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Dalip Singh vs. State of UP (2009) : case analysis

This article is written by Gauri Gupta. The article aims to provide a detailed analysis of the landmark judgement of Dalip Singh v State of UP (2009). It highlights and elaborates on the facts of the case, the issues presented before the Court, the arguments of the appellant and respondent, the laws and precedents laid down in the case, and the judgement laid down by the Supreme Court of India. 

It has been published by Rachit Garg.

Introduction 

The landmark judgement of Dalip Singh v State of UP (2009) is a pivotal case as it highlights the significance of approaching the Court with honest and clean hands to prevent the miscarriage of justice. The Supreme Court repeatedly emphasised in this case that the parties lose their case, if they fail to approach the Court with honest and material statements. The rationale behind the same is to prevent dishonest litigants from misusing the law and delaying the dispute resolution process. 

The Supreme Court in this case discussed the importance of honesty and fairness in legal proceedings. The Court highlighted the complexities of the Uttar Pradesh Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1960. 

The case underscores the significance of approaching the Court with clean and honest hands to ensure that the integrity of the justice system is upheld and there is no miscarriage of justice. The observations of the Supreme Court in this case highlights the importance of disclosing true and accurate material facts and the failure of which could result in the dismissal of the petition. The same is crucial to prevent the dishonest litigants from exploiting the justice delivery mechanism for personal goals and objectives. 

Details of Dalip Singh vs. State of UP (2009)

Case name

Dalip Singh v. State of U.P. and Others

Case No.

Civil Appeal No. 5239 of 2002

Judgement date

December 3, 2009

Parties to the case

Appellant

Dalip Singh

Respondent 

State of U.P and Ors 

Equivalent citation 

2010 AIR SCW 50, 2010 (2) SCC 114, 2010 (1) ALL LJ 536, AIR 2010 SC (SUPP) 116, (2010) 109 REVDEC 118, (2010) 1 ALL WC 762, (2010) 2 MAD LJ 483, (2009) 14 SCALE 473, (2010) 85 ALLINDCAS 13 (SC)

Type of case

Civil Appeal

Court

The Supreme Court of India

Provisions and Statutes Involved

  1. U.P. Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1960: Sections 9(2-A), 10(1), 10(2) and 11
  2. Constitution of India: Articles 32, 136 and 226

Corum: 

Justices Asok Kumar Ganguly and G.S. Singhvi

Author of the Judgement: 

Justices G.S. Singhvi and Asok Kumar Ganguly

Facts of Dalip Singh vs. State of UP (2009) 

The factual matrix of this case can be summarised in the following points:

  1. The case primarily deals with the U.P. Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1960 (herein referred to as the “Act”).
  2. An appeal was filed against the order of the Allahabad High Court against Praveen Singh, a tenure-holder. He had failed to file a statement disclosing his land holdings under the U.P. Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1960.
  3. The prescribed authority issued him a notice under Section 10(2) of the Act calling upon him to show cause under Section 10(1) of the Act. He was asked to put forth sufficient reasons as to why his land should not be declared surplus but the Appellant failed to respond to the notice. Moreover, he did not file for an extension of time for the same.
  4. As a result, an ex parte order was passed wherein a part of his land was declared surplus by the prescribed authority. The Appellant filed an application to set aside the ex parte order after a time period of six months and twelve days but the same was dismissed as no valid grounds regarding the same were submitted before the concerned authority.
  5. Following this, the appeal filed by the Appellant along with the application for the restoration against the prescribed authority’s decision was dismissed by the Additional Commissioner and Appellate Authority due to his absence.
  6. The Appellant then filed a writ petition before the High Court which was allowed and it was instructed to remit the matter to the Appellate Authority with instructions to reconsider Shri Praveen Singh’s application. 
  7. The Appellate Authority revisited the case of Praveen Singh but the same was dismissed on the ground that there was a failure to file an application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act 1963 for condonation of delay. It was also noted that no cause for delay was given by the Appellant in his application to set aside the ex parte order. Further, Praveen Singh did not deny the receipt of the notice under Section 10(2) of the act which was served by the prescribed authority. Moreover, his credibility of getting the knowledge of the same from Lekhpal Halqa on 7.7.1976 was found to be misleading and not entirely truthful.
  8. After the remand of the matter by the High Court, Praveen Singh passed away, following which his legal representatives and the Appellant in the present case were made parties to the proceedings.
  9. The legal representatives of Praveen Singh then jointly filed a Civil Miscellaneous Writ Petition No. 22790/1990 seeking the quashing of orders passed by the prescribed authority and the Appellate Authority. They further sought the issuance of a direction to the Appellate Authority to remand the case to the prescribed authority for consideration of their objections.
  10. The Single Judge bench of Allahabad High Court stayed the implementation of the orders issued by the prescribed authority and the Appellate Authority. The interim order remained in effect till 21.5.2001 after which the writ petition was dismissed. During this interim period, the Appellant continued to enjoy the property.
  11. A Special Leave Petition was then filed against the High Court’s order, the notice for which was issued on 12.10.2001 but the Appellant’s prayer for a stay was denied after which the surplus land belonging to the tenure-holder was distributed among landless individuals who were then joined as parties after the order dated 27.3.2006 was passed in I.A. No. 9/2004.
  12. Following the service of said notice, Respondents 1 to 3 submitted a counter-affidavit. In this counter affidavit the details regarding the steps taken by the prescribed authority under Sections 10(1) and 10(2) of the Act were given.
  13. Sunil Kumar Singh who is the son of the Appellant Dalip Singh and grandson of late Praveen Singh, submitted a rejoinder affidavit on 18.02.2002 in which he denied that his father Dalip Singh ever received the notice dated 29.11.1975, hence no show cause was filed from his side. Further, he stated that Praveen Singh was ill for about 10 months and thus he was not in a position to lay down any objections and neither did he have any knowledge of the proceedings by the prescribed authority.

