State of T.N. vs. T.V. Venugopalan, (1994) 6 SCC 302, In this case, Court held that the rule provided that an application for alteration of recorded date of birth would be entertained only if made within five years after entering the service. This Court held that an employee already in service at the time of enforcement of such rule should make the application for correction within five years from the date of enforcement of the rule, otherwise he would lose his right to make such an application and the Government servant would not be permitted to challenge the entry at the fag end of his service.
Executive Engineer, Bhadrak (R&B) Division, Orissa and Others vs. Rangadhar Mallik, 1993 Supp (1) SCC 763. In this case, Court was considering Rule 65 of the Orissa General Finance Rules stipulating that representation for correction of date of birth made near about the time of superannuation shall not be admitted. This Court held that the representation for correcting the date of birth made by respondent 18 years after is not maintainable in law since the entry regarding date of birth made in the service record was on the basis of the horoscope produced by the employee himself and after obtaining his signature.
Government of Andhra Pradesh and Another vs. M. Hayagreev Sarma, (1990) 2 SCC 682. A.P. Public Employment (Recording and Alteration of Date of Birth) Rules, 1984 was under consideration in this case by the Court. The date of birth of the employee was recorded in the service book on the basis of school certificate at the time of entry into service. The employee's application for alteration in the date of birth so recorded was finally rejected prior to coming into force of the rules. A subsequent claim was made by the employee for alteration after commencement of the rules. This Court held that the subsequent claim for alteration after the commencement of the rules even on the basis of the extracts of entry contained in births and deaths register maintained under Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act, 1886 was not open.
Union of India vs. Harnam Singh, (1993) 2 SCC 162. In this case, there was a delay of five years in seeking for alteration prescribed in Note 5 to FR 56(m) as substituted in 1979. This Court held that those already in service prior to 1979, for a period of more than five years, obliged to seek alteration within the maximum period of five years from the date of coming into force of amended note 5 in 1979. Alteration sought by the employee in 1991, 35 years after his induction into the service during which period he had several occasions to see the service book to raise any objection regarding his date of birth cannot be allowed in view of unexplained and inordinate delay.
Burn Standard Co. Ltd. and Others vs. Dinabandhu Majumdar and Another, AIR 1995 SC 1499. "Entertainment by High Courts of writ applications made by employees of the Government or its instrumentalities at the fag end of their services and when they are due for retirement from their services, is unwarranted. It would be so for the reason that no employee can claim a right to correction of birth date and entertainment of such writ applications for correction of dates of birth of some employees of Government or its instrumentalities will mar the chances of promotion of his juniors and prove to be an undue encouragement to the other employees to make similar applications at the fag end of their service careers with the sole object of preventing their retirements when due. Extraordinary nature of the jurisdiction vested in the High Courts under Article 226 of the Constitution is not meant to make employees of Government or its instrumentalities to continue in service beyond the period of their entitlement according to dates of birth accepted by their employers, placing reliance on the so-called newly found material. The fact that an employee of Government or its instrumentality who will be in service for over decades, with no objection whatsoever raised as to his date of birth accepted by the employers as correct, when all of a sudden comes forward towards the fag end of his service career with a writ application before the High Court seeking correction of his date of birth in his Service Record, the very conduct of non- raising of an objection in the matter by the employee, should be a sufficient reason for the High Court, not to entertain such applications on grounds of acquiescence, undue delay and laches. Moreover, discretionary jurisdiction of the High Court can never be said to have been reasonably and judicially exercised if it entertains such writ application, for no employee, who had grievance as to his date of birth in his 'service and Leave Record' could have genuinely waited till the fag end of his service career to get it corrected by availing of the extraordinary jurisdiction of a High Court."
In The Secretary & Commissioner Home Department & Ors. Vs. R. Kirubakaran, JT 1993 (5) SC 404, Court held : "An application for correction of the date of birth by a public servant cannot be entertained at the fag end of his service. It need not be pointed out that any such direction for correction of the date of birth of the public servant concerned has a chain reaction, inasmuch as others waiting for years, below him for their respective promotions are affected in this process. Some are likely to suffer irreparable injury, inasmuch as, because of the correction of the date of birth, the officer concerned, continues in office, in some cases for years, within which time many officers who are below him in seniority waiting for their promotion, may lose the promotion forever. According to us, this is an important aspect, which cannot be lost sight of by the Court or the Tribunal while examining the grievance of a public servant in respect of correction of his date of birth. As such, unless clear case on the basis of materials which can be held to be conclusive in nature, is made out by the respondent, the Court or the Tribunal should not issue a direction, on the basis of materials which make such claim only plausible and before any such direction is issued, the Court must be fully satisfied that there has been real injustice to the person concerned and his claim for correction of date of birth has been made in accordance with the procedure prescribed, and within time fixed by any rule or order. The onus is on the applicant to prove about the wrong recording of his date of birth in his service book. .. As such whenever an application for alteration of the date of birth is made on the eve of superannuation or near about that time, the Court or the Tribunal concerned should be more cautious because of the growing tendency amongst a section of public servants, to raise such a dispute, without explaining as to why this question was not raised earlier. In the facts and circumstances of the case, it is not possible to uphold the finding recorded by the Tribunal."
Supreme Court in U.P. Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad v. Raj Kumar Agnihotri, (2005) 11 SCC 465 , at page 475 had held that the service record cannot be changed just a few years before the retirement or at the fag end of his retirement. The Apex Court had held as under : "......It is thus seen from the above quoted judgments that this Court has consistently taken the view that correction in entries made in government records on the basis of which the government servant got the service cannot be allowed to be changed just a few years before retirement or at the fag end of his retirement."
