The proceedings under the Rent Act is of summary nature wherein the jural relationship of landlord and tenant is to be taken note of to the extent it is required for considering such eviction petition and the rigour of examining the ownership ought not to be indulged in the manner as is done in a title suit unless the respondent sets up title to the very rented property which is adverse to that of the landlord. Santosh Chaturvedi v. Kailash Chandra, (2020) 16 SCC 672.
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Validity of Notice Under Section 30 of – Uttar Pradesh Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction), Act
In Dr. Babu Ram Sharma v. IVth Additional Judge, Saharanpur and others, (2006) 2 ARC 239 and Noor Mohd. and another v. IVth Additional District Judge , Kanpur Nagar and others, (2006) 1 ARC 550, the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court again took the view that when the entire rent due till the date of notice had already been validly deposited under Section 30 of the Act, the notice of demand is bad in law, and therefore, since at the time of notice, tenants were not defaulter in payment of rent for four months or more, the suit filed on the ground of default was liable to be dismissed. It was held that the suit for eviction was not maintainable as at the time of notice, the tenant was not defaulter since he had already validly deposited the rent under section 30 of the Act. It was further held that under the circumstances, the suit was not maintainable under section 20(2) (a) of the Uttar Pradesh Regulation of (Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972. The default contemplated under section 20 (2) (a) should be in regard to rent for a period of not less than four months. The provision does not say that even if the tenant is in arrears of rent for less than four months he would be liable to be evicted under it on the mere ground that default had continued for more than four months. Even Notice of demand will be invalid and could not be considered to be a notice of demand under the said provision if the tenant was not in arrears of rent for more than four months. Nand Lal Keshari v. Shashi Bhushan Agarwal, 2020 (2) AWC 1787.
One co-owner, in the absence of any objection from the other co-owners, can maintain an action for eviction against a tenant, without impleading all the co-owners. The governing principle is the doctrine of agency. When one co-owner institutes a suit for eviction against the tenant, it is construed as the suit having been instituted in his own right and also as an agent of the other co-owners. What is of importance is the jural-relationship of the landlord and tenant. Once a co-owner satisfies the description of the landlord, the fact that the other co-owners have not joined in action pales in significance and does not affect the maintainability of the suit. Of course, different considerations come into play when existence of a dispute between the co-owners as regards the institution of the very action of eviction, is brought to the notice of the Court.
A reference in this context can be made to a decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Mohinder Prasad Jain v. Manohar Lal Jain, (2006) 2 SCC 724, wherein it was held as under:
“This question now stands concluded by a decision of this Court in India Umbrella Manufacturing Co. v. Bhagabandei Agarwalla (Dead) by Lrs. Savitri Agarwalla (Smt.), (2004) 3 SCC 178,wherein the Hon’ble Court opined:
“ It is well settled that one of the co-owners can file a suit for eviction of a tenant in the property generally owned by the co-owners. (See Sri. Ram Pasricha v. Jagannath, (1976) 4 SCC 184 and Dhannalal v. Kalawatibai, (2002) 6 SCC 16.This principle is based on the doctrine of agency. One co-owner filing a suit for eviction against the tenant does so on his own behalf in his own right and as an agent of the other co-owners. The consent of other co-owners is assumed as taken unless it is shown that the other co-owners were not agreeable to eject the tenant and the suit was filed in spite of their disagreement. In the present case, the suit was filed by both the co-owners. One of the co-owners cannot withdraw his consent midway the suit so as to prejudice the other co-owner. The suit once filed, the rights of the parties stand crystallised on the date of the suit and the entitlement of the co-owners to seek ejectment must be adjudged by reference to the date of institution of the suit; the only exception being when by virtue of a subsequent event the entitlement of the body of co-owners to eject the tenant comes to an end by act of parties or by operation of law.”
A suit filed by a co-owner, thus, is maintainable in law. It is not necessary for the co-owner to show before initiating the eviction proceeding before the Rent Controller that he had taken option or consent of the other co-owners. However, in the event, a co-owner objects thereto, the same may be a relevant fact. In the instant case, nothing has been brought on record to show that the co-owners of the respondent had objected to eviction proceedings initiated by the respondent herein.
This aspect was again considered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Boorugu Mahadev and Sons v. Sirigiri Narasing Rao, (2016) 3 SCC 343, in the context of the proceedings between a landlord and tenant, governed by the rent control legislation. The Supreme Court enunciated that the concept of ownership and consequently the right to sue, in such cases, has to be distinguished from the one in a title suit. The observations in the said judgment are extracted below:
“ It is also now a settled principle of law that the concept of ownership in a landlord-tenant litigation governed by Rent control laws has to be distinguished from the one in a title suit. Indeed, ownership is a relative term, the import whereof depends on the context in which it is used. In rent control legislation, the landlord can be said to be the owner if he is entitled in his own legal right, as distinguished from for and on behalf of someone else to evict the tenant and then to retain control, hold and use the premises for himself. What may suffice and hold good as proof of ownership in landlord-tenant litigation probably may or may not be enough to successfully sustain a claim for ownership in a title suit. (vide Sheela v. Firm Prahlad Rai Prem Prakash, (2002) 3 SCC 375).” Madhuri Doulatram Choitram v. Lachmandas Tulsiram Nayar, 2019 SCC Online Bom 6111.
