1. One Haribhau Bhimrao Ghodke was the landlord of a building situated at village Pandharpur in Solapur district. One Saraswatibai Narhar Mudgal was his tenant. Regular Civil Suit No. 36 of 1969 was filed by Haribhau Bhimrao against the said Saraswatibai for possession of the premises leased to her on the ground, amongst others, that the landlord required the same bona fide and reasonably for his own use and occupation. Pending the suit Saraswatibai died and her legal representative, the present respondent, was brought on record.
2. By his judgment and order dated 14th Dec. 1971 the learned trial Judge dismissed the suit holding, among other things, that the notice by which the landlord had terminated the tenancy of Saraswatibai was invalid. The landlord preferred an appeal, being Civil Appeal No. 18 of 1972, which was heard and dismissed by the learned Extra Assistant Judge of Solapur by his judgment and order dated 9th Aug. 1973. The learned Appellate Judge concurred with the view of the, trial Court that the notice purporting to terminate the tenancy of the tenant did not in law terminate the tenancy. The learned Appellate Judge, however, held that if the tenancy is deemed to be terminated properly then he would have remitted the matter to the trial Court for considering the feasibility of passing a decree for part of the premises.
3. It is this decree of the learned Extra Assistant Judge that is challenged by the present petition. During the pendency of the petition, Haribhau Bhimrao the original landlord died and his legal representatives have been brought on record and they are hereinafter referred to as the petitioners.
4. The hurdle in the way of the petitioners which was proved to be insurmountable is the invalidity of the notice. According to the learned Appellate Judge, the rent receipts which are at Exhibits 82, 83 and 91 show that the month of the tenancy commenced on the Shudh Saptami of each month of the Hinducalendar. The tenancy, therefore, ought to have been terminated with effect from Shudh Shashti of a month of the Hindu calendar. Unfortunately for the petitioners the notice terminating the tenancy issued by Haribhau Bhimrao purported to terminate the tenancy with effect from 30th Nov., 1968, i.e. the end of the month of the British calendar. This notice was obviously invalid inasmuch as it could not validly terminate the tenancy of the respondent.
5. Mr. B.N. Naik, the learned Advocate appearing for the petitioners, has criticised the judgment of the Appellate Court below in two ways. He first contended that the tenancy in fact does not commence on the Shudh Saptami of the month of the Hindu calendar. It does in fact commence on the 1st of the calendar month according to the British calendar. He further contended that in the instant case the original tenancy is proved to be of 11 months and thereafter the tenant continued to remain in possession of the suit premises as a statutory tenant enjoying what has been called the status of irremovability on account of the restriction contained in the Rent Act. If this is so, says Mr. Naik, there is no necessity of giving the notice at all. He further contended relying upon a judgment of the Supreme Court in Puwada Venkateswara Rao v. Chidamana Venkata Ramana, : 3SCR551 , that in a suit filed for possession under the provisions of the Rent Act a notice terminating the tenancy is not at all necessary.
6. In regard to the first contention of Mr. Naik that the tenancy did not in fact commence on the Shudh Saptami of the month according to the Hindu calendar, it is enough to point out that In this petition no such point has been taken. It has not been challenged that the finding in that regard given by the two Courts below is erroneous. Therefore, it is impossible to allow Mr. Naik to develop this point at all. However, Mr. Naik referred to the relevant exhibits and pointed out that in some of these exhibits which are rent receipts it is not mentioned that the tenancy commenced from the Shudh Saptami of the month according to the Hindu calendar. That is of hardly any assistance to Mr. Naik because the very first page in Exhibit 91 which is the collection of the rent receipts shows that the tenancy of the tenant ended on Shudh Shashti of the month according to the Hindu calendar. From this it is clear that the tenancy must be deemed to havecommenced from the Shudh Saptami of the month according to the Hindu calendar. Indeed there are some other rent receipts which are consistent with what is mentioned on page 1 of Exhibit 91. There is not a single receipt thereafter which is inconsistent with the said receipts. It is, therefore, Impossible even sitting as a Court of fads to hold otherwise than what has been held by the learned Extra Assistant Judge,
7. Mr. Naik's second contention also must fail inasmuch as in the suit notice addressed to Saraswatibai it has been specifically mentioned that she was residing in the suit premises as a monthly tenant. Even if, therefore, the original tenancy has come to an end by efflux of time, she continued to be the tenant under S. 116 of the T. P. Act and, therefore, a notice in law was necessary to bring to an end her tenancy in the suit premises,
8. Mr. Naik's reliance on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Puwada Venkateswara Kao's case : 3SCR551 is also, in my opinion, misplaced, In that case the Supreme Court was interpreting the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Building (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act of 1960 and the Supreme Court held that the landlord before it relied upon a provision for special summary proceedings for eviction of tenants under an Act which contains all the requirements for those proceedings, The Supreme Court, therefore, proceeded to confirm the judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court which had held that for evicting a tenant under the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Act, it was not necessary before filing a suit to terminate the tenancy in accordance with the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act.
