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Misri Lal Vs. Rajeshwar Prasad Agrawal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 2654 of 1972
Judge
Reported inAIR1979All205
ActsUttar Pradesh (Temporary) Control of Rent and Eviction Act, 1947 - Sections 7C(1) and 7C(6)
AppellantMisri Lal
RespondentRajeshwar Prasad Agrawal
Appellant AdvocateS.N. Agarawal, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK.M. Dayal, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....be paid directly to him the tenant must treat it as signifying the landlord's willingness to accept rent of the past as well as future. 12. in the instant case, moreover by the notice dated 16th may, 1968, the landlord had clearly intimated to the appellant in writing that rent should be paid directly to him and any deposits made in future would not be recognised as valid payment. under the circumstances, we agree with the view taken by the court below that there was no valid payment by the tenant of the rent due from him for the period 1st february, 1968 to 30th june, 1968 when he made a deposit thereof on the 16th july, 1968. the appellant consequently must be held to have been in arrears of rent for more than three months and to have failed to pay the same within the requisite..........is the landlord on a monthly rent of rs. 20. on account of some dispute, the respondent refused to accept rent from the appellant and the latter consequently made an application before the court competent to entertain the same on, the 1st may, 1967 and deposited the rent till then due on the same day, under section 7-c (1) of the u. p. (temporary) control of rent and eviction act--hereinafter referred to as the act. subsequently by an order dated 10th january, 1968 the court confirmed the deposit made by the appellant. on the 4thmarch, 1968 the respondent sent a notice to the appellant demanding arrears of rent and the appellant replied informing him that he was depositing rent in court under section 7-c (1) of the act. thereupon the respondent sent to the appellant another notice dated.....
Judgment:

Yashoda Nandan, J.

1. This second appeal has been referred to a larger Bench by a learned single Judge because he found himself in disagreement with the decision of K.B. Asthana, J., in Second Appeal No. 1508 of 1970 Munni Lal v. Pandit Har Prasad and another decided on 13th October, 1972.

2. The second appeal arises out of a suit instituted by the plaintiff-respondent for ejectment of his tenant (the appellant) from the premises in suit and for recovery of arrears of rent. The appellant undisputably is the tenant of a house of which the plaintiff respondent is the landlord on a monthly rent of Rs. 20. On account of some dispute, the respondent refused to accept rent from the appellant and the latter consequently made an application before the court competent to entertain the same on, the 1st May, 1967 and deposited the rent till then due on the same day, under Section 7-C (1) of the U. P. (Temporary) Control of Rent and Eviction Act--hereinafter referred to as the Act. Subsequently by an order dated 10th January, 1968 the court confirmed the deposit made by the appellant. On the 4thMarch, 1968 the respondent sent a notice to the appellant demanding arrears of rent and the appellant replied informing him that he was depositing rent in court under Section 7-C (1) of the Act. Thereupon the respondent sent to the appellant another notice dated 16th May, 1968 whereby he asked him not to deposit rent in court any further and to tender the amount directly to him. By means of this notice the appellant was warned that in future any deposit of rent in court would not be recognised. By means of a letter dated 21st May, 1968, the tenant intimated to his landlord in response to the notice dated 16th May, 1968 that he had been intending to make the deposit of rent for the period 1st February, 1968 to 30th April, 1968 also in court but having in the meantime received this notice, he would be sending the amount directly to him. He, however, did not do so. Thereupon the respondent on the 19th July, 1968 sent another notice to his tenant demanding from him rent for the period 1st February, 1968 to 30th June, 1968 as also an amount of Rs. 27 on account of Bhumi Bhawan Kar. This was a composite notice of demand and termination of tenancy. This notice was served on the defendant-tenant on the 20th July, 1968. In the meanwhile on the 16th July, 1968 the appellant made a deposit of rent due for the period 1st February, 1968 to 30th April, 1968 in court purporting to do so under Section 7--C (1) of the Act. Since the rent and Bhumi Bhawan Kar demanded was not tendered to the landlord, he followed up the notice dated 19th July, 1968, by instituting the suit giving rise to this appeal for ejectment of the appellant and recovery of arrears of rent, Bhumi Bhawan Kar and damages for use and occupation.

3. The suit was resisted by the appellant, who claimed that no arrears of rent were due from him since he had made deposit of the requisite amount in proceedings under Section 7-C of the Act. He put forward a number of other pleas in defence which it is unnecessary to set out in detail in this judgment.

