(Prayer: Appeal Suit has been filed under Section 96 of C.P.C read with Order 41 Rule 1 of C.P.C., against the judgment and decree dated 07.08.2012 in O.S.No.11748 of 2010 on the file of the Additional District Judge, XVI Additional Judge, Chennai.)
1.The Appeal by the defendants, who lost the suit for declaration and delivery of possession and mesne profit.
2. Case of the plaintiff:-
The suit laid on the premise that the Flat No.5A, 5th Floor, Ramaiam Flats, Citadel No.1, Panchaliamman Koil Street, Arumbakkam, Chennai which is the subject matter of the suit and more fully described in the plaint schedule, sold to the plaintiff by M/s.P.V.S Finance Ltd., (third defendant) for a sale consideration of Rs.23,00,000/- vide a registered sale deed dated 17/03/1999. The possession was handed over to the plaintiff and letter dated 18/03/1999 was given by the third defendant confirming the factum of handing over. Copy of the handing over letter was also marked to M/s.Ramaniam Builders, who constructed the flats. While so, during the month of February 2002, the plaintiff came to know that one Tejraj (second defendant) is in occupation of the suit property without any legal authority. Therefore, the plaintiff issued notice dated 23/03/2002 calling upon the second defendant to vacate and deliver possession. The second defendant replied disputing the plaintiff’s claim without disclosing his legal right to be in occupation. To this reply dated 01/04/2002, the plaintiff gave a rejoinder dated 10/04/2002 calling upon the second defendant to disclose his right to occupy the suit premises. Since no information received from the the second defendant, plaintiff gave a police complaint and during the investigation by the police, the plaintiff came to understand that one A.Gothamchand (the first defendant) purchased 1/3rd undivided share in the flat and land under a registered sale deed mentioning a consideration of Rs.4,10,000/- on 08/12/2000. Pending suit, the plaintiff came to know that the remaining 2/3rd share sold to Mrs.Gangabai (wife of the first defendant) and Mrs.Anitha (daughter-in-law of first defendant) for like sum on the same day. Hence, they were also impleaded as defendants 4 and 5.
3. The third defendant in order to defeat the rights of the plaintiff undervaluing the property had executed sale deeds in the name of first, fourth and fifth defendants, 1/3rd each for a consideration of Rs.4,10,000/- each with dishonest intention to get the sham and nominal document registered without furnishing income tax clearance certificate. While the suit property worth Rs.23lakhs and the plaintiff paid the said consideration and got the sale deed executed and presented for registration and same pending registration for want of income tax clearance, taking advantage of the pendency of registration, the third defendant has created three sale deeds in favour of defendants 1, 4 and 5 showing the total sale price as Rs.12,30,000/- and each vendor paid Rs.4,10,000/- towards their 1/3rd share. In order to cheat him and the Income Tax Department, the third defendant in connivance with the defendants 1, 4 and 5 had created these sale deeds for the suit property after alienating it to the plaintiff. Therefore, the defendants 1, 4 and 5 are not bonafide purchasers and defendant No.3 is not the owner of the suit property as on 08/12/2000 when he executed the sale deeds in favour of them.
4. After executing the sale deed in favour of the plaintiff, in fact the 3rd defendant borrowed Rs.40,000/- from the plaintiff to get Income Tax clearance certificate and executed a pronote dated 13/03/1999. He did not get the Income Tax certificate as promised, hence the sale deed dated 17/03/1999 presented for registration could not be registered immediately. Later, at the plaintiff’s own cost, the Income Tax certificate was obtained and the document got registered in the year 2001. Meanwhile, the third defendant had illegally created documents and put the second defendant in possession collecting rent of Rs.5,000/- p.m. Therefore, the suit for the following relief:
(a). To declare that the plaintiff is the absolute owner of the suit property at bearing Flat No.5A, 5th Floor at Ramaniam, Flats Citadel, Door No.1, Panchaliamman Koil Street, Off Poonamalle High Road, Arumbakkam Chennai - 600 106, morefully described in the Schedule hereunder mentioned to the plaint.
(b). Directing the defendants 1 and 2 to quit and deliver vacant possession of the suit property at bearing Flat No.5A, 5th Floor at Ramaniam Flats Citadel, Door No.1, Panchaliamman Koil Street, Off Poonamalle High Road Arumbakkam, Chennai-600 106, morefully described in the Schedule hereunder mentioned to the plaint.
