1. Bringing legal heirs on record – A suit against a dead person is a nullity – No question of bringing his legal heirs as record – CPC Order 22, Rule 4
Where a defendant dies during the pendency of the suit, but the right to sue survives, the legal representative of the deceased Defendant may be substituted and they may contest the suit. In this case, the Defendant No. 4 was already dead, when the suit was filed. There can be no suit if there is no defendant in existence. The suit is a nullity as against the said defendant No. 4. There being no suit against defendant No. 4, in the eye of law, there would be no question of substitution of his heirs under Order XXII, Rule 4 of the Civil Procedure Code. The Plaintiff was already dead at the time when the suit had been filed. A suit against a dead person is a nullity.
Nirmal Jain and Ors. v. Ahuja Impex Pvt. Ltd. & ors. AIR 2017 DELHI 34
2. Prohibition of right to recover property held benami – Applicable to daughter-in-law – Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988
The property purchased in name of wife and daughters-in-law of purchaser, intention of purchaser clear that property was purchases for their benefit. It cannot be said that property was purchased in name of wife and daughters-in-law because they stood in fiduciary capacity to him. Since in such case he would have executed any instrument by way of family settlement Prohibition under S.4 would apply. Suit for possession by daughter- in- law, maintainable.
Smt. Kanchan Jain and Other v. Babita Jain. AIR 2017 (NOC) 73 (P & H).
3. Summary suit – Suit for recovery – Based on dishonoured cheque – Cheque returned unpaid on ground of alteration of contents of cheque : CPC order 37 Rule 1
Cheque returned unpaid on ground of alteration of contents of cheque, same ceases to be bill of exchange within the meaning of section 5 of the Negotiable Instruments Act for suit under order XXXVII, CPC to maintained thereon unless such alteration is established to have been made to carry out common intention of parties thereto . Further, there can be no mandate to the bank to pay and if there is no such mandate, the question of maintainability of a suit under Order XXXVII on basis of such a cheque would not arise.
Yogesh Mehra v. Amit Aggarwal: AIR 2017 Delhi 39
4. Framing of additional issue – CPC Order 14, Rule 1
Mere fact that application for additional issue has been moved at belated stage is no ground to decline request when fact is not disputed that issue arises from pleadings of parties. No issue framed regarding valid execution of will though due execution of will propounded by defendant was disputed by plaintiff in pleadings. Application to frame issue as to valid execution of will allowed, though made at time of arguments.
Smt. Krishna Kanwar and Others v. Satya Pal Singh Chauhan (since deceased) through his heirs and Other. AIR 2017 (NOC) 74 (P.& H.)
5. Natural justice – Meaning and scope
Natural Justice has two main limbs (i) the right to a fair hearing, also known as the audi alteram partem rule, viz., that no one should be condemned unheard and (ii) the rule against bias and nemo judex in causa sua, i.e., no one may be a judge in this own cause.
In other words, these two concepts tantamount to fairness and impartiality and are pillars supporting natural justice. There can be no variable standard for reasonableness except that the Court’s conscience must be satisfied that the person against whom an action is proposed has had a fair chance of convincing the authority who proposes to take action against him. The decision of the Court will depend upon the peculiar facts and circumstances of each case.
Malvika Foundation v. Human Resource Development Department AIR 2017 (NOC) 119 (SIK).
6. Eviction – Sub-letting – Occupation of shop by son-in-law of tenant under partnership agreement – No consent in writing obtained from landlord – It amounts to sub-letting
S.14(4) of Delhi Rent Control Act provides that if a person is allowed to occupy the premises ostensibly as a partner of the tenant but really for the purpose of sub-letting it, such an arrangement would be deemed to be sub-letting. Therefore, if the tenant has allowed any person to occupy the whole or any part of the premises, actually for the purpose of sub-letting but speciously by entering into a partnership with him, such an arrangement shall be deemed to be sub-letting. In other words, sub-letting is not permitted by camouflaging it as a partnership.
The combined reading of clause (b) of the proviso to Section 14(1) read with Section 14(4) makes it clear that before a tenant can sub-let, assign or part with the possession of any part of the premises or the whole, it must be preceded by the consent in writing from the landlord. In other words, the requirement of obtaining the consent in writing of the landlord is retained as a pre-requisite even for the purposes of sub-section (4).
Thus the mere occupation by son-in-law was not sufficient to establish a case of sub-letting.
Manishi Lal v. Smt. Santosh and Others. AIR 2017 Supreme Court 1057
7. Execution of Will – Suspicious circumstances – Succession Act, 1925
Will allegedly executed bequeathing all properties of testatrix towards charities . Plaintiff appointed as executor. Evidence by plaintiff, one of attestors and by person who drafted will as per instruction of testatrix . All three witnesses deposed equally stating that testatrix had executed will after perusing same in sound state of mind and was happy for bequeathing her properties for charity. Testatrix having suffered lot during her matrimonial life and divorce petition pending in Court on ground of cruelty, exclusion of husband from will, not suspicious. Especially since husband did not chose to examine himself . Will held to be validly executed.
Jayesh B. Dolia v. Umesh M. Thailramani (deid) and other. AIR 2017 (NOC) 177 (MAD).
8. Eviction – Deceased tenant, Hindu female – Claim of tenancy by brother of deceased – Brother of deceased tenant neither within definition of “family” under S.3 (g) nor “heir” under S.3(a)
In the present case, the suit property was taken on rent by the father-in-law of deceased tenant-Lalita that is Hem Ram Sharma and after his death, his son Baldev (husband of Lalita) became tenant of the suit property. Upon his death, Lalita became the tenant of the suit property. Upon death of Lalita, in terms of Section 15(2)(b) of the Hindu Succession Act, in the absence of any son or daughter of deceased Lalita, the tenancy would devolve upon the heirs of her husband. Since the appellant does not fall under the category of heir of Lalita’s husband, the tenancy of the suit property will not devolve on him nor can he be called as an heir under Section 3(a) of the U.P. Act. Thus, the appellant is in unauthorised occupation of the suit premises and is liable to be evicted.
As per section 3(a)(1), in the case of residential building, in the event of death of a tenant, for heirs to be treated as tenant, the statute requires them to prove that they have been normally residing with the deceased tenant at the time of his/her death. The term used in the section is heir which implies that not any of the family member residing with the tenant would succeed to the tenancy, but only the heirs of tenant normally residing with him/her. The words normally residing with him suggests that only those heirs would inherit the tenancy rights of deceased tenant who resided with him ordinarily in normal course and not temporarily. The legislative intent appears to be that only those heirs would inherit tenancy who normally resided with the tenant and not occasionally. In the present case, the appellant claims that he has been carrying on business in the property along with his deceased sister Lalita and had been ordinarily living with her because of the medical business they were running. The appellant being the brother of deceased-Lalita had no reason to normally reside with his married sister. Be it noted, in her written statement filed in the release application, Lalita has not averred that her brother-appellant Durga Prasad was living with her and that he was taking care of her. As rightly held by the Courts below, Durga Prasad is neither a heir within the meaning of Section 3(a) nor falls under the definition of family as per Section 3(g) of the Act.
Durga Prasad v. Narayan Ramchandaani (D) Thr. Lrs. Air 2017 Supreme Court 915