Whether burden of proof to prove legal necessity is on purchaser of property?

IN THE HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY (NAGPUR BENCH)

Letters Patent Appeal No. 28/1991 in First Appeal No. 133/1976

Decided On: 31.03.2017

Shrikant and Ors.
Vs.
Natthu Maroti Shivarkar and Ors.

Hon’ble Judges/Coram: B.P. Dharmadhikari and Swapna Joshi, JJ.
Citation 2017(4) MHLJ 591

1. Original plaintiffs challenge the judgment dated 15.7.1991 delivered by the learned Single Judge of this Court in First Appeal No. 133 of 1976 setting aside the decree of Trial Court. Civil Judge, Senior Division, Chandrapur, which had decreed their Special Civil Suit No. 33 of 1971 on 30.6.1976 and declared that sale-deed dated 20.10.1951 executed by their father (defendant No. 5) – Trimbakrao in favour of the defendant Nos. 1 and 3, deceased Mahadeo and Shrawan was not binding on their 5/6th share in the joint Hindu family property. Said Suit stands dismissed because of the impugned judgment and decree of the learned Single Judge.

2. Plaintiffs are the sons of original defendants No. 5 Trimbakrao and No. 6 Shalinibai. Trimbakrao inherited about 350 acres of agricultural lands and malgujari rights to few villages. He married Shalinibai in 1949. Plaintiff No. 1 Avinash was born on 15.8.1950; Plaintiff No. 2 Shrikant on 6.5.1957; No. 3 Dhananjay on 15.8.1959; No. 4 Umakant on 22.3.1960 and plaintiff No. 5 Laxmikant on 1.11.1964. These sons of Trimbakrao filed Special Civil Suit No. 29 of 1971 on 03.08.1971 for declaration that four sale-deeds executed by Trimbakrao between 1952 to 1956 alienating about 47.24 acres for consideration of Rs. 25,750/- were not binding on their 5/6th share in the ancestral property. That suit was decreed on 30.5.1971 and First Appeal No. 99/1976 against it by the purchasers (therein) came to be allowed on 20.11.1987. Here we are concerned with the adjudication in other Special Civil Suit No. 33/1971. Plaintiffs assailed the sale dated 20.10.1951 at Ex. 44 of Kh. No. 10 ad-measuring 20.69 acres of mouza Kheda, Tah. Warora District Chandrapur by Trimbakrao for Rs. 7241.50/- in favour of defendant Nos. 1 and 3 and deceased Mahadeo and Shrawan. Civil Judge, Senior Division, Chandrapur has decreed on 30.6.1976 their Special Civil Suit No. 33 of 1971 and declared that sale-dated dated 20.10.1951 was not binding on their 5/6th share. First Appeal No. 138 of 1976 filed by the purchasers therein has been allowed by the learned Single Judge vide impugned judgment and decree dated 15.7.1991. Both the judgments of this Court in respective first appeals are delivered by the same learned Judge.

3. Vide judgment and decree dated 30.6.1976 in present Special Civil Suit No. 33 of 1971, the trial Court directed the purchasers-defendants to restore possession of field khasara No. 10 to the plaintiffs and defendants have been given liberty to file a suit for partition to get their share separated. Plaintiffs accordingly, in execution, recovered it and today continue in possession. Proceedings for restitution instituted by the purchasers after judgment in First Appeal are stayed by this Court. Trimbakrao has expired in 1979.

4. We have heard Shri R.L. Khapre, learned Counsel for the plaintiffs and Shri A.Parchure with Shri Deshpande, learned Counsel for the contesting defendants.

5. After pointing out the facts, Shri Khapre, learned Counsel submits that – (I) Consideration in the appellate judgment is eclipsed by earlier conclusions recorded by the learned Single Judge while deciding a First Appeal filed by the other purchasers from Trimbakrao. Sale deeds there were executed much later by Trimbakrao and surrounding circumstances then and prevailing in 1951 could not have been same. (II) Earlier judgment is delivered in First Appeal No. 99 of 1976 on 20.11.1987 by the same Hon’ble Judge but between different parties and in relation to four sale deeds executed between 1951 to 1956. Hence, the findings recorded therein do not operate as res-judicata in present matter. (III) First Appeal No. 99 of 1976 considered challenge to the judgment and decree dated 30.5.1976 delivered by the Trial Court in Special Civil Suit No. 29 of 1971. (IV) Burden to prove existence of the legal necessity warranting the sale of joint Hindu family property was on the defendants and this settled law has been overlooked. (V) Diligent buyer has to prove inquiry into factors conducive to the legal necessity before buying the property and later evidence or conduct of vendor, has no bearing or relevance. (VI) Sale of agricultural land on the ground that cultivation is not viable, can not be accepted as legal. (VII) Absence of any vice in vendor does not establish the legal necessity. (VIII) Proper use of sale consideration also does not help the defendants. (IX) Stipulation in sale deed about the existence of legal necessity is irrelevant. (X) Vendor Trimbakrao and his wife Shalini ought to have been impleaded as party respondents before the learned Single Judge in FA. (XI) Sections 41 to 43 of the Evidence Act and various judgments of the Hon’ble Apex Court and the High Courts are pressed into service by him.

6. Shri Parchure, learned counsel for the respondents urges that – (I) Special Civil Suit Nos. 29 of 1971 and 33 of 1971 were filed by the same plaintiffs assailing the sale-deeds executed by same vendor Trimbakrao on identical grounds. (II) Though the Trial Court has decided both the suits separately, most of the evidence adduced in support is common. (III) The trial Court did appreciate same evidence in both the matters and the first appellate Court has also done same thing. (IV) Same Hon’ble Judge has decided both the First Appeals. (V) Trimbakrao had colluded with his sons i.e., plaintiffs and therefore did not contest the suits before the trial Court. In First Appeal, there was no question of his share being prejudiced, and hence only plaintiffs with whom the lis existed, were joined as parties. (VI) Material on record shows a decision of a prudent man to dispose of excess or unprofitable agricultural lands. (VII) Trimbakrao ought to have entered the witness box to enable the purchasers to cross examine him. (VIII) Judgment dated 20.11.1987 in First Appeal No. 99 of 1976 has attained finality and an inconsistent view is now not open. (IX) Neither Trimbakrao nor Shalinibai were necessary or proper parties in First Appeal No. 133 of 1976.

7. We find that Special Civil Suit No. 33 of 1971 had proceeded ex-parte against defendants No. 5 and 6. Trial Court framed following 12 issues and answered the same as under —

“(1) Do the plaintiffs prove that they are sons of defendant No. 5 Trimbakrao defendant No. 6 Sou. Shalini Begade ? … Proved.

(2) Do the plaintiffs prove that Plaintiffs Avinash was born on 15.8.50 ? … Proved.

(3) Do the plaintiffs prove that the fields in suit are ancestral property of plaintiffs and defendant No. 5 Trimbakrao ? … Proved.

