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Ram Swarup and ors. Vs. Brij Nandan Prasad and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 1202 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1963All366
ActsTransfer of Property Act, 1882 - Sections 106; Uttar Pradesh (Temporary) Control of Rent and Eviction Act, 1947 - Sections 3
AppellantRam Swarup and ors.
RespondentBrij Nandan Prasad and anr.
Appellant AdvocateK.C. Agarwal, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateAmbika Pd. and ;Gyan Prakash, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....of them can occupy it beyond the midnight of the thirtieth day. ' these were precisely the words used in the notice in special appeal no. ' in my opinion, phrases like 'vacatewithin a month' and 'you are given a month's notice tovacate' are virtually interchangeable and mean that thetenant is given a month within which to vacate the premises......virtually no difference between 'you are required to vacate within a month' and 'you are given a month's notice to vacate', as bothmean that the tenant is given a month within which to vacate the premises. a tenant who receives a communication from the landlord 'i give you thirty days' notice to vacate the accommodation', is in no better position than one who is asked to vacate 'within thirty days', as neither of them can occupy it beyond the midnight of the thirtieth day. mr. agarwala had, to concede that one month's notice expires on the midnight of the last day of the month.6. counsel however contended that there is an interval of time between the expiry of one day and the beginning of the next, and this made a vital difference between a notice saying 'vacate within one month' and.....
Judgment:

S.S. Dhavan, J.

1. This is a tenants' second appeal against the concurrent decisions of the courts below decreeing the landlord's suit for their ejectment and recovery of Rs. 52/- as arrears of rent. It is common ground that the plaintiff-respondent Brij Nandan Prasad is the landlord of the accommodation which was occupied by the defendant appellants Ram Swarup and others on a rent of Rs. 2/- per month. The tenants defaulted in payment of rent and the arrears accumulated to Rs. 50/. Thereupon the landlord served all the tenants with a notice of demand under Section 3 of the U. P. Control of Rent and Eviction Act and a conditional notice terminating the tenancy if the rent was not paid within one month-of the receipt of the notice of demand. The tenants resisted the suit and raised a number of Dieas which need not be considered in this case as all of them were rejected by both the Courts below and were not pressed before me in this appeal, except one.

2. Mr. K. C. Agarwal, learned counsel for the appellants attacked the legality of the notice served by the landlord under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act. He contended that there was no valid termination of the tenancy, and the suit for ejectment should have been dismissed on this ground alone.

The notice sent by the landlord was a combined notice under Section 3 of the U. P. Control of Rent and Eviction Act. and Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act, and it is net disputed that the landlord could combine a notice of demand for arrears of rent with a conditional note terminating the tenancy, if the rent was not paid within a month.

Counsel also conceded after some discussion that the portion of the notice which purports to be a demand for rent under Section 3 of the U. P. Control of Rent and Eviction Act is not invalid, but he argued that the notice under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act was ineffective. The-relevant words of the notice are:

'Ap ko notice diya jata hai ke ap raqam mazkoor andar ek man ada kar dejiyega varna ap qanoonan mustavjib bedakhli honge aur aisi soorat men notice-haza ke notice qanooni mutsawwar keejiyega aur ehatajat knana kash posh mazkoor ko tameel notice se andar ek mah khali kar deejiyega, varna nalish bedhakhli vo karaya mazkoor vo harja istimal ayenda apke' khilaf dayer kl javegi.'

('You are hereby served with a notice that you should paythe aforesaid sum within one month otherwise you will beliable to be ejected, and in that situation this notice maybe treated as a legal notice and you should vacate the compound and the thached construction within one month of thereceipt of this notice, failing which a suit for ejectmentand damages for use and occupation will be filed againstyou.')

3. Mr. Agarwal argued that this notice is illegal as it asked the tenant to vacate the accommodation within one month of the receipt of the notice whereas under Section 106 the landlord is required to give thirty days clear notice. According to counsel, the words 'andar ek mah' meant that the tenant was required to vacate the premises before the expiry of a month.

