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Mishrimal Chhogalal Vs. N.B. Patel - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revision Application No. 1311 of 1959
Judge
Reported in(1963)65BOMLR15; 1963MhLJ309
AppellantMishrimal Chhogalal
RespondentN.B. Patel
DispositionApplication allowed
Excerpt:
.....whether includes rent collector-whether such person entitled to give notice of ejectment and file suit for ejectment.; the expression 'landlord' as defined in section 5(3) of the bombay rents, hotel and lodging house rates control act, 1947, includes a person who merely receives the rent of the demised premises, on account of himself, or entirety for the benefit of somebody else and consequently such a person is entitled not only to give notice of ejectment on any of the grounds mentioned in section 13 except clause 13(g) of the act but also to institute a suit for ejectment on any such ground. - - if one turns to section 13 of the rent act, clause (g) thereof provides that a landlord shall be entitled to recover possession of any premises if the court is satisfied that the premises..........in the partition between the plaintiff and his brother pratapmal on december 20, 1953, the suit premises were kept joint and the plaintiff and pratapmal were, therefore, tenants-in-common in relation to that property. the application made by the plaintiff for amendment of the plaint was allowed and the widow and the two sons of pratapmal were added as defendants nos. 2 to 4. it was further contended by the defendant in his written statement that the notice of ejectment was invalid because it was given by the plaintiff alone and it was also contended that the premises were not being used by him for purposes other than those for which they were let out to him. the trial court held the notice to be valid. it also held that the suit was maintainable. it further held that the.....
Judgment:

Shah, J.

1. The only question that has been raised in this application by Mr. Jahagirdar, the learned advocate for the applicant-landlord is as to whether the notice of ejectment given by the plaintiff alone was valid in law in view of the fact that admittedly the plaintiff was receiving the rent from the defendant in respect of the premises in his occupation as a tenant. The plaintiff had filed this suit for ejectment, on the ground that the tenant was in arrears of rent and was also using the premises for purposes other than those for which they were let out to him. During the pendency of the suit the plaintiff made an application for amendment of the plaint that he might be allowed to join the widow and the two sons of his deceased brother Pratapmal as party defendants in view of the contention raised by the defendant that the suit in the absence of these representatives of the deceased Pratapmal was not maintainable. This contention was raised by the defendant in his written statement because, in the partition between the plaintiff and his brother Pratapmal on December 20, 1953, the suit premises were kept joint and the plaintiff and Pratapmal were, therefore, tenants-in-common in relation to that property. The application made by the plaintiff for amendment of the plaint was allowed and the widow and the two sons of Pratapmal were added as defendants Nos. 2 to 4. It was further contended by the defendant in his written statement that the notice of ejectment was invalid because it was given by the plaintiff alone and it was also contended that the premises were not being used by him for purposes other than those for which they were let out to him. The trial Court held the notice to be valid. It also held that the suit was maintainable. It further held that the tenant-defendant was using the premises for purposes other than those for which they were let out to him. It appears that during the pendency of the suit a contention was also raised by the tenant about the standard rent. This contention was considered by the trial Court and the standard rent that was fixed by it was Rs. 18 per month along with permitted increases at the rate of Rs. 2-8-0 per month. As regards the arrears it ordered the tenant to pay Rs. 451 as rent. The tenant went in appeal against this decree of the trial Court. The learned Assistant Judge reversed the decree of the trial Court for eviction on the ground that the notice to quit given by the plaintiff was invalid inasmuch as it was not given by both the tenants-in-common in respect of the premises in question. As regards the decree for arrears of rent and permitted increases, the learned Assistant Judge fixed the permitted increases at Rs. 5.60 nP. and awarded Rs. 520 in the aggregate instead of Rs. 451 awarded by the trial Court. Against this decision of the learned Assistant Judge, the landlord has filed the present revision application in this Court challenging the dismissal of his suit for eviction on the ground that the notice was invalid.