The Supreme Court had also held in Union of India v. Harnam Singh, (1993) 2 SCC 162 that the alteration sought by an employee after 35 years of his induction into service during which he had several occasions to see the service book cannot be allowed.
In the case of State of Orissa and Ors. v. Ramnath Patnaik, AIR 1997 Supreme Court 2452, the Supreme Court has observed in Para 4. "When entry was made in service record and when he was in service, he did not make any attempt to have the service record corrected, therefore, any amount of evidence produced subsequently would be of no avail..." The Supreme Court has held that "an employee cannot be permitted to seek correction of his date of birth after his retirement".
In the case of Hindustan Lever Limited v. S.M. Jadhav and Anr., 2001 (2) ESC 338 (SC) : AIR 2001 SC 1665, the Supreme Court, has elaborated its earlier view and held that "an employee cannot be allowed to raise, at the fag-end of the career, dispute regarding correction of his date of birth".
In the case of General Manager, Bhawani Cooking Coal Limited, West Bengal v. Shib Kumar Dushad and Ors., (2000) 8 SCC 696, the Supreme Court has held that "no dispute regarding correction of date of birth shall be permitted to be raised after long time his joining service unless it is based on some typographical or arithmetical error and the Court refused to interfere in such matter".
In Bhupendra Nath Chatterjee v. State of Bihar, AIR 1977 SC 746, it was held that the date of birth recorded in service record is to govern the date of superannuation of the person from service.
The application for correction of date of birth as recorded in the service book are not permitted to be corrected by inordinate delay as held in Union of India v. Kantilal Hematram Pandiya, (1995) 3 SCC 17 : AIR 1995 SC 1349. The Supreme Court has held that the document which came into existence subsequent to the entrance in service but while getting the date of birth recorded in the said certificate respondents had not been involved.
In Union of India v. Ram Suia Sharma (1996) 7 SCC 421, the Supreme Court has again reiterated that the claim for correction of the recorded date of birth made 25 years of joining in the service could not have been entertained by the Central Administrative Tribunal and the Tribunal's direction allowing such a claim as per se illegal and that due to long delay and latches, such a claim should not have been entertained by the Tribunal.
In Harpal Singh v. State of Haryana, AIR 1981 SC 361; Brij Mohan v. P.B.N. Sinha, AIR 1965 SC 282 and Ramprasad v. State of Bihar, AIR 1970 SC 326, it has been held by the Supreme Court that unless it is proved that the entries had been recorded in exercise of the official duties by a Government servant, the same cannot be held to be admissible under Section 35 of the Evidence Act. In case, it is proved that it got recorded by an illiterate Chowkidar or by someone else or entries had been made without proper checking, the same requires corroboration and cannot be assumed to be correct.
In Mohammed Ikram Hussain v. State of U.P., AIR 1964 SC 1625, it was held that the age of the girl mentioned in the School Register at the time of admission was a good evidence under Section 35 of the Evidence Act. School Register was found to be admissible on the ground that these entries were made ante litem mortem.
In Updesh Kumar and Ors. v. Prithvi Singh and Ors., AIR 2001 SC 703, the School Admission Register was held to be made admissible under Section 35 of the Evidence Act. Even the age mentioned in Matriculation Certificate by the Education Board was held to be done in accordance with law as required under Section 114, Illustration (e) of the Evidence Act.
In Ramdeo Chauhan v. State of Assam, AIR 2001 SC 2231, the Supreme Court, while examining the issue regarding admissibility of School Admission Register under Section 35 of the Evidence Act, held that as it was not clear as under what provision of law, the School Register was maintained, the entries made in such a Register cannot be taken as a proof of age of the person concerned for any purpose.
In case of Union of India v. Harnam Singh, 1993 (2) SCC 162, position in law was again reiterated and it was observed : "A Government servant who has declared his age at the initial stage of the employment is, of course, not precluded from making a request later on for correcting his age. It is open to a civil servant to claim correction of his date of birth, if he is in possession of irrefutable proof relating to his date of birth as different from the one earlier recorded and even if there is no period of limitation prescribed for seeking correction of date of birth, the Government servant must do so without any unreasonable delay."
In State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors. v. Mohan Lal Sharma , JT 1996 (5) 30, 1996 SCALE (4)385 the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that while examining the issue of correction of date of birth, the Court must be very slow in accepting the case of applicant if issue has been agitated at a much belated stage and it must examine the pros and cons involved in the case even if not raised by the parties. In the said case the Tribunal had allowed application for correcting the date of birth placing reliance on the Horoscope and a certificate issued by the retired Head Master of the School showing a different date of birth. The Apex Court reversed the said judgment observing that if it was allowed the applicant would have joined the service when he was less than 18 years of age, and therefore, accepting such an application would amount to sanctifying his illegal entrance in service. The Court further observed that no reliance could be placed upon the said certificate and Horoscope at all.
In State of Punjab v. Mohinder Singh - 2005(3) S.C.C. 702, the Supreme Court has held that the school records can be corrected only with authentic records and not mere horoscope. The Supreme Court held that horoscope is a very weak piece of material to prove age of a person. A very heavy onus lies on the person, who wants to press it into service, to prove its authenticity. It requires to be proved in terms of Section 32(5) of the Evidence Act by examining the person having special means of knowledge as regards authenticity of date, time etc. mentioned therein, and in that context, horoscopes have been held to be inadmissible for proof of age. For that purpose, reliance has been placed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court on the judgments in Mt. Biro v. Atma Ram and Ors. AIR 1937 PC 101 and also on the judgment of the Calcutta High Court in Satish Chandra, Mukhopadhyaya v. Mohindra Lal Pathak ILR 97 Cal 849.