9. I may also mention here that the Supreme Court referred to a Judgment of its own in Mangilal v. Sugan Chand Rathi, : 5SCR239 , where it had-held that the provisions of S, 4 of the Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control Act of 1955 did not dispense with the requirement to comply with the provisions of S. 106 of the T. P, Act, in Puwada Venkateswara Rao's case : 3SCR551 the Supreme Court did not disapprove of its own decision given in Mangilal's case. It was held that in the light of the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Act the decision in Mangilal's case was correct. It cannot, therefore, be accepted that the Supreme Court decision in Puwada Venkateswara Rao's case is an authority for proposition that in any suit for possession filed by tha landlord under any Rent Act the termination of contractual tenancy is not necessary. On the contrary, it is an authority for proposition that the question whether such a notice is necessary or not will have to be answered by reference to the provisions contained in tha relevant Act,
10. That brings me to an earlier decision of the Supreme Court in Punjalal Bhagwanddin v. Bhagwatprasad, : 3SCR312 . The facts of that case disclose that tha suit had been filed by the landlord for possession of the suit premises under S. 12 of the Bombay Rent Act. In no unmistakable terms the Supreme Court held that the landlord's right to evict the tenant for default in payment of rent will arise only after the tenancy is determined and the continued possession of the tenant is not on account of the contractual term but on account of the statutory right conferred on him to continue in possession so long as he complies with what Sub-Section (1) required of him. The Supreme Court further pointed out that where a tenant is in possession under a lease from the landlord, he is not to be evicted for a cause which would give rise to a suit for recovery of possession under S. 12 if his tenancy has not been determined already. In other words, if the contractual tenancy has not come to an end, the tenant is already under the protection of the contract of his tenancy and, therefore, he does not require the protection of the Rent Act. The question of availing of the protection given in the Rent Act will arise only when the protection is withdrawn in one or the other manner provided under S. 111 of the T, P. Act, There is nothing, says the Supreme Court, in the Act which would give a right to the landlord to determine the tenancy and thereby to get the right to evict the tenant and to recover possession. Having found that the Rent Act did not provide for the termination of the tenancy which has its origin in the contract of lease between the landlord and a tenant, it was found that before a tenant could be evicted from the premises occupied by him on one or the other ground mentioned in the Rent Act a valid termination of the tenancy in accordance with the provisions contained in S. 111 of the T. P. Act is a sine qua non, This decision of the Supreme Courtconsidering the provisions of our Rent Act is, therefore, a complete answer to Mr. Naik's contention which is based upon Puwada Venkateswara Rao's case : 3SCR551 .
11. Mr. Naik, however, contended that In Punjalal's case the Supreme Court was considering the provisions of S. 12 of the Bombay Rent Act whereas the present suit has been filed under S. 13 of the Rent Act, In my opinion, it makes no difference to the main question of law when we are considering a case under S. 12 or a case under S. 13. There are observations to which I have already made a reference in the judgment of the Supreme Court in Punjalal's case to the effect that for any suit under the Rent Act the termination of the contractual tenancy is a necessity. Even if we look at the provisions of S. 13 itself, we notice that sub-section (1) of that section opens with the words 'Notwithstanding any thing contained in this Act but subject to the provisions of Ss. 15 and 15A......'Section 13 does not either expressly or by necessary implication dispense with the necessity of the termination of tenancy in one or the other of the manners provided in S. 111 of the T. P. Act, In my opinion, therefore, it is inconceivable that a suit for possession can be filed under the Bombay Rent Act without first terminating the tenancy created by, the contract of lease.
12. A brief reference may also be made to a judgment of this Court in Husseinbhai Ebrahim Bohri v. Navayug Chitrapat Co. Ltd., 70 BomLR 390 : AIR1969Bom194 wherein Nain J. has explained what a cause of action means in a Rent Act suit. It has been laid down that even in a Rent Act suit the cause of action is the termination of the tenancy and not the ground of ejectment stated in the plaint. On page 393 of the report I find the following exposition of law (at p. 197 of AIR):
'In a suit for eviction filed by a landlord against a tenant the right to sue and to get judgment arises from the determination of the tenancy by efflux of time, expiration of notice to quit or otherwise as provided in S. 111 of the T. P. Act. It is then that the landlord becomes entitled to evict or to recover possession from the tenant, Section 12 of the Bombay Rent Act provides that no ejectment shall ordinarily be made if the tenant pays or is ready and willing to pay standard rent and permitted increases.
It provides a protection for the tenant against eviction after determination of tenancy. It creates an impediment in the way of the landlord recovering possession. Section 13 of the Bombay Rent Act provides certain conditions under which the protection of the tenant is taken away and the impediment in the way of the landlord recovering possession is removed. These conditions are termed 'as grounds of ejectment'.
The stage of recovering possession from the tenant on one or the other ground mentioned in the Rent Act, therefore, is reached only when the landlord has crossed the stage of the determination of the tenancy as provided under the Transfer of Property Act, Nain J, while deciding the abovementioned case relied upon a judgment of Bal J. who had taken the same view earlier. That the determination of a contractual tenancy is a sine qua non of a suit for evicting a tenant under the provisions of the Rent Act is also mentioned in another judgment of the Supreme Court In Abbasbhai v. Gulamnabi, : 5SCR157 . In that case it has been specifically mentioned that S. 12(1) applies to a tenant who continues to remain in occupation after the contractual tenancy is determined; it does not grant a right to evict a contractual tenant without determination of the contractual tenancy. In Bhaiya Punjalal's case the Supreme Court has also quoted briefly a part of the judgment of a Division Bench of this Court in Raghubir Narayan Lotlikar v. G. A. Fernandes, : AIR1953Bom76 . That judgment is also to the effect that a suit either under S. 12 or under S. 13 of the Bombay Rent Act cannot be filed unless before doing so the tenancy of the tenant has been determined in accordance with the provisions of the T. P. Act. In the face of this long line of decisions it is impossible to hold that Puwada Venkateswara Rao's case : 3SCR551 dispenses with the requirement of a notice before filing a suit under the Bombay Rent Act.
13. In the result, the petition must fail. Rule is discharged with costs.
14. Petition dismissed.