1. This is defendant's appeal arising out of a suit for recovery of arrears of rent damages and ejectment.
2. One Harbaksh Singh was the owner of the accommodation in dispute. On 17-1-1967. he sold the premises to Smt. Surjeet Kaur. the plaintiff-respondent. A few days later i. e., on 25-3-1967 Harbaksh Singh executed another document transferring the right to recover arrears of rent from the tenant, the appellants, to Smt. Surjeet Kaur. The plaintiff thereafter demanded rent and asked the appellant to pay the arrears of rent for the period from 1-4-1965. Having received no response, the plaintiff served a notice of demand and a notice to quit under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act, upon the tenant. The defendant remitted the rent that had fallen due for the period from 1-1-1967 to 30-4-1967 but did not pay the rent for the period upto 31-12-1966.
3. The defence was that the tenant had paid the entire rent to Harbaksh Singh as well as the plaintiff. He was not a tenant in default. The trial court accepted the defence plea that the rent for the period prior to 31-12-1966 had been paid to the previous owner, and, therefore, the rent for the subsequentperiod having been tendered to the landlord, the tenant was not in default. The suit for ejectment hence failed. It was decreed for the recovery of arrears of rent from 1-1-1967 to 30th April, 1967.
4. Aggrieved by this judgment and decree, the plaintiff went in appeal. The lower appellate court reversed the finding and held that the defendant had failed to prove that he paid the arrears of rent to the previous owner. Relying upon the decision of a Division Bench in the case of Ram Prakash Ghai v. Karam Chand. 1962 All LJ 828 = (AIR 1963 All 47), it further held that by means of two sale deeds, the plaintiff became the landlord in relation to the rent that was due for the period upto 31-12-1966 and that the defendant tenant committed default under Section 3(a) when he failed to tender the entire arrears of rent within 30 days of the notice of demand. On this finding, the decree was set aside and the suit for ejectment as well as for recovery of Rs. 294.76 P. as arrears of rent due from 1-5-1966 to 17-5-1967 was decreed. It was directed that the plaintiff shall get mesne profits at the rate of Rs. 12/- per month from 18-5-1967 upto the date of the delivery of possession.
5. This time the defendant came up to this Court in second appeal. The learned Single Judge, who heard the appeal, felt that the decision of the Division Bench in the case of 1962 All LJ 828 - (AIR 1963 All 47) required reconsideration. He. therefore, referred the appeal to a larger bench.
6. Having considered the matter, we are of the opinion that the decision in 1962 All LJ 828 = (AIR 1963 All 47) lays down the law correctly. The plaintiff, in the present case purchased the property as well as the arrears of rent that had fallen due prior to his purchase of the title. Here the right to recover the arrears of rent was transferred to the person to whom the property was itself transferred. When the plaintiff became entitled to the right to recover the previous arrears, she was a 'landlord' within the definition of that word in the Rent Control and Eviction Act. In the case of 1962 All LJ 828 - (AIR 1963 All 47), it was held that an assignee or a transferee of the original landlord is also a landlord within the meaning of that term. The plaintiff in this case having purchased the house as well as the arrears of rent was an assignee of the landlord and was landlord within the meaning of Section 3 (a) of the Act.
7. In this case it was also held that though the previous arrears may be a debt in the hands of the transferor, it is transferable as a debt. The method of transfer cannot change the nature of theliability. If the plaintiff as a transferee and landlord of the defendant was entitled to realise this amount, which was an arrear of rent, and made a valid demand, the defendant was bound to pay the same within one month of the notice of demand. If he failed to pay the same, he was a wilful defaulter. With respect. we agree with the view taken in 1962 All LJ 828 = (AIR 1963 All 47).
8. There is no merit in this appeal, which is accordingly dismissed with costs.