The civil court shall have jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature and one has the right to bring a suit of civil nature of one’s choice however frivolous the claim may be, unless it is barred by a statute
Bench: C.K. Thakker, D.K. Jain
On 2/28th March, 2005, a gazette Notification was issued under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short `the Act') for acquiring land belonging to one Tek Chand, the original owner, for construction of approach road for Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, Dehradun (herein referred as Hospital). Tek Chand objected to the said acquisition. In the meanwhile, on 25th May, 2005, he alienated a part of the said land in favor of appellants by way of gift deeds.
4. On 4th July, 2005, preferred a Writ Petition challenging the validity of Notifications under Sections 4 and 6 of the Act. It appears that a clarification was issued by the State Government to the effect that the possession of the passage to the Hospital shall remain with them; the Government would be making financial contribution in its construction and the public would be entitled to use the same. In the affidavit filed on behalf of the Government in the Writ Petition it was reiterated that the road was not going to be used exclusively by the Hospital. Ultimately, the Writ Petition was dismissed. Special Leave Petition filed by Tek Chand against the said order was also dismissed. Licence deed in respect of the said land was executed in favour of the Hospital and construction of the road commenced sometime later.
5. Apprehending that the Hospital was planning to raise a wall on both sides of the road, obstructing use of the road by the public at large, including the appellants, the appellants filed the aforementioned two suits against the Hospital and Tek Chand for perpetual injunction in the court of Civil Judge (JD), Dehradun, restraining the Hospital from raising construction of any nature in the said property. Applications under Order 39, Rules 1 & 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (for short "the Code") were also filed for grant of interim injunction.
6. The suits were contested by the Hospital. Taking into consideration the written statement filed on behalf of the Hospital and after hearing the parties, the trial court, by detailed orders granted temporary injunction in favor of the appellants and restrained the Hospital from constructing boundary wall on both sides of the road in question. Being aggrieved, the Hospital, filed appeals to the court of District Judge, Dehradun. Arguments in the appeals were heard and orders were reserved.
7. During the pendency of the appeals, Tek Chand filed yet another Writ, inter alia, alleging that the acquisition was fraudulent. While entertaining the Writ Petition, exercising its power under Section 24 of the Code, vide an ex-parte order, the High Court transferred both the said suits as well as the civil appeals to itself in order to get the dispute settled between the parties. In the said order, the High Court directed that both the lower courts shall give notices to all the parties in the suit and the appeals, informing them that the suits and appeals stand transferred to the High Court and they were required to appear in person before the Court. On the said order being communicated to the appellants, they filed Misc. Application in the said Writ Petition seeking recall of order. When the Writ Petition came up for consideration, the High Court dismissed both the suits and the appeals.
1. Whether the High Court committed an error in dismissing the suits Contentions raised by the Appellant:
The appellants contended that the High court has committed a manifest error in dismissing the suits by a cryptic order without taking into consideration the nature and the purport of the two suits.
It was also contended that the scope of the Writ Petition filed by the original owner of the subject land and the suits filed by the appellants was entirely different inasmuch as in the suits there is no challenge to the acquisition of the piece of land as in the case of the Writ Petition.
Contentions raised by the Respondents:
The respondent (Hospital) submitted that said suits were nothing but yet another attempt by the original owner, herein, to somehow retain the control on the acquired land, now a public road, as it would enhance the value of his remaining land on both sides of the road.
The respondent (State Government) contended that both the suits being meritless, the High Court was justified in dismissing them.
The Supreme Court held that under Section 9 of the Code, the civil court shall have jurisdiction to try all suits of a civil nature and one has the right to bring a suit of civil nature of one’s choice however frivolous the claim may be, unless it is barred by a statute.
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