In Union of India v. Kantilal Hemantram Pandiya , 1995 AIR 1349, 1995 SCC (3) 17 the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that the Court must be very vigilant in placing reliance on a document or certificate of date of birth which had been brought into existence for the benefit of the pending proceedings as the correctness and genuineness of such a certificate is not free from doubt and the same might have been obrained for getting the relief by such an applicant.
The application submitted for correction of date of birth on the verge of retirement shall be summarily rejected is the view taken by the Supreme Court in the following decisions;
(i) (1994) 2 SCC 491 (State of Orissa v. Brahamarbar Senapathi)
(ii) (1996) 7 SCC 421 (Union of India v. Ram Suia Sharma)
(iii) (2000) 8 SCC 696 (G.M.,Bharat Coking Coal Ltd., v. Shib KUmar Dushad)
(iv) (2004) 3 SCC 394 (State of Punjab v. S.C.Chadha)
(v) (2005) 6 SCC 49 (State of U.P. v. Shiv Narain Upadhyaya)
(vi) (2005) 11 SCC 465 (U.P.Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad v. Raj Kumar Agnihotri)
(vii) (2005) 11 SCC 477 (State of Uttaranchal v. Pitamber Dutt Semwal)
(viii) (2005) 12 SCC 201 (Coal India Ltd. v. Ardhendu Bikas Bhattacharjee)
(ix) (2006) 6 SCC 537 (State of Gujarat v. Vali Mohd. Dosabhai Sindhi)
The evidenciary value of the entry made in the SSLC book with regard to the date of birth is also considered by the Supreme Court in the decision reported in (2002) 7 SCC 719 (State of M.P. v. Mohanlal Sharma). In paragraph 2 the Supreme Court held as follows: "2. .............. The date of birth, as recorded in the matriculation examination, carries a greater evidential value than the evidential value attached to the certificate given by the retired headmaster showing the date of birth of the respondent.
Supreme Court reported in (2005) 3 SCC 702 (State of Punjab v. Mohinder Singh). Inparagraphs 11 to 13, the evidentiary value of the horescope and the entries made in the school records are considered and held as follows: "11. Horoscope is a very weak piece of material to prove age of a person. In most cases, the maker of it may not be available to prove that it was made immediately after the birth. A heavy onus lies on the person who wants to press it into service to prove its authenticity. In fact, a horoscope to be treated as evidence in terms of Section 32 clause (5) must be proved to have been made by a person having special means of knowledge as regards authenticity of a date, time, etc. mentioned therein. In that context horoscopes have been held to be inadmissible in proof of age.
Umesh Chandra v. State of Rajasthan 1982 AIR 1057, 1982 SCR (3) 583 ordinarily oral evidence can hardly be useful to determine the correct age of a person, and the question, therefore, would largely depend on the documents and the nature of their authenticity. Oral evidence may have utility if no documentary evidence is forthcoming. Even the horoscope cannot be reliable because it can be prepared at any time to suit the needs of a particular situation. Entries in the school register and admission form regarding date of birth constitute good proof of age. There is no legal requirement that the public or other official book should be kept only by a public officer and all that is required under Section 35 of the Evidence Act is that it should be regularly kept in discharge of official duty. In the instant case the entries in the school register were made ante litem motam.
JUSTICE Dalveer Bhandari, & JUSTICE Dipak Misra of Supreme court of India in the case of A.Shanmugam vs Ariya, Decided on 27 April 2012, has held as follows:- Experience reveals that a large number of cases are filed on false claims or evasive pleas are introduced by the defendant to cause delay in the administration of justice and this can be sufficiently taken care of if the Courts adopt realistic approach granting restitution. ................. Unless wrongdoers are denied profit or undue benefit from frivolous litigations, it would be difficult to control frivolous and uncalled for litigations. Experience also reveals that our Courts have been very reluctant to grant the actual or realistic costs. We would like to explain this by giving this illustration. When a litigant is compelled to spend Rs.1 lac on a frivolous litigation there is hardly any justification in awarding Rs. 1,000/- as costs unless there are special circumstances of that case. We need to decide cases while keeping pragmatic realities in view. We have to ensure that unscrupulous litigant is not permitted to derive any benefit by abusing the judicial process. ......................
This Court in the case of Ramrameshwari Devi v. Nirmala Devi (2011) 8 SCC 249 in paragraph 52 (C, D and G) of the judgment dealt with the aspect of imposition of actual or realistic costs which are equally relevant for this case reads as under:- “C. Imposition of actual, realistic or proper costs and or ordering prosecution would go a long way in controlling the tendency of introducing false pleadings and forged and fabricated documents by the litigants. Imposition of heavy costs would also control unnecessary adjournments by the parties. In appropriate cases the courts may consider ordering prosecution otherwise it may not be possible to maintain purity and sanctity of judicial proceedings. D. The Court must adopt realistic and pragmatic approach in granting mesne profits. The Court must carefully keep in view the ground realities while granting mesne profits. G. The principle of restitution be fully applied in a pragmatic manner in order to do real and substantial justice.”
