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: 𝐏𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐚𝐦 𝐒𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐬 𝐯𝐬 𝐁𝐡𝐚𝐠𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐎𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬
“𝘈 𝘴𝘶𝘪𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘯 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘣𝘰𝘯𝘢 𝘧𝘪𝘦𝘥 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘧𝘧’𝘴 𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘥𝘶𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘶𝘣𝘴𝘦𝘲𝘶𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴”
- 𝐂𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝟐: 𝐕𝐢𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐫𝐚 𝐒𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐡 𝐯𝐬 𝐑𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐫𝐚 𝐉𝐚𝐢𝐧
“𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘲𝘶𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘸𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘱 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘭𝘰𝘳𝘥 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘪𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘺 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘢𝘮𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘦𝘧𝘢𝘶𝘭𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘺𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘢𝘯𝘵”
- 𝐂𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝟑: 𝐒𝐦𝐭. 𝐑𝐚𝐝𝐡𝐚 𝐀𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐥 𝐯𝐬 𝐏𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐊𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐫 𝐀𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐥
“𝘓𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘥𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘢𝘺𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘦 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘢𝘯𝘵.”
[Hon’ble Justice Mrs. Nandita Dubey of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh in S.A No. 354/2006]
“A suit for eviction of the tenant on the ground of bona fied need for the plaintiff’s grandson is not maintainable but can be maintainable due to subsequent events”
The landlord filed a suit for eviction of the tenant on the grounds that it requires the rented property for the business of his grandson. It was later revealed in the case, that the son was minor at the filing of the case and the suit was filed for the favour of the grandson, though as per the MP Accommodation Control Act, 1969 such right for bona fied eviction rests exists with the major son.
This case raises questions related to eviction petitions where the bona fied person age depends upon the maintainability of the suit as well as the person filing for the bona fied intent.
Facts- The judgment is upon a second appeal filed by the tenant against the decree judgment wherein the suit for eviction was filed under Section 12(1)(f) of the M.P Accommodation Control Act, 1961.
The trial court did not find that the requirement of Vinay is not bona fied because he disclosed the birth was on 17.10.1982, a minor on the date of institution of the suit.
The First Appellate Court reversed the judgment on the observation that no issues were framed such as “whether Vinay was minor at the time of the institution of the suit” before the Trial Court.
The suit for eviction was filed by Smt. Bhawari Bai the original plaintiff for the bona fide requirement of her grandson Vinay. After the death of the Smt. Bhawari Bai her son was brought on record and is the contesting party in the case.
The petitioner/tenant raised the only issue that decree for eviction can be passed only for a major son and not for a grandson. Since the original plaintiff was the grandfather of Vinay therefore, the suit was premature and this defect cannot be rectified even if Vinay has attained the majority during the pendency of the suit.
Held- The contesting parties in the petition produced several judgments which favoured their arguments produced before the case.
In, Vahdan vs Buddha Devi [2000(II) MPWN 98] relied by the tenant, it was held that a plaintiff-landlord can sue for her own need or for the need for her major son under the scope of Section 12(1)(f) of the Act not for the grandson of the landlord.
Also, in Hemraj Nema vs Raj Narayan and others [1980 MPRCJ 65] wherein it was observed that the suit must be in the requirement to be a need in presnti and not in future. That means the plaintiff has to assert that the need must be immediate and existing on the date of application of the ejectment. The case was relied on because the bona fide requirement was for the minor grandson and the law requires that it shall only exist for a major son. Therefore, the bona fide need must be in presenti at the time of filing of the suit.
The landlord, however, opposing the above arguments produced by the following judgments. The landlord relied on the judgment of A.P Madhavan vs M.P Ram Chandra on opposing the ground for the need of the landlord in presnti and not in future. The court held that it is not necessary that there should be a current urgent need. It is enough if it is reasonably likely to arise in the near future.