Arguments of the parties

Petitioners 

The Appellant, Dalip Singh challenged the orders of both the prescribed authority and the Appellate Authority on the grounds that the tenure holder, Praveen Singh was unable to file objections due to his illness and lack of knowledge about the proceedings by the prescribed authority for surplus land. It was claimed that Praveen Singh was ill for about 10 months and was not aware of the said proceedings by the prescribed authority. 

The Appellant stated that Praveen Singh did not receive the notice dated 29.11.1975, as well as the statement of surplus land, and therefore could not file any objections within the limitation time period. 

Respondent                 

The respondent relies on the fact that the tenure holder had not filed any objection to the notice issued by the prescribed authority dated 29.11.1975 which was served upon him on 3.12.1975.

Further, the Appellant failed to submit a statement under Section 10(1) as to why his land should not be declared as surplus land. On his failure to argue with the correctness of the statements within the limitation period, the statement submitted by the respondents was treated as final and correct and hence the land was declared to be surplus in an ex parte order. Neither did the Appellant file any objections, nor sought any extension of time period to file objections.

It was also noted that the application to set aside the ex parte order filed by Praveen Singh failed to disclose the grounds on which such application should have been allowed. Further, no medical evidence supporting continuous illness for ten months was provided. 

Issues raised before the Supreme Court

The following issues were raised before the Supreme Court of India after the High Court of Allahabad dismissed the application to set aside the ex parte order and the appeals filed by the Appellant. 

  1. Whether it is the duty of litigants to protect the integrity of legal proceedings and Act in good faith or not?
  2. Whether Praveen Singh and his legal representatives misrepresented and suppressed the material statements or not? 
  3. Whether the validity of the ex parte order passed by the Allahabad High Court needs to be assessed by the Supreme Court of India in the present appeal or not?

Laws discussed in Dalip Singh vs. State of UP (2009)

Constitution of India

Article 32

Article 32 of the Indian Constitution empowers the citizens of India to seek remedies from the Supreme Court by instituting proceedings for the enforcement of their fundamental rights granted under Part III of the Indian Constitution. The provision empowers the Supreme Court to issue directions, orders or writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari. The fundamental right under Article 32 cannot be suspended in any case except in case of national emergency as provided by the Constitution of India.

Article 136 

Article 136 of the Indian Constitution provides for Special Leave to Appeal by the Supreme Court of India. The provision authorises the Court to step in and allow a Special Leave to Appeal against any judgement, decree, determination, sentence or order, in any cause or matter passed or made by any Court or tribunal in India. This power is exercised in cases of crucial questions of law or where the lower Court has committed an error in interpreting the law. 

Article 226

Writs are judicial orders which are issued either by the Supreme Court or the High Courts. Article 226 of the Indian Constitution empowers the High Courts to issue writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, certiorari, and prohibition.  These writs are issued to enforce the fundamental rights which are granted to all citizens of India under Part III of the Constitution. Article 226 does not override the power of the Apex Court to issue writs under Article 32.

Land Acquisition Act, 1984

Section 11-A

The provision provides a time period within which an award shall be made. The provision protects the landowners by setting a deadline within which the authorities are required to complete the land acquisition process. As per the provision, the collector is under a mandate to make an award within a time period of two years from the date of publication of the declaration and if no award is made within this stipulated time period, the proceedings for the acquisition of law shall lapse. 

