Limitation is 12 years when the suit for declaration and for possession from the date when the possession of land becomes adverse to the plaintiff ; The Civil Court can grant lesser relief or smaller version of the relief claimed or prayed for can be granted. the plaintiffs had prayed that they were Inamdars and that the High Court had created a new case for the plaintiffs by declaring them to be Mutawalis.

Limitation is 12 years when the suit for declaration and for possession from the date when the possession of land becomes adverse to the plaintiff

Admittedly, the possession of the land was handed over to the Trust only in the year 1978.  The suit was filed in the year 1987.  The appellants contend that the limitation for the suit is three years as the suit is one for declaration.  We are of the view that this contention has to be rejected.  We have culled out the main prayers made in the suit hereinabove which clearly indicate that it is a suit not only for declaration but the plaintiffs also prayed for possession of the suit land.   The limitation for filing a suit for possession on the basis of title is 12 years and, therefore, the suit is within limitation.  Merely because one of the reliefs sought is of declaration that will not mean that the outer limitation of 12 years is lost.   Reliance placed by the learned 7 counsel for the appellants on the judgment of this Court in L.C. Hanumanthappa   v.   H.B.   Shivakumar1   is   wholly   misplaced. That   judgment   has   no   applicability   since   that   case   was admittedly only a suit for declaration and not a suit for both declaration and possession.  In a suit filed for possession based on title the plaintiff is bound to prove his title and pray for a declaration that he is the owner of the suit land because his suit on the basis of title cannot succeed unless he is held to have some  title   over   the   land.     However,   the   main   relief   is  ofpossession and, therefore, the suit will be governed by Article 65 of the Limitation Act, 1963.   This Article deals with a suit for possession of immovable property or any interest therein based on   title   and   the   limitation   is   12   years   from   the   date  when possession of the land becomes adverse to the plaintiff.

The Civil Court can grant lesser relief or smaller version of the relief claimed or prayed for can be granted.

the plaintiffs had prayed that they were Inamdars and that the High Court had created a new case for the plaintiffs by declaring them to be Mutawalis.

since plaintiffs had not claimed the relief that they were Mutawalis, the High Court could not have granted this relief. Reliance has been placed on a judgment of this Court in the case of Bachhaj Nahar v. Nilima Mandal2 . Para 22 of the said judgment reads as follows: “22. The observation of the High Court that when a plaintiff sets forth the facts and makes a prayer for a particular relief in the suit, he is merely suggesting what the relief should be, and that it is for the court, as a matter of law, to decide upon the relief that should be granted, is not sound. Such an observation may be appropriate with reference to a writ proceeding. It may even be appropriate in a civil suit while proposing to grant as relief, a lesser or smaller version of what is claimed. But the said observation is misconceived if it is meant to hold that a civil court may grant any relief it deems fit, ignoring the prayer.” (emphasis supplied)

In our view, the aforesaid judgment does not help the appellants and, in fact, helps the respondents. The judgment clearly lays down that the lesser relief or smaller version of the relief claimed or prayed for can be granted. The plaintiffs claimed the status of Inamdars which is a higher position than that of Mutawalis. The High Court has granted a lesser or lower relief and not a higher relief or totally new relief and, therefore, we reject this contention also.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4478 OF 2007 SOPANRAO & ANR. …APPELLANT(S) Versus SYED MEHMOOD & ORS. …RESPONDENT(S)