Also in RP Tiwari vs Sulochana Choudhary, the court referring to a full bench judgement opined that where the ground for eviction which did not exist at the time of filing of the suit but came into existence during the pendency of the suit can be made a ground of suit for eviction by amending the plaint by establishing the said ground and the Court can take notice of the subsequent events for the just decision of the case appearing from the amendments.
Therefore, in the said case after the death of the original plaintiff the father of Vinay was brought on record as plaintiffs and the words ‘plaintiff’s grandson’ were substituted by ‘plaintiff no.2’s son’. Thus, the subsequent event was added through the amendment which can be a just cause for basing a judgement.
Though, Vinay age at the time of institution of the suit was 17 years and 5 months, barely 7 months away to attain majority and definitely major at the time of amendment of the suit. Therefore, before starting the business possession of the accommodation has to obtained and the plaintiff in the near future files a suit for eviction on the ground that his son wants to start a business cannot be stated as not bona fied.
Therefore, the Court in the interest of justice because of the subsequent event it has considered on the basis of which the First Appellate Court did not commit any error in decreeing the suit for eviction in favour of landlord under Section 12(1)(f) of the Act.
[Hon’ble Justice Mr. Subodh Abhiyankar in M.P No. 6822 of 2019 of the MP High Court]
“The question of ownership of the landlord on the suit property does not amount to default in the payment of rent by the tenant”
The petition is filed under Article 227 of the Constitution against the order of the trial court against the tenant for structuring out the defence raised by the tenant because of the non-payment of the rent in a timely manner as per Section 13(6) of the MP Accommodation Control Act, 1962.
Facts- The Landlord/respondent filed a suit for eviction under Section 12 (6) of the MP Accommodation and Control Act, 1961 for eviction and recovery of rent against the present Petitioner which resulted in passing off an ex-parte decree by the trial Court.
The execution proceedings were initiated and through this, a notice was sent to the petitioner that the name written in the civil suit is wrongly represented and an appeal was filed which consequently set aside the judgement and remanded back to the Trial Court.
However, the respondent appeared before the Trial court with an application under Section 12(6) of the Act stating that the petitioner has not deposited rent since 26 years amounting of Rs 31,200/- and with that, the defendant is also challenging the ownership of the plaintiff/landlord. Thus, the defence of the petitioner is struck out.
In reply on the said application, the tenant stated that it is not maintainable because the landlord does not have the ownership on the said property and such case is not the benefactor of the rent, therefore, the application under Section 13(6) cannot be entertained.
This was certainly rejected by the Trial Court and was further rejected by a review filed by the tenant.
Held- The Court observed that the suit was instituted in the year 2008 and was decreed ex parte in the year 2014, after which the decree was set aside by the tenant and everything was restored before the ex parte decree. The tenant/petitioner from the date of the institution of the petition did not pay the rent.
After the setting aside of the ex parte decree and the landlord filed an application under Section 13(6) for the payment of arrears of rent. the tenant through his reply nowhere mentioned the payment of rent amount as described in the application, instead, the tenant raised the question of ownership of the respondent landlord.
The counsel for the respondent also stated before the court that, if the tenant had doubted the ownership of the respondent on the property, he still has to despite the rent, which is his legal obligation as per Section 13 of the Act.
The whole argument presented by the respondent was in the objection that the respondent is not the owner of the property and they used to pay the rent to the ester while the owner of the property.
Observing these points raised, the Court did not find any illegality or jurisdictional error committed by the Trial Court judge in allowing the application filed by the respondent landlord under Section 13(6) of the Act.
The striking out of the defences of the defendant on the ground of non-payment of rent as it was also found that the petitioner did not deposit any amount even during the course of the appeal which was filed by the petitioner.
On this basis, it was clearly the legal responsibility of the tenant to pay the rent in a timely manner as per Section 13(3) of the Act.
[Hon’ble Justice Mrs Nandita Dubey in SA No 1288 of 2012 of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur]
“Long delays in payment of arrears of rent can be ground for eviction of the tenant.”