This Court in another important case in Indian Council for Enviro- Legal Action v. Union of India and Others (2011) 8 SCC 161 (of which one of us, Bhandari, J. was the author of the judgment) had an occasion to deal with the concept of restitution. The relevant paragraphs of that judgment dealing with relevant judgments are reproduced hereunder:-
193. This Court in Grindlays Bank Limited v. Income Tax Officer, Calcutta (1980) 2 SCC 191 observed as under :- “…When passing such orders the High Court draws on its inherent power to make all such orders as are necessary for doing complete justice between the parties. The interests of justice require that any undeserved or unfair advantage gained by a party invoking the jurisdiction of the court, by the mere circumstance that it has initiated a proceeding in the court, must be neutralised. The simple fact of the institution of litigation by itself should not be permitted to confer an advantage on the party responsible for it. …”
194. In Ram Krishna Verma and Others v. State of U.P. and Others (1992) 2 SCC 620 this Court observed as under :- “The 50 operators including the appellants/ private operators have been running their stage carriages by blatant abuse of the process of the court by delaying the hearing as directed in Jeevan Nath Bahl’s case and the High Court earlier thereto. As a fact, on the expiry of the initial period of grant after Sept. 29, 1959 they lost the right to obtain renewal or to ply their vehicles, as this Court declared the scheme to be operative. However, by sheer abuse of the process of law they are continuing to ply their vehicles pending hearing of the objections. This Court in Grindlays Bank Ltd. vs Income-tax Officer -  2 SCC 191 held that the High Court while exercising its power under Article 226 the interest of justice requires that any undeserved or unfair advantage gained by a party invoking the jurisdiction of the court must be neutralised. It was further held that the institution of the litigation by it should not be permitted to confer an unfair advantage on the party responsible for it. In the light of that law and in view of the power under Article 142(1) of the Constitution this Court, while exercising its jurisdiction would do complete justice and neutralise the unfair advantage gained by the 50 operators including the appellants in dragging the litigation to run the stage carriages on the approved route or area or portion thereof and forfeited their right to hearing of the objections filed by them to the draft scheme dated Feb. 26, 1959. …”
195. This Court in Kavita Trehan vs Balsara Hygiene Products (1994) 5 SCC 380 observed as under :- “The jurisdiction to make restitution is inherent in every court and will be exercised whenever the justice of the case demands. It will be exercised under inherent powers where the case did not strictly fall within the ambit of Section 144. Section 144 opens with the words “Where and in so far as a decree or an order is varied or reversed in any appeal, revision or other proceeding or is set aside or modified in any suit instituted for the purpose, ...”. The instant case may not strictly fall within the terms of Section 144; but the aggrieved party in such a case can appeal to the larger and general powers of restitution inherent in every court.”
196. This Court in Marshall Sons & Co. (I) Ltd. v. Sahi Oretrans (P) Ltd. and Another (1999) 2 SCC 325 observed as under :- “From the narration of the facts, though it appears to us, prima facie, that a decree in favour of the appellant is not being executed for some reason or the other, we do not think it proper at this stage to direct the respondent to deliver the possession to the appellant since the suit filed by the respondent is still pending. It is true that proceedings are dragged for a long time on one count or the other and on occasion become highly technical accompanied by unending prolixity, at every stage providing a legal trap to the unwary. Because of the delay unscrupulous parties to the proceedings take undue advantage and person who is in wrongful possession draws delight in delay in disposal of the cases by taking undue advantage of procedural complications. It is also known fact that after obtaining a decree for possession of immovable property, its execution takes long time. In such a situation for protecting the interest of judgment creditor, it is necessary to pass appropriate order so that reasonable mesne profit which may be equivalent to the market rent is paid by a person who is holding over the property. In appropriate cases, Court may appoint Receiver and direct the person who is holding over the property to act as an agent of the Receiver with a direction to deposit the royalty amount fixed by the Receiver or pass such other order which may meet the interest of justice. This may prevent further injury to the plaintiff in whose favour decree is passed and to protect the property including further alienation.”
197. In Padmawati v. Harijan Sewak Sangh - CM (Main) No.449 of 2002 decided by the Delhi high Court on 6.11.2008, the court held as under:- “The case at hand shows that frivolous defences and frivolous litigation is a calculated venture involving no risks situation. You have only to engage professionals to prolong the litigation so as to deprive the rights of a person and enjoy the fruits of illegalities. I consider that in such cases where Court finds that using the Courts as a tool, a litigant has perpetuated illegalities or has perpetuated an illegal possession, the Court must impose costs on such litigants which should be equal to the benefits derived by the litigant and harm and deprivation suffered by the rightful person so as to check the frivolous litigation and prevent the people from reaping a rich harvest of illegal acts through the Court. One of the aims of every judicial system has to be to discourage unjust enrichment using Courts as a tool. The costs imposed by the Courts must in all cases should be the real costs equal to deprivation suffered by the rightful person.”
198. We approve the findings of the High Court of Delhi in the aforementioned case.
199. The Court also stated “Before parting with this case, we consider it necessary to observe that one of the main reasons for over- flowing of court dockets is the frivolous litigation in which the Courts are engaged by the litigants and which is dragged as long as possible. Even if these litigants ultimately loose the lis, they become the real victors and have the last laugh. This class of people who perpetuate illegal acts by obtaining stays and injunctions from the Courts must be made to pay the sufferer not only the entire illegal gains made by them as costs to the person deprived of his right and also must be burdened with exemplary costs. Faith of people in judiciary can only be sustained if the persons on the right side of the law do not feel that even if they keep fighting for justice in the Court and ultimately win, they would turn out to be a fool since winning a case after 20 or 30 years would make wrongdoer as real gainer, who had reaped the benefits for all those years. Thus, it becomes the duty of the Courts to see that such wrongdoers are discouraged at every step and even if they succeed in prolonging the litigation due to their money power, ultimately they must suffer the costs of all these years long litigation. Despite settled legal positions, the obvious wrong doers, use one after another tier of judicial review mechanism as a gamble, knowing fully well that dice is always loaded in their favour, since even if they lose, the time gained is the real gain. This situation must be redeemed by the Courts”. ................
