Indira Devi vs. Veena Gupta and Ors
Case Number: Civil Appeal No 9833 of 2014
Name of Judges: Hon’ble Judges Abhay Shreeniwas and Rajesh Bindal
Order Date: 04.07.2023
Facts of the Case:
- The facts of the case available on record are being noticed here. Kaleshwar Prasad Singh was inducted as a tenant in the property in question by late Kishori Lal Sahu who was the exclusive owner thereof. He along with his son executed a conditional sale deed dated 5.8.1977 in favour of Indira Devi d/o Kaleshwar Prasad Singh. It was mentioned in the sale deed that vendors were in dire need of money, hence, with the consent of family members, conditional sale deed was being executed in favour of the vendee for a total sale consideration of ‘ 5000/-. The condition in sale deed was that in case the vendors return the full consideration amount to the vendee by July, 1984, the vendee would return the property by means of a registered sale deed at the cost of the vendors. In case, the vendors fail to pay the consideration money within the stipulated time, the vendee will become exclusive owner of the property. Till then the vendee would not deal with the property in any manner whatsoever.
- Late Kishori Lal Sahu executed a registered gift deed dated 14.02.1983 in favour of his daughter-in-law, Veena Gupta w/o Gopal Prasad. The description of the property was detailed out in the Gift Deed, wherein it was stated that the executant was old and the beneficiary was taking care of him, hence the properties are being gifted to her. Number of properties were gifted. It was mentioned therein that the property as mentioned at column No. 5 therein was transferred to Indira Devi by way of registered sale deed dated 5.8.1977, which can be purchased back by Veena Gupta from Indira Devi.
- The vendors were ready and willing to return ‘ 5000/- to the vendee to get the sale deed registered back in their name but the vendee was not agreeing to the same. The civil suit was filed by the Respondent No. 1 along with Kishori Lal Sahu (now deceased) in 1983. The prayer in the suit was for a direction to the Appellant to accept ‘ 5000/- as consideration money and execute sale deed in favour of Respondent No. 1 in respect of the house as mentioned in the suit. On failure, decree be passed directing Appellant to register the sale deed in favour of the Respondent No. 1, the first Plaintiff and as a consequence, the Plaintiffs be put in possession of the property in question. In the alternative, the prayer was that there is a relationship of landlord and tenant between Kishori Lal Sahu (non deceased), the second Plaintiff and Kaleshwar Prasad Singh, the first Defendant. A decree of eviction be passed in favour of the Plaintiffs on the ground of personal necessity and non payment of rent and the possession be got delivered. The Trial Court vide judgment dated 27.9.1986 dismissed the suit. The judgment and decree of the Trial Court was upheld by the lower appellate court vide judgment and order dated 27.1.2000. In second appeal filed by the Respondents, the judgments of the courts below were reversed by the High Court vide judgment dated 26.09.2013.
THE HON’ BLE SUPREME COURT OBSERVED AS FOLLOWS:
- Even in a case of assignment of rights simpliciter, such assignment would necessarily require the consent of the other party to the contract if it is of a “personal nature”. This is elucidated by the learned authors Pollock and Mulla in their commentary on The Indian Contract and Specific Relief Actsat p. 730:- A contract which is such that the promisor must perform it in person viz. involving personal considerations or personal skill or qualifications (such as his credit), are by their nature not assignable. The benefit of contract is assignable in ‘cases where it can make no difference to the person on whom the obligation lies to which of two persons he is to discharge it’. The contractual rights for the payment of money or to building work, for e.g. do not involve personal considerations.
- It can be summed up from the aforesaid judgments that the condition of right to repurchase in sale deed will not be personal to the vendor unless the terms in the documents specifically state so. Such a right can always be assigned and the contract containing such condition shall be enforceable. The only exception being that such a right should not be personal in nature. The assignment of obligations in a document is not possible without the consent of the other party. No implied prohibition of transfer or assignment can be inferred in a document. The benefit of contract is assignable in cases where it does not make any difference to the person on whom the obligations lie, to which of two persons he is to discharge.
- If the facts of the case in hand are considered, we do not find that there is any term in the conditional Sale Deed which debars its assignment to any other person. The Clause only mentions regarding right of repurchase. The option is given to the vendors with the obligations on the vendee. The right to repurchase in the present case has been assigned by Kishori Lal Sahu (now deceased) in favour of Respondent No. 1 who is none else than his daughter-in-law to whom other properties have also been gifted.
- Even the argument raised by learned Counsel for the Appellant that such an assignment of a right cannot be treated as a gift as consideration money is involved, is also noticed and rejected for the reason that the executor of the Gift Deed i.e Kishori Lal Sahu (now deceased) had transferred his right to repurchase the property in favour of Respondent No. 1. That right could always be assigned by him with whatever conditions attached to it. Further in the suit filed, he was also a Plaintiff, who died later.
- For the reasons mentioned above, we do not find any error in the judgment of the High Court. The present appeal is accordingly dismissed. There is no order as to costs.