THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI will hold examination for direct recruitment against 14 vacancies to Delhi Higher Judicial Service on Sunday, the 06th April,2014-Last Date 06.02.2014 13/11/2013: While renewing the term of the appointment of the existing incumbents the State Government is required to consider their past performance and conduct in the light of the recommendations made by the District Judges and the District Magistrates. Therefore, the High Court could not have issued a Mandamus for renewal of the term of respondent Nos. 1 and 2 and other similarly situated persons and thereby frustrated the provisions of LR Manual and Section 24 Cr.P.C .- SUPREME COURT. 12 Nov. 2013- Registration of FIR by police in cognizable offence is must and action must be taken against officials for not lodging a case on the complaint filed in such offences.- Supreme Court.(PTI) 09/11/2013: Supreme Court stayed Gauhati High Court order that declared CBI as unconstitutional. 06-11-2013 -"while we decline to hold and declare that the DSPE Act, 1946, is not a valid piece of legislation, we do hold that the CBI is neither an organ nor a part of the DSPE and the CBI cannot be treated as a ‘police force’ constituted under the DSPE Act, 1946"-GUWAHATI HIGH COURT
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA JUDGEMENTS


Print Judgement
 
Judgement:
                  

                  IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 

                   CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

 

                  CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1535 OF 2011

           [Arising out of SLP(C) No.27198 of 2008]

 

 

 

PRAMOD BUILDINGS & DEVELOPERS (P) LTD.                    ....APPELLANT

 

 

                                                   Vs.

 

 

SHANTA CHOPRA                                             ...RESPONDENT

 

 

 

 

                              O R D E R

 

 

 

 

         Leave granted.  Heard.

 

 

 

 

2.       The respondent entered into an agreement of sale dated

 

26.10.1988 agreeing to sell her property to the appellant for

 

consideration of Rs.43,50,000/- and received Rs.9,50,000/- as

 

advance.   The   agreement   required   the   sale   to   be   completed   by

 

the   intending   purchaser   by   paying   the   full   balance

 

consideration of Rs.34 lakhs within 30 days from the date of

 

issue  of a  letter/telegram by  the intending  vendor informing

 

the   intending   vendee   that   necessary   NOC   under   Section   269

 

(UL)   of   the   Income   Tax   Act,   1961   and   Income   Tax   Clearance

 

Certificate had been received. The agreement further provided

 

that the time was the essence of the contract and it will not

 

be   extendable   and   if   the   intending   vendee   fails   to   pay   the

 

balance   of   Rs.34   lakhs,   the   entire   earnest   money   of   Rs.9.5

 


 

lakhs shall stand forfeited. Clause 5 related to property tax

 

and is extracted below:-

 

 

 

         ““5.   That   any   liability   whatsoever   regarding   the   plot

         including  the  property  tax  payable  in  respect  of  the

         aforesaid   plot   shall   be   paid   and   be   payable   by   the

         intending   vendor   till   the   sale   deed   is   executed   and

         vacant   possession   is   delivered   to   the   intending

         vendee.”“

 

 

3.       The respondent cancelled the said agreement by notice

 

dated   27.2.1989.   However,   subsequently   the   parties   entered

 

into   a   fresh   agreement   dated   2.5.1989   under   which   the

 

cancellation   was   treated   as   withdrawn   and   the   respondent

 

undertook to execute the sale deed in terms of the agreement

 

dated   26.10.1988   without   any   change   in   its   terms.   The   said

 

agreement recorded that the NOC (in Form 371) from the Income

 

Tax   authorities   had   been   received.   The   agreement   dated

 

2.5.1989 provided that on obtaining the Income Tax Clearance

 

Certificate,   the   vendor   should   inform   the   purchaser   within

 

one week and within one month thereafter, the sale should be

 

completed   by   execution   of   the   sale   deed   and   the   purchaser

 

should   pay   the   balance   amount   in   the   presence   of   the   Sub

 

Registrar.   On   16.5.1989,   the   respondent   informed   the

 

appellant   that   the   NOC   in   Form   No.37-I   and   Clearance

 

Certificate   in   Form   No.34-A   have   been   obtained   and,

 

therefore, the appellant should pay the balance consideration

 

of Rs.  34,00,000/- within one month from the date of receipt

 

of the said letter and get the sale deed registered. It is

 


 

not   in   dispute   that   in   terms   of   the   supplemental   agreement

 

dated   2.5.1989,   the   sale   had   to   be   completed   by   17.6.1989.