208. In Marshall sons and Company (I) Limited v. Sahi Oretrans (P) Limited and Another (1999) 2 SCC 325 this Court in para 4 of the judgment observed as under: “…It is true that proceedings are dragged for a long time on one count or the other and, on occasion, become highly technical accompanied by unending prolixity at every stage providing a legal trap to the unwary. Because of the delay, unscrupulous parties to the proceedings take undue advantage and a person who is in wrongful possession draws delight in delay in disposal of the cases by taking undue advantage of procedural complications. It is also a known fact that after obtaining a decree for possession of immovable property, its execution takes a long time. In such a situation, for protecting the interest of the judgment-creditor, it is necessary to pass appropriate orders so that reasonable mesne profit which may be equivalent to the market rent is paid by a person who is holding over the property. In appropriate cases, the court may appoint a Receiver and direct the person who is holding over the property to act as an agent of the Receiver with a direction to deposit the royalty amount fixed by the Receiver or pass such other order which may meet the interest of justice. This may prevent further injury to the plaintiff in whose favour the decree is passed and to protect the property including further alienation. …”
209. In Ouseph Mathai and Others v. M. Abdul Khadir (2002) 1 SCC 319 this Court reiterated the legal position that the stay granted by the Court does not confer a right upon a party and it is granted always subject to the final result of the matter in the Court and at the risk and costs of the party obtaining the stay. After the dismissal, of the lis, the party concerned is relegated to the position which existed prior to the filing of the petition in the Court which had granted the stay. Grant of stay does not automatically amount to extension of a statutory protection.
210. This Court in South Eastern Coalfields Limited v. State of M.P. and others (2003) 8 SCC 648 on examining the principle of restitution in para 26 of the judgment observed as under: “In our opinion, the principle of restitution takes care of this submission. The word “restitution” in its etymological sense means restoring to a party on the modification, variation or reversal of a decree or order, what has been lost to him in execution of decree or order of the court or in direct consequence of a decree or order (see Zafar Khan v. Board of Revenue, U.P - (1984) Supp SCC 505) In law, the term “restitution” is used in three senses: (i) return or restoration of some specific thing to its rightful owner or status; (ii) compensation for benefits derived from a wrong done to another; and (iii) compensation or reparation for the loss caused to another.”
211. The Court in para 28 of the aforesaid judgment very carefully mentioned that the litigation should not turn into a fruitful industry and observed as under: “… … …Litigation may turn into a fruitful industry. Though litigation is not gambling yet there is an element of chance in every litigation. Unscrupulous litigants may feel encouraged to approach the courts, persuading the court to pass interlocutory orders favourable to them by making out a prima facie case when the issues are yet to be heard and determined on merits and if the concept of restitution is excluded from application to interim orders, then the litigant would stand to gain by swallowing the benefits yielding out of the interim order even though the battle has been lost at the end. This cannot be countenanced. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the successful party finally held entitled to a relief assessable in terms of money at the end of the litigation, is entitled to be compensated by award of interest at a suitable reasonable rate for the period for which the interim order of the court withholding the release of money had remained in operation.”
212. The Court in the aforesaid judgment also observed that once the doctrine of restitution is attracted, the interest is often a normal relief given in restitution. Such interest is not controlled by the provisions of the Interest Act of 1839 or 1978.
213. In a relatively recent judgment of this Court in Amarjeet Singh and Others v. Devi Ratan and Others (2010) 1 SCC 417 the Court in para 17 of the judgment observed as under: “No litigant can derive any benefit from mere pendency of case in a court of law, as the interim order always merges in the final order to be passed in the case and if the writ petition is ultimately dismissed, the interim order stands nullified automatically. A party cannot be allowed to take any benefit of its own wrongs by getting an interim order and thereafter blame the court. The fact that the writ is found, ultimately, devoid of any merit, shows that a frivolous writ petition had been filed. The maxim actus curiae neminem gravabit, which means that the act of the court shall prejudice no one, becomes applicable in such a case. In such a fact situation the court is under an obligation to undo the wrong done to a party by the act of the court. Thus, any undeserved or unfair advantage gained by a party invoking the jurisdiction of the court must be neutralised, as the institution of litigation cannot be permitted to confer any advantage on a suitor from delayed action by the act of the court. … …”
215. In consonance with the concept of restitution, it was observed that courts should be careful and pass an order neutralizing the effect of all consequential orders passed in pursuance of the interim orders passed by the court. Such express directions may be necessary to check the rising trend among the litigants to secure the relief as an interim measure and then avoid adjudication on merits.
216. In consonance with the principle of equity, justice and good conscience judges should ensure that the legal process is not abused by the litigants in any manner. The court should never permit a litigant to perpetuate illegality by abusing the legal process. It is the bounden duty of the court to ensure that dishonesty and any attempt to abuse the legal process must be effectively curbed and the court must ensure that there is no wrongful, unauthorized or unjust gain for anyone by the abuse of the process of the court. One way to curb this tendency is to impose realistic costs, which the respondent or the defendant has in fact incurred in order to defend himself in the legal proceedings. The courts would be fully justified even imposing punitive costs where legal process has been abused. No one should be permitted to use the judicial process for earning undeserved gains or unjust profits. The court must effectively discourage fraudulent, unscrupulous and dishonest litigation.
