Appeal against decree in partition suit languishing for 30 years, heard by 75 Judges, termed unfortunate

Delhi High Court:  Disposing of an appeal filed in 1985 against a judgment and decree in a partition suit, the Court observed that, “It is really very unfortunate that this appeal has remained pending on the Board of this Court for almost 30 years and has to pass through hands of as many as 75 Hon’ble Judges or so but still the solution to the problem of dividing the property (which happens to be the piece of land measuring approximately 7794.63 sq yd along with super structure) could not be found out to the satisfaction of all the parties.”

The Bench of V.K. Shali, J. observed that, “In the city of Delhi, the prices of land have risen beyond the imagination. As a matter of fact, the prices have become prohibitive to own the house, plot or flat. As a necessary consequence of this, wherever there is a dispute between the co-sharers of a property, effort of one party is to bring the other party to its knees by tiring out its resources and patience so that it becomes almost a distress sale by such a party to the other co-sharer.”

With reference to Sections 2 and 3 of the Partition Act, 1893 the Court observed that “a perusal of the aforesaid section would clearly show that the court can order sale of the property if it is convinced that the division of the property reasonably and conveniently cannot be effected by metes and bounds. In the present case, the Court is of the view that partition of the suit property cannot be reasonably and conveniently affected then the Court has no other option but to order sale of the property. In the present case, the partition by metes and bounds could not be affected for the last 30 years. Therefore, the only alternative is to order sale”.

The Court appointed Senior Counsel Ms Meenakshi Arora as the Court Commissioner and Ms Natahsha, Advocate to assist her for the purpose of conducting an open, transparent and fair sale of the suit property by inviting bids from members of the general public, directing the process to be completed within a period of four months. [Ramesh Dutt Salwan v. Shiv Dutt Salwan, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 2909, order dated May 10, 2016]

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