The Explanation attached to this Section provides that in case the land acquisition declaration was published before September 24, 1984 (when the amendment introducing Section 11-A came into effect), the two-year deadline is counted from that date or if a Court order stays the land acquisition process, the delay caused by that stay is excluded from the two-year time limit.

The Uttar Pradesh Imposition of Ceiling on Land Holdings Act, 1960

Section 9(2-A)

Section 9(2-A) of the 1960 Act provides that every landowner who owns more land than the ceiling limit set by the Act as of January 24, 1971 or at any time after that and has not submitted the statements for all the land holdings he possesses, shall be under a deadline to submit such statement to the prescribed authority. The deadline as prescribed by the Act is 30 days from October 10, 1975. The statements regarding the land holdings must consist of the following information:

  • Details of all the land owned by the landowners and their family members as of January 24, 1971.
  • Details of all the land acquired or given up by the landowners or their family members between January 24, 1971 and October 10, 1975. 

Section 10

Section 10 of the Act provides for the notice to tenure holders who have failed to submit their statements or submitted incorrect statements under Section 9 of the Act. 

Sub-section (1) to Section 10 provides that in case of a failure on the part of the tenure-holder to submit their statements or submission of incomplete or incorrect statements on their part, the prescribed authority is empowered to conduct an inquiry either on its own or delegate its power to any other person subordinate to it. After the inquiry is complete, the concerned authority shall prepare a statement consisting of the details of the landholding along with the exemptions under Section 6 of the Act.

Sub-section (2) of Section 10 provides that the prescribed authority is under a mandate to serve a notice along with a copy of the statement prepared under sub-section (1). The notice has to be issued to the tenure holder calling him to show cause within the time period stipulated in the notice. Further, the tenure-holder has to give reasons as to why the statement submitted to the prescribed authority was incorrect. It is pertinent to note that the period specified in the notice shall not be less than 10 days from the date of service of the notice.

Section 11

Section 11 of the Act provides for the determination of surplus land wherein no objection has been filed. 

Sub-section (1) of Section 11 provides that the prescribed authority is under a mandate to determine the surplus land of the tenure-holder in cases where the statement is submitted by the tenure-holder and the same is accepted by the prescribed authority. It further provides for an alternative case wherein the statement prepared by the prescribed authority is not contested by the tenure-holder. In both of these cases, the prescribed authority is under a mandate to determine the land above the ceiling limit.

Sub-section (2) provides that the prescribed authority is under a mandate to set aside the order passed by it under sub-section (1) and allow the tenure-holder to file an objection against the statements made under Section 10 on the following conditions:

  • An application has been made to the prescribed authority within thirty days from the date of order passed under sub-section (1) by the tenure-holder and
  • Sufficient cause has been shown as to why he was absent during the passing of such an order.

The prescribed authority further decides the same as per Section 12 of the Act. 

Sub-section (3) of Section 11 of the Act provides that subject to the provisions of Sub-section (2) and Section 13, the order passed by the prescribed authority shall be final and conclusive. Further, it cannot be challenged in any Court of law.

Judgement in Dalip Singh vs. State of UP (2009)

Whether it is the duty of litigants to protect the integrity of legal proceedings and Act in good faith or not?

The Supreme Court of India in the landmark case of Dalip Singh v State of U.P (2009) clearly observed that litigants should not make false and inaccurate material statements under Article 136 of the Constitution. In case they do so, their petition is liable to be dismissed. Furthermore, the Court observed that post independence there has been an increase in the number of litigants who resort to misrepresentation and suppression of facts in proceedings for their personal gains. Thus, the Court has established that whoever attempts to cause injustice will not be entitled to any interim or final relief.

Whether Praveen Singh and his legal representatives misrepresented and suppressed the material statements or not? 

The Supreme Court observed that the tenure holder, Praveen Singh and his legal representatives did not disclose the correct material facts in their application which was filed before the prescribed authority for setting aside ex parte order. Furthermore, the Appellant did not approach the Hon’ble Court with clean hands as he misled certain statements before the High Court and sought an interim order. 

Whether the validity of the ex parte order passed by the Allahabad High Court needs to be assessed by the Supreme Court of India in the present appeal or not?

The Supreme Court of India did not interfere with the order of the High Court which was challenged before it nor did it entertain the Appellant’s prayer to set aside the order of the prescribed authority and the Appellate Authority. The Court justified the same on the ground that Praveen Singh, his legal representatives and the Appellant had misled the authorities and the Courts on oath. Praveen Singh claimed to be ill for a period of ten months but failed to produce any evidence in support of it. Furthermore, the legal representatives of Praveen SIngh made a false and bold statement regarding the non-receipt of the notice. Thus, the Supreme Court did not assess the validity of the ex parte order passed by the High Court of Allahabad.

