SC: A party can’t be permitted to approbate and reprobate at the same time

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 3rd April 2020, in the matter of Bhagwat Sharan (Dead Thr.Lrs.) v.Purushottam & Ors. pronounced that a party cannot be permitted to approbate and reprobate at the same time. Where one party knowingly accepts the benefits of a contract or conveyance or an order, it is estopped to deny the validity or binding effect on him of such contract or conveyance or order.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

The burden is on the person who alleges that the property is a joint property of an HUF to prove the same. (Para 10)

The burden lies upon the person who alleges the existence of the Hindu Undivided Family to prove the same. (Para 10)

Normally, an HUF can only comprise of all the family members with the head of the family being karta. Some property has to be the nucleus for this joint family. (Para 11)

Merely on the basis of recitals in a mortgage deed, a property cannot be said to be a joint family property. (This inference has been drawn on the basis of Para 16)

An admission made by a party is only a piece of evidence and not conclusive proof of what is stated therein. (Para 19)

Not only jointness of the family has to be proved but burden lies upon the person alleging existence of a joint family to prove that the property belongs to the joint Hindu family unless there is material on record to show that the property is the nucleus of the joint Hindu family or that it was purchased through funds coming out of this nucleus. (Para 19)

Merely because the business is joint would not raise the presumption that there is a Joint Hindu Family. (Para 19)

A party cannot be permitted to approbate and reprobate at the same time. This principle is based on the principle of doctrine of election. In respect of Wills, this doctrine has been held to mean that a person who takes benefit of a portion of the Will cannot challenge the remaining portion of the Will. (Para 24)

Where one party knowingly accepts the benefits of a contract or conveyance or an order, it is estopped to deny the validity or binding effect on him of such contract or conveyance or order. (Para 24)

The doctrine of election is a facet of law of estoppel. A party cannot blow hot and blow cold at the same time. Any party which takes advantage of any instrument must accept all that is mentioned in the said document. (Para 25)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_03-Apr-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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