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Lt Col. Paramjit Singh Dhillon vs Harinder Singh Ghuman on 24 October, 2019

NON-REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO(S). 8263 OF 2019
(ARISING OUT OF SLP (C) NO(S). 22118 OF 2018)

LT. COL. PARAMJIT SINGH DHILLON …..APPELLANT(S)

VERSUS

HARINDER SINGH GHUMAN ….RESPONDENT(S)

WITH

CIVIL APPEAL NO(S). 8264 OF 2019
(ARISING OUT OF SLP (C) NO(s). 20655 OF 2019)
(Dy. NO. 28401/2018)

JUDGMENT

Rastogi, J.

1. Leave granted.

2. Both the appeals although arise from separate orders

passed in the independent proceedings instituted but relates to
Signature Not Verified

partition of the estate of late Col. Kultar Singh Dhillon (for short
Digitally signed by
GULSHAN KUMAR
ARORA
Date: 2019.10.24
16:47:10 IST
Reason:

K.S. Dhillon) who expired on 6th January, 2012 leaving behind

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two legal heirs, i.e. son Lt. Col. Paramjit Singh Dhillon and

daughter Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuman.

3. Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuham filed a suit for partition in

the High Court of Delhi on 14 th February, 2012. At a later point

of time, i.e. on 5th May, 2012, Lt. Col. Paramjit Singh Dhillon

filed a suit in the Court of Civil Judge, SBS Nagar, Punjab on the

basis of will of late Shri K.S. Dhillon. With the consent of

parties, both the appeals are decided by a common judgment.

4. The brief facts are that late Shri K.S. Dhillon died on 6 th

January, 2012 leaving behind two legal heirs, i.e. son Lt. Col.

Paramjit Singh Dhillon and daughter Smt. Harinder Singh

Ghuman. Their mother and wife of late Shri K.S. Dhillon, Smt.

Jatinder Kaur passed away on 1st June, 2004. There are no

other legal heirs except the two siblings, namely, Smt. Harinder

Singh Ghuman and Lt. Col. Paramjit Singh Dhillon who are

senior citizens and are aged 69 years and 67 years.

5. It is unfortunate that despite the matter sent for mediation

on two-three occasions having an opportunity to the parties to

sit across the table and resolve their inter se disputes in

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reference to the property/estate of late Shri K.S. Dhillon but

unfortunately the process of mediation could not succeed.

6. Even after the matter was instituted in this Court, the

parties were asked to settle through the process of mediation

under the belief that both are senior citizens and will think with

positivity in restoring their relations ruling out the bitterness

intervened in their families, but unfortunately the mediation

could not succeed. But we are still hopeful that both of them

may sit together to resolve their inter se dispute and will not

leave behind litigation in legacy to their children.

7. Both the parties jointly made a request to decide the

appeals on merits.

Facts of Civil Appeal @ SLP (C) No(s). 22118 of 2018

8. The suit for partition bearing CS(OS) No. 373 of 2012 was

filed by Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuman on 14 th February, 2012 in

the original side of the Delhi High Court. Lt. Col. Paramjit Singh

Dhillon (defendant) appeared on 15th February, 2012 and the

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parties were directed to maintain status quo with regard to the

estate left behind by their father late Shri K.S. Dhillon. The

defendant in the suit Lt. Col. Paramjit Singh Dhillon filed his

written statement and on the basis of the pleadings of the

parties, issues were framed on 30th January, 2015, the matter

was proceeded for recording of evidence before the local

Commissioner.

9. At this stage, the defendant- Lt. Col. Paramjit Singh Dhillon

filed an application under Order 7 Rule 11 Code of Civil

Procedure, 1908 for rejection of the suit plaint on the ground

that out of the properties of which partition is being sought, the

property which is situated in Delhi is governed by the Delhi

Land Reforms Act, 1954, and hence it is barred under Section

185 of the Delhi Land Reforms Act, 1954. With respect to the

other properties which are agricultural lands in Punjab, a similar

provision in the Punjab Land Revenue Act, 1887 is relied upon.

It was further pleaded in the application that as per Section 16

of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, a suit for immovable property

which is not situated in the territorial jurisdiction of Delhi will

not lie in Delhi. It was also pleaded by the defendant that the

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suit against the plaintiff Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuman has been

filed in the competent Court in the State of Punjab, hence the

instant suit cannot continue.

10. The Single Judge took note of the rival submissions made

by the parties but did not find any substance in the application

filed under Order 7 Rule 11 of Code of Civil Procedure and

dismissed the application vide order dated 27 th January, 2016.

