Anatula Sudhakar v. P. Buchi Reddy

Statement of Facts

This appeal for special leave is by the defendant in a suit for permanent injuction. Puli Chandra Reddy and Puli Buchi Reddy were the plaintiffs in the said suit. Both the plaintiffs claimed to be the respective owners in possession of the said two sites having purchased them under two registered sale deeds dated 9.12.1968 from Rukminibai. When they were digging trenches in order to commence construction, the defendant interfered with said work. The plaintiffs filed a suit for permanent injuction to restrain the defendant from interfering with their possession. Defendant resisted the suit claiming that suit property measuring 300sq. yards in premises No. 13/776 was purchased by him from K.V. Damodar Rao, brother of Rukminibai. He had also obtained a loan for such construction from the Central Government by mortgaging the said property. According to him, when he commenced construction in the said property, the plaintiffs tried to interfere with his possession and filed a false suit claiming to be in possession.

Issues Raised

  1. Whether the plaintiffs are in exclusive possession of the suit sites?
  2. Whether the defendant has interfered with the possession of the plaintiffs over the split plots?
  3. Whether the plaintiffs are entitled to permanent injunction? And to what relief?

Critical Analysis

A step in the right direction was taken by the High Court in its judgement of Anatula Sudhakar V. P. Buchi Reddy. The High Court by its judgement dated 18.1.1991 allowed the second appeal and restored the judgement and decree of the Irial Court and consequently held that plaintiffs had established their title in regard to the two vacant sites purchased by them and drew an inference that possession was presumed to be with them by applying the principle of possession follows title. The HC also held that it was not necessary to plaintiffs to sue for declaration of title, as the question of title could be examined incidental to the question of possession.

There was some confusion as to what circumstances the question of title will be directly and subsequently in issue in the suit for injunction simpliciter. In Vanagri Sri Selliamam Ayyanar Uthirasomasundareswarar Temple V. Rajanga Asari AIR 1965, Madras High Court considered an appeal arising from a suit for possession and injunction. The defendant contended that the plaintiff had filed an earlier suit for injunction which was dismissed, and therefore the plaintiff was precluded from agitating the issue of the title in the subsequent title suit, being barred by the principal of res judicata. It was held that the earlier suit was only for injunction and the averments in the plaint did not give rise to any question necessitating denial of plaintiffs title by the defendant, and as the earliest suit was only concerned only with possessory right and not title, the subsequent suit was not barred. There are several decisions taking similar view that in a suit for injunction, the question of title does not arise or would arise only incidentaly or collateraly, and therefore a subsequent suit for declaration oof title would not be barred. The judgement by the High Court has stated an effective decision and restoring the decree of the trial court in favour of the plaintiffs that the plaintiffs and their witnesses gave evidence to the effect that Damodar Rao represented that his sister Rukminibai was the owner of the plot and negotiated for the sale of the several portions thereof in favour of the plaintiffs. Further, where title of plaintiffs is disputed and claims for possession is purely based on tiltle, and the plaintiffs have to rely on various principles of law relating to ostensible ownership and section 41 of TPA, validity of an oral gift by way of ‘Pasupu Kumkumam’ under Hindu Law, estoppel and acquiescene, to put forth a case of title, such complicated questions could properly be examined only in a title suit, that is a suit for declaration and consequential reliefs and in a suit for an injunction simppliciter.