217. The court’s constant endeavour must be to ensure that everyone gets just and fair treatment. The court while rendering justice must adopt a pragmatic approach and in appropriate cases realistic costs and compensation be ordered in order to discourage dishonest litigation. The object and true meaning of the concept of restitution cannot be achieved or accomplished unless the courts adopt a pragmatic approach in dealing with the cases.
218. This Court in a very recent case Ramrameshwari Devi and Others v. Nirmala Devi and Others 2011(6) Scale 677 had an occasion to deal with similar questions of law regarding imposition of realistic costs and restitution. One of us (Bhandari, J.) was the author of the judgment. It was observed in that case as under: “While imposing costs we have to take into consideration pragmatic realities and be realistic what the defendants or the respondents had to actually incur in contesting the litigation before different courts. We have to also broadly take into consideration the prevalent fee structure of the lawyers and other miscellaneous expenses which have to be incurred towards drafting and filing of the counter affidavit, miscellaneous charges towards typing, photocopying, court fee etc. The other factor which should not be forgotten while imposing costs is for how long the defendants or respondents were compelled to contest and defend the litigation in various courts. The appellants in the instant case have harassed the respondents to the hilt for four decades in a totally frivolous and dishonest litigation in various courts. The appellants have also wasted judicial time of the various courts for the last 40 years.”
JUSTICE HVG RAMESH of Karnataka High Court in case of Mahadevappa And Ors. vs State Of Karnataka Reported in ILR 2008 KAR 1750 It is needles to say it is duty bound on the part of the revenue authorities and the Sub-Registrar as per Section 128(4) to invariably intimate the fact of transfer of interest or ownership from the first party to the second party to the concerned revenue authorities so that concerned revenue authorities will make the mutation entries in the concerned register and also proper entries in the revenue register after following the procedure as per Section 129 of the Land Revenue Act. Ultimately, any intended purchaser would get himself verified about the status of the property whether before he could go for any such purchase or seek for transfer of interest from the person who has got a right, title and interest so that he will not be mislead. For want of these entries in the revenue records and for want of proper information from the concerned Department of the Government, often purchasers are being mislead and get into problems and hardship. It is high time to intimate the Revenue Department and the concerned Department to meticulously follow the procedure as provided under Section 128 & 129 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act and also it should be made mandatory as a matter of responsibility on the part of the Government to save the public from the precarious situation and also there shall be timely action by the revenue authorities without there being any delay on their part in making entries in the mutation register and other registers in the revenue office and in the Corporation/Municipality in city limits to avoid future complications.
Karnataka High Court Nagappa Gowda And Ors. vs Doddamane Gurupadappa And Anr. on 6 November, 1952 Equivalent citations: AIR 1954 Kant 39, AIR 1954 Mys 39, ILR 1953 KAR 408 Author: Vasudevamurthy Bench: Medapa, Vasudevamurthy
1. The plaintiff's suit for declaration of title, possession and mesne profits of a garden land has been party decreed by the District Judge, Shimoga and defendants 1 to 4 and 6 have appealed. Defendant 5 has been formally impleaded as respondent 2 and the plaintiff is respondent 1. The plaintiff has also filed cross-objections regarding the 4 share of the garden which has not been decreed in his favour.
2. According to the plaintiff, the suit property belonged to a joint Hindu family of one Benavanna- Gowda and his three undivided brothers. For failure to pay land revenue it was forfeited to Government in or about the year 1937, but it could not be disposed of in revenue auction for want of bidders and it was resumed or taken under Government "phada"; subsequently as Benavanna-Gowda paid up all the dues it was granted to him. For some monies due by him and his brothers the plaintiff filed a suit O. S. No. 27 of 35-36 in the Court of the Subordinate Judge at Shimoga, and in execution of that decree purchased the suit property along with some other items in Court sale on 1-10-42. After the sale was confirmed he was put in possession in Mis. No. 11 of 43-44 . At that stage the father of defendant 6, one Chennabasappa now dead and who was the then Manager of the family of the defendants filed a suit O. S. No. 160/43-44 in the Shimoga Munsiff's Court for a declaration of his title and for permanent injunction against the plaintiff alleging that he was in possession, and obtained an order of temporary injunction restraining the plaintiff from entering the suit garden. Under colour of that order he then removed the areca and paddy crop for the year 1943-44. Chennaba-sappa's suit was decreed in his favour by the Munsiff but, on appeal, was dismissed by the Subordinate Judge of Shimoga and the dismissal was confirmed in the High Court. In spite of that decision the deceased Chennabasappa and after him defendants 1 to 6 his legal representatives have been continuing in unlawful possession of the land and were liable to deliver up possession and mesne profits.
