Doctrine of Lis Pendens :-

The doctrine of Lis Pendens has been derived from a latin maxim Ut pendent nihil innovetur which means that during litigation nothing should be changed. The  meaning of lis pendens is - ‘a pending legal action’, wherein Lis means the ‘suit’ and Pendens means ‘continuing or pending’.
The principle embodying the said doctrine is that the subject matter of a suit should not be transferred to a third party during the pendency of the suit. In case of transfer of such immovable property, the transferee becomes bound by the result of the suit.

The doctrine of Lis Pendens esstentially aims at:
 (i) avoiding endless litigation,
 (ii) Protecting either party to the litigation against the act of the        other,
 (iii) Avoiding abuse of legal process. 

Lis Pendens is captured under Section 52 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (the “Act”). The Section essentially prohibits alienation of immovable property when a dispute relating to the same is pending in a competent court of law. It is based on the principle that the person purchasing an immovable property from the judgment debtor during the pendency of the suit has no independent right to property to resist, obstruct or object execution of a decree.

Application of Section 52 of TPA:
 The Supreme Court in a three Judge Bench in Dev Raj Dogra and others v. Gyan Chand Jain and others AIR 1981 SC 981 construed the meaning of Section 52 of the Transfer of Property Act and laid down following conditions:
1-      A suit or a proceeding in which any right to immovable property is directly and specifically in question must be pending;
2-      The suit or proceeding should be pending in a Court of competent jurisdiction;
3-      The suit or the proceeding should not be a collusive one;
4-      Litigation must be one in which right to immovable property is directly and specifically in question;
5-      Any transfer of such immovable property or any dealing with such property during the pendency of the suit is prohibited except under the authority of Court, if such transfer or otherwise dealing with the property by any party to the suit or proceeding affects the right of any other party to the suit or proceeding under any order or decree which may be passed in the said suit or proceeding.        

Lis Pendens is not applicable in every case. There are certain instances wherein this doctrine does not apply:
1-      A sale made by the mortgagee in the exercise of the power as conferred by the mortgage deed.
2-      In matters of review;
3-      In cases where the transferor is the only party affected;
4-      In cases of friendly suits;
5-      In cases where the proceedings are collusive;
6-      In case of suits involving pending transfers by a person who is not a party to the suit;
7-      In cases where the property has not been properly described in the plaint;
8-      In cases where the subject matter of rights concerned in the suit and that which are alienated by transfer are different.
In Hardev Singh v. Gurmail Singh Civil Appeal No. 6222 of 2000 , the Supreme Court observed that Section 52 of the Act does not declare a pendente lite transfer by a party to the suit as void or illegal, but only makes the pendente lite purchaser bound by the decision of the pending litigation. Thus, if during the pendency of any suit in a court of competent jurisdiction which is not collusive, in which any right of an immovable property is directly and specifically in question, such immovable property cannot be transferred by any party to the suit so as to affect the rights of any other party to the suit under any decree that may be made in such suit. 

In Gouri Dutt Maharaj v. Sheikh Sukur Mohammed and Ors. AIR 1948 PC 147, it was held that broad principle underlying Section 52 of the Transfer of Property Act,1882 is to maintain status quo, unaffected by act of any party to the pending litigation.



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