(4) Do the plaintiffs prove that they have 5/6th share in the suit fields ? … Proved.

(5) Do the plaintiffs prove that Trimbakrao as given to vice of gambling and for that purpose sold away all the ancestral property including suit fields ? … Proved.

(6) Do the defendants 1 to 5 prove that the sale deed dt. 29.10.51 was for legal necessity such as expenses for marriage and maintenance of members of family ? … Not proved.

(7) Do the defendants prove that the above sale was for the benefit of the family ? … Not proved.

(8) Do the defendants prove that the above sale was made by Trimbakrao deft. No. 5 for payment of his antecedent debts. ? … Not proved.

(9) If so, is the sale binding on plaintiffs ? … Not proved.

(10) Do the defendants prove that the plaintiffs liable to pay proportionate consideration to defendants before setting aside sale for their share ? … Not proved.

(11) Are plaintiffs entitled to possession of suit field ? … Proved.

(12) Relief and costs ? … As per order.”

8. Learned Single Judge in First Appeal No. 133 of 1976 did not frame any points for determination and has mostly relied upon the findings reached after appreciation of the material in his earlier judgment dated 20.11.1987. In that judgment also no such points appear to have been formulated. Though this omission by itself is not fatal, here it has resulted in adopting a wrong approach.

9. Following are the points which fall for our consideration in the present matter. We record our answers thereto as mentioned against each question for the reasons and due to discussion undertaken thereafter —

REASONS.

10. We wish to begin the consideration with the help of the precedents. There is no debate before us that the impugned sale can be upheld if it is for legal necessity and not otherwise. It is admitted position that burden in this respect lies on the purchasers i.e., defendants who are the respondents before us.

In MANU/PR/0009/1926 : A IR 1927 Privy Council 37 (Sri Krishn Das v. Nathu Ram), Hon’ble 4 Judges of the Privy Council observe that the true question which falls to be answered in such cases is whether the sale itself was one which was justified by legal necessity. This is the point of view from which the matter should be approached. It also lays down that where the sale has been held to be justified, but there is no evidence as to the application of a portion of the consideration by karta, a presumption arises that it has been expended for proper purposes, and for the benefit of the family. Where the purchaser acts in good faith and after due inquiry, and is able to show that the sale itself was justified by legal necessity, he is under no obligation to enquire into the application of any surplus and is, therefore, not bound to make repayment of such surplus to the members of the family challenging the sale. In facts before the Privy Council, the sale challenged was made after due inquiry as to the legal necessity by the vendee and such necessity was proved by him to the extent of Rs. 3,000/- out of a total price of Rs. 3,500/- and sale was found to be for an adequate consideration. Privy Council holds that the mere fact that after a long interval of time the purchaser had not been able to establish how the surplus of Rs. 500/- was applied is not a sufficient ground in law for setting aside the sale.

11. While approving this exposition of law, the Hon’ble Apex Court in Radhakrishnadas v. Kaluram, MANU/SC/0393/1962 : ((1963) 1 SCR 648 : AIR 1967 SC 574), holds that what the alienee has to establish is the necessity for the transaction. If he establishes that, then he cannot be expected to establish how the consideration furnished by him was applied by the alienor. The reason for this explained by the Hon’ble Apex Court and gathered by it from the other case of the Privy Council is that the alienee can rarely have the means of controlling and directing the actual application of the money paid or advanced by him unless he enters into the management himself.

12. On burden of proof and value of recitals in a document of transfer, the Hon’ble Apex Court in Rani v. Santa Bala Debnath, MANU/SC/0366/1970 : (1970) 3 SCC 722), observes —

“10. Legal necessity to support the sale must however be established by the alienees. Sarala owned the land in dispute as a limited owner. She was competent to dispose of the whole estate in the property for legal necessity or benefit to the estate. In adjudging whether the sale conveys the whole estate, the actual pressure on the estate, the danger to be averted, and the benefit to be conferred upon the estate in the particular insistence must be considered. Legal necessity does not mean actual compulsion: it means pressure upon the estate which in law may be regarded as serious and sufficient. The onus of proving legal necessity may be discharged by the alienee by proof of actual necessity or by proof that he made proper and bona fide enquiries about the existence of the necessity and that he did all that was reasonable to satisfy himself as to the existence of the necessity.

11. Recitals in a deed of legal necessity do not by themselves prove legal necessity. The recitals are, however, admissible in evidence, their value varying according to the circumstances in which the transaction was entered inter. The recitals may be used to corroborate other evidence of the existence of legal necessity. The weight to be attached to the recitals varies according to the circumstances. Where the evidence which could be brought before the Court and is within the special knowledge of the person who seeks to set aside the sale is withheld, such evidence being normally not available to the alienee, the recitals go to his aid with greater force and the Court may be justified in appropriate cases in raising an inference against the party seeking to set aside the sale on the ground of absence of legal necessity wholly or partially, when he withholds evidence in his possession.”

13. Hon’ble Apex Court in Rangammal v. Kuppuswami, (MANU/SC/0620/2011 : (2011) 12 SCC 220 : (2012) 2 SCC (Civ) 448, at page 228) observes —

“23. A plethora of commentaries emerging from series of case laws on burden of proof, which are too numerous to cite, lay down that when a person after attaining majority, questions any sale of his property by his guardian during his minority, the burden lies on the person who upholds/asserts the purchase not only to show that the guardian had the power to sell but further that the whole transaction was bona fide. This was held in Roop Narain Singh v. Gugadhur Pershad, as also in Anna Malay v. Na U Ma.

24. Thus when Respondent 1-plaintiff came up with a case that the minor’s share/appellant herein was sold for legal necessity by her uncle Kumara Naicker, then it was Respondent 1-plaintiff who should have discharged the burden to prove that the minor/appellant’s share had been sold of by the de facto guardian Kumara Naicker without the permission of the Court, could be held to be legal and valid so as to include the same in the partition suit between two brothers, which has not been discharged at all by Respondent 1-plaintiff. ”

In paragraph 33, the Hon’ble Apex Court points out –

“33. Since the High Court has misplaced the burden of proof, it clearly vitiated its own judgments as also of the Courts below since it is well-established dictum of the Evidence Act that misplacing burden of proof would vitiate the judgment. It is also equally and undoubtedly true that the burden of proof may not be of much consequence after both the parties lay evidence, but while appreciating the question of burden of proof, misplacing of burden of proof on a particular party and recording findings in a particular way definitely vitiates the judgment as it has happened in the instant matter. This position stands reinforced by several authorities including the one delivered in Koppula Koteshwara Rao v. Koppula Hemantha Rao.”
14. Judgment relied upon by Shri Parchure, learned counsel and reported at MANU/SC/0388/1997 : (1997) 9 SCC 701 (Sunder Das and others.vrs. Gajananrao and others) shows that alienator Karta joined the suit by his son filed after eleven and half years to set aside the alienation on the ground of absence of legal necessity. In the mean while, purchaser had spent huge amount to effect substantial construction. Recitals in sale deed recorded that it was for legal necessity and seller a upper division clerk in civil Court was well aware of the Court proceedings. Plaintiffs did not lead evidence to rebut the fact stated in recital. Evidence on record demonstrated that house sold was dilapidated and dead burden to family. Seller father (karta) was also in debts and not having any vices or immoral conduct. Thus in these facts, suit was held to be instituted to extort more money from the purchaser and dismissed.