3. The defendants pleaded that the suit property belonged solely to Renevannagowda and was his self-acquisition. One Krishnappa filed a suit against him for some monies due by him in O. S. No. 335/26-27 in the Shimoga Munsiff's Court and brought it to sale in Ex. case No. 191 of 31-32 when it was purchased in Court auction by one Sundarasastry. After the sale was confirmed in his favour on 24-12-1934, Sundarasastry was put in possession through Court on 1-1-35 in Mis. No. 121/34-35. He subsequently sold the garden to Chennabasappa, father of defendant 6, on 30-6-43. Sundarasastry and after the sale by him Chennabasappa and the defendants were all along in possession and enjoyment of the suit property. The plaintiff had got the suit property attached before judgment in O. S. 27/35-36 which he had brought against Benavannagowda and his brothers. Sundarasastry had then put in a claim objecting to the attachment in Mis. Case No. 20V of 35-36. That claim had been allowed in favour of Sundarasastry as far back as on l4-3-1937. The plaintiff had not got that order set aside and the same had become conclusively binding on him. Nevertheless he had played a fraud on the Court by getting the suit property sold subsequently in execution in the Subordinate Judge's Court at Shimoga without disclosing to that Court the fact that Sundarasastry's claim against the attachment had been allowed as aforesaid & he could not acquire any right under such a fraudulent sale.
The Suit O. S. No. 160/43-44 filed by Chennaba-sappa in the Munsiff's Court at Shimoga for a declaration of title and permanent injunction was decreed in his favour by the Munsiff, Shimoga, as admitted in the plaint. But on appeal in R.A. No. 16/45-16 the Subordinate Judge rejected the plaint only on a technical ground that an extract from the Record of Rights had not been filed along with the plaint, and in -- 'S. A. No. 356 of 1946-47 (Mys) (A)' that order was confirmed. There had been therefore no decision on the merits against the defendants in those appeals and three criminal complaints filed by the plaintiff against the defendants complaining of trespass and that in respect of the produce of this suit garden had ended in orders of discharge. The defendants had considerably improved the garden and in the event of the plaintiff succeeding they were entitled to be reimbursed the value of the same. The plaintiff had brought this suit on account of ill-will as a counter blast to some other litigation between the parties.
4. The District Judge, Shimoga, found that the suit property was the joint family property of Benavannagowda and his brothers and that it did not belong to Benavannagowda alone. He held that the order in the claim case could only affect Benavannagowda's share as Sundarasastry had bought only his right, title and interest. He did not think that the plaintiff was entitled to claim any enlargement of his rights on account of the forfeiture and other revenue proceedings. He did not also believe that the defendants had improved the suit garden. He, therefore, made a decree in favour of the plaintiff for a 3/4th share of the garden and mesne profits.
5. Mr. Krishnamurthi, learned counsel for the appellants, has contended before us that the order of the Subordinate Judge in the claim case was that the plaintiff could not validly attach before judgment the suit property as belonging to his judgment-debtors Benavannagowda and his brothers;,that as that order had not been set aside within the time allowed by law, as required under Order 21, Rule 63, Civil P. C., it had become conclusive. The plaintiff could not in this suit put forward or claim the identical right which had been negatived in the miscellaneous ease. Mr. Sadanandaswamy, learned counsel for respondent 1, has urged that the attachment effected by his client was one before judgment and not in execution of a decree, and that consequently neither Order 21, Rule 63 which requires a suit to be filed to have an order made in a claim case set aside nor Article 11, Limitation Act which prescribes a period of one year within which such a suit must be filed applied in terms to bar the plaintiff's present suit. Moreover this suit was one for declaration of title and possession and not for setting aside the order in the claim case and it was really governed by Article 138 which gives his client 12 years from the date of confirmation of sale to bring such a suit.
6. It has been held so far back as in -- '4 Mys C C R 146 (B)' that an order passed under Section 487 of the old Code of Civil Procedure corresponding to Order 38, Rule 8 of the present Code allowing a claim to property attached before judgment in a suit is subject to the provisions of Section 283 (Order 21, Rule 63 of the present Code) and that the plaintiff's remedy to have it set aside is a suit under that section. This decision has been followed with approval in -- '51 Mys H C R 448 (C)', where reference has also been made to -- 'Pyaw Gyi Ma v. Latchmanan Chettiyar', AIR 1931 Rang 183 (D) and -- 'Maliknarjuna v. Virayya', AIR 1918 Mad 26 (FB) (E). See also -- 'Dhan Bibi v. Mrinalini Ghosh', AIR 1945 Cal 449 (P). Order 21, Rule 63, Civil P. C. declares that where a claim or an objection is preferred to an attachment the party against whom the order is made may institute a suit to establish the right which he claims to the property in dispute, but subject to the result of such suit, if any, the order shall be conclusive.
It has been held in -- '44 Mys HCR 589 (G)', while dealing with a similar provision under Order 32, Rule 103 that the effect of the failure to file a suit within one year of an order made under Order 21, Rule 97 to set aside that order and to establish his right to present possession of the property in dispute, the claim to such possession is concluded and even as a defendant he cannot resist the recovery of possession by the opposite party. It was observed in that case that as between the parties to that order there was a bar provided under Order 21, Rule 103 and as between themselves the unsuccessful party lost his right to possession. He could not also resist the claim of the plaintiff for recovery of possession as a defendant in the suit for tne same reasons as would preclude him from suing as plaintiff to recover possession. It was further pointed out in that case that any other way of construing those provisions would be to allow the unsuccessful party to circumvent the law. See also -- 'Azizullah Khan v. Ghulam Hussein', AIR 1924 Sind 97 at p. 99 (H); -- 'Nema Gauda v. Paresha', 22 Bom 640 (I); -- 'Ma Sein-Htay v. Maung Mya', AIR 1935 Rang 161 (J), and Mulla's Code of Civil Procedure, 11th Edn; page 848 where it is observed that "subject to the re-sult of such suit the order shall be conclusive" in Rule 63 of Order 21 means that unless the suit is brought as provided in that rule the party against whom the order is made cannot assert either as plaintiff or as defendant in any other proceedings the right denied to him by the order; vide -- 'Bailur Krishna v. Lakshmana', 4 Mad 302 (K); 22 Bom 640 (I); -- 'Surnamoya Dasi v. Ashutosh Goswami', 27 Cal 714 (L); -- 'Kayyana Chittemma v. Dossy Gavaramma', 29 Mad 225 (M); -- 'Yarakayya v. Venkata Krishnamaraju'. AIR 1918 Mad 693 (1) (N); -- 'Akkammal v. Komarsami Chettiar', AIR 1943 Mad 36 (O); --'Premsukh Das v. Satyanarain Singh', AIR 1945 Pat 485 (P).