In Atma Ram Properties (P) Ltd. v. Federal Motors (P) Ltd., (2005) 1 SCC 705, the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that “the litigation goes on for an unreasonable length of time and the tenants in possession of the premises do not miss any opportunity of filing appeals or revisions so long as they can thereby afford to perpetuate the life of litigation and continue in occupation of the premises.” It has, then, observed that once the lease or tenancy stands determined, say, through a decree from a competent court, the tenant’s right to continue to possess the leased property ends. And for his continued use and occupation of the property for any period thereafter, he must pay damages at the rate the landlord could have let out the premises if there had been no tenant or the tenant had vacated with the lease termination. Thus, Atma Ram Properties (P) Ltd. v. Federal Motors (P) Ltd., (2005) 1 SCC 705 has summed up the principles of interim compensation:
(1) while passing an order of stay under Rule 5 of Order 41 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the appellate Court does have jurisdiction to put the applicant on such reasonable terms as would in its opinion reasonably compensate the decree-holder for loss occasioned by delay in execution of decree by the grant of stay order, in the event of the appeal being dismissed and in so far as those proceedings are concerned. Such terms, needless to say, shall be reasonable;
(2) in case of premises governed by the provisions of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, in view of the definition of tenant contained in clause (l) of Section 2 of the Act, the tenancy does not stand terminated merely by its termination under the general law; it terminates with the passing of the decree for eviction. With effect from that date, the tenant is liable to pay mesne profits or compensation for use and occupation of the premises at the same rate at which the landlord would have been able to let out the premises and earn rent if the tenant would have vacated the premises. The landlord is not bound by the contractual rate of rent effective for the period preceding the date of the decree; (3) the doctrine of merger does not have the effect of postponing the date of termination of tenancy merely because the decree of eviction stands merged in the decree passed by the superior forum at a later date. Ishwarlal Vrajlal Mistry v. Manohar U. Shetty, Writ Petition No. 13100 of 2018 decided on 18.12.2019.
If a release application is filed under the Uttar Pradesh Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972 for bona fide need of the landlord himself or any member of his family, it may stand frustrated because of some subsequent event and the same is rejected, however, subsequently, because of subsequent event, like need of other family members, who may now have become eligible/competent to carry on business or in case of residential building more accommodation is required because of increase in family etc., etc., or of the landlord himself because of any subsequent event like his retirement etc., which have taken place after rejection of his earlier release application, it cannot be said that the subsequent release application would not be maintainable as again it would be a different cause of action and if held otherwise, it would again frustrate the intention of the law. Lalit Kumar Upreti v. Chunni Lal Gujral, 2018 (4) AWC 3693.
‘Tenant at sufferance’ is one who comes into possession of land by lawful title, but who holds it by wrong after termination of term or expiry of lease by efflux of time. The tenant at sufferance is on who wrongfully continues in possession after extinction of a lawful title. There is little difference between him and a trespasser. A “tenancy at sufferance” does not create relationship of landlord and tenant.
Moreover, even possession of lessee after determination of lease or expiry of period of lease becomes that of “Tenant at Sufferance”, therefore, even a quit notice is not necessary to be given and Section 106, Transfer of Property Act, 1882 is not at all attracted. Relying on earlier decision in R.V. Bhupal Prasad v. State of A.P., (1995) 5 SCC 698, the Hon’ble Apex Court in Sevoke Properties Ltd. v. West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd., AIR 2019 SC 2664 held that once it is admitted by lessee that term of lease has expired, lease stood determined by efflux of time and in such a case, a quit notice under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property is not required to be given. It was held as under:
“Once the lease stood determined by efflux of time, there was no necessity for a notice of termination under Section 106.” Lov Mandeshwari Saran Singh v. State of U.P., 2020 (138) ALR 845.
The first proviso to Uttar Pradesh Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972 provides that where the building was in occupation of a tenant since before its purchase by the landlord, such purchase being made after the commencement of the Act, no application shall be entertained on the grounds, mentioned in Clause (a), unless a period of 3 years has elapsed since the date of such purchase and the landlord has given a notice in that behalf to the tenant not less than six months before such application, and such notice may be given even before the expiration of the aforesaid period of three years. Smt. Meena Begum v. Additional District Judge, 2018 (127) ALR 358.
In Faruk Ilahi Tamboli v. B. S. Shankarrao Kokate, 2016 (1) ARC 1, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that it certainly cannot be the claim at the behest of a tenant, that the owner of a premises must continue in business with his parents or relations, assuming there was a joint business activity, to start with. That is usual, assuming there was a joint business activity, to start with. That is usual, and happens all the time when children come of age. And thereafter, they must have the choice to run their own life, by earning their own livelihood. The property owner has the right to use his property as he chooses, for running his business. There could be no irregularity if owner of the property chooses to use his property as he chooses, for running his business, independent of the business of other family members. In Anil Bajaj v. Vinod Ahuja, 2014 (2) ARC 265, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that it is not for the tenant to dictate to the landlord as to how the property belonging to the landlord should be utilized by him for the purpose of his business. Even if the landlord is doing business from various other premises, it cannot foreclose his right to seek eviction from the tenanted presmises so long as he intends to use the said tenanted premises for his own business. Hari Shanker v. Om Prakash, 2018 (127) ALR 589.
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.