(c). To determine the past mesne profits at Rs.5000/- per month from 08.12.2000 till 22.01.2003 profits at Rs.7500/- per month from 01.01.2003 and direct the defendants jointly and severally a sum of Rs.1,20,000/- towards mesne profits with interest at 12% per annum from the date of plaint till date of realization and continue to pay a sum of Rs.7500/- per month from 01.01.2003 till the date of delivery of possession of the suit property at bearing Flat No.5A, in the Fifth Floor, at Ramaniam Citadel, Poonamallee High Road, Arumbakkam, Chennai – 600 106 more fully described in the schedule hereunder mentioned to the plaint.
(c). For the cost of the suit and;
(d). For such further or other relief's as this Hon'ble Court deem fit.”
5. The case of the first defendant:-
The suit property was purchased by him, his wife and daughter in law (Defendants 1 , 4 and 5) on 08/12/2000 under three registered sale deeds for valuable consideration. They jointly paid total consideration of Rs.12,30,000/- and purchased 1/3rd share each in the suit property. Before the purchase, they verified the title of the vendor and on being satisfied that there had been no encumbrance or defect in title they purchased the property. The vendor has also handed over the original title deeds pertaining to the suit schedule property along with the construction agreement. They are in peaceful possession of the suit property. As absolute owner of the property, they are paying the property tax, water charges and Electricity bills, maintenance charges etc. They are bonafide purchaser without any notice of defect in title. The dispute between his vendor and the plaintiff came to his knowledge only after his tenant (second defendant) received notice from the plaintiff. On enquire he came to know that the plaintiff obtained a sale deed under threat and coercion from his vendor. Registration of a sale deed subsequent to his purchase is void and non-est. The plaintiff is not entitled for any relief.
6. The defendants 4 and 5, who were impleaded subsequently, filed written statement similar on the lines of first defendant. Pleading that, the plaintiff obtained the suit sale deed by coercion and threat after filing a criminal complaint against the 3rd defendant. In the deed relied by the plaintiff, the other directors are not signatories. No Board resolution passed authorising any person to execute the sale deed in favour of the plaintiff.
7. In the additional written statement filed by the defendants 4 and 5, they contended that, though they are the joint title holders of the property and in possession of the property, the plaintiff did not implead them while filing the suit. Only after, the first defendant filed his written statement, they impleaded defendant 4 and 5. The suit filed against them is beyond the period of limitation and therefore, the suit is barred.
8. On the above pleadings, the Trial Court framed the following issues:-
(i). Whether the plaintiffs are entitled for the declaration as owner of the suit property?
(ii). Whether the plaintiff is entitled for the recovery of vacant possession?
(iii). Whether the plaintiff is entitled for mesne profits?
(iv). Whether the suit is bad for non-joinder of necessary party?
(v). To what other relief?
9. On the side of the plaintiff, 2 witnesses was examined and Ex.A-1 to Ex.A-26 were marked. On the side of the defendants, one witness was examined and Ex.B-1 to Ex.B-17 were marked.
10. Relying upon Section 47 of the Registration Act, 1908, the Trial Court held that, though the sale deed dated 17/03/1999 was formally registered only on 14/12/2000, the effect of the registration will date back to the date of execution. The document on subsequent registration will be effect from when it was executed and not from the time of its registration. The sale deeds of the defendants marked as Ex.A-6, ExA-13 and ExA-14 all registered on 08/12/2000 are not a bonafide transaction. Both the parties claim right in the property through same vendor. The sale deed in favour of the plaintiff is dated 17/03/1999 for Rs.23 lakks. Another in favour of defendants 1, 4 and 5 on 08/12/2000, separately for a consideration of Rs.4,10,000/- each, totally a sum of Rs.12,30,000/- While the prior sale is for an higher value, the subsequent sales after 21 months is for nearly 40% lesser value. Therefore, on comparison of the sale price, the Court below found that the defendants 1, 4 and 5 are not bonafide purchasers for value. Hence, allowed the suit and directed the defendants to vacate the suit premise and hand over the possession. Also, direct to pay mense profit of Rs.7,500/- p.m from 23/01/2013, till the date of delivery of possession.