4. The trial court dismissed the plaintiff's suit for ejectment of the appellant. It, however, directed recovery of rent from the defendant for the period commencing 1st May, 1967 onwards, though the plaintiff had made no claim for rent for any period prior to 1st February 1968. The plaintiff appealed.The court below allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment and decree of the trial court. It decreed the plaintiff's claim for ejectment of the appellant from the premises in suit and for recovery of an amount of Rs. 132.90 P. as arrears of rent Rs. 7.10 P. as damages for use and occupation and Rupees 27/- on account of Bhumi Bhawan Kar besides pendente lite and future damages Rs. 20/- per month from the date of the institution of the suit till the date of actual ejectment subject to payment of additional court-fee. Costs were awarded to the plaintiff of both the courts.

5. The court below has recorded a finding that the notice dated 19th July, 1968 was duly served on the appellant on the 20th July, 1968. It held that after the notice dated 16th May, 1968 the deposit of rent for the period 1st February, '1968 to 30th June 1968 by the appellant under Section 7-C(1) of the Act on the 16th July, 1968 could not be taken notice of under Section 7-C (6). It repelled the contention that as a result of the notice dated 19th July, 1968 the earlier notice dated 16th May, 1968 stood waived and could not operate as a notice to the tenant in writing by the landlord signifying willingness to accept rent for the purposes of Section 7 (1) of the Act. The appellant was found to be in arrears of payment of rent for more than three months and consequently the plaintiff's suit was decreed as already stated.

6. Aggrieved by the judgment and decree of the court below, the appellant has appealed. When the appeal came up for hearing before a learned single Judge, it appears to have been urged before him that by means of the notice dated 26th May, 1968 and the one dated 19th July, 1968 the respondent had merely demanded arrears of rent and such a demand could not operate as a notice in writing intimating the landlord's willingness to accept rent for the future within the meaning of Section 7-C (1) of the Act. This argument was inspired because of the decision of K. B. Asthana, J. in Munni Lal's case (1973 Ren CR 263) (All) (supra), which undoubtedly supports the contention. It was heldin the above-mentioned decision that,

'To be of real benefit to the landlord and the tenant the rent which all becomes due in future also must be signified to be acceptable to the landlord. Inmy judgment only that notice in writing signifying the willingness of the landlord to accept rent would be the proper notice under Sub-section (1) of Section 7-C which informs a tenant that all future rent would also be acceptable by the landlord and the tenant need not, therefore, take recourse to the machinery of law for depositing it in court. Viewed from this angle, a notice merely demanding payment of arrears of rent accompanied by termination of tenancy is nothing but a mere demand of what the tenant had not paid to the landlord and cannot be construed or interpreted signifying the willingness of the landlord to receive future rent as the tenancy stands terminated and there will be no occasion for accrual of future rent.'

7. In support of the view taken by him in Munni Lal's case (1973 Ren CR 263) (All), the learned Judge has placed reliance on an earlier decision of himself in Israr Ahmad v. Sant Ram (1971 All WR (HC) 401): (AIR 1971 All 559) and the Full Bench decision of this Court in Mohd. Bashir v. Azizul Qadar (1966 All LJ 677): (AIR 1967 All 1). We have carefully examined the two decisions and are of the opinion that they were not concerned with the question which arises for decision by us or arose before K. B. Asthana, J.

