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Name of the Case

Salim D. Agboatwala and Ors. v. Shamalji Oddavji Thakkar and Ors.

Key Takeaways

  • The petitioners had approached the Court challenging the decision of Agricultural Land Tribunal granting sale certificate.
  • The Court observed that the genuineness of the allegations is a question that is debatable and hence dismissing the suit without trial by the Trial Court and High Court was not correct.
  • The limitation can be decided on the basis of the issue and delivery of the notice and the petitioner’s knowledge and it cannot be dismissed under Order VII Rule 11 CPC.

Background

  • The petition was filed to challenge an Agricultural Land Tribunal order to grant a sale certificate in connection with a tenancy under the Maharashtra Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948.
  • The Trial Court rejected the plaint after hearing the contentions.
  • On appeal, the Bombay High Court also upheld the Trial Court’s decision to dismiss the plaint.

Contentions of the Petitioner

  • The defendants argued that the complaint, which was filed in 1987 and challenged the 1963 ruling, was time-barred.
  • They further claimed that under the Act, civil action against an ALT order was precluded.
  • They asked for the plaint to be dismissed under Order VII Rule 11 CPC.
  • The plaintiffs argued that the lawsuit was brought within the statute of limitations from the time they learned of the ALT's order.

Court’s Observation

  • The Supreme Court ruled that if the issue of limitation is a mixed question of law and fact, a plaint cannot be dismissed under Order VII Rule 11(d) of the Code of Civil Procedure.
  • “Whether or not this allegation is genuine, it was a triable point that should not have been dismissed at the outset.”
  • The facts on the issuance and delivery of notice, as well as the plaintiffs’ knowledge, will determine the answer to the issue of limitation.
  • The prohibition on civil action is not absolute.
  • The Court allowed the appeal.

Do you agree that the limitation should be determined by the facts? Tell us in the comments section below!

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