Beware! Buyers of property under litigation…

A person who purchases a property under litigation need not be impleaded in the case. However, he will be bound to the decree of the court in the case and only if the person who has sold him the property succeeds in the case will the buyer be entitled to the property “and if the vendor does not succeed, he is not entitled.”

P Shekar, who had purchased a property from one Suvarnamma, Rajendra, Sumangala and Jayamma. Basavaraj who was fighting a case for partition of the said property filed an application to implead Shekar in the case. But the civil court in Tumakuru dismissed his application. Basavaraj approached the High Court seeking to implead Shekar “as he is a proper and necessary party to the proceeding.”

Basavaraj had filed for partition of what he claimed is joint family property against Suvarnamma, Rajendra, Sumangala and Jayamma in 2006. His petition was dismissed in 2010. He had filed an appeal the same year. When this appeal was pending, the respondents had sold the property to Shekar.

In the HC, Basavaraj’s advocate contended that Shekar knew of the dispute over the property but had still purchased it. Thus to avoid multipiclity of proceedings, he should be made a party to the case.

The HC in its judgement said, “It is well settled law that any person who purchases property during pendency of the proceedings, he is bound by the decree passed by the Court.” The HC also noted that the Code of Civil Procedure gives discretion to the court to impleaded a subsequent purchaser if it is necessary to decide the case. It has to decide if anyone is a “necessary party” to the case.

The HC noted that Shekar’s purchase of the property while it was subject to a court case was against Section 52 of the Transfer of Property Act. Those who sold the property or Shekar had taken the permission of the court before the sale. Thus it was hit by the doctrine of ‘lis pendens’ (suit pending in Latin). Therefore Shekar was not a necessary party to the case.

Credits Bangalore Mirror

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