2. In support of this application it was urged by Mr. Jahagirdar that the law regarding notice to quit under the Transfer of Property Act did not apply in cases governed by the Rent Act, inasmuch as the definition of the word 'landlord' as given in Section 5(3) of the Rent Act was very much wider than the definition of the term 'lesson' given in the Transfer of Property Act. He urged that whereas under the Transfer of Property Act notice to quit could be given only by persons having title to the property leased, in eases governed by the Rent Act notice to quit could be given and also suit for ejectment instituted by a person other than the owner of the property such as a person only receiving the rent of the demised premises. If one turns to Sub-section (3) of Section 5 of the Act one cannot but accept Mr. Jahagirdar's contention as correct. The expression 'landlord' as defined in Sub-section (3) of Section 5 inter alia means

any person who is for the time being receiving...rent in respect of any premises whether on his own account or on account or on behalf of or for the benefit of any other person....

This part of the definition of a 'landlord' would obviously include a person who merely receives for the time being rent in respect of the demised premises whether on his own account or on account of anybody else obviously entitled to the property. Mr. Jungalwalla, the learned advocate for the tenant, however, contended that it was a very startling proposition, indeed, that a mere rent collector should be entitled to give a notice of ejectment on the ground of arrears of rent or to institute a suit for ejectment on any such ground. I have no doubt that this part of the definition of 'landlord' is a very startling one, but I am afraid that cannot be helped. We have got to give effect to the definition of the word 'landlord' as it stands and even if that definition includes a mere rent collector, who by no stretch of imagination can ever be called a landlord in the true sense of the term, we have no alternative but to treat a rent collector as a landlord for the purpose of the Kent Act as and when the occasion arises in that behalf. Mr. Jungalwalla urged that the scope of this definition was widened in 1947 only because the real landlord was often found for one reason or the other to escape payment of the municipal taxes and, therefore, it was essential for the benefit of the municipality that the word 'landlord' should bring within its purview even a person receiving rent of the demised premises. If this was the only intention in enlarging the scope of the definition as urged by Mr. Jungalwalla, surely some words could have been found in the definition to indicate that intention. Unfortunately, however, no words have been used in this definition pointing to that intention. On the contrary, in my opinion, the section does mean what it says when it includes even a rent collector, because, wherever the Legislature thought that the word 'landlord' should not include a 'rent collector' it has taken care to make it clear in the Rent Act itself. If one turns to Section 13 of the Rent Act, Clause (g) thereof provides that a landlord shall be entitled to recover possession of any premises if the Court is satisfied that the premises are reasonably and bona fide required by the landlord for occupation by himself or by any person for whose benefit the premises are held. In order to show that the expression 'landlord' in this clause does not include a mere rent farmer or a rent collector the Legislature has appended an explanation to Sub-section (2) of that section which says

for the purposes of Clause (g) of Sub-section (1)...

(b) the expression 'landlord' shall not include a rent farmer or a rent collector or an estate manager.

By virtue of this Explanation, therefore, although a rent collector might be able to file a suit for ejectment on the ground of default in payment of rent, or on any other ground, under Section 13 of the Act, he has certainly no right whatever to file a suit for ejectment on the ground of his bona fide requirement of the premises. Such right is only given to the person who is entitled to the premises as owner or as a trustee for the benefit of the beneficiaries. This instance is an adequate illustration, in my opinion, to show that howsoever startling it may appear to one's sense of law and justice, the expression 'landlord' as defined in Section 5(3) of the Rent Act does include a person who merely receives the rent of the demised premises, on account of himself, or entirely for the benefit of somebody else, and consequently such a person is entitled not only to give notice of ejectment on any of the grounds mentioned in Section 13 except Clause (g) but also to institute a suit for ejectment on any such ground.

3. The learned Assistant Judge, however, relied upon certain authorities for the purpose of showing that where a property is owned by more than one person the notice to quit should be given by all of them. This principle of common law, which is available under the Transfer of Property Act, is not in dispute at all. In this ease, however, we are dealing with a special legislation, and if the Legislature in this special legislation included a rent collector as a landlord for the purposes of that legislation, effect has got to be given to that provision. The learned Assistant Judge, however, does not seem to have taken this provision of the Kent Act into consideration. If this provision was brought to his notice at the hearing of the appeal, I am, sure, the learned Assistant Judge would not have come to the conclusion that he has come to. In my opinion, therefore, the order of eviction passed by the trial Court was correct and the dismissal of the landlord's suit by the learned Assistant Judge in appeal by the tenant was erroneous in law. This application will, therefore, be allowed. The order of the learned Assistant Judge with regard to the decree for eviction would be set aside and the one passed by the trial Court shall be restored. The rule will accordingly be made absolute with costs throughout.


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