11. Aggrieved by the order of the Single Judge of High Court of

Delhi dismissing the application for rejectment of the suit

plaint, appeal came to be preferred by the defendant that also

came to be dismissed vide detailed judgment dated 19 th July,

2018 noticing the fact that the territorial jurisdiction in

reference to the properties in Punjab appears to be

misconceived for the reason that Section 17 of the Code of Civil

Procedure states that where more than one court has

jurisdiction, a suit can be filed at any Court where any of the

immovable property is situated and that apart so far as the

property situated in Delhi and in Punjab is concerned, the same

will not result in complete rejectment of the suit plaint in view

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of the issues which are framed in the pending proceedings and

the order passed of the Division Bench of the High Court dated

19th July, 2018 rejecting the application for dismissal of

rejectment of the suit plaint filed at the instance of Smt.

Harinder Singh Ghuman came to be challenged in Civil Appeal

arising out of SLP(C) No. 22118 of 2018 by Lt. Col. Paramjit

Singh Dhillon (defendant in the suit).

Facts of Civil Appeal @ SLP(C ) No. 20655 of 2019

12. The respondent(plaintiff) Lt. Col. Paramjit Singh Dhillon

filed a suit in the Court of Civil Judge, Senior Division, SBS

Nagar, Punjab seeking declaration that the respondent-plaintiff

is the absolute owner and possession of the properties

indicated in the suit plaint on the basis of the will of late Shri

K.S. Dhillon. The suit filed at the instance of the respondent-

plaintiff in Punjab includes the estate of late Shri K.S. Dhillon

and to give jurisdiction to the Civil Judge in SBS Nagar, included

the property which is situated in the territorial jurisdiction of

Civil Judge, SBS Nagar which in fact as alleged belongs to late

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Smt. Jatinder Kaur (their mother). That late Smt. Jatinder Kaur

succeeded to the property from her maternal side.

13. Although there is a dispute that their late father Shri K.S.

Dhillon also have 1/3rd share in the estate of his wife late Smt.

Jatinder Kaur. The plea of Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuman is that

the property at SBS Nagar was of late Smt. Kulbhagwant Kaur

devolved upon her eight children including their mother Late

Smt. Jatinder Kaur, leaving behind Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuman

and Lt. Col. Paramjit Singh Dhillon in equal shares by natural

course of succession. At the same time, the claim of the

defendant Lt. Col. Paramjit Singh Dhillon is that it has devolved

1/3rd share in favour of each after her death on 1 st June, 2004

and 1/3rd share of estate of late Smt. Jatinder Kaur succeeded

by their father late Shri K.S. Dhillon who expired on 6 th January,

2012. We are not supposed to dwell on the question at this

stage and it has to be examined in the pending proceedings

before the competent Court of jurisdiction.

14. Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuman as defendant in the

proceedings in the civil suit filed in the Court of Civil Judge, SBS

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Nagar, Punjab also filed her written statement and on the

pleadings of the parties, issues were framed. It reveals from

the record that she also moved as number of miscellaneous

applications, as may be possible, to defer the proceedings for

one or the other reason. Her application for rejectment of

plaint under Order 7 Rule 11 Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 was

dismissed on 3rd September, 2016 and additional issues 3A and

3B were later on framed vide order dated 26 th September, 2016

which are reproduced as under:-

“3A Whether Kultar Singh had inherited the suit
property situated at Nawanshahara from Jatinder
Kaur his wife? OPD

3B. Whether Kultar Singh had inheritable right in
the property of Jatinder Kaur his wife inherited from
her from her parents? OPD”

15. At this stage, application was filed by Smt. Harinder Singh

Ghuman as a defendant under Order 14 Rule 2(1) of Code of

Civil Procedure, 1908 for deciding the additional issues, i.e. 3A

and 3B, as a preliminary issue.

16. After the matter being heard at length, the trial Judge

dismissed the application assigning cogent reasons as to why it

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is not in the interest of the parties for deciding additional issues

as preliminary issues as prayed for vide order dated 15 th April,

2017 that came to be challenged in the writ petition under

SectionArticle 227 of the Constitution of India filed at the instance of

the defendant Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuman which also came to

be dismissed after assigning cogent and valid reasons under

Order dated 4th April, 2018.

17. Both the learned counsels have supported their respective

pleas and so far as the application filed in the pending suit in

the Delhi High Court under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC is concerned,

learned counsel for Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuman submits that

Section 185 of the Delhi Land Reforms Act is not applicable as

the area where the subject property is situated has been

“urbanised” under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957.

The Delhi Land Reforms Act would only be applicable to the

lands which are rural in nature and after issuance of a

notification under Section 507(a) of the Delhi Municipal

Corporation Act, 1957 dated 23 rd May, 1963, the subject land

ceased to be rural land and has been declared “urbanised”

which is not under the jurisdiction of the Land Reforms Act.