Rationale behind the judgement

The appeal of the Applicant, Praveen Singh, was dismissed by the Supreme Court on the ground that he, his legal representatives and the Appellant provided inaccurate and dishonest statements in the application for setting aside the ex parte decree before the prescribed authority. Moreover, they could not produce sufficient evidence supporting the ill health of Praveen Singh. 

The Court also held that false statements were put forth regarding the non-receipt of the notice under Section 10(1) of the Act which was issued by the prescribed authority.

Furthermore, the parties misled the High Court of Allahabad in their writ petition to obtain an interim order. This caused grave injustice as it led to a delay of eleven years in redistributing the surplus land to the poor and landless farmers. 

The rationale behind this judgement of the Supreme Court was to ensure that litigants do not misguide the Court by providing inaccurate, misleading, and false statements. That is because every time a litigant does so for personal objectives, he/ she denies access to justice to the needy and the aggrieved individuals. The same was evident in this case as explained above. 

Precedents referred in Dalip Singh vs. State of UP (2009)

Hari Narain v. Badri Das (1963)

In the landmark case of Hari Narain v. Badri Das (1963), the Supreme Court of India discussed the significance of providing honest and accurate material statements in the special leave made under Article 136 of the Indian Constitution. It observed that the statements must not be inaccurate, untrue and misleading while seeking special leave under the Indian Constitution. Further, it was observed that in case the Court finds out that the statements on record for the special leave application were inaccurate and misleading, the Court is empowered to revoke such application. Therefore, the parties should not betray the trust of the Court by putting forth inaccurate and misleading material statements and grounds in their special leave application. 

Welcome Hotel and Others v. State of Andhra Pradesh and Others (1983)

The Supreme Court in the case of Welcome Hotel and Others v. State of Andhra Pradesh and Others (1983) held that the party who has made untrue and misleading statements for an order to be passed in its favour has waived its right to be heard on the merits of the case.

G.Narayanaswamy Reddy and others v. Governor of Karnataka and another (1991)

In the case of G.Narayanaswamy Reddy and others v. Governor of Karnataka and another (1991), the Supreme Court denied relief to the Appellant on the ground that he on purpose failed to disclose to the Court the fact that the Land Acquisition Officer did not pass the award within the time period stipulated under Section 11-A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1984. The Court observed that the Appellant failed to mention the stay orders in the Special Leave Petitions and the same was disclosed before the Court through the counter-affidavits filed by the Respondents. It was further observed that the Appellants intentionally concealed such facts from the Court, and thus, refused the Special Leave Petition. The Supreme Court held that Article 136 of the Indian Constitution is discretionary in nature and the one seeking remedy under the same has an obligation to disclose the complete facts with respect to the same. Their application is liable to be dismissed in case of a failure to do so.  

S.P. Chengalvaraya Naidu (dead) by L.Rs. v. Jagannath (dead) by L.Rs. and others (1993)

The Supreme Court in the case of S.P. Chengalvaraya Naidu (dead) by L.Rs. v. Jagannath (dead) by L.Rs. and others (1993) stated that if a party gets a preliminary decree by not disclosing the complete important documents to the Court then the party can be removed at any stage of the case and they would not be allowed to participate in the lawsuit.

Prestige Lights Ltd. v. State Bank of India (2007)

In the case of Prestige Lights Ltd. V. State Bank of India (2007), the Supreme Court held that the High Court while exercising its power under Article 226 of the Constitution is not only a Court of law but also a Court of equity and a person while seeking a remedy under Article 226 must place all the facts before the Court without concealing them. If the person fails to do so then the High Court has a right to refuse such a petition. 

In this case, the Supreme Court of India observed that the High Court while exercising its power under Article 226 of the Constitution acts not only as a Court of Law but also as a Court of Equity. Therefore, a person approaching the Court under the said provision must disclose all the facts before the Court. If the person fails to do so and conceals important details from the Court, the High Court is empowered to refuse the petition.

Further, the Court referred the case of Scrutton, L.J. in R v Kensington Income Tax Commissioners (1917) 1 K.B. 486 and stated that the party seeking remedy under Article 226 must disclose full facts and materials and if the same is not done then the Court may dismiss the petition. This has been done to prevent dishonest litigants from misusing the Court system as the foundation of remedy laid down in Article 226 rests upon full and true disclosure of facts, the failure of which would distort the very functioning of writ Courts.

