Statutory Tenant

 In Gian Devi Anand v. Jeevan Kumar, (1985) 2 SCC 683, a Constitution Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dealt with the question – whether the rule of heritability extends to a statutory tenancy of commercial premises as much as it did to residential premises under the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958. The Court while holding this in the affirmative discussed the concept of statutory tenant and held thus:

“”Statutory tenant” is not an expression to be found in any provision of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 or the rent control legislation of any other State. It is an expression coined by the Judges in England and, like many other concepts in English law, it has been imported into the jurisprudence of this country and has become an expression of common use to denote a tenant whose contractual tenancy has been determined but who is continuing in possession of the premises by virtue of the protection against eviction afforded to him by the rent control legislation. Though the expression “statutory tenant” has not been used in any rent control legislation the concept of statutory tenant finds recognition in almost every rent control legislation.…

It is also important to note that notwithstanding the termination of the contractual tenancy by the landlord, the tenant is afforded protection against eviction and is permitted to continue to remain in possession even after the termination of the contractual tenancy by the Act in question and invariably by all the Rent Acts in force in various States so long as an order or decree for eviction against the tenant on any of the grounds specified in such Acts on the basis of which an order or decree for eviction against the tenant can be passed, is not passed.

The termination of the contractual tenancy in view of the definition of tenant in the Act does not bring about any change in the status and legal position of the tenant, unless there are contrary provisions in the Act; and, the tenant notwithstanding the termination of tenancy does enjoy an estate or interest in the tenanted premises. This interest or estate which the tenant under the Act despite termination of the contractual tenancy continues to enjoy creates a heritable interest in the absence of any provision to the contrary.”

         In Krishna Prosad Bose v. Sarajubala Dassi , AIR 1961 Cal 505, it was held as under:   “The Rent Control and the Tenancy Acts create a special world of their own. They speak of life after death. The statutory tenancy arises phoenix-like out of the ashes of the contractual tenancy. The contractual tenant may die but the statutory tenant may live long thereafter. The statutory tenant is an ex-tenant and yet he is a tenant.” R.S. Grewal v. Chander Parkash Soni, (2019) 6 SCC 216.

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