The articles compile the latest judgements involving Landlord-Tenant disputes. The nature of disputes generally involves eviction of the tenant from the premises. The law protects the tenant for accommodation and the landlord has to be genuine with reason to evict a tenant from possession. The Landlord should produce valid reasons for eviction as per the law and if found otherwise the tenancy remains with the tenant.
This article produces some legal questions arising from the three recent cases in relation to tenancy and accommodation laws in India.
Case 1: Omprakash v/s Laxminarayan [(2014) 1 SCC 618]
Agreement of Sale Not Properly Stamped Cannot be Taken as Evidence
An Agreement of sale of Immovable and its admissibility in evidence was in question. The trial court adjudicated on the said question that those documents which are not properly stamped, though in its recitals pronounce the transfer of a title to the Buyer, the mere recitals of the instrument itself cannot be sustainable in deciding the admissibility of such document as evidence before any court.
The High Court in First Appeal reversed the legal observation made by the trial court and set aside the said judgement. The matter then came before the Supreme Court which corrected the position of law observed that on having a bare reading of Section 35 of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 (Madhya Pradesh Amendment) wherein the law itself makes it clear that a document if not properly stamped according to the rates provided under Schedule 1A of the Act, it will not be taken as evidence in any court of law.
Also, that Article 23 of the Schedule 1A describes such agreement of sale as a conveyance within the meaning as described under Section 2 (10) of the Act, if such agreement is of nature which is an execution then such agreement, where an active transfer of title is present it can be converted to a conveyance deed by payment of proper stamp as applicable to it.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court upheld the trial court ordered that proper payment of stamp will decide the admissibility of the document and no such document be taken on admission on the basis of the recitals written in the agreement.
Collector Cannot Asses Valuation Where the Nature Of Document is Not Clear
The valuation of a sale deed was in question in the said case, wherein, the sale deed was produced before the Registrar office which referred the case to the Collectors Court on the ground that the valuation of the property and the court fees paid is improper. Both these grounds were observed by the Collectors Court.
The Collector further referred to the Tehsildar which reported in its finding that the sale premises has a valuation more than as it is depicted in the sale deed consequently it was observed that the aforesaid sale deed was deficiently stamped by the parties.
The petitioner pointed out that the said sale deed, upon which the vendor has the title is of a leaseholder for a term of 99 years ending in the year 2021 and also that the present vendor/seller had received the lease holding rights from a sale deed made in the year of 1978. The court observed that the Collector rather than going into the contents of the deed on whether it is a sale deed or a lease it went on deciding the stamp duty applicable on it, a similar observation was made on the part of the Registrar. The court referred to the case of Byranjee Jeejeboy P Ltd v/s State of Maharastra [AIR 1965 SC 590] the said controversy can be decided as per this cited case, as to when the Collector has the right to demand additional stamp duty from the respondents.
The Court remanded back the case to the Collector to assess the issue with the sale deed of the year 1978 as done by the present vendor in the case. The Court also withheld itself from dictating a proper order citing the lack of material record (i.e sale deed of 1978) in deciding the controversy in the matter.
Case 3: Siremal Jain v/s Pankaj Kumar
Change in title owernship of the
rented presmise does mean the Tenant
will not pay the rent.
The said case answers several questions related to the eviction of a tenant and the grounds thereof. In the said case the landlord/appellant through is the new owner of the suit property through a sale deed and filed the aforesaid application for eviction of the tenant on the grounds under Section 12(1)- (a), (c), (f), (h) of the M.P Accommodation Act, 1961
An issue raised related to the change in title of the property by a sale deed whereby, a new lessor became the owner of the suit property and such change in the title did not affect the possession of the tenant and it continued thereof. But can it allow a non-payment of rent by the lessor because no notice of the non-apportionment was given to the tenant. The said controversy was decided in the case of Kajodimal Vijaylal v/s Dararilal Devilal [1960 MLJ 172], the said case was also relied upon by the appellant.
The Court did not negate the adjudication made in the trial court judgement, whereby, stating that raising such issue should be in a different manner as compared to the present issue raised by the tenant. The facts revealed that the apportionment was already decided by the tenant and if such apportionment was not decided, then the tenant had to sue for the determination rent in proportion because the lessee/tenant did had the right to continue in possession as a tenant. Thus, such kind of question of law does not fit into the kind of issues which can be raised as under Section 109 of the TPA.
The legality of whether non-payment of arrears of rent raised by the tenant can attract eviction under Section 12(1)(a) of the M.P Accommodation Act, 1961 (the Act). The Court reiterated that as per Section 13(1) if there is an objection as to the entitlement of arrears of rent to the landlord it does not qualify for the defendant/tenant in not paying the arrears on the ground, that question of entitlement is in adjudication. Merely raising the issue, the tenant can’t claim that he is not under obligation to pay the rent. If a demand notice for payment of rent is made under Section 13(1) then the amount of rent shall be payable in accordance with the direction of the Court and the rent is to be deposited in the stipulated time. If non-payment of rent is done in prescribed time the defence against the eviction of the tenant can be structured down under S.13(6) of the Act.
Tenant’s Bona Fied Challenge on The Title of the Landlord Does Not Becomes a Ground of Nuisance.
Another question raised was whether in a suit for eviction where the tenant is to be evicted on the ground of bona fied use as per Section 12(1)(f) & (h) and the tenant in its defence has raised the objection on ownership of the landlord does it amount to a nuisance and a ground for eviction under Section 12(1)(c) of the Act.
The Court rejected the issue raised and heavily relied on the judgement in Bhojraj Ramesh Chandra and others v/s Ghanshyam Agarwal [2000(II) MPJR 355] wherein, a sperate suit was challenging the derived title of the landlord, the said act of the tenant adversely affect the interest of the landlord. Hence, the tenant can question the derived title of the landlord and if legality is challenge in a bona fied, then the decree under Section 12(1)(c) cannot be granted.
A Reconstruction Plan Has to be Produced in Evidence for Eviction on the Ground of Reconstruction of Tenant Property.
Also, where an eviction on the ground for bona fied reconstruction of the suit property is made under Section 12(1)(h) of the Act by the landlord and the production of evidence and a proper plan was not produced by the landlord as per Section 12(7) of the Act was raised.
The Court did realise through the evidence as produced from the examination of the witnesses that the intention of reconstruction was planned by the landlord. Still, the Court rejected the argument that the statutory requirement is a must as per the provision of Section 12(7) and a proper application with all details of the reconstruction plan had to be submitted so that the landlord can make a ground of eviction under Section 12(1)(h) of the Act.