gobindram (Supra) which deal with Wakf and Wakf Property.
- Section 83 r/w section 85 of the Act being distinct and independent provisions, clothe the Wakf Tribunal with adequate jurisdictions.
- Plea of nullity can be taken at any stage.
- An Executing Court cannot go beyond the decree, subject to the rigor of section 47 r/w Order XXI of the CPC. An Executing Court is responsible for executing a decree mandated with the task of enforcing it. Any intervention, even in cases related to jurisdiction, should be carried out sparingly and only in exceptional circumstances.
- The behaviour of a party is crucial. If one party seems to be gaining an unfair advantage, even when they had a chance to raise a plea of lack of jurisdiction earlier, they should not be allowed to bring said objection during the execution of proceedings.
- The case is a belated attempt tailored to suit his convenience. Acknowledgment made of previous legal decisions but circumstances have evolved significantly since, as observed in Union of India and Ors. v. N. Murugesan and Others, 2022.
- When a specific forum does not encompass any substantive rights, retrospective application must be granted, as established in the case of New India Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Smt. Shanti Misra, 1975. A party to a lis does not have any vested right of forum as against action.
- By section 9 of CPC, it is evident that the Court must ascertain the presence of jurisdiction, prima facie. This process will prevent subjecting the parties to undue uncertainty and difficulties as observed in the case of Vankamamidi Venkata Subba Rao v. Chatlapalli Seetharamaratna Ranganayakkama, 1997.
- When a lis is entertained, the Court bears the primary responsibility of self-assessment to confirm the existence of jurisdiction, even if this matter has not been raised by the involved parties.
- In a scenario where a Court has neglected to verify its jurisdiction and a plea is raised subsequently, after an adverse judgment has been delivered, the forum should not be deemed lacking jurisdiction, especially when there is no apparent injury to the rights established under a specific statute.
- An adjudicating forum stemming from a procedural right, must be subjected to retrospective operation when an amendment is introduced to rectify a flaw that led to the Court reaching a different conclusion. (Madras Bar Association v. Union of India and Another, 2022)
The principle governing the absence of jurisdiction in a specific forum might vary in situations where two or more forums are simultaneously addressing the same matter, including the rights and obligations of the involved parties. The Court noted that the respondents no. 1 & 2 have persistently obstructed the course of justice by prolonging the legal proceedings which has allowed them to retain possession for more than twenty years, and refrained on commenting on their conduct. The Court set aside the impugned order passed by the High Court by restoring the order passed by the Executing Court. Appeal is allowed with no order as to costs.