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15. In MANU/KA/0100/1960 : A IR 1960 MYS 231 – (Helava v. Sesigowda), the Division Bench holds that such a transfer may be justified when estate demands it or the family interest so warrants, if it is for benefit of estate. It can be seen as an act of prudent owner or a trustee of the property. An alienation of whole property by father to shift to the place of his father-in-law for an inadequate price was found vitiated in this judgment.

16. In MANU/KA/0068/1961 : A IR 1961 MYS 191– (Chanbasayya Devagappa v. Basayya), learned Single Judge takes note of the stipulation in sale-deed that properties sold were situated at some distance form village, difficult to manage, were not yielding income and own funds were spent in paying the revenue assessment. It is held that these reasons do not constitute either legal necessity or show that sale was for benefit to family.

17. In MANU/KE/0123/1959 : AIR 1959 KERALA 363 – (Maman and others v. Ranga Iyer and others), sale on the ground that there were no brahmin families in neighbourhood was set aside as not for legal necessity. It was found that few families continued there and even otherwise income generated could have been collected by staying outside.

18. In MANU/AP/0104/1973 : AIR 1973 AP 214 (Dasari Jaychandra Prasda v. Dasari Venkata Subbaihah) the Division Bench, in para 13 after noticing that burden lies on the alienees to show that they made bonafide enquiries and got satisfied that properties were sold to settle down in other village, and that from consideration paid by them, the vendor purchased properties in other village. Several precedents including the Full Bench judgment of Allahabad High Court in case of Jagat Narian v. Mathura Das – (MANU/UP/0088/1928 : AIR 1928 ALL 454) are cited with approval in this case. Judgment of Hon’ble Apex Court at MANU/SC/0303/1964 : AIR 1964 SC 1385 – (Balmukund v. Kamalwati) shows that to qualify as a transaction for the benefit of family, it need not be defensive in character and the Court must be satisfied that such a benefit to family was reasonably expected when it was made. Madras view that sale of unproductive land at an advantageous price could have been viewed as one for the benefit of family, but, if such sale was only for adequate price, further proof of its utilization to buy other properties for family was essential, also finds mention.

19. In MANU/BH/0195/1937 : AIR 1938 Patna 40- (Ganesh Prasad v. Sheogobind Sahu), the Division Bench holds that manager can not mortgage the property of a minor with risk or liability of a new business which is not ancestral. It follows MANU/PR/0021/1932 : AIR 1932 PC 182– (The Benares Bank Ltd. v. Hari Narian and Others) which laid down this proposition.

20. The judgment dated 29.11.1987 delivered by learned Single Judge and squarely used in impugned judgment by him, is in First Appeal No. 99 of 1976 which arose from Special Civil Suit No. 29 of 1971. Its perusal shows that the plaintiffs had filed 25 suits of similar nature to set aside the alienations made by their father Trimbakrao. When there were such large number of transactions, certainly a more cautious and independent consideration of “legal necessity” forcing each transaction was must. Purchasers from Trimbakrao were different and inquiry needed to be made by each such purchaser before entering into the transaction.

21. In MANU/PR/0032/1943 : AIR (31) 1944 PRIVY COUNCIL 14 (Krishna Kant v Dhanu Lal), it is stated that careful judgment impugned before privy council dealt very fully with the consideration for the loans at the instance of the guardian and also of a puisne mortgagee who also had put the mortgagees to strict proof of their claim. The execution of the bonds was held to have been proved, as also were the various payments, including the payment of Rs. 10,502/-under the first mortgage by a cheque on the Benares Bank at Muzaffarpur. It notes that the learned Subordinate Judge dealt separately with each of the three loans, finding that the first was for an antecedent debt and for legal necessity, that due inquiry as to legal necessity had been made as to the second, and that the third was for legal necessity. In present matter, the judgment dated 29.11.1987 in First Appeal No. 99 of 1976 from Special Civil Suit No. 29 of 1971 is heavily drawn upon by the learned Single Judge in the impugned judgment. Perusal of the earlier judgment dated 29.11.1987 shows that these plaintiffs had filed 25 suits of similar nature to set aside various alienations made by their father Trimbakrao. When there were such a large number of transactions, certainly a more cautious and independent consideration of “legal necessity” faced by Trimbakrao before each transaction was must. This transaction specific scrutiny is also mandatory here considering the evidence on record about actual income of Trimbakrao, his average expenditure and size of his family. There is nothing to show that all of a sudden a huge liability was required to be shouldered by him. Learned Single Judge has overlooked this facet totally. We have to look into said judgment at some length.

22. Before proceeding further, it will be appropriate to briefly note the judgment dated 29.11.1987 delivered by the same learned Single Judge in First Appeal No. 99 of 1976. Findings in it are utilized by the said Single Judge even while delivering the impugned judgment in First Appeal No. 138 of 1976 on 15.7.1991, thereby setting aside the decree of Civil Judge, Senior Division, Chandrapur dated 30.6.1976. in Special Civil Suit No. 33 of 1971 which had declared that sale-deed dated 20.10.1951 executed by plaintiffs’ father Trimbakrao (defendant No. 5) in favour of the defendant Nos. 1 and 3, deceased Mahadeo and Shrawan was bad.

23. This judgment dated 29.11.1987 in First Appeal No. 99 of 1976 arose out of Special Civil Suit No. 29 of 1971 and its perusal shows that the plaintiffs had filed 25 suits of similar nature to set aside the alienations made by their father Trimbakrao. Special Civil Suit No. 29 of 1971 was in relation to sale of agricultural lands ad-measuring 47.24 acres for Rs. 25,750/- vide the sale-deeds executed between 1952 to 1956 at Ex. 89 to 92 in that suit. Thus, entirely different lands, transactions, periods and purchasers were involved in Special Civil Suit No. 29/1971. The respondents or purchasers in present controversy were not parties to that suit or any transaction therein. Defendants therein, in written statement pleaded that Trimbakrao needed funds to meet the agricultural expenses, some lands were sold as the same were inconvenient, Trimbakrao’s stay at Nagpur was costly, sale was a better option as agricultural lands would have been lost had they been leased out and Trimbakrao had antecedent debts. Thus, this defence was not specific and qua any particular sale-deed. It was general in nature and therefore vague. Such plea itself proved absence of any previous inquiry by the purchasers. The learned Single Judge has looked into the case of the plaintiffs that Trimbakrao had vices and after appreciating evidence of PW-3 Navnitdas and PW-15 Purushottam who deposed about the indulgence of Trimbakrao in satta (gambling) business, has disbelieved them because they did not produce any documentary evidence. Trial Court had accepted their evidence. It is not in dispute that these witnesses were examined as common witnesses even in present Special Civil Suit No. 33 of 1971. Witnesses were deposing almost after 13 to 14 years and their inability to produce the documents or license or to give telephone number or other minor details, by itself therefore can not be sufficient to discredit them. Moreover, their deposition, if accepted, would have shown only the wrong appropriation of sale consideration by Trimbakrao. It did not/does not help the defendants in establishing that the sales were for legal necessity or benefit of estate.

