* IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT New Delhi
% Judgment reserved on: 07.08.2012
Judgment pronounced on: 13.08.2012
+ CS(OS) 844/2010 & IA No.20093/2011 (u/Order VII Rule 11 CPC)
THROW BALL FEDERATION OF
UOI ..... Defendant
Advocates who appeared in this case:
For the Plaintiff: Mr. Arjun Singh Bawa
For the Defendant no.3: Mr. Sudhir Nagar
HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE V.K.JAIN
V.K. JAIN, J.
IA No.20093/2011 (u/Order VII Rule 11 CPC)
1. This is a suit for declaration and injunction. The plaintiff claims to be the true and authentic sports federation formed in the year 1977 for promoting sports of “Throw Ball‟ in the country. The plaintiff was registered at Jind, Haryana, vide registration number 113/82-83 dated 5.5.1982 under Societies Registration Act, 1880. It is alleged in the plaint that Mr. T. Ramanna, who was appointed as Honorary Secretary General in the meeting of the plaintiff held on 11.8.1989, till the next general elections, got defendant no.3, Society registered with Registrar of Societies, Bangalore, vide registration number 38/89-90 dated 13.4.1989. It is further alleged that the plaintiff had received due recognition from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, vide its letter dated 11.8.1992. However, Mr. T. Ramanna in collusion with the officers in the Ministry, was able to substitute his name as Secretary of “Throw Ball Federation of India” and also substitute the plaintiff federation‟s registration certificate bearing number 113/82-83 with registration certificate of defendant no.3 bearing number 38/89-90. The Ministry of Human Resources and Development, Department of Youth and Sports Affairs started corresponding with Mr. T. Ramanna and some officials of the Ministry helped him in getting recognized as Secretary of „Throw Ball Federation of India‟. The following reliefs have been claimed in the present suit:
“a. To make a decree of declaration that the Plaintiff Federation is the true authentic apex „Throw Ball Federation‟ and the Defendant no.3 is a sham organization. b. To make a decree of mandatory injunction in favour of the plaintiff Federation and against the Defendants no.1 and No.2, directing Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (Defendant no.2) to recognize the Plaintiff Federation as the true authentic „Throw Ball Federation‟. c. To make a decree of prohibitory injunction in favour of the plaintiff Federation and against the Defendant no.3 Federation restraining Defendant no.3 Federation from using the name „Throw Ball Federation of India‟ and organizing sports events, tournaments, tours, seeking government grants or for whatsoever purpose maybe.”
2. IA No.20093/2011 under Order VII Rule 11 of Code of Civil Procedure has been filed by the defendant no.3 for rejection of the plaint, inter alia, on the ground that the suit is clearly barred by limitation.
3. It is settled proposition of law that while considering an application under Order VII Rule 11 of CPC for rejection of plaint, the Court can take into consideration only the averments made in the plaint and the documents filed by the plaintiff. Neither the defence taken in the written statement nor the documents filed by the defendant can be looked into at this stage. It is also a settled proposition of law that the truthfulness or otherwise of the averments cannot be examined while considering such an application.
4. Article 50 to 58 of the Limitation Act prescribe the period of limitation for the suits relating to declaration. Article 56 and 57 pertains to specific declaration and do not apply to the case before this Court. Article 58, which applies to the relief of declaration claimed in the suit prescribes the period of limitation of three years starting from the date when the right to sue first accrues.
5. Article 58 of the Limitation Act, 1965 came up for consideration before the Supreme court in Khatri Hotels Pvt. Ltd. and another vs. Union of India and another [2011 (9) SCC 126]. The Apex Court in that case, noted that while enacting Article 58 of 1963 Act, the legislature designedly had made a departure from the language of Article 120 of 1905 Act which provided the limitation of six years from the date when the right to sue accrues. The Apex Court held that if a suit is based on legal cause of action, the period of limitation will begin to run from the date when the right to sue first accrues and that successive violation of the right will not give rise to a fresh cause of action and the suit will be liable to be dismissed, if it is beyond the period of limitation, counted from the date when the right to sue first accrued.
6. The plaintiff‟s own case is that defendant no.3 society was registered with Registrar of Societies of Bangalore on 13.4.1989. The grievance of the plaintiff in nutshell is that the Government of India has discarded the recognition granted to it and recognized defendant no.3 „Throw Ball Federation of India‟. The plaint does not disclose as to when the plaintiff came to know of recognition of defendant no.3 by the Government of India. However, the documents filed with the plaint clearly show that the plaintiff had come to know, prior to 11.01.2003, that Mr. T. Ramanna had been able to get defendant no.3 recognized from Government of India. Vide letter dated 11.01.2003 sent to Executive Director (Dean), Sports Authority of India, which is a document filed with the plaint, the plaintiff, inter alia, stated as under:
“23. In the meantime, Mr. T. Ramanna using ambiguous means established himself as Secretary of TFI in the ministry. 24. After getting the news we lodged a protest in the Ministry of Sports. Kindly do justice by correcting the address of our Throwball Federation of
7. Vide letter dated 5.9.2005 written to the Sports Secretary, Ministry of Youth Welfare and Sports, Government of India, which again is a document filed with the plaint, the plaintiff, inter alia, stated as under:
“5. By preparing falls paper and documents, Mr. Ramanna declared himself as Secretary of Throwball Federation of
8. Since the above document clearly disclose knowledge of the plaintiff with respect to the recognition of defendant no.3 by Government of India, Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, the right to sue, the declaration claimed by the plaintiff had, for the first time, accrued sometime prior to 11.01.2003. The suit having been filed on 23.3.2010 is, therefore, clearly barred by limitation.
9. As regards the relief of mandatory injunction, the right to sue accrued to the plaintiff when it came to know that the Government of India had recognized defendant no.3 as „Throw Ball Federation of India‟, in place of the plaintiff society. As regards relief of prohibitory injunction, restraining defendant no.2 from using „Throw Ball Federation of India and organizing the sports events, tournaments etc, it is the plaintiff‟s own case in the plaint that on discovering unscrupulous activities of Mr. T. Ramanna, it had filed a suit for permanent injunction before the learned Sub Judge, First Class being Suit No.292/1989 seeking permanently restraining the defendant no.3 from organizing any tournament in India in the name of „Throw Ball Federation of India. Therefore, the right to sue, to claim this relief had accrued to the plaintiff prior to the filing of the civil suit in the year 1989. This relief, as claimed by the plaintiff, therefore, is barred by limitation.
10. For the reasons stated hereinabove, the plaint is rejected. The suit as well as the IA stand disposed of. In the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be no orders as to costs.