Point for determination:-
Whether the Trial Court erred in rejecting the defendants plea that they are bonafide purchasers for value without notice of defect in title?
11. The Learned Senior Counsel for the appellant submitted that, the appellants purchased the property for value under Ex.A.6, Ex.A13 and Ex.A14. Whereas, the sale deed Ex.A.1 in favour of the plaintiff was executed under threat and coercion. No consideration passed to the vendor (the third defendant) under Ex.A-1. The claim of the plaintiff that possession of the suit property was handed over to him as per the delivery letter Ex.A-2, dated 18/03/1999 is a lie. Only on 08/12/2000, after the final settlement and maintenance fund of Rs.4.35 lakhs paid to the builder, the possession of the flat was given to the Third defendant M/s.P.V.S.Finance Limited by the Builder M/s.Ramaniyam Builders. Ex.B-8 (handing over letter) and Ex.B-10 (receipt for final settlement) prove the fact that the flat was never ready when the alleged sale deed executed on 17/03/1999.
12. The defendants 1, 4 and 5, after taking possession on 08/12/2000 under Ex.B-11 along with original title deeds, in exclusive possession and enjoyment of the property. The statutory dues for the property is paid by the defendants 1, 4 and 5 and same proved through Ex.B-12 to Ex.B-17. While the passing of consideration for the suit sale deed itself not proved by the plaintiff and the possession claimed by the plaintiff disproved through documents and by own admission of the plaintiff that they came to know that the property was in occupation of 2nd defendant in the month of February-2002 is highly unbelievable. However, the Trial Court disregard to the evidence and law, erroneously allowed the suit declaring the plaintiff as the owner of the suit property and entitled for delivery of vacant possession and mesne profit.
13. Per contra, the Learned Counsel appearing for the respondent/plaintiff submitted that, the three sales deeds relied by the appellants to claim primacy over the suit property on the ground that their registration is prior in time, on the face of its recital will show they are sham and nominal documents created for the purpose to defeat the lawful right of the respondent/plaintiff.
14. The plaintiff is the prior purchaser for consideration. On payment of consideration, they took delivery of the flat with due acknowledgement and intimation to the builder. The builder never protested the delivery of the flat to the plaintiff on 18/03/1999. The registration of the sale deed got delayed because, when the sale deed was presented for registration before the Sub-Registrar, it was kept pending with P.No.146/1999 for want of Income Tax clearance, which was mandatory at that point of time for any immovable transaction above Rs.5,00,000/-. On production of Income Tax clearance certificate, the deed was registered on 14/12/2001. It is settled principal of law that, on registration, the sale deed will take effect from the date of execution. Section 47 of the Registration Act and Section 48 of the Transfer of Property Act were rightly relied by Trial Court and held that the plaintiff is the prior purchaser and any transfer of he suit property subsequent to 17/03/1999 are only subject to the plaintiff’s purchase.
15. The Third defendant, after borrowing Rs.40,000/- and executing pro-note to meet out the expenses for getting Income Tax clearance, failed to get the certificate. Therefore, the plaintiff, at his cost got the clearance certificate and produced it before the Sub-Registrar and got the deed registered. The 3rd Defendant first stealthily and unilaterally tried to cancel the sale deed pending registration and wrote to the Sub-Registrar to cancel the deed. The Sub Registrar, in his letter dated 06/03/2000 refused to cancel the deed. After failed in this attempt, the 3rd defendant and the defendants 1, 4 and 5 joined together to had fraudulently created the sale deeds Ex.A-6, Ex.A-13 and Ex.A-14. To circumvent the requirement of Income Tax clearance certificate, the purchase price was shown as Rs.4,10,000/- and three sale deeds were created in favour of three different persons for a total consideration of Rs.12,30,000/-.
16. Therefore, the Learned Counsel for the respondent/plaintiff submitted that, the third defendant taking advantage of the delay caused in getting the Income Tax certificate, in collusion with the defendants 1, 4 and 5 had created documents to grab the property which they sold to the plaintiff and delivered possession much prior to creation of the sale deeds in favour of defendants 1, 4 and 5. The subsequent purchasers of the property are not bonafide purchasers for value and same is well established through their own documents. A flat which construction cost alone is at Rs.21 lakhs sold for a mere Rs.12,30,000/- with the right in the undivided land is patent fraud. Therefore, the appeal deserved to be dismissed.
