The Bombay High Court recently upheld a trial court’s decision to dismiss a partition claim, invoking the res judicata principle. The plaintiff had claimed the assets through his mother; however, the issue had been decided in an earlier litigation filed by his mother for the identical properties.
The second appeal was denied by Justice S. M. Modak, who stated that there was no need to intervene in the lower courts’ verdicts because there was no perversity in those findings and no substantive point of law was raised in the appeal.
“There is no perversity in the findings on the point of said Bhagirthi’s identification, and there is no perversity in the findings on the principle of res judicata, therefore this Court considers that no substantive question of law is posed that warrants admission of the appeal,” the court said.
The appellant is the plaintiff in a property partition litigation. Through his mother, he claimed ownership to such properties. Hari Kumbhar, his maternal grandfather, he claimed, had purchased the properties. According to the lawsuit, Hari Kumbhar had two sons and two daughters, one of whom was his mother. The respondents were named as defendants in the lawsuit.
They claimed that in January 2009, a civil court in another complaint filed by the plaintiff’s mother ruled that the properties were not ancestral. The defendants argued that the current claim is restricted by the res judicata principle.
The trial court determined that the properties were not ancestral, and that because the question had already been settled in plaintiff’s mother’s claim, the concept of res judicata applied. These results were confirmed by the first appellate court. In a second appeal, the plaintiff sought the High Court.
The plaintiffs argued before the trial court that res judicata does not apply because the parties in the previous and current suits are not the same.
The trial judge dismissed the allegation, citing that the plaintiff filed the current lawsuit and his mother filed the previous suit. The trial judge remarked that, with the exception of one property, all of the properties involved in both actions were identical.
The trial court further found that the identity of the plaintiff’s mother had not been proven. The trial court cited to two heirship register extracts in which the names of Hari Kumbhar’s daughter differed. It was noticed that no evidence was attached to the plaint to prove that these several names refer to the same individual, Hari Kumbhar’s daughter and also, the properties were not proven to be ancestral joint family properties between the deceased mother and the accused.
The first appeal court upheld the trial court’s decision, citing Section 11 of the Civil Procedure Code, and declined to intervene.
The High Court reviewed the trial court and first appellate court decisions and concluded that there is no perversity in the identity of the plaintiff’s mother. Furthermore, there was no perversity in the res judicata conclusions. The court confirmed the lower court rulings, finding that the appeal raises no serious question of law.
CASE: Chandrakant Narayan Salvi v. Chandrakant Krushna Kumbhar and Ors.