24. This judgment in First Appeal No. 99/1976 reveals that the defendants there examined four witnesses. We do not see appreciation of their evidence and entire judgment proceeds by putting the burden on plaintiffs. In para 6, on the basis of pleadings a finding that Trimbakrao had purchased in 1939 about 300 to 400 acres of agricultural lands apart from the lands inherited by him and except for agriculture, he had no other source of income, has also been reached. In next para, it is mentioned that he had adopted urbanized life style. In para 8. abolition of Malguzari rights in 1949 is mentioned with finding that he lost the source of income. Finding of trial Court that agricultural income of Trimbakrao was sufficient finds mention. Evidence of PW-14 Tulshiram and PW-15 Kisan and PW-11 Hawaldar accepted by the trial Court is commented thereafter, in later paragraphs as too general and disbelieved as accounts were not submitted. Entire consideration is as if the accounts were with those witnesses even after gap of several years and burden was upon the plaintiffs to prove absence of legal necessity. We are aware that said judgment is not in challenge before us. Argument of the learned Counsel for plaintiffs that as no “notice to produce documents” was given, no adverse inference should be drawn, has been also discarded. Concept of the burden of proof and the stage or extent of inquiry envisaged is also not delved into fully. Judgment of trial Court dated 30.5.1976 is found vitiated with this reasoning. Trimbakrao purchased 300 to 400 acres of lands form his cousin PW-8 Govinda Begade. Evidence of this cousin that he sold those lands as he was in loss, to Trimbakrao, is used to conclude that after purchase Trimbakrao was also in losses. The sale by Govinda is in 1939 and sales with which the Court was concerned were between 1952 to 1956. Learned Single Judge has commented on deposition of defendants’ witnesses in paragraphs 13 to 15 of that judgment and that consideration does not show reference to any inquiry into legal necessity felt by Trimbakrao or how the sales were for benefit of estate. In fact, when the defence itself was not sale specific, cogent and convincing evidence of attempts made by the purchasers to find out either of the above needs justifying the sales ought to have been adduced by those purchasers. Findings in paragraph No. 16 show that Trimbakrao was not paying requisite attention to the agricultural operations and was not serious about it. In paragraph 17, unsatisfactory financial condition of Trimbakrao as evidenced by the letters written by him, need for personal or family expenditure, Court work is appreciated with a comment that trial Court has overlooked these letters or its impact. Agriculture did not prove profitable for Trimbakrao is the inference reached in said paragraph. In paragraphs thereafter legal arguments of plaintiffs find mention and in paragraph 20, the learned Single Judge holds that purchaser defendants were residents of the village and were aware of this state of affairs. Last sentence in this paragraph reads-

“Thus enquiries which they have bonafidely made discharge the obligation cast upon them by law”.
25. It is this finding and the plea of inquiry in that i.e. Special Civil Suit No. 29 of 1971, which distinguishes earlier judgment dated 20.11.1987. To us, the said judgment dated 20.11.1987 of the learned Single Judge nowhere speaks of any such inquiry made by those purchasers before obtaining the sale-deeds at Exs. 89 to 92. However, the law as laid down by the Hon’ble Apex Court in Subhodkumar v. Bhagwant Namdeorao Mehetre, MANU/SC/7051/2007 : (2007) 10 SCC 571) (at page 578), particularly in paragraph 12 has quoted its earlier judgment in case of Sunil Kumar v. Ram Parkash – MANU/SC/0521/1988 : (1988) 2 SCC 77). Para relevant here is reproduced for convenience–

“Remedies against alienations

25[24]. Although the power of disposition of joint family property has been conceded to the manager of joint Hindu family for the reasons aforesaid, the law raises no presumption as to the validity of his transactions. His acts could be questioned in the Court of law. The other members of the family have a right to have the transaction declared void, if not justified. When an alienation is challenged as being unjustified or illegal it would be for the alienee to prove that there was legal necessity in fact or that he made proper and bona fide enquiry as to the existence of such necessity. It would be for the alienee to prove that he did all that was reasonable to satisfy himself as to the existence of such necessity. If the alienation is found to be unjustified, then it would be declared void. Such alienations would be void except to the extent of manager’s share in Madras, Bombay and Central Provinces. The purchaser could get only the manager’s share. But in other provinces, the purchaser would not get even that much. The entire alienation would be void. [Mayne’s Hindu Law, 11th Edn., Para 396.]”

26. We can therefore safely conclude that observations or the findings in this judgment dated 20.11.1987, by itself, can not be made applicable in present controversy where the purchasers and the transaction are different. Challenge to the judgment and decree dated 30.6.1976 in Special Civil Suit No. 33/1971 before the learned Single Judge and issue of legality of sale-deed dated 20.10.1951 is circumscribed by the pleadings and evidence on record. Principle that burden in such situation is upon the purchasers i.e., the defendants in Special Civil Suit No. 33/76 needs to be kept in mind.

27. Fact that the property sold was/is ancestral property of a joint Hindu family, that it has been sold by manager/karta Trimbakrao, that plaintiffs are the coparceners are/were never in dispute between the parties in any litigation and in any Court. Still in written statements, the defendant purchasers in Special Civil Suit No. 33 of 1971 raise various evasive roving pleas.

28. Plaint in Special Civil Suit No. 33/1971 shows that it has been specifically filed by the sons as coparceners pointing out joint undivided 5/6th share in ancestral joint family properties and grievance about the sale-deed dated 29.10.1951 by their father Trimbakrao with specific assertion that it was/is without any legal necessity and for inadequate consideration. Sale was for immoral purposes of gambling. Their dates of birth are given to point out that it is during minority of son Avinash, and the other sons are born thereafter. Father Trimbakrao and mother Shalinibai are the defendant Nos. 5 and 6 therein.