17. Heard the Learned Senior Counsel for the appellants and the Learned counsel for the respondent. Documents perused.
18. Whether the date of execution or the date of its registration, is the date of completion of sale of a immovable property worth above Rs.100/- was the question before the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court in Ram Saran Lall And Others vs Mst.Domini Kuer and Others reported in AIR 1961 SC 1747, the abridged version of the facts as narrated by the judges is,
“the appellants had their residential house contiguous to the house owned by certain persons whom we may call Pandeys. On January 31, 1946, the Pandeys executed a deed of sale in favour of the respondent purchaser in respect of their aforesaid house. The appellants claim a right of pre-emption on account of this sale. The consideration mentioned in the deed was Rs.2,000. There was a subsisting mortgage on that house and the deed provided that out of the consideration a sum of Rs.200 would be left with the respondent purchaser for clearing off that mortgage. The deed also recited that the Pandeys had received Rs.400 and "the remaining Rs.1,400 in cash at the time of exchange of equivalents, (that is) at the time of (handing over) of the receipt of this deed,........... On receipt of the whole and entire amount of consideration money we have put the said claimant into possession and occupation of this vended property as absolute owner in place of us, the executants and our heirs and representatives." The deed further stated, "this sale deed becomes operative from the date when we the executants affixed-our signatures thereon. Whatever title, we, the executants and our heirs had............. with respect to this vended property, has become extinct, inoperative and null and void and the same has now been transferred to and acquired by the claimant."By the word "claimant", the respondent purchaser was referred to.
The deed was presented at the registration office for registration by the Pandeys on the day it was executed and it was left with the Registrar in the Registration Office for the necessary entries and copies being made, a receipt being given to the Pandeys. On February 2, 1946, the appellants on coming to hear of the execution of the deed of sale made the talab-i-mowasibat. On February 7, 1946, the receipt granted by the Registration Office to the Pandeys was made over by them to the respondent purchaser who there- upon paid the balance of the price as stipulated in the deed. On February 9, 1946, the documents were copied in the Registrar's books and thereupon the registration became complete as provided in Section 61 of the Registration Act.”
19. In the above factual background the case was decided by 3:2 majority:
Per B.P.Sinha, C. J., A.K.Sarkar and J.R.Mudholkar, jj : The sale will get completed only when the registration is completed. Section 47 of the Registration Act merely permit a document when registered to operate from a date which may be earlier than the date on which it was registered, it did not say when the sale would be deemed to be complete. A sale which was required to be registered was not completed until the registration of the deed was completed.
Per K.C.Das Gupta and Ayyangar, jj : The sale completes on the day of execution. Section 61 had nothing to do with the time when the sale evidenced. By registering, a deed became complete; Section 61 refers merely to the fact that the registering officer had completed his duty. Section 47 provides when a sale deemed to be completed. There was no difference between the time when a sale became effective and the time it could be held to be completed. Section 47 of the Registration Act does not, however, say when a sale would be deemed to be complete. It only permits a document when registered, to operate from a certain date which may be earlier than the date when it was registered. The object of this section is to decide which of two or more registered instruments in respect of the same property is to have A effect. The section applies to a document only after it has been registered. It has nothing to do with the completion of the registration and therefore nothing to do with the completion of a sale, when the instrument is one of sale. A sale which is admittedly not completed until the registration of the instrument of sale is completed, cannot be said to have been completed earlier because by virtue of Section 47, the instrument by which it is effected, after it has been registered, commences to operate from an earlier date. Therefore we do not think that the sale in this case can be said, in view of Section 47, to have been completed on January 31, 1946. ( the date of the execution).
In the words of Justice N.Rajagopala Ayyangar : “The Principles underlying Sections 61(2) and 47 are not divergent. It is not as if, that any delay by the registering officer which might take place owing to the pressure of work in his office or for other reason, has any effect on the rights of parties, quod their property or the time from when the deed operates, or as regards the effectiveness of the transaction, or the priority of transactions inter se. It is not as if, documents executed on different dates, the parties intending them to operate at different times, have their intentions modified, if not nullified by the action or inaction of the registering officer, or any delay that might take place in his office.”
