Person Obtaining Property By Filing False Affidavit Is Not Entitled To Any Equitable Relief - SC Reiterates
A two-judge Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V Ramasubramanian has held that a person who obtains property by filing a false affidavit is not entitled to any equitable relief.
In this context, the Bench opined -
"The filing of a false affidavit disentitles the plaintiff for any equitable relief. A person who misleads the Authority in obtaining allotment of a plot is not entitled to any relief."
The Supreme Court further has held that the affidavits filed are not mere sheets of paper but a solemn statement made before a person authorized to administer an oath or to accept affirmation, and persons breaching such solemn statements made on oath are not entitled to any relief.
The Bench was hearing an appeal filed by NOIDA (the Appellants) against one Mr. Ravindra Kumar Singhvi (the Respondent), deceased, through his legal representatives, which arises from the decree and judgment passed by the High Court on 25.02.2010.
The matter relates to the dispute in allotment of a land plot by the Appellant authority to the members of the Defence Service Cooperative Housing Society, in which the Respondent was a member. The dispute arose from the fact that Respondent and his wife had fraudulently acquired the lease of two such plots when the Appellant had a policy that no family would be allowed more than one plot so as to provide housing to a large number of households/citizens.
It was brought to the notice of the Apex Court that the wife of the Respondent was already allotted a plot on 10.03.1981 in sector 15A, NOIDA and the family was holding the lease of the said plot before the Respondent was allotted the plot in sector 30, NOIDA. The possession was the sector 30 plot was delivered in 1991 to the family.
Plaintiff-Respondent contended before the High Court that due to some litigation dispute between the society and NOIDA the sector 15A plot was allotted to his wife, however, the family being interested in the sector 30 plot, transferred the sector 15A plot to one Smt. Kanta Modi upon obtaining permission from the Appellant-authority.
The Appellant however averred that there was no litigation dispute between the authority and the society and that the Plaintiff-Respondent fraudulently acquired the second plot by stating misrepresentations in the affidavit filed before the authority. As per the arguments of the Appellant, the Plaintiff-Respondent was aware of the status of sector 15A plot at the time of allotment of sector 30 plot and in fact, had filed a false affidavit claiming to be holding no plot at the time allotment. The Respondent, however, argued that at the time of allotment of the second plot they had already transferred the sector 15A plot to Mrs. Modi.
Trial Court in this matter passed a decree in favor of the Plaintiff-Respondent on the ground that there was no violation of the lease agreement by the Plaintiff and therefore, there cannot a determination of lease in terms of section 111(g) of Transfer of Property Act, 1887. The said decree was upheld by the Appellate Court and the High Court.
The Counsel for the Appellant-authority argued that the decrees passed by the lower courts were erroneous and untenable in as much as they failed to address the real issue. The lease was canceled not because there was any violation in terms of the lease conditions but the very basis of obtaining the lease was fraudulent. Plaintiff-Respondent obtained the lease by filing the false affidavit.
The Apex court observed that the plot in sector 30 NOIDA was acquired by filing a false affidavit by the Respondent. The Respondent concealed the fact that his wife was already allotted a plot in sector 15A.
The Respondent's wife on 04.03.1983 and Respondent himself on 01.02.1988 sworn on their respective affidavits that the family was not allotted any plot of land by the authority. This is a clear case of misrepresentation and fraud on part of the Plaintiff-Respondent.
The Court then, relied upon its judgment delivered in the case of S.P. Chengalvaraya Naidu (Dead) by LRs. v. Jagannath (Dead) by LRs. & Ors(1994) and observed that the cancellation of allotment of plot obtained after filing false affidavit is a legitimate ground of cancellation of the lease.
The Supreme Court, dismissing the judgments and decrees passed by the lower courts, finally held that "The fact is that the second plot allotted to the plaintiff had been allotted against the express terms of allotment. Therefore, there is neither equity nor any law in favor of the plaintiff. A person who misleads the Authority in obtaining allotment of a plot is not entitled to any relief."