29. Written Statement filed by the purchaser defendant Nos. 1 to 4 at Ex. 14 shows denial of relationship between plaintiffs and Trimbakrao, denial of property being ancestral and denial of share of plaintiffs in that property. Execution of sale-deed by father in their favour is admitted, but they have denied insufficiency of sale consideration. Thus, this inconsistent plea rules out any inquiry into availability of legal necessity or otherwise before obtaining a sale-deed. They also deny case of plaintiffs that Trimbakrao had vice of gambling and sale was for immoral purpose. In para (8) in course of further pleadings they state that Trimbakrao was residing at Nagpur since 1940 and needed huge sums for education, marriages and maintenance. Hence, he sold the suit property to meet it. He could not profitably cultivate the lands from Nagpur as he was living at Nagpur from the time of his mother. The family would have lost the fields had the same been leased out, sale was in better interest or benefit of family. It is also pleaded that Trimbakrao had to pay ancestral debts and representing these reasons, he sold the suit property to defendant Nos. 1 to 3. These later pleas are inconsistent with the earlier stand. Though mutually inconsistent defences are permissible, these defendants during trial have attempted to establish need to sell the properties.

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30. Their defence shows that Trimbakrao was residing at Nagpur since the time of his mother and was not in position to cultivate the lands profitably. Evidence on records looked into earlier judgment of learned Single Judge dated 20.11.1987 does not support such losses. On the contrary, it shows addition about 300 to 400 acres of land to family holding by him in 1939-40. Trimbakrao married Shalinibai in 1950 and there is no evidence of any family or huge expenditure before said event. The defendants have not brought on record any ancestral debt incurred before the subject sale or any marriage or similar exigency in the family before that date i.e. before 29.10.1951. No defendant or defence witness has spoken of any exercise of verification of any legal necessity and no such inquiries are brought on record in this Special Civil Suit No. 33/1971. Letters written by Trimbakrao to his staff by itself do not establish any legal necessity. Demand of money by Trimbakrao does not tantamount to the legal necessity. As there is no plea of any prior inquiry to ascertain such necessity, said material can not be taken as evidence to prove the legal necessity. Alleged representation by Trimbakrao as pleaded in paragraph 8(III) of Written Statement is not spoken about on oath at all by any defendant. “Representation” if any by Trimbakrao himself can not constitute as “an inquiry” by the defendant purchasers. On the contrary, if it be true, it brings on record a need for proper verification. Thus, this half-hearted contentions only prove lack of bonafides on their part while obtaining the sale-deed.

31. Hypothetically, only other option open to defendant purchasers may be to plead that the sale was for the “benefit of family”. If the defendants purchased the suit field as the sale consideration was to be appreciated towards the some need of family, pleading and evidence on that line was also must. They do not point out any event, whether unforeseen or otherwise, to sustain such a benefit to estate. In present matter, we notice that in First Appeal this need-specific approach has been lost.

32. Perusal of judgment delivered by the Trial Court in Special Civil Suit No. 33/1971 reveals that while answering issue No. 3 regarding ancestral nature of property, it has perused evidence and arrived at findings which are not labeled as perverse either before the First Appellate Court or before this Court. It is it’s findings in paragraph No. 18 against issue Nos. 5 to 9, which are significant in present appeal. Evidence of D.W. 3 – Krishna Govinda is considered by it while evaluating Sale deed Exh. 44 obtained by him from Trimbakrao. This witness in unequivocal terms admitted in cross-examination that he did not inquire about yield of the field either from Trimbakrao or his servants. He also accepted that cultivation of said field by him was profitable. D.W. 2 – Maroti deposed that he cultivated that field for about two years just prior to its purchase by defendant Nos. 1 to 4. Defendants do not produce any document on record to prove this cultivation by Maroti. D.W.3 Krishna did not deposed about any such cultivation by Maroti. Evidence of D.W.1 – Akbarali, D.W. 2 – Dago Pise, D.W.3 – Krishna Sonekar, is also considered in paragraph No. 20 onwards. Trial Court has mentioned that this evidence is contained in record of Special Civil Suit No. 17/1971.

33. D.W.1 Akbarali deposed about a Civil Suit filed against Trimbakrao by his father and he also produced certified copy of final decree in that suit. That decree was satisfied in 1964 by one Raghoba Chander and others. Suit was filed by his father to recover loan advanced to Trimbakrao. However, witness was not aware why loan was borrowed by Trimbakrao. Dago Pise worked as Diwanji with Trimbakrao between 1948 to 1954. He states that Trimbakrao got income of Rs. 2000/- to Rs. 2500/- per annum. He has given details thereof and mentions that Trimbakrao had about 425 acres of land. He has also spoken about annual yield of Paddy at 375 khandis and yield of 300 Khandis from dry crop land. Additionally Trimbakrao grew Pulses, Gram and Chillies. He has spoken of rate of paddy, Jowar in 1943 and 1954. His evidence reveals that Trimbakrao was also additionally growing sugarcane in about 6 acres of land and got 12 to 15 Khandis of Gur (Jaggery). Witness also states that rate of Jaggery was Rs. 18 to Rs. 20 per khandi. This witness has given details of household expenses of Trimbakrao, when Trimbakrao was residing at Neri. Yearly expenditure was Rs. 250-300. At Nagpur yearly expenses were between Rs. 500 to 700. He deposed that Trimbakrao sold land as his expenses were more than his income. Discussion above about total yield from various fields and rate thereof clearly falsifies this version.

34. We find that in paragraph No. 22 of the judgment indebtedness of Trimbakrao to Narayan Kohli, Chitnavis, Soma Dhivar, Mahadeo Shenmare, Hazi Abdulla and Naik, has been looked into. Trial Court finds that Trimbakrao purchased property from P.W.8 Govindrao Begade which was subject to encumbrances. This was way back in the year 1940. Evidence of this witness show that during his service there was no marriage of any child of Trimbakrao and Trimbakrao had no expenses on education of children. In 1943, Trimbakrao possessed more than 600 acres of land and in 1948 inspite of various sales, Trimbakrao had more than 335 acres of land. Trimbakrao used to store grains for agricultural purposes and for household consumption. 1941 sales by Trimbakrao of Jaggery, Paddy, Jowar and Chillies and total amount received therefrom, is spoken of by this witness. This witness has deposed about sale of agricultural produce done by him alone. This witness therefore shows that total crops worth more than Rs. 1300/- were sold in 1949. He also deposed about sales done by him in 1950 of various crops and consideration received for those sales.

35. D.W. 3- Krishna Sonekar, is the witness who worked as Diwanji between 1943 to 1963. His deposition and sales effected by him in 1949 are also looked into by the trial Court in paragraph No. 23.

36. Thereafter in paragraph No. 24 Trial Court looks into evidence of three witnesses examined by the plaintiffs to show that there was no legal necessity warranting sales of land.