“If, therefore, Section 47 of the Registration Act should apply to determine the time from which the registered document should have effect or, in other words, the time from which the sale should be held to be complete, the intention of the parties would be the crucial and only test. That has to be gathered by reference to the document itself read in the light of the surrounding circumstances, with however a proviso that if the document were clear and its terms explicit, no evidence to contradict them would be admissible.”
20. The relevant law to be applied in this case are Section 47 of the Registration Act and Section 48 of the Transfer of Property Act which reads as below:-
Section 47 in The Registration Act, 1908
“47. Time from which registered document operates. —A registered document shall operate from the time which it would have commenced to operate if no registration thereof had been required or made, and not from the time of its registration.”
Section 47 of the Registration Act the effect of which was to make a registered document operate from the time from which it would have commenced to operate if no registration in thereof had been required and not from the time of its registration. His contention is that once a document is reg:
Section 48 in The Transfer of Property Act, 1882:-
48. Priority of rights created by transfer.—Where a person purports to create by transfer at different times rights in or over the same immoveable property, and such rights cannot all exist or be exercised to their full extent together, each later created right shall, in the absence of a special contract or reservation binding the earlier transferees, be subject to the rights previously created.
21. A combined reading of the above two sections, one can have no doubt that under Section 47 of the Registration Act, 1908, a deed even if registered on a subsequent date other than the date of execution, the effect of that document will be from the date of execution. Provided the execution must be proved. Any person who claim right in a property after creation of right to another, the subsequent transfer will be subservient to the prior contract, unless there is any special contract.
22. The fraud played by the defendants to defeat the lawful right of the plaintiff could be evidently seen from their own documents namely Ex.B-5, the construction agreement with M/s.Ramaniyam Builders Ltd. This agreement is dated 07/03/1996 entered between the 3rd defendant as the contracting party and M/s.Ramaniyam Real Estate Private Limited as the builders. The recital of this deed discloses that the builder has agreed to construct a flat measuring 1796 sq.ft at a cost of Rs.21,54,203/- and had received advance of Rs.50,000/- from the contracting party i.e., the 3rd defendant. Thus, it is obvious that the sale deeds of the defendants is undervalued. In the cross examination, D.W-1 unable to give any plausible reasons why, for a single flat three separate sale deeds trifurcating the shares and how the property admittedly constructed for Rs.21,54,203/- came to be sold to him for Rs.12,30,000/- including undivided share in the land. In this connection, the fact elicited during cross examination of D.W-1 to show the Managing Directors of the 3rd defendant Company Harish and Satish were known to the first defendant, when the plaintiff Company was a tenant in the first defendant building between 1993 to 2003 and Mr Satish worked in that Office. D.W-1, the witness for the defendants admits that there was no prior agreement for sale with the vendor and they straight away executed the sale deeds and got it registered. They are innocent purchasers for value without notice of the defect in title. However, in the cross examination, D.W-1 admits that, when his tenant second defendant received notice from the plaintiff, he gave instruction to his Counsel Mr.Paramananda Doss for the reply (Ex.A-8). However, in that reply notice dated 01/04/2002 their is no whispher about the sale deeds Ex.A-6, Ex.A- 13 and Ex.A-14. More particularly when the said Parmananda Doss is the person, who drafted those sale deeds.
23. The Learned Senior Counsel for the appellant, with strong reliance on the tax receipts and Electricity Connection service pleaded that, the appellants are in occupation of the property legally and they are not trespasser. However, their sale deed does not convey them any right in the property, since their vendor (3rd defendant) had no title on the day the sale deeds dated 08/12/2000 got executed and registered. The vendor of the appellants after executing Ex.A-1 sale deed and Ex.A-2 letter for delivery of possession. He had also applied for Income Tax clearance certificate in Form 34-A application for a certificate under Section 230A(1) of the Income Tax Act, in which, he has stated that, he has transferred the suit property to the plaintiff for a sale consideration of Rs.23 lakhs and he need the certificate. The application copy is marked as Ex.A-22. Later, he had made an attempt to cancel the pending registration deed unilaterally by writing to the Sub- Registrar and the Sub-Registrar has refused to cancel the pending registration document. The refusal letter dated 06/03/2000 of the Sub Registrar is marked as Ex.A-20.