7. We have therefore to see what in this case is the nature and effect of the order passed in the claim preferred by Sundarasastry against the plaintiff who had attached the suit property as belonging to his debtors Benavannagowda and his three brothers. That order has been marked as Ex. I in this case. In his application under Order 38, Rule 8 Sundarasastry had claimed the property attached in the plaintiff's suit O. S. No. 37 of 35-36 as his own and as being in his possession and enjoyment. The plaintiff contested the claim and after recording evidence, during the course of which Sundarasastry examined himself and his tenant Nagabhatta and produced copies of the sale certificate issued in his favour, after the Court confirmed the sale in his favour a receipt evidencing delivery of possession by Court on 1-1-1935 (sic). The plaintiff examined himself, and he and a witness whom he examined gave evidence that the property belonged to the joint family of Benavannagowda and his brothers. The Subordinate Judge held that the evidence disclosed that possession of the property was with Sundarasastry and that the copy of the sole certificate showed that the same had been sold subject to a hypothecation in favour of the plaintiff. The latter and Benavannagegowda had unsuccessfully tried to have the Court sale set aside and both in the Subordinate Judge's Court and on appeal it was held that the attachment which was challenged was apparently got effected merely to harass the petitioner & could not be sustained. That order clearly recognized Sundarasastry's prior purchase under the Court sale in Ex. 191/31-32 in O. S. No. 338/26-27 to attach the property as still belonging to Benavanr.agowda and his brothers. After this order has become conclusive under Order 21, Rule 63, it would be idle for the plaintiff to contend that he can again put forward the same contention, viz., that the property belonged to the joint-family of Benavannagowda and his brothers in this suit between himself and the defendants who claim under Sundarasastry merely because he has chosen to frame it as a suit for declaration of title and possession.
8. Mr. Sadanandaswamy has urged that Article 11 does not in terms apply to the present suit as it refers to a suit to set aside or avoid the effect of an order passed in respect of an attachment in execution of a decree and not an attachment before judgment. That question has been, however, set at rest so far as our Court is concerned, and it has been held by a Bench of this Court in -- 51 Mys HCR 448 (C)', that Article 120 and not Article 11, Limitation Act applies to a suit to set aside an order made on a claim in respect of an attachment before judgment though such claim or objection was preferred after decree in the course of execution proceedings. The same view has been taken in a recent decision of the Calcutta High Court in -- 'AIR 1945 Cal 449 (P)'. The plaintiff's suit which was filed on 11-12-43 is long after even the six years prescribed by Article 120 from the date of the order in the claim case, viz., 14-8-37 even if it can be construed as one to set aside that order.
9. Mr. Sadanandaswamy has next urged that as the suit land had been forfeited to Government under the provisions of the Mysore Land Revenue Code and transferred to "Government Phada" in the year 1937 for non-payment of land Revenue, whatever rights Sundarasastry acquired under bis purchase in Court sale were lost. He represents that the khata of the land stood in the name of a deceased man Krishnabhatta when the land was forfeited; that it war, restored to Benavannagowcla and that the latter must be deemed to have become its absolute owner again after Sundarasastry lost his rights by the forfeiture. Section 54, Land Revenue Code is, however, clear and a mere forfeiture followed by the restoration to the defaulting "holder" Bena-vannagowda does not wipe out all the earlier rights. It has also been held by this Court in -- 18 Mys CCR 76 (Q)', that neither the Mysore Land Revenue Code nor the rules thereunder contemplate the purchase on behalf of Government land which has been "forfeited" by reason of non-payment of the land revenue; and a mere forfeiture, while it no doubt operates, so far as Government is concerned, as a resumption of the holding, does not, unless it is followed by a sale, necessarily extinguish rights and equities that may be subsisting as between private parties. There an exactly similar contention that the restoration of the khata to the defaulter was equivalent to a new and absolute grant of the land freed from all previously existing rights and equities was negatived. There is therefore no substance in this contention which has been rightly held against Respondent 1 by the District Judge. See also -- 'Amolak v. Dhondi', 30 Bom 4G6 (R).
10. Mr. Krishnamurthi has urged that the plaintiff had deliberately suppressed the order; against the appellants in the claim case while obtaining an order for sale of the property as belonging to all the brothers and had got even Benavannagowda's right, title and interest sold up and that he cannot be permitted to come to Court to enforce such a tainted claim under a sale based on a fraud practised on the Court. It is not necessary for us to go into that question or to consider whether the suit property belonged to Benavannagowda alone or his brothers also in the view we have taken that the plaintiff is concluded by the order in the claim case and is precluded from bringing the present suit.
11. In the result this appeal is allowed and the plaintiff's suit is dismissed with costs throughout. The cross-objections are also dismissed but without costs.