The Andhra Pradesh High Court has observed that a man of reasonable prudence would not keep quiet for 22 years if his general power of attorney were obtained through threat or coercion.

In that context, the Bench of Justice AV Ravindra Babu observed that,"Having regard to the natural course of conduct of a man of reasonable prudence, this Court is of the view that if really the contents of Ex.B.2 were on account of any threat or coercion, plaintiff would not have kept quiet. In the light of the above, the plaintiff had every knowledge about the contents of Ex.B.2, registered GPA and it has to be inferred ultimately that if the plaintiff did not voluntarily execute Ex.B.2, the registered GPA in favour of Kanchaiah, he would not have kept quiet."

Counsel V. Venugopala Rao appeared for the appellant, while Counsel Sunkara Rajendra Prasad appeared for the respondent.

In 1994, the petitioner's brother-in-law informed him about a loan from Mandapu Venkateswa that he couldn't repay. The petitioner, deciding to settle the debt, sold his property to Venkateswara Rao by executing and registering a GPA. Once the sister and brother-in-law managed to repay the loan in December, the property was transferred back to their names. The petitioner, however, claimed that he was coerced into signing the GPA for his property and filed a suit for declaration and perpetual injunction.

The lower court dismissed the petition, prompting the petitioner to appeal.

The respondent asserted that the petitioner, being well-educated, willingly executed the registered GPA and signed the documents. It was claimed the defendant purchased the land for a legitimate consideration and paid amounts in instalments before the sale deed's execution. The respondent argued that the petitioner failed to challenge the GPA's validity earlier and remained silent for about 22 years, making it questionable. They contended that the relief of declaration is discretionary and the petitioner didn't approach the court with clean hands.

The Court observed that, "The relief of declaration sought for by the plaintiff is discretionary one. It is a case where he kept quiet all through for about 22 or 23 years having executed Ex.B.2. Under the circumstances, the plaintiff cannot succeed basing on the weakness of the defendant. It is the plaintiff who approached the Court seeking declaration of title without making proper pleadings so as to brand Ex.B.2 as vitiated by fraud or undue influence or coercion."

In light of the same, the petition was dismissed.

Cause Title: Vuppu Veera Venkata Subba Rao vs Borra Padmaja Rao

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