In a dispute related to tenancy, the tenant has the right to contest against the claim made by the landlord against his eviction on the ground if it is proved not feasible according to the Accommodation Act. The tenant has the right to defense against the eviction but may get a weeken or nullified due to consequences which have legal binding upon the tenant.
If dispute related to tenancy arises, the tenant then has to protect his interest against eviction claiming that such grounds raised by the landlord for eviction is not feasible and also to sustain such defence he has to pay regularly to the landlord for the possession otherwise such defence may struct out and the tenant will lose his peaceful possession over the property.
This case involves a similar situation where the tenant had an irregular way of payment of rent to the landlord which became the ground for granting possession back to the landlord and the eviction of the tenant.
Facts- The case is a Second Appeal, the landlord filed the suit for eviction of the appellant/tenant on the grounds of arrears of rent, bona fide requirement and repair/construction of the premises.
The landlord/respondent and tenant/appellant are real brothers and the suit premises was given on rent at the rate of Rs 550 per month in the year 1993. The appellant had arrears of rent from April 1997 for which a demand notice was dated 16.01.2002 was sent on which the tenant made a reply but did not vacate the property nor paid the arrears.
The tenant pleaded that the rent up to Jul 1998 was paid to the landlord and the remaining portion of the rent shall be adjusted from the salary of his sons, who works in the landlord’s shop.
The Trial court decreed the suit in favour of landlord under Section 12(1)(a) for non-compliance of Section 13(1) and (5) of the MP Accommodation Control Act, 1961 (the Act), which was further upheld in the appeal before the First Appellate Court.
Held- One of the important Substantial Question of law raised by the tenant in the Second Appeal is
- Can an eviction be on the ground of Section 12(1) A of the Act which was further based upon the holding on the application filed under Section 13(1) of the Act?
The Court observed through the evidence that, the tenant has always delayed in the arrears of rent. Firstly, the tenant did not pay rent after July 1998 after receiving the summons and appeared after 4 years. The tenant event did not comply with the provision under Section 13(1) of the Act nor deposited future rent regularly as per Section 13(1) (5) of the act but made deposits after 3 to 4 months from the date of expiry of time.
The landlord also argued that the rent since February 2015 was also not deposited by the tenant. The defendant though made the payment but, on the date, 14.12.2017 and deposited Rs. 19,800. The first deposit by the defendant was made after the receipt of the summons in July 1998 after 18 months on the date of 05.12.2003 that to of only Rs 5000 and not the entire arrears.
The tenant thereafter, made deposited from the year 2004 to 2012 with 3 to 4 months gaps in average for the number of payments. Such a long delay by the tenant was not even with the support of condonation of delay or seeking permission for an extension of deposit of the rent. The tenant made irregular deposits without the permission or an order of the Court.
The Court emphasised on Section13(1) of the Act where the Court has the jurisdiction to extend the time for depositing the rent both for the period during which the tenant has defaulted as well as the period subsequent to it only if an application is made in this regard.
In the case of Sbhagyamal and another vs Gopal Das Nikhra [(2008 3 SCC 788] wherein it was observed that as per Section 12(3) of the Act which gives a general exception in Section 12(1)(a) if the tenant becomes a defaulter, where consequences be that of eviction of the tenant. The court opined that once the tenant had availed the benefit of the proviso of Section 12(3) of the Act, then the said benefit was not available to the tenant in committing a further default in payment of rent for three consecutive months.
In the present case, the Court also observed that the tenant was irregular in depositing the arrears and future rents and even arrear as were deposited only in part and that too after delays. Even during pendency of this case, the tenant had defaulted in payment of rent more than once. Therefore, it was clear the tenants defaulted in payment of rent more than once.
Thus, on the above inferences, the Court affirmed the judgement and decree passed by the Courts below and rejected the Second appeal by the tenant.
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