37. P.W.11 – Vasant Deulkar was diwanji of Trimbakrao between 1947 to 1958. He points out that all paddy lands in possession of Trimbakrao were irrigated. He also points out that yield of paddy per year was between 900 to 1000 khandis, while other grains from dry crop lands were 700 to 800 khandis. Trimbakrao was never required to borrow loan to carry cultivation or to manage household affairs. P.W.14 – Tulshiram is a cultivator from one of the village by name ‘Usralemendha’. According to him, Trimbakrao possess 70 to 75 acres of paddy land and 20 to 25 acres of dry crop land in that village. He got 400 to 500 khandis of paddy and 20 to 25 khandis of other grains. He never borrowed loan. P.W. 15 Kisan worked as hawaldar of Trimbakrao from 1939 for a period of 16 to 17 years. His evidence also shows almost same quantity of yield of paddy and other grains.

38. It is this evidence which has been evaluated in the light of Section 243 and 244 of the Hindu Law (Mulla). The learned Trial Court found that burden to prove legal necessity lies on purchaser who has to inquire into that necessity. It has looked into evidence of D.W. 2 Krishna and other witnesses and it holds that none of them even talk of any inquiry or a proper or a bonafide inquiry to find out the reasons compelling Trimbakrao to sell the suit field. No reliable evidence is also produced by them to find existence of legal necessity. It finds that cross-examination of defendant No. 2 Krishna revealed that he never made any inquiry about yield either from Trimbakrao or his servants. He did not peruse account books of Trimbakrao. His submission that lands were sold as cultivation was not found profitable by Trimbakrao, is not accepted and trial Court has noted that cultivation of those lands by defendant Nos. 1 to 4 was profitable. It has also found that evidence of D.W.2 Maroti was not reliable. Reason prompting Trimbakrao to sell given by defendant No. 2 Krishna does not find mention in Sale deed [Exh. 44] or in Written Statement [Exh. 14]. No explanation has been furnished for not mentioning the same either in the sale deed or for not pleading the same. The reasons are therefore found to be not genuine. This discussion in paragraph No. 25 of the judgment of trial Court does not appear to be erroneous or perverse.

39. In paragraph No. 26, learned trial Court looks into indebtedness of Trimbakrao to various creditors including Abdulla Veljibhai. It has looked into the evidence of D.W.2 Dago Pise [Exh. 248], P.W.8 Govinda [Exh. 100]. D.W.2 deposed that Trimbakrao did not repay the loan of Haji Abdullah. The fields purchased by Raghoba were therefore put to sale and Raghoba and others were required to pay the decreetal amount. P.W.8 Govindrao had also taken loan from Haji Abdullah. Indirabai, sister of Trimbakrao had purchased property from P.W.8 Govindrao and Haji Abdullah therefore, obtained mortgage decree against Indirabai. After her death name of Trimbakrao was mutated as owner. P.W.8- Govindrao deposed that he had executed sale deed in favour of Trimbakrao, who had taken hawala of debt of Rs. 4996/-. P.W.8 was indebted to Velijbhai. This sale also carried Hawala of debt of Narayan Kohli of Usralamendha. Trial Court finds that evidence on record nowhere shows that Trimbakrao himself borrowed any loan from Haji Abdullah. Though properties subjected to encumbrances came in possession of Trimbakrao, Trimbakrao did not satisfy the loan. There is no evidence of any other loan borrowed by him from any other creditor. Thus, the trial Court in paragraph No. 26 has concluded that there is no evidence of any indebtedness of Trimbakrao.

40. In this background it has looked into evidence of D.W. 2 Dago Pise, particularly his cross-examination. In paragraph No. 27 it has looked into said cross-examination to note that only yield from various properties to Trimbakrao. It has taken note of the fact that Trimbakrao got married in 1948 and first child was born to him in 1950. Till 1956 he had only one issue. Till then he had no expenditure on education or marriage of his child. Evidence of D.W.13 – Krishna Sonekar, shows that in family of Trimbakrao there were two sisters, mother, sister’s daughter. He was not required to spend anything on purchasing grains. He never suffered any loss in cultivation. In view of these findings and other material, trial Court has concluded that there was no legal necessity forcing Trimbakrao to sell ancestral property. It has also concluded that defendant Nos. 1 to 4 failed to prove that defendant No. 5 Trimbakrao was indebted to Haji Abdullah Velji or any other creditor.

41. It then looks into the evidence tendered by plaintiffs to show that Trimbakrao was indulging in satta gambling. Evidence of P.W.3- Nawnitdas, P.W.4 – Awantikabai, P.W.8- Govindrao Begade, P.W.11 Vasant Deulkar, P.W.13 – Purushottam and P.W.16 – Avinash is considered from paragraph No. 29 onwards. We may mention here that after defendants failed to prove any legal necessity, this exercise was wholly unnecessary. Whether Trimbakrao had such vice or had no vices, that was not relevant at all for adjudication of suit. In paragraph No. 29, evidence of P.W.3 Nawneetdas giving details of stakes of Trimbakrao in satta business are discussed. In paragraph No. 30, evidence of Avantikabai who happens to be daughter of sister of Trimbakrao, is also looked into. She lived with Trimbakrao till 1964. She deposed that mother of Trimbakrao used to tell him not to sell lands when Nawneetdas (P.W.3) used to visit Trimbakrao. P.W.8 Govindrao is cousin of Trimbakrao. He also has deposed on same lines. His deposition reveals that mother and sister of Trimbakrao used to ask him not to sell the lands. They were dead when this deposition was being recorded. P.W.11 Vasant worked as diwanji of Trimbakrao. Mother of Trimbakrao used to tell him that money received by selling agricultural lands was spent by Trimbakrao in satta business. P.W. 16 – Avinash who happens to be plaintiff No. 1 had no personal knowledge as he was child.

42. Thus, after recording a finding in paragraph Nos. 29 and 30 that the witness No. PW-3 and PW-13 had personal knowledge about satta gambling by Trimbakrao, in paragraph 31, the Trial Court has looked into circumstantial evidence to find out whether for his legitimate needs, it was necessary for defendant No. 5 – Trimbakrao to incur such lands. We find it convenient to reproduce paragraph 31 as contained in the judgment of the trial Court.

