Jammu & Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act, 1972
Section 2(4)—Orchards—Definition—Plaintiff in his own testimony had stated that deceased prepared “orchards”—Albeit, by using the salary of plaintiff—Land is therefore of the orchard category—In this situation, the land which is subject matter of compromise being an Orchard stood exclude from the definition of land under Section 2(4) of the Jammu & Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act—As such, the title for such category of land could not vest with the plaintiff—Compromise does not convey any lawful title on the plaintiff.
Section 2(6)—Owner—Definition of—Definition of owner includes not only the legal owner/proprietor, but also person claiming through the legal owner.
Jammu & Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Rules, 1973
Rules 5, 7, 11 & 15—Possession and declaration—Plaintiff sought relief of possession and declaration of land on the basis of compromise deed being adopted son against appellants who are natural children of deceased—Compromise between plaintiff and a tenant was recorded in a proceeding for correction of revenue record under the Jammu & Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act and the Rules, which was endorsed by adoptive father—Question as to whether compromise confers title—Purpose of compromise decree in the correction proceedings under Chapter III of the Rules pertain only to revenue entries and possession of land in capacity of a personal cultivator—This could hardly confer any lawful title on the plaintiff over deceased’s land—Appeal allowed.
[Paras 18 & 19]
Rules 5, 7, 11 & 15—Power to the Circle Officer—Rules of 1973 confers limited power to the Circle officer’s and it’s confined to verifying, amending, and authenticating revenue records as they existed on the cutoff date—A mere affirmation in the context of revenue records and personal cultivation rights cannot be interpreted as an intention of adoptive father to confer title upon the plaintiff—With his endorsement on the compromise, the deceased perhaps intended to give the right of personal cultivation but that does not in any manner suggest that deceased had intended to confer title on the plaintiff.
Registration Act, 1977
Section 17 and Jammu & Kashmir Transfer of Property Act, 1920, Section 138—Unregistered compromise—Registration—Requirement—Compromise was not amongst family members but between plaintiff and tenant (not a family member)—Statement of deceased is only with regard to internal arrangement regarding tenancy of tenant and this will not make it a family arrangement—Besides none of the other family members were parties to the said compromise either—Therefore, the document cannot be treated as a family arrangement and thus would require registration under Section 49 of the Registration Act and also under Section 138 of the J&K Transfer of Property Act—Without such registration no title can fructify for the plaintiff from the document in question.
[Paras 22, 23 & 26]
Law & Equity
Which must prevail—Whenever there is a conflict between law and equity, it is the law which must prevail—Latin maxim “dura lex sed lex” which means “the law is hard but it is the law” would apply—Equity can only supplement the law but it cannot supplant or override it.
Specific Reliefs Act, 1963
Section 37—Suit for possession and declaration on the basis of compromise deed by adopted son contested by natural children – the appellants—Record show that deceased had cancelled two wills in favour of adopted son—This indicates that deceased was not interested to give any part of his property to the plaintiff—Even otherwise the property is self-acquired property of deceased and a donee cannot claim equity in respect of the disposal of self-acquired properties by a donor—Equity is all about balancing the competing interest and due weightage must be given to the fact that appellants have been in possession and was nurturing their father’s land for over four decades—Decree in favour of respondent/plaintiff is set aside—Appeal allowed.
[Paras 32 to 34]
Decision : Appeal allowed