‘Suit has virtually become infructuous’: Top Court dismisses SLP in suit filed in 1982 relating to alleged unauthorized sale carried out more than four decades back
Justices Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha & Aravind Kumar [24-01-2024]




LE Correspondent


New Delhi, February 12, 2024: While dismissing an SLP pertaining to a title & declaration suit filed in the year 1982, the Supreme Court has opined that dragging a matter for more than four decades is unacceptable. The Top Court observed that the power, authority and jurisdiction of Courts to address simple reliefs of citizens will be consumed and destroyed by passage of time if the same situation continues.


The Division Bench of Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha and Justice Aravind Kumar was considering a special leave petition directed against the decision of the High Court in dismissing an application for restoration of a Civil Revision Application and the accompanying application for condonation of delay in sheer exasperation.


The facts of the case suggested that a simple prayer was made by the petitioners in a suit for declaration that the property belonging to the joint family was wrongly sold by their father to third parties through a sale deed in the year 1980. The suit came to be dismissed for default for not paying the process fee for service of notice on the LRs. of defendant no.2. The petitioners filed an application for restoration in 1993.


This application for restoration was decided after seven years and the Trial Court dismissed the application. The petitioner filed an appeal against this order. After three years, the appeal came to be dismissed. While the petitioner’s revision petition was pending, the High Court passed a peremptory order that if the objections were not removed within a period of two weeks, the revision petition would stand dismissed without reference to the Court.


Despite the dismissal of the revision petition, the petitioner filed the application for change in name of respondent no.8. After six years, an M.A. for restoration filed by the petitioner was dismissed. The High Court by the order dated 05.11.2014, impugned herein, dismissed the application for restoration.


The petitioner then filed a Special Leave Petition against the above-said impugned order and notice was issued by this Court on 06.04.2015. From 2015, the matter has been pending before the Top Court. Proceedings indicated that the SLP was listed several times between 2015 and 2024 but could not be heard as notice on some respondents was not complete.


The Bench noted that the suit filed in 1982 never took off as even summons were not issued. “It might not be surprising for lawyers, judges and those who are acquainted with civil court proceedings. The real danger is when we accept this position and continue with it as part of a systematic problem. Until and unless we believe that this situation is unacceptable and act accordingly, the power, authority and jurisdiction of Courts to address simple reliefs of citizens will be consumed and destroyed by passage of time. This is not acceptable at all”, the Top Court asserted.


Considering the fact that there must be a solution, idea and resolve to rectify this situation and ensure that easy remedies are available to correct an illegality for a rightful restitution, the Bench dismissed the SLP.


The Bench concluded the matter by saying, “…we have noticed that the suit that was filed in the year 1982 relates to an alleged unauthorized sale by father more than four decades back. The suit has virtually become infructuous for more than one reason. The Special Leave Petition is dismissed.”

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