“Apart from the aforesaid oral evidence, the plaintiffs, have placed on record the circumstantial evidence in support. The evidence of plaintiffs witnesses P.W. 11 Vasant Deulkar (Exh. 116), P.W. 14 Tulshiram (Ex. 130), P.W. 15 Kisan (Exh. 131) coupled with the certified copies of settlement khasras, jamabandis, re-numbering-parchas go to show that Trimbakrao possessed more than 600 acres of valuable lands. Evidence brought out in cross-examination of defendants witnesses D.W. 2 Dago Pise (Ex. 248) D.W.3 Krishna Sonekar (Exh. 264) also prove the said fact. The evidence brought out in cross-examination of D.W. 2 Dago Pise go to show that prior to abolition of malguzari, Trimbakrao’s income from the cultivation was more than Rs. 36,000/-. In addition, he used to get income from forest produce, sugar cane, other granis and commission for collecting land revenues. After the malguzari abolition in 1949, Trimbakrao’s net income was more than Rs. 13,000/-. The evidence of D.W.3 Krishna Sonekar shows that Trimbakrao’s family consisted of 2 sisters, mother and sister’s daughter. Till 1958, Trimbakrao had only one son i.e. the plaintiffs No. 1 Avinash. Trimbakrao family expenses for running the house hold affairs were about Rs. 500/- to Rs. 700/- only. It is thus evident that Trimbakrao possessed large property yielding good income. His family was limited and family expenses were within limits. The defendants 1 to 4 have not adduced any evidence to show that Trimbakrao was indebted. In spite of the said circumstances, Trimbakrao started selling lands from 1943. The evidence of D.W.3 Krishna Sonekar (Exh. 264) shows that in 1955, Trimbakrao sold lands worth Rs. 11,150/-. In 1956 he sold land worth Rs. 17,343.00. In 1957, he sold lands worth Rs. 7350/-. In 1960, he sold land worth Rs. 9815/- and in 1961 he sold lands worth Rs. 7205/-. It is seen that in addition to the income from cultivation, Trimbakrao got the sale proceeds, Trimbakrao was not required to perform any marriage or spend money on education of his children yet, all the income from cultivation as well as the sale proceeds were spent by him. From the aforesaid evidence, it could be inferred that Trimbakrao spent all the money for satisfying the vice of satta gambling. The said circumstantial evidence is very strong and supports the oral evidence adduced by plaintiffs. I am inclined to believe the plaintiffs evidence. It could be said that the sale proceed received by sale of lands, including the fields in suit were utilized by Trimbakrao in satta gambling i.e. for immoral or ‘Awewharik’ purpose.”
43. The trial Court has, therefore, concluded that the plaintiffs evidence was acceptable and sale proceeds were utilized by Trimbakrao in satta gabling i.e. for immoral or Awewharik purpose. This conclusion is, therefore, not only on strength of depositions of witnesses who have deposed in favour of the plaintiffs to bring on record the satta played by Trimbakrao but also other material. It is cumulative effect of evaluation of both positive and negative material brought on record and a finding reached on preponderance of probabilities.

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44. Here, it needs to be noted that how Trimbakrao utilized sale consideration of the land in question in present matter is not very decisive. He may use it for Awewharik or some other purpose. When ancestral property has been sold by Karta, otherwise than for legal necessity, sale cannot be sustained. The burden was upon the defendants i.e. purchasers to establish such legal need. They cannot succeed by demolishing the case of the plaintiff. The plaintiffs have shown that when sales were effected, they were minor.

45. In this background, the First Appellate Court has to come in close quarters of these findings. The consideration, therefore, has to be in the backdrop of findings recorded by the trial Court. An earlier adjudication in First Appeal No. 99 of 1976 vide judgment dated 20.11.1987, by itself, cannot be used to discredit the judgment of the trial Court. The extent of lands available with Trimbakrao, average yield therefrom, size of family, its needs, all must find consideration. When the income generated is sufficient to sustain the routine expenses, the roving attempt of the defendants to establish legal necessity to justify the sale could not have succeeded.

46. In Special Civil Suit No. 33 of 1971, five sons of Trimbakrao came together and impleaded purchasers as first four defendants. Trimbakrao himself was defendant No. 5 and his wife – Shalini was defendant No. 6. There is no evidence of any daughter born to Trimbakrao. The trial Court has granted a declaration that sale dated 20.11.1951 at Exh. 44 by Trimbakrao is not binding on plaintiffs and share of plaintiffs is worked out at 5/6th in the joint family. The purchasers have been permitted to initiate proceedings to get their share ascertained and demarcated. Trimbakrao had several lands apart from suit land ad-measuring 20.69 Acres, Khasra No. 10, Mouza – Gaur-kheda, Village Gaur-Kheda, District – Chandrapur. It is, therefore, obvious that in an exercise of partition of such agricultural lands, it is not necessary that subject land Khasra No. 10 should be given to share of Trimbakrao. Not only this, it is settled position that whenever partition takes place between sons and father, mother is also entitled to equal share. Thus, defendant No. 6 – Shalini is also entitled to have same share as that of Trimbakrao and plaintiffs. Therefore, property needed to be divided into 7 equal shares. The trial Court, therefore, could have declared that sale to the extent of share of Trimbakrao i.e. 1/7th may be treated as valid. Computation of share of Trimbakrao at 1/6th appears to be incorrect.

47. In First Appeal, purchasers – defendants did not join Trimbakrao or Shalini as parties. The wrong committed by the trial Court, therefore, has not been corrected by the First Appellate Court. In a suit to be filed for partition by the defendants, defendant No. 6 – mother may be required to be given share out of 5/6th holding of the plaintiffs, thereby reducing their share proportionately. This facet needed to be looked into by the appellate Court.

48. Thus, the Trial Court attempts to find out legal necessity to support the impugned sale-deed and answers it in negative. As the transactions were independent, it has delivered separate judgments. This need of transaction specific approach was perhaps not urged before the Learned Single judge and hence, evidence of the witnesses speaking generally though irrelevant, came to be accepted. It can not help the purchasers in establishing the legal necessity or family benefit to validate the sale-deed in their favour. No particular legal necessity or any specific family benefit has been pleaded in written statement by the present defendant respondents. We have already noticed above that no special occasion in the family of Trimbakrao necessitating such a sale has been brought on record. Thus, the general “non need-specific” evidence, that too in the absence of pleading of any incident or accident in the family, does not help the defendants in discharging the burden cast upon them by law.

