A two-judge Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice AS Bopanna has held that until and unless a decree for specific performance is passed and/or the sale deed is executed, a person cannot claim to be the owner of the property.
An appeal was preferred against the judgment of the Delhi High Court which had under Order XII Rule 6 of CPC allowed the Revision Petition of the Respondent and passed a decree of eviction on admission.
In this case, the Respondent-Plaintiff had instituted a civil suit against Appellants-Defendants for possession, mandatory injunction, permanent injunction, and mesne profit with respect to the suit property.
It was contended by the Respondent-Plaintiff that she was the lawful owner of the suit property and Appellant-Defendant (No.1) had illegally sublet the property to Defendant No. 2 without any prior intimation to the Respondent-Plaintiff followed by the termination of Defendant No.1's termination. Thus the plaintiff claimed the ownership and claimed that original defendant No.1 is the tenant.
While the Appellant-Defendant contended that Defendant No. 2 was the owner of the suit property since had paid a sum of Rs. 19 lacs to Plaintiff and therefore she had the possession. Also, a suit was instituted was Defendant No. 2 against the Respondent-Plaintiff for specific performance of the contract on the basis of which she claimed ownership rights and the suit was still pending trial.
It was argued by the Respondent-Plaintiff that agreement to sell did not confer ownership at all. Further, it was contended that a person in whose favor agreement to sell is executed becomes the owner either pursuant to the sale deed executed by the executor and/or a decree for specific performance of the contract has been passed. While the suit for specific performance was still pending.
Counsel Mr. Sanobar Ali appeared for the Appellants while Counsel Mr. Harish Kumar appeared for the Respondent during the proceedings before the Court.
The Apex Court after considering the contentions of the parties at length, held Defendant No. 2 could not be said to be the owner of the suit property as her suit for specific performance was yet to be decided by the Trial Court.
"Till the suit for specific performance is decided, the plaintiff-respondent herein continues to be the owner and defendant No.1 – appellant herein continues to be the tenant," observed the Bench.
The Court further held that the admission by the Appellants-Defendants that they are not 'now' the tenant of the plaintiff but the actual owner of the suit property it is to be rightly treated as an admission by the Appellants-Defendants that Plaintiff is the owner of the suit property and not Defendant No. 2.
"The High Court as such has rightly passed the decree on admission under Order XII Rule 6 of CPC which in the facts and circumstances of the case cannot be said to be erroneous."
However, the Court noted that the decision passed by the High Court shall always be subject to the outcome of the suit filed by Defendant No.2 against Plaintiff for specific performance and the High Court would have to abide by the decree so passed.
In the light of these observations, the Court dismissed the appeal, and the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court was upheld.