Read Judgment: Placido Francisco Pinto (d) By Lrs & Anr. vs. Jose Francisco Pinto & Anr

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, October 6, 2021: The Supreme Court has recently observed that once there is an admission of the defendant of discharge of his debts by plaintiff, then the sale deed registered in normal course of official duties carries the presumption of correctness which cannot be said to be illegal only on the basis of feigned ignorance that signatures of defendant were obtained on papers which was not known. 

A Division Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V.Ramasubramanian opined that only stand of first respondent(Jose Pinto – Defendant) is ignorance of the nature of the document on which his signatures were obtained. 

Such ignorance is not an instance of misrepresentation or a fraud in the facts of the present case which would vitiate a sale deed executed and registered with the Sub-Registrar, added the Bench.   

The observation came pursuant to a civil appeal where the defendant (first respondent and his wife) in the suit had alleged that the sale deed in question was obtained by the appellant (Placido Pinto – plaintiff) through fraud.

Since the defendant had not pleaded fraud in the written statement, the Apex Court held that he was not entitled to place evidence in that regard. 

The Division Bench said that no evidence of any oral agreement or statement shall be admitted for the purpose of contradicting, varying, adding or subtracting from its terms. 

The proviso (1) of Section 92 of the Evidence Act on which reliance was placed is a proof of such fact which would invalidate any document such as fraud, intimidation, illegality, want of due execution, want of capacity in any contracting party, want or failure of consideration, or mistake in fact or law, added the Bench. 

The only stand of respondent No.1 is ignorance of the nature of the document on which his signatures were obtained. Such ignorance is not an instance of misrepresentation or a fraud in the facts of the present case which would vitiate a sale deed executed and registered with the Sub-Registrar. It has been admitted by respondent No. 1 that he went to the Sub-Registrar’s office with his wife, signed once outside the Municipal Building and once before the Officers, shows that tactically he has admitted execution of the sale deed without expressly stating so”, noted the Top Court.  

The Apex Court elaborated that Order VI Rule 2 of the CPC, 1908 is to the effect that every pleading shall contain, and contain only, a statement in a concise form of the material facts on which the party pleading relies upon for his claim or defence as the case may be, but not the evidence by which they are supposed to be proved. 

Noticing that the appellant has relied upon the sale deed which contains the recital of payment as the sale consideration, the Top Court said that the evidence in support of such sale deed was not required to be pleaded in the plaint filed by the appellant. 

Still further, in terms of Order VI Rule 4 of the Code, in all cases in which the party pleading relies on any misrepresentation, fraud, or undue influence shall state in the pleadings the particulars with dates and items in the pleadings, added the Court. 

Since the extract from the written statement or the plaint does not show that there is any pleading of misrepresentation or fraud, the Apex Court opined that the evidence led by the respondents is not indicative of any instance of fraud or misrepresentation as well. 

Observing that factually, the respondents have not alleged any fraud in their suit or in the written statement in the suit filed by appellant, the Apex Court said that feigned ignorance about the nature of document cannot be said to be an instance of fraud. 

In the absence of any plea or proof of fraud, respondent No.1 is bound by the written document on which he admitted his signatures and of his wife, as there is no oral evidence which could prove fraud, intimidation, illegality or failure of consideration to permit the respondents to lead oral evidence to dispute the sale deed, added the Court. 

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