49. In contrast, the impugned judgment in first appeal adopts all together different perspective. It finds that there is no evidence of vices indulged into by Trimbakrao. It notes that numerous suits filed by the plaintiffs for setting aside alienations against several alienees, were consolidated and plaintiffs led common evidence. It, in few earlier paragraphs of the judgment, mentions arguments of the plaintiffs and precedents relied upon by them. However, because of its earlier judgment in First Appeal No. 99 of 1976, it points out that Trimbakrao had adopted urbanized life style; was living at Nagpur since 1940; in 1949, malgujari rights were abolished; in 1949 only Trimbakrao got married with Shalinibai, agricultural operations were carried through employees, substantial lands were fallow, he suffered losses and his income was less than expenditure. Financial condition was precarious and holding non profitable lands was adverse to the interest of the joint family. Hence, as a prudent manager and to save the property from being wasted, Trimbakrao sold the lands. Failure of the plaintiffs to show gambling habits of Trimbakrao recorded in earlier First Appeal No. 99 of 1976 is also reiterated here. It observes that learned Counsel for the plaintiffs failed to persuade it to take a different view. It, therefore, goes by its earlier judgment and holds the sale valid. In other words, sale transaction is accepted as one to meet the legal necessity of family’s routine expenses. In view of Order XII Rule 4 Civil Procedure Code, it finds no substance in objection to non-joinder of Trimbakrao and Shalini in First Appeal before it. Need to implead Shalinibai w/o Trimbakrao is also negated by not relying upon the judgment in case of Parappa Hingappa Khaded v. Mallappa Kallappa-(AIR 1954 Bombay 332), because she did not assail the adverse trial Court verdict. Thus, this narrow and limited scrutiny in impugned appellate judgment is due to its earlier judgment dated 20.11.1987 delivered in First Appeal No. 99 of 1976. Perusal of earlier judgment shows that the evidence of yield annually of paddy, other grains, of sugar cane etc., income generated therefrom is discarded as account books are not produced by Trimbakrao. Obviously plaintiffs could not have been penalized for such a failure on part of their father. In any case, the burden to prove legal necessity was always on the purchaser defendants and first appellate Court ignores their omission to plead any definite case in this connection. It does not see that the defendants do not plead any inquiry by them with Trimbakrao to warrant the sale, do not plead any particular event like marriage etc. which needed such a huge expenditure. Finding of Trial Court on size of family of Trimbakrao, annual amount needed by family and no apparent reason to support such huge sales also stand discarded because of this erroneous approach. These findings of trial court militate with the effort of the purchasers to substantiate alleged legal necessity. As the basic burden was/is on the defendants to bring on record that need of family. Trial Court has given these reasons as additional grounds to discredit them. Material on record shows that at Nagpur yearly expenses incurred by Trimbakrao were between Rs. 500/- to 700/-. In 1943, Trimbakrao possessed more than 600 acres of land and in 1948 after various sales, Trimbakrao still had more than 335 acres of land. Thus when he was not married, he had already sold about 265 acres of lands. However, the appellate Court examines the controversy by putting the burden on the plaintiffs. When there were 25 sale transactions by Trimbakrao, why such a huge amount disproportionate to the size and exceeding the need of his family, was being arranged by him, that too for a long period, does not appear to have been entered the consideration by the First Appellate Court. What we find is that a well reasoned judgment of the trial court has been set aside by approaching it from a wrong perspective. We find that the First Appellate Court has failed in its duty to come to the close quarter of the reasoning employed by the trial Court while reversing the judgment of Trial Court.

50. Moreover, here the observations of the Privy Council in MANU/PR/0051/1949 : AIR (36) 1 949 Privy Council 278 – (Lakshmanna v. Venkateswarlu) may also assume importance. What is called the burden of proof on the pleadings should not be confused with the burden of adducing evidence which is described as “shifting”. The burden of proof on the pleadings never shifts, it always remains constant. The initial burden of proving a prima facie case in his favour is cast on the plaintiff; when he gives such evidence as will support a prima facie case, the onus shifts on to the defendant to adduce rebutting evidence to meet the case made out by the plaintiff. As the case continues to develop, the onus may shift back again to the plaintiff. It is not easy to decide at what particular stage in the course of the evidence the onus shifts from one side to the other. When after the entire evidence is adduced, the tribunal feels it cannot make up its mind as to which of the versions is true, it will hold that the party on whom the burden lies has not discharged the burden; but if it has on the evidence no difficulty in arriving at a definite conclusion, then the burden of proof on the pleadings recedes into the background. When we extend this logic to present facts and to burden cast upon the defendant purchasers, it can not be said that they have discharged the burden expected of them. Their evidence only exposes the roving efforts made by them and lack of bonafides. This precedent is also used by the Hon’ble Apex Court in a judgment in case of Murti Dusadhin v. Mohd. Mir Khan, MANU/SC/0218/1964 : ((1965) 1 SCR 20 : AIR 1965 SC 875).

51. We may also point out the obligation of First Appellate Court while writing a reversing judgment. The Hon’ble. Apex Court in MANU/SC/0091/2001 : 2001 (2) Mh.L.J. 786- (Santosh Hazari v. Purushottam Tiwari), in para 15 has explained the duty of Appellate Court writing a judgment of reversal and observed that Appellate Court must come in close quarters with the reasoning assigned by trial Court and then assign its own reasons for arriving at a different finding. Recently in Laliteshwar Prasad Singh v. S.P. Srivastava–(MANU/SC/1596/2016 : 2017(2) SCC 415) this judgment is used while reiterating the law and observed —

“13. The points which arise for determination by a Court of first appeal must cover all important questions involved in the case and they should not be general and vague. Even though the appellate Court would be justified in taking a different view on question of fact that should be done after adverting to the reasons given by the trial judge in arriving at the finding in question. When appellate Court agrees with the views of the trial Court on evidence, it need not restate effect of evidence or reiterate reasons given by trial Court; expression of general agreement with reasons given by trial Court would ordinarily suffice. However, when the first appellate Court reverses the findings of the trial Court, it must record the findings in clear terms explaining how the reasoning of the trial Court is erroneous.”
52. Discussion by us above shows the general approach adopted by the First Appellate Court leading to a an error of not examining the “legal necessity” qua the sale-deed in dispute. This error goes to the root of the matter.

53. Accordingly, We record our findings on the points for determination framed supra. The material on record does not show any inquiry conducted by the respondents before us about the legal necessity felt by Trimbakrao for the sale of kh. No. 10 ad-measuring 20.69 acres of mouza Kheda, Tah. Warora Distr. Chandrapur on 20.10.1951 vide sale-deed at Ex. 44. Such an inquiry into alleged legal necessity should have been prior to the obtaining the sale-deed Ex. 44 and evidence about it can not be adduced for the first time in a suit filed by the appellants’ vide Special Civil Suit No. 33 of 1971. It also follows that here the sale of kh. No. 10 is not proved to be of an agricultural land which could not have been cultivated profitably or then to avoid any legislation. In any case, such a sale in present facts can not be construed as one for legal necessity. The burden to prove the existence of the legal necessity always continued on the purchaser respondents, and even at this point of time, this factor is very material. We also hold that the earlier judgment dated 20.11.1987 delivered in First Appeal No. 99 of 1976 was not decisive in First Appeal No. 133 of 1976. It is unnecessary to find out whether it operates in rem or in personam. Lastly as the shares of defendant No. 5 Trimbakrao or defendant No. 6 Shalinibai were being dealt with, we find that they were necessary parties in First Appeal No. 133 of 1976.

54. We, therefore, pass the following order–

“(1) The judgment dated 15.7.1991 delivered by the learned Single Judge in First Appeal No. 138 of 1976 is quashed and set aside. First Appeal No. 138 of 1976 is hereby dismissed.

(2) The judgment and the decree of the Civil Judge, Senior Division, Chandrapur, dated 30.6.1976 in Special Civil Suit No. 33 of 1971 is restored.

(3) This Letters Patent Appeal is accordingly allowed with costs payable by the defendants – purchasers to plaintiffs all throughout the proceedings.

(4) Decree be drawn accordingly.”

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