Legal Concerns in Specific Performance and Property Disputes


pen, notebook, and smartphone on table
pen, notebook, and smartphone on table

In Civil Revision No. 66888 of 2021, the Lahore High Court examined a dispute involving Muhammad Afzal and others (petitioners) against Abdul Hameed and others (respondents) concerning the specific performance of a contract related to property. The appellate court's decision to dismiss the petitioners' suit was overturned, and the trial court's judgment in favor of the petitioners was restored.

Key Areas:

Background of the Case: The petitioners filed a suit for specific performance based on an agreement (Iqrarnama) dated June 14, 1977, involving 01-Kanal 4-Marlas of property. The agreement stipulated that the sale deed would be executed upon request, and possession was given to the petitioners' predecessor, Allah Rehm, who subsequently constructed buildings on the property.

Limitation Period: The respondents argued the suit was barred by limitation under Article 113 of the Limitation Act, 1908. However, since no specific date was fixed for performance in the Iqrarnama, the limitation period began when the petitioners received notice of the respondents' refusal to perform in July 2014. The suit, filed on February 29, 2016, was within the permissible period.

Evidence and Findings: The court found that the sale consideration was fully paid, and possession was delivered, aligning with the precedent set in Syed Hakeem Shah (Deceased) through LRs vs. Muhammad Idrees and others (2017 SCMR 316). The limitation defense was deemed invalid because the petitioners had an existing right to specific performance, not extinguished by time.

Witness Credibility: The petitioners presented credible witnesses who verified the signatures on the Iqrarnama, while the respondents' attorney's testimony was considered hearsay, lacking firsthand knowledge. The Supreme Court of Pakistan's decision in Mrs. Zakia Hussain and another vs. Syed Farooq Hussain (PLD 2020 Supreme Court 401) reinforced that non-appearance of a party could lead to adverse inferences.

Appellate Court's Error: The appellate court misappreciated the evidence, necessitating correction under the High Court's supervisory jurisdiction as established in Nazim-Ud-Din and others vs. Sheikh Zia-Ul-Qamar and others (2016 SCMR 24) and related cases.

Conclusion: The revision petition was allowed, the appellate court's judgment was set aside, and the trial court's decree in favor of the petitioners was restored.

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