Published on: December 04, 2023 at 12:29 IST
In a recent development, the Supreme Court has delivered a significant ruling, asserting that a suit seeking possession and a suit claiming damages for the use and occupation of a property are distinct causes of action.
The court emphasized that a second lawsuit filed to claim damages for the use and occupation of premises is maintainable even after a prior suit for possession has been initiated.
The matter came before a bench comprising Justices Vikram Nath and Rajesh Bindal, addressing an appeal challenging the trial court’s decision, upheld by the High Court, to reject the suit under Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
In this specific case, the respondent initially filed a suit for possession in 2006, which was granted in 2010. Subsequently, in January 2020, after the lease period had expired, the respondent filed a second suit seeking damages for the illegal occupation of the property.
The appellant, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, argued that the second suit was not admissible since the claim for damages was not included in the first suit.
The Supreme Court, however, rejected this contention, citing a Full Bench judgment of the Allahabad High Court and another judgment of the Full Bench of Punjab & Haryana High Court, both supporting the maintainability of subsequent suits for mesne profits or damages.
Referring to these precedents, the Supreme Court held that the second suit was maintainable, dismissing the plea to reject the plaint.
The court remarked, “A suit for possession and a suit for claiming damages for use and occupation of the property are two different causes of action. There being different considerations for adjudication, in our opinion, the second suit filed by the respondent claiming damages for use and occupation of the premises was maintainable.”
Case title: M/s Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd v. ATM Constructions Pvt Ltd