The widow, Santosh, had inherited huge property after the death of her husband. Her brother-in-law, Jagat Ram, offered to ‘help her’ claim the property. He took her to the revenue office, got her thumb impressions on four or five documents and instead got the property registered in his name.
Once that was done, he tried to evict Santosh from her house and took possession of her farm land. The widow went to court in 1990.
After hearing the case for years, the trial court rejected her plea saying she had taken too long to approach the court, since the decree or entitlement in the brother-in-law’s name had been procured in 1985. The
During the hearings in the lower court, Santosh had also objected to her lawyer filing documents on behalf of the opposite party.
When the apex court heard of this, it said, “We’re convinced this was nothing but a very poor attempt to get the fate of the appellant (Santosh) sealed.”
“To say we are surprised would be an understatement,’’ observed a bench of justices VS Sirpurkar and Surinder Singh Nijjar.
“Unfortunately, all this has escaped the notice of the high court, who passed a very casual judgment without bothering to notice these glaring facts,’’ the bench added.
The decree procured by ‘fraud’ in 1985, that deprived Santosh of her property, can’t match any “better example of a fraudulent decree’’.
The apex court bench scrapped the orders passed by the high court and the trial court that denied Santosh the right to challenge deprivation of her property, saying “ fraud puts an end to everything’’.
Such fraudulent orders are null in law, the Supreme Court said. The judges restored the property to Santosh and fined her brother-in-law Rs25,000.