8. The facts leading to the decision in Mohd. Bashir's case (supra), were that the house of which the appellant was tenant belonged to a waqf and according to the respondent he was the Mutawalli of the waqf and used to manage its property. On 16th December 1961 the appellant before this Court filed an application under Section 7-C of the Act for depositing the rent due from him alleging therein that Rafiqul Qadar the brother of the plaintiff had informed him that he was claiming the right to receive the rent and had filed an appeal in the High Court to establish his claim. The learned Munsif before whom the application was made allowed it and permitted the appellant to deposit rent in court and on 19th December, 1961 the appellant did so and thereafter continued to make deposits regularly. Ignoring the deposits the respondent instituted a suit for ejectment of the appellant, for recovery of arrears of rent and damages under Section 3 (1) (a) of the Act on the allegation that the appellant was in arrears of rent for more than three months and hadfailed to pay the same to the respondent within one month of service upon him of the notice of demand. The main defence to the suit was that the entire amount of rent due was paid by deposit in court. The trial court dismissed the suit holding that the appellant had validity made the deposit under Section 7-C (2) of the Act and consequently the provisions of Section 3 (1) (a) were not attracted. The lower appellate court took the view that the respondent was not entitled to a decree for ejectment as the deposits were not in accordance with the provisions of Section 7-C (2) of the Act. It held that, before making the deposit the appellant had not offered to pay the arrears of rent to the respondent which was a condition precedent to the applicability of the provisions of Section 7-C (2). This view of the lower appellate court was based on a decision of this court in Ahmed Ali v. Mohammad Jamal Uddin (1963 All LJ 567): (AIR 1963 All 581). Since the correctness of the view taken in Ahmed Ali's case, was doubted by the Bench before which the appeal initially came up for hearing, it referred the case to a larger Bench. The question that arose for consideration before the Full Bench was with regard to the interpretation of Section 7-C (2) of the Act. It was not called upon to consider the scope of Section 7-C (1) of the Act at all. The requirement of Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 7-C are quite dissimilar. Section 7-C (2) provides that 'Where any bona fide doubt or dispute has arisen as to the person who is entitled to receive any rent referred to in Sub-section (1), in respect of any accommodation, the tenant may similarly deposit the rent stating the circumstances under which such deposit is made and may, until such doubt has been removed or such dispute has been settled by the decision of any competent court, or by settlement between the parties, continued to deposit, in like manner, the rent that may subsequently become due in respect of such building.' On the other hand, a deposit under Sub-section (1) of Section 7-C is permissible when there is a refusal by the landlord to accept rent, lawfully paid to him by a tenant. A tenant under this sub-section may continue to deposit any subsequent rent which becomes due in respect of such accommodation unless the landlord in the meantime signifies by notice in writing to thetenant his willingness to accept. For the purposes of sub-section (2) the question of the landlord's signifying his willingness in writing to accept rent does not arise at all. The view taken by K.B. Asthana J. consequently finds no support from the above-mentioned Full Bench/ decision.

9. The decision in Israr Ahmed v. Sant Ram (AIR 1971 All 559) (supra) also was not concerned with the question that is engaging our attention.

10. Having carefully considered the decision in Munni Lal v. Pandit Har Prasad (1973 Ren CR 263) (All) (supra) we find ourselves in respectful disagreement with the view taken therein Section 7-C (1) of the Act does not require any particular form in which the landlord should communicate his willingness to accept rent from the tenant directly. All that it requires is that the notice; should be in writing. The tenant acquires a right under Section 7-C (1) of the Act to deposit rent in court because I of the refusal of the landlord to accept rent and as soon as in any form in writing the tenant is made aware of the willingness of the landlord to accept rent directly a deposit under Section 7-C (1) ceases to be permissible as valid for the purposes of Section 7-C (6) of the Act. The sub-section itself does not require that the landlord should specifically state that he would be willing to accept the rent in future.

11. The refusal as a consequence of which a tenant acquires the right to deposit rent accrues and continues till such time as the landlord does not signify in writing his willingness to accept the same directly must naturally be in respect of past rent. It is only rent accrued that is payable. When a landlord refuses to accept past rent the tenant can safely assume by his conduct that he would not accept future rent also. Similarly, when a landlord intimates in any form in writing that arrears of rent should be paid directly to him the tenant must treat it as signifying the landlord's willingness to accept rent of the past as well as future. In such a case the cause of action for deposits in court disappears and any deposits thereafter in court would not have the sanction of law. The view taken in Mohd. Bashir's case (AIR 1967 All 1) (FB) is, in our opinion, too hypertechnical.

12. In the instant case, moreover by the notice dated 16th May, 1968, the landlord had clearly intimated to the appellant in writing that rent should be paid directly to him and any deposits made in future would not be recognised as valid payment. Under the circumstances, we agree with the view taken by the court below that there was no valid payment by the tenant of the rent due from him for the period 1st February, 1968 to 30th June, 1968 when he made a deposit thereof on the 16th July, 1968. The appellant consequently must be held to have been in arrears of rent for more than three months and to have failed to pay the same within the requisite period of service on him of the notice dated 16th July, 1968, The respondent's claim was in our opinion rightly decreed by the court below.

13. This appeal consequently fails and is hereby dismissed with costs to the respondent.


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