24. If the averment of the appellants that Ex.A-1 was obtained under threat and coercion, the best person to question it is their vendor the 3rd defendant. He even after the refusal of the Sub-Registrar to cancel the registration of the pending document, did not take any legal recourse for redressal, but had created documents and put the appellants in possession. Just a week before the document kept pending for Income Tax certificate got registered, the third defendant deceptively executed the sale deeds on 14/12/2001 in favour of the defendants 1, 4 and 5. They all admittedly belong to the same family, but three documents were executed separately as if 1/3rd share in the flat is sold to each of them for a consideration of Rs.4,10,000/- each i.e., for a total sum of Rs.12,30,000/-. After the execution of this sham and nominal sale deeds, the defendants have taken possession of the property illegally and also let out to third parties to make unlawful gain.
25. In Duraiswami Reddi -vs- Angappa Reddi and another reported in (1945) 1 Mad LJ 425, has held that,
“2.....Even if the second defendant is able to show that he purchased the properties bona fide without notice of the earlier sale deed, he cannot succeed unless, of course, the earlier transferee is prevented from setting up his title as against the later transferee by any infirmative circumstances such as fraud or estoppel. The question is really concluded by Section 47 of the Registration Act and Section 48 of the Transfer of Property Act. The law gives four months' period for registration and if the document is registered within that date, the subsequent transferee cannot be heard to say that as he got his document without notice, and during this period allowed to the earlier transferee, got his own document registered he must be deemed to be a bona fide purchaser for value. Such a plea, if allowed, would lead to much fraud. If a later document registered earlier is to prevail over an earlier document registered later it would always be easy for the vendor and the later purchaser to enter into a transaction within the time given for registration of the earlier document and get the new deed registered immediately and thus defeat the purchaser under the earlier deed.....”(Emphasis Added)
26. In Hamda Ammal -vs- Avadiappa Pathar and others reported in Manu/SC/0521/1991 the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that,
“4. Section 54 of the Act defines sale as “a transfer of ownership in ex
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change for a price paid or promised or part-paid and part-promised”. Thus after the execution of the sale deed with consideration all the ingredients of sale are fulfilled except that in case of tangible immovable property of the value of Rs 100 and upwards it can be made only by registered instrument. Now, if we read Section 47 of the Registration Act, it clearly provides that a registered document shall operate from the time from which it would have commenced to operate if no registration thereof had been required or made and not from the time of its registration. This provision makes it clear that after the registration it will relate back to the date of execution of the sale deed. The act of registration is to be performed by the registering authority. According to Section 23 of the Registration Act a document of the nature of sale deed shall be accepted for registration within four months from the date of its execution. Thus a statutory period of four months has been provided for presenting the sale deed for registration from the date of its execution. In case of dispute regarding the execution of the document an enquiry is permitted under Section 74(a) of the Registration Act and that may also take some time. The legislature being alive to such situations has already provided in Section 47 of the Registration Act that it shall operate from the time from which it would commence to operate if no registration thereof had been required or made and not from the time of its registration. Thus in our view the vendee gets rights which will be related back on registration from the date of the execution of the sale deed.”(Emphasis added) 27. In view of the above discussion based on the analysis of law and facts, this Court of the view that the Trial court judgment is to be confirmed. Accordingly, the judgment and decree passed in O.S.No.11748 of 2010 is confirmed. 28. On perusal of the records, this Court finds that, on 06.06.2014, as an interim order in M.P.No.1 of 2013 in A.S.No.121 of 2013, this Court has passed the following order:- “There will be an order of interim stay on condition that the petitioners/appellants pays the cost, i.e., Rs.76,821/- [Rupees Seventy Six Thousand eight hundred and twenty one only] directly to the plaintiff in O.S.No.11748/2010/1st respondent herein within a period of three weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. The petitioners/appellants are also directed to deposit a sum of Rs.6,00,000/- [Rupees Six lakhs only] out of the total amount claimed by the plaintiff in the counter, to the credit of O.S.No.11748 of 2010 on the file of learned Additional District Judge, XVI Additional Judge, Chennai, within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.” 29. Hence, the Appeal is dismissed and the plaintiff/respondent herein is entitled to withdraw the money deposited with interest accrued and adjust it towards the appellants liability. 30. In the result, this Appeal Suit is dismissed. With costs. Consequently, connected Miscellaneous Petitions are closed.