1. These two revision petitions raise a common question of law. The question is, whether there exists a relationship of landlord and tenant as between the parties to the eviction proceedings in respect of the premises occupied by the petitioners.
2. The relevant facts bearing on the question are these :
In 1915 a site measuring 1 acre 20 guntas was leased to one Rao Saheb Gopalgiri, as a building site under Sanads -- Exs. P. 3 and P. 4. In 1917 Gopalgiri executed a Kabuliyat Ex, P-5 in favour of the Government. The said Kabuliyat provided inter alia conditions for erecting buildings and also stated that he would pay ground rent at the rate of Rs. 30/- (being at the rate of Rs. 24/- per acre) for 50 years commencing from 1st Aug. 1915, and thereafter he would pay such ground rent for such further periods as may from time to time be fixed by lawful authority. It also provided that he should be entitled to occupy the said land, in perpetuity, but if he contravened any of the conditions, the Collector may declare the land forfeited to Government and may dispose of the same.
Between 1917 and 1927 Gopalgiri erected several buildings in the said site. After the death of Gopalgiri. his son Ramachandragiri leased one of those buildings to one of the petitioners in 1941, and in 1945 he leased another building to the other petitioner. In 1950 Ramachandragiri died leaving behind his wife Kamalinibai. The Petitioners continued to pay rent to Kamalinibai. The rent was admittedly paid from 1950 to 23-8-1969, on which date Kamalinibai sold the said buildings to the respondent herein, under Exhibit P-1 for a sum of Rupees 20,000/-. Thereafter the petitioners refused to pay rent to the respondent in spite of the latter's demand. Thereupon, the respondent determined their tenancy and brought the action for eviction on the ground that the buildings were reasonably, and bona fide required by him for self-occupation.
The petitioners raised a preliminary objection before the learned Munsiff stating that the proceedings for eviction were not maintainable as there was no relationship of landlord and tenant as between the parties. It was contended for them that the lease in respect of the site granted to Gopalgiri was for 50 years and after the expiry of that period, the land with buildings vested in the State.
The learned Munsiff upheld that plea and rejected the application for eviction. Rut, in the appeals, the learned District Judge overruled the objection. The learned Judge held that Kamalinibai was the owner of the buildings and was competent to sell the same in favour of the respondent and the respondent as landlord could maintain the action for eviction.
The correctness of the decision of the learned Judge is called into question in these petitions.
3. In my view, the problem presented is not a complicated one.
It is not in dispute that the petitioners came to occupy the buildings as tenants and it is also not in dispute that they paid rents first to Ramachandragiri and after his death, to his wife Kamalinibai continuously for a period of 20 years. They however, refused to recognise the respondent as owner despite the registered sale deed in his favour. In these circumstances I am quite unable to understand the legitimacy of their stand, when they did not dispute the right of Kamalinibai to receive the rent in respect of the same buildings. The relationship that existed as between the petitioners and Kamalinibai continued under the same terms and conditions, after the respondent purchased the buildings. The petitioners are, therefore, estopped from questioning the title of the respondent under Section 116 of the Evidence Act. If any decision is needed on this question, see Sri Ram Pasricha v. Jagannath : 1SCR395 in which it was also observed that under the general law, in a suit between landlord and tenant the question of title to the leased property is irrelevant.
4. There is one other reason for me to uphold the view taken by the learned District Judge. Assuming that there was a cloud on the title passed on to Gopalgiri in respect of the site in question under the Sanads Exs. P. 3 and P. 4 granted to him, there cannot be any dispute on title in respect of the buildings in question. It is not in dispute that Gopalgiri constructed those buildings according to the conditions set out under Ex. P. 5 and it is also not in dispute that he was the owner of those buildings. It is nobody's case that Ramachandragiri had no right to succeed his father or Kamalinibai has no right to succeed her husband. Kamalinibai was therefore competent to sell the buildings to the respondent.
There may be separation of the ownership of the buildings from the ownership of the land, and there is no rule of law that whatever is affixed or built on the soil becomes a part of it and is subjected to the same rights of property as the soil itself, as has been observed by Sir Lancelot Sanderson in Narayan Das v. Jatindranath . The learned Judge observed:
'..... In India respecting the separation of the ownership of buildings from the ownership of the land, and to the recognition by the Courts in India that there is no rule of law that whatever is affixed or built on the soil becomes a part of it, and is subjected to the same rights of property as the soil itself, their Lordships are of opinion that in order to make a house erected upon the land, as well as the land itself, subject to the Government power of sale for arrears of revenue special words indicating the intention of the Legislature to make the building subject to sale would be necessary.'
5. It may be relevant to state that there was no condition in the Sanads Exs. P. 3 and P. 4 or in the Kabuli-yat Ex. P. 5 that any building built by the grantee would become automatically the property of the State. On the contrary, if one peruses closely the terms of the said deeds, it becomes clear that the property was transferable, heritable and capable of being enjoyed in perpetuity.
6. In the view that I have taken, it is unnecessary to consider the other documents like Ex. P. 7 (Certificate of commutation of N. A. Assessment on which reliance was placed by Sri V. Krishnamurthy, learned counsel for the respondent stating that Kamalinibai was registered as the holder of the property.
7. In the result, these petitions fail and are dismissed.
The respondent is entitled to his costs. Advocate fee Rs. 100/-, one set.
8. Petitions dismissed.