A.V. Papayya Sastry and others v. Government of A.P. and others (2007)

In the case of A.V. Papayya Sastry and others v. Government of A.P. and others (2007), the Supreme Court clarified that Article 136 of the Constitution in no way empowers any party the right to appeal before the highest Court of the land, rather, it empowers the Supreme Court the discretion to grant the leave to appeal in various cases. The Constitution in no way designates the Apex Court as an Appellate Court or a Court which has to correct the errors of the lower Courts, rather, it provides it with the authority to uphold the principles of justice, fairness, and good conscience.

Sunil Poddar & Ors. v Union Bank of India (2008)

In the case of Sunil Poddar & Ors. v. Union Bank of India (2008), the Supreme Court held that while exercising its powers under Article 136 of the Constitution, it is important for the Court to look into all the facts and circumstances of the case as a whole to determine if there has been a miscarriage of justice. Further, if the Appellant acts dishonestly and conceals the material statements, he is said to have delayed the proceedings of the case empowering the Courts to dismiss his petition. 

K.D. Sharma v. Steel Authority of India Ltd. and others (2008)

The case of K.D. Sharma v. Steel Authority of India Ltd. and others (2008) emphasised on Articles 32 and 226 and highlighted that the powers of the Supreme Court and High Courts under these articles respectively is extraordinary, equitable, and discretionary. Furthermore, the failure to approach the Court with clean and honest material statements would result in the dismissal of the petition. The same principle was reiterated by the Supreme Court in the case of G. Jayshree and others v. Bhagwandas S. Patel and others (2009) 3 SCC 141.

This case serves as another landmark judgement on the litigant’s duty to approach the Court with honest and accurate material facts and statements under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. The failure of the same not only results in the dismissal of the petition but also causes a delay in imparting justice to the aggrieved individuals.

Conclusion 

Truth and Ahimsa have been the cornerstones of Indian Society since ancient times. Luminaries such as Mahatma Gandhi, Gautam Buddha and Mahavir have guided the people of India to lead a life of integrity and practice honesty and non-violence in their everyday lives. 

However, post independence, the society has seen a shift in the justice delivery mechanism wherein litigants are undertaking deceptive and false practices to achieve their objectives. This has marked a significant shift in the moral values of the society as a whole and has caused grave injustice to thousands of aggrieved individuals. 

This case of Dalip Singh v. State of U.P. serves as a landmark example of how a litigant, his legal representatives and the Appellant resorted to the suppression of material facts and disclosed false and inaccurate statements for their personal gains. This caused a delay in justice for close to eleven years as it denied the poor and landless farmers their right to livelihood for a long period of time.

As has been repeatedly held by the Apex Court in this case, Article 136 of the Indian Constitution plays a crucial role in upholding the golden principles of fairness, justice, and equality. The duty of observing these principles lies not only on the Courts but on the citizens who approach the Court for their disputes. Thus, it is pivotal to make honest and accurate material statements under Article 136 without concealing material facts and misleading the Court. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the circumstances in which a Special Leave Petition can be filed?

The Constitution of India under Article 136 empowers the Supreme Court to grant special leave to appeal against the judgement, decree, or order of any Court or tribunal. A Special Leave Petition can be filed in the following circumstances:

  • It can be filed against the judgement, decree or order of any High Court or tribunal in the territory of India.
  • It can also be filed when the High Court refuses to grant the certificate of fitness for filing an appeal before the Apex Court.

Is there a particular time period in which a Special Leave Petition has to be filed?

Any party aggrieved by the decision of the High Court or Tribunal can file a Special Leave Petition. However, there are two time frames that are to be complied with depending on the circumstance:

  • When a SLP is filed against the judgement of the High Court, it has to be filed within 90 days from the date of the judgement.
  • If the SLP is being filed against the order of the High Court wherein it refuses to grant the certificate of fitness for preferring an appeal before the Supreme Court, it has to be filed within 60 days.

References

  • https://indiankanoon.org/doc/198000498/ 
  • https://main.sci.gov.in/jonew/judis/35798.pdf 
  • https://vlex.in/vid/dalip-singh-vs-state-571873066 
  • https://primelegal.in/2022/08/08/a-litigant-who-attempts-to-pollute-the-stream-of-justice-or-who-touches-the-pure-fountain-of-justice-with-tainted-hands-is-not-entitled-to-any-relief-interim-or-final-the-supreme-Court-of-india/ 
  • https://www.academia.edu/38035960/Dalip_Singh_Vs_State_of_UP_Dated_03_December_2009_pdf?auto=download 

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The post Dalip Singh vs. State of UP (2009) : case analysis appeared first on iPleaders.