 

It   is   not   disputed   that   as   17.6.1989   and   18.6.1989   were

 

holidays, the sale had to be completed by 19.6.1989. As the

 

sale   was   not   completed,   the   respondent   alleged   that   the

 

appellant   was   in   breach   and   terminated   the   agreement,   by

 

notice dated 22.6.1989. This led to the filing of a suit for

 

specific performance (Suit No.1660/1989) by the appellant in

 

the High Court of Delhi. The main reliefs sought in the said

 

plaint are relevant and extracted below:

 

         ““(a)      for   specific   performance   of   the   agreement   to

         sell   dated   26.10.1988   directing   the   defendant   to

         execute   the   sale   deed   in   respect   of   the   plot   bearing

         No.E-47,   measuring   300   sq.   yards,   situate   in   Greater

         Kailash,   Part-I,   New   Delhi   and   deliver   vacant   and

         peaceful possession of the said plot to the plaintiff.

 

         (b)       directing   the   defendant   to   pay   and   discharge

         all   the   arrears   of   property   tax   due   and   payable   in

         respect of the said plot till the date of execution of

         the sale deed and any other liability or encumbrance,

         if any, in respect of the aforesaid plot prior to the

         execution  of  the  sale  deed  and  or  to  get  settled  the

         alleged dispute with Municipal Corporation of Delhi, if

         any,   and   pay   all   the   property   tax   dues   before   the

         execution of the sale deed.

 

         (c)       for recovery of Rs.  1,02,600/- as interest for

         the period from 10.1.1989 till 03.07.1989 on the amount

         of Rs.9.5 lacs and Rs.45,333/- on Rs. 34 lacs from 13th

         June to 2nd  July, 1989 together with interest pendente

         lite and future @ 24% per annum till the sale deed is

         executed   and   Rs.   13.5   lacs   as   damages   being   loss   of

         profits,   general   and   special,   thus   total   amount   of

         Rs.15 lacs.”“

 

 

 

There was also alternative prayer for return of the earnest

 

money amount with interest.

 


 

4.         The   respondent   contested   the   suit.   She   admitted   the

 

agreement and the terms thereof. She, however, contended that

 

the   appellant   committed   breach   by   not   tendering   the   entire

 

balance sale consideration of Rs.34,00,000/- and getting the

 

sale completed by 19.6.1989. Required issues were framed and

 

the   parties   went   to   trial   and   let   in   oral   and   documentary

 

evidence.   Issues   (3)   and   (4),   which   are   crucial,   are

 

extracted below: 

 

 

 

 

      ““(3) Whether the plaintiff has been still ready and willing

      to perform its part of the contract, as alleged?

 

      (4) Whether the plaintiff is entitled to damages if so it

      to what extent?”“

 

 

 

After   considering   the   pleadings,   the   evidence   and   the

 

arguments,   a   learned   single   Judge   of   the   High   Court,   by

 

judgment dated 8.1.2008, dismissed the suit. He held that the

 

plaintiff-appellant was not ready and willing to perform the

 

contract in terms of the agreement and had failed to tender

 

Rs.34,00,000/-   within   the   stipulated   date.   However   with

 

reference   to   the   alternative   prayer,   the   court   granted   a

 

decree for refund of Rs.9,50,000/- with interest at 10% per

 

annum from the date of payment till the date of repayment was

 

granted.   Feeling   aggrieved,   the   appellant   filed   an   intra-

 

court appeal and a Division Bench of the High Court, by the

 

impugned judgment dated 2.7.2008 affirmed the decision of the

 

learned Single Judge and dismissed the appeal with costs of

 


 

Rs.10,000/-.  The said judgment is challenged in this appeal

 

by special leave.

 

 

 

 

5.       The   suit   has   been   dismissed   on   the   basis   of

 

concurrent findings of fact that the appellant was in breach

 

and   not   the   respondent.   We   may   refer   to   the   controversy

 

between the parties.

 

 

 

 

5.1)     The appellant”“s case is as under: It is a builder. It

 

agreed   to   purchase   the   property   for   construction   of   a

 

residential   apartment   building.   The   respondent   failed   to

 

furnish   the   mutation   certificate   showing   that   the   property

 

was  registered  in  her  name  in  the  records  of  the  Municipal

 

Corporation   and   failed   to   produce   the   up   to   date   tax   paid

 

receipts.   Appellant   therefore   demanded   that   the   respondent

 

should give an affidavit and bank guarantee confirming that

 

all municipal taxes had been paid and there were no arrears

 

of municipal taxes. Subsequently, it did not even insist upon

 

the affidavit and required the respondent to give a letter of

 

undertaking and indemnity bond to that effect. Respondent did

 

not   comply   with   the   said   reasonable   demand   and   refused   to

 

clear the tax dues. The respondent was duty bound to make out

 

a good and satisfactory title and that meant that she had to

 

satisfy the appellant that all municipal taxes had been paid

 

in regard to the property. The respondent failed to discharge

 


 

this basic obligation and thereby committed breach.