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18. Learned counsel further submits that in view of Section 17

of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, where more than one

court has a jurisdiction, a suit can be filed at any one Court

where any one immovable property is situated and further

submits that Section 158 of the Punjab Land Revenue Act, 1887

will not have any application from the relief which she has

claimed in the suit filed for partition of the estate of late Shri

K.S. Dhillon in the High Court of Delhi.

19. So far as the Civil Appeal @ SLP( C ) No. 22118 of 2018

preferred by Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuman is concerned,

learned counsel submits that the additional issues which were

framed as 3A and 3B goes into the root of the matter and if

such issues are decided first as the preliminary issue, further

issues which are framed may not require any adjudication.

20. Per contra, learned counsel for Lt. Col. Paramjit Singh

Dhillon submits that the application which he filed under Order

7 Rule 11 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the High Court of

Delhi has exceeded its jurisdiction in taking note of the written

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statement. To the contrary, at the stage of Order 7 Rule 11 of

Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, it is the plaint which alone is to

be looked into as to whether the suit is barred by law but the

High Court of Delhi has looked into the written statement to

non-suit his claim for rejectment of the suit plaint and submits

that so far as the objection raised by Smt. Harinder Singh

Ghuman to decide additional issues 3A and 3B as the

preliminary issues in the first instance, cogent reasons have

been assigned by the trial Judge and confirmed by the High

Court under the impugned judgment. That apart, the additional

issues framed certainly have to be looked into on the basis of

the evidence on record and the matter is at its advanced stage,

in the given facts and circumstances, confining the additional

issues to be answered at the first instance will delay the

proceedings and this what the High Court has observed in the

order impugned.

21. We have heard the learned counsel for the parties and

after going through the records, we are of the view that both

the appeals are without substance and deserves to be

dismissed for the reason that in the suit for partition filed at the

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instance of Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuman in the High Court of

Delhi, while examining the application filed by Lt. Col. Paramjit

Singh Dhillon under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC, cogent reasons have

been assigned by the Single Judge of the High Court in the first

instance and confirmed by the Division Bench of the High Court

in appeal preferred at the instance of Lt. Col. Paramjit Singh

Dhillon and we are in agreement of the view expressed and

does not call for our interference.

22. So far as the plea raised by Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuman

in the pending suit before the SBS Nagar, Punjab is concerned,

the trial Judge has taken note of the facts in detail and arrived

to the conclusion that no useful purpose will be served in taking

additional issues 3A and 3B as the preliminary issues taking

note of the fact that the suit was filed in the year 2012 and

proceedings could not have been followed up further because

of the interim applications being filed one after the other and

there is a direction of the High Court to dispose of the pending

suit expeditiously, in the given circumstances, the trial Judge

felt it appropriate that the matter be decided along with the

other issues pending adjudication and that view has been

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confirmed by the High Court in its revisional jurisdiction

assigning cogent reasons. We are of the view that the reasons

assigned are unassailable.

23. We do not find any substance in the civil appeals on

merits but looking into the peculiar facts which has been

brought to our notice that for the self-same subject property,

suit for partition bearing no. CS(OS) No. 373 of 2012 has been

filed by Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuman in the original side of

Delhi High Court and at the same time, suit has been filed by

Lt. Col. Paramjit Singh Dhillon in the Court of Civil Judge, Senior

Division, SBS Nagar, Punjab seeking declaration that plaintiff is

the absolute owner and possession of the properties indicated

in the suit plaint on the basis of the will of late Shri K.S. Dhillon.

The plea on which rights have been claimed by the parties inter

se may be different but the subject property being the same

and parties are the legal heirs of late Shri K.S. Dhillon, to avoid

conflicting views and multiplicity of litigation, it has been

considered that both the matters be clubbed and be heard

together.

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24. Consequently, both the appeals are devoid of merit and

accordingly dismissed. It is further directed that Suit C No.

121/12(new no. being C No. 18704 of 2013) filed by Lt. Col.

Paramjit Singh Dhillon in the Court of Civil Judge, Senior

Division, SBS Nagar, Punjab be transferred alongwith the

records and be tagged along with suit for partition bearing

CS(OS) No. 373 of 2012 filed by Smt. Harinder Singh Ghuman

on the file of the Delhi High Court and be further tried from that

stage. Since both the litigating parties are senior citizens and

their matters are pending for the last seven years, the High

Court of Delhi is requested to decide the matter as

expeditiously as possible.

25. Copies of the orders may be sent to the concerned Courts

for necessary compliance.

26. Pending application(s), if any, stand disposed of.

…………………………J.

(N.V. RAMANA)

…………………………J.

(AJAY RASTOGI)
NEW DELHI
OCTOBER 24, 2019
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