 

 

 

 

5.2)     The case of the respondent is as under: There was an

 

arbitrary assessment of tax by the Municipal authorities in

 

regard  to  the  property  and  therefore,  she  had  filed  a  suit

 

(Suit No.712/1976 on the file of the Sub Judge, First Class,

 

Delhi). The Court had decreed the said suit and directed the

 

Municipal authorities to make a fresh assessment in the light

 

of its observations. There was no fresh assessment or demand

 

by the Municipal Corporation for payment of tax. Therefore,

 

she could not pay the municipal taxes and produce receipts.

 

She had informed the appellant about the said dispute and had

 

confirmed   that   in   terms   of   the   agreement,   if   and   when   the

 

municipal   authorities   made   the   final   assessment   and   made   a

 

demand  in  terms  of  such  assessment,  she  would  bear  and  pay

 

the said taxes up to the date of sale. In this background,

 

the   question   of   her   giving   any   affidavit   or   other   document

 

confirming that all taxes up to date were paid did not arise,

 

as the sale agreement itself contained appropriate provision

 

in that behalf. When matters stood thus, though the appellant

 

had   secured   a   demand   draft   towards   the   balance   price   of

 

Rs.34,00,000/-   and   she   was   ready   to   attend   the   Sub-

 

Registrar”“s Office and execute the sale deed by receiving the

 

said sum, the appellant insisted that she should either pay

 

Rs.5,00,000/-   to   it   towards   municipal   taxes   or   clear   all

 


 

municipal taxes due before the sale, as he apprehended that

 

his   construction   project   was   likely   to   be   affected.   As   she

 

was   not   agreeable   to   meet   the   said   illegal   demand   and   pay

 

Rs.5,00,000/-,   the   appellant   was   not   ready   to   proceed   with

 

the sale. As the appellant refused to pay the entire balance

 

consideration of Rs.34,00,000/- in terms of the agreement and

 

get   the   sale   completed,   she   had   no   alternative   but   to

 

terminate the contract on 22.6.1989.  

 

 

 

 

6.       The   following   averments   in   the   appellant”“s   notice

 

dated 24.6.1989 (Ex.P31) proves the version put forth by the

 

respondent :

 

      ““You   further   stated   that   you   would   neither   make   any

      payment   of   the   property   tax   and   nor   you   would   get   your

      dispute   with   the   Municipal   Corporation   of   Delhi   settled

      regarding   the   assessment,   and   finalization   of   the

      liability towards the property tax as you were not in any

      hurry.   The   company   was   then   constrained   to   say   that   if

      your   dispute   remained   pending   for   ten   years   and   you   did

      not   make   the   payment   and   get   your   dispute   settled,   the

      Corporation   would   not   effect   mutation   and   nor   it   would

      sanction   the   building   plans   so   long   as   the   dispute   was

      pending   and   or   that   the   entire   arrears   of   taxes   as

      demanded   by   it   (the   Corporation)   up   to   date,   were   paid,

      which would remit into huge losses to the company and the

      company in that event would be compelled to pay the entire

      arrears   demanded   by   the   Corporation   and   only   thereupon

      would   be   able   to   get   the   mutation   effected   and   the

      building   plans   sanctioned   to   compete   its   project,   which

      would cause loss to the company and the company would be

      unnecessarily burdened with the liability which was yours.

 

 

 

The appellant also admitted in the said notice (Ex.P31) that

 

the   respondent   had   attended   the   Sub-Registrar”“s   Office   on

 

14.6.1989   and   19.6.1989   and   had   her   presence   recorded.   The

 

averments   in   the   said   notice   also   confirmed   the   version   of

 


 

respondent   as   what   transpired   on   19.6.1989,   that   is   the

 

respondent   was   not   willing   to   pay   any   amount   until   the

 

pending   dispute   with   Municipal   Corporation   was   decided   and

 

the   appellant   was   not   willing   to   buy   unless   the   respondent

 

paid the up to date taxes or gave a bank guarantee/security

 

for the likely tax dues.

 

 

 

 

7.       After   considering   the   pleadings   and   the   evidence   in

 

detail,   the   learned   Single   Judge   recorded   the   following

 

findings on Issues (3) and (4):

 

      ““The   admitted   correspondence   between   the   parties   showed

      that the defendant had in clear cut words stated that she

      would be liable for paying the property tax in respect of

      property as and when determined in future for the period

      when the property remained under her ownership. If this

      entire   correspondence   between   the   parties   and   the

      covenants to this effect in proposed sale deed were not

      sufficient   to   ensure   the   plaintiff,   no   affidavit   or

      writing by the defendant would have secured the interest

      of the plaintiff but, it seems that plaintiff was adamant

      in   getting   a   writing   from   the   defendant   to   the   extent

      mentioned   above.   I   consider   that   there   was   no   fault   of

      the   defendant.   The   defendant   all   along   was   ready   and

      willing to execute the sale deed and it was plaintiff who

      because   of   his   adamant   behaviour   of   obtaining   an   extra

      writing   from   the   defendant,   did   not   execute   the   sale

      deed.   This   fact   is   further   proved   from   the   fact   that

      Defendant admittedly signed the copies of the sale deed

      handed over to her. The original sale deed obviously was

      to be signed before the Sub-Registrar only and she could

      have   signed   the   original   only   if   plaintiff   had

      accompanied her to Sub-Registrar. It is not proved from

      the evidence of the plaintiff that she had refused to go

      to Sub-Registrar”“s office. Rather the evidence abundantly

      shows that she had gone to Sub-Registrar”“s office and was

      prepared   to   appear   before   the   Sub-Registrar   and   it   was

      plaintiff who insisted upon additional security from the

      defendant   qua   property   tax.   The   plaintiff   could   have

      recovered the amount which the plaintiff was made to pay

      qua the property for period before execution of the sale

      deed.   The   sale   agreement   and   proposed   sale   deed   were

      sufficient   security   for   the   plaintiff.   The   distrust

      between plaintiff and defendant was result of bitterness

 


 

      which   crept   in   between   them   due   to   exchange   of   letters

      and   notices   before   the   execution   of   the   sale   deed.   In

      view   of   above   premise,   I   therefore,   decide   both   these

      issues in favour defendant and against the plaintiff. The

      plaintiff   is   not   entitled   to   a   decree   of   specific

      performance of agreement to sell.”“

 

 

 

This   finding   of   fact   that   the   appellant   was   in   breach   has

 

been   affirmed   in   appeal,   by   the   Division   Bench.   As   the

 

judgments of the courts below were based upon the said pure

 

finding   of   fact   based   on   appreciation   of   evidence,   it   does

 

not call for interference in exercise of power under Article

 

136 of the Constitution of India.

 

 

 

 

8.       The only legal issue that was urged by the appellant

 

was that the defendant did not step in to the witness box and

 

evidence   was   given   only   by   her   husband   and   that   was

 

insufficient.   The   said   contention   was   considered   and

 

negatived   both   by   the   single   Judge   and   the   Division   Bench.

 

Reliance was placed on the judgment of this Court in Man Kaur

 

(Dead) By Lrs. Vs. Hartar Singh Sangha (2010) 10 SCC 512. The

 

said decision has no bearing on the facts of this case. As

 

rightly held by the High Court, it was for the plaintiff who

 

approached the Court to prove that he was ready and willing

 

to perform the contract. The plaintiff in a suit for specific

 

performance,  cannot  obviously  succeed  unless  he  proved  that

 

he   was   ready   and   willing   to   perform   the   contract.   The

 

exhaustive   correspondence   between   the   parties   clearly

 

discloses   the   respective   stands   of   the   parties.   Even   the

 


 

prayer in the plaint shows that the appellant was not ready

 

to pay the entire balance of Rs.34,00,000/- as agreed under

 

the   agreement   of   sale   but   that   the   plaintiff   insisted   upon

 

the appellant to pay the municipal taxes before the sale, as

 

a   condition   for   sale.   If   appellant   was   not   willing   to   pay

 

Rs.34 lakhs at the time of sale, as specifically agreed under

 

the agreement of sale, the appellant could not claim that it

 

was ready and willing to perform its obligations. As noticed

 

above, after appreciating the entire evidence, learned Single

 

Judge  and  Division  Bench  of  the  High  Court  have  recorded  a

 

finding   that   the   appellant   was   not   ready   and   willing   and

 

consequently dismissed the suit.

 

 

 

9.       We  find   no  reason   to  interfere   with  the   decision  of

 

the High Court. The appeal is, therefore, dismissed.