Learned counsel relied on an unreported decision of a Division Bench of this Court (Sriwastava and Jagdish Sahai, JJ.) in which a notice requiring the tenant to vacate a house within one month ('andar ek mah makan ko khali kar ke qabza de de') was held invalid. Special Appear No. 434 of 1959 (All), Kashi Prasad Gupta v. Roop Narain. Learned counsel also cited two of my own decisions in which I held that a notice under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act should express a dear and unequivocal intention to terminate the tenancy. Sunder Lal v. Ram Krishan, 1960 All LJ 152 : (AIR 1960 All 544), Balloo Ram v. Chhedi Lal, 1960 All LJ 213 : (AIR 1960 All 477). Counsel contended that the impugned notice in this case does not express any clear intention to terminate the tenancy as the word 'termination' had not been used by the landlord at all in the notice and thus there was no valid termination. I cannot agree. It is true that the landlord did not say in to many words that the tenants' tenancy would stand terminated in the event of his not paying the arrears of rent within a month but this was the clear intention. The nature and purpose of the notice must be gathered by reading the document as a whole and not from any words read out of context or from any omission to use the formal language cf a solicitor. Where the landlord warns the tenant that if he fails to clear the arrears of rent within a month of the receipt of the notice he will be liable to ejectment and in that event he must treat the notice as a 'legal notice' and vacate the accommodation within a month, it is clear that the demand that the tenant should vacate the accommodation signifies the termination of the tenancy and the words 'legal notice' could only refer to a notice under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act. I think the notice in this case was effective under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act.

4. The next question is whether termination of the tenancy was ineffective because the landlord used the words 'within one month' (andar ek mah khali Kar deejiyega). in the decision cited by Mr. Agarwal the learned Judges merely observed that 'the notice requiring the defendant to vacate the house within that period was invalid.' In another sentence the Bench observed '..... inasmuchas the notice itself directs the defendant-respondent to leave the house within one month and not after the expiry of the notice, the notice would be invalid.' There is no discussion of the import of the words 'within one month.' It appears to have been assumed that a notice requiring the tenant to vacate the accommodation 'within one month' means that the tenant is given less than one month. The entire judgment consists of a single page plus three lines.

5. A notice commencing on the midnight of the 1st requiring the tenant to vacate the accommodation within thirty days expires on the midnight of the 30th day. The tenant has all the time upto the expiry of the notice with in which to vacate the accommodation. Therefore a notice requiring the tenant to vacate the accommodation within a month means that he should not take more than a month to do so, and not that he must vacate within less than a month. In my opinion there is virtually no difference between 'you are required to vacate within a month' and 'you are given a month's notice to vacate', as bothmean that the tenant is given a month within which to vacate the premises. A tenant who receives a communication from the landlord 'I give you thirty days' notice to vacate the accommodation', is in no better position than one who is asked to vacate 'within thirty days', as neither of them can occupy it beyond the midnight of the thirtieth day. Mr. Agarwala had, to concede that one month's notice expires on the midnight of the last day of the month.

6. Counsel however contended that there is an interval of time between the expiry of one day and the beginning of the next, and this made a vital difference between a notice saying 'vacate within one month' and one saying 'I give you one month's notice to vacate'. I do not think that there is any material gap of time between the last moment of one day and the first moment of the following, day. Time is measured by the movement of matter through space. What we call passage of time corresponds to the successive positions of a point or the earth's surface during its spinning motion on its axis. One complete revolution of this point denotes a day. On another planet the length of the day may not be the same as on our earth. On Mercury the day is equal in length to a year as the planet takes the same time to rotate on its axis as to revolve round the sun, and on Jupiter a year would be equal to about 12 terrestrial years. In a Universe which is completely still there would be no time. This however is an impossible supposition for matter is always in motion from the largest stars to the smallest electrons. Time and space are forms of existence of matter and cannot exist apart from it.

7. The conception of time was explained by Einstein in 1906 in these two simple sentences: 'All our judgments in which time plays a role are judgments about simultaneous events. If I say, for example, the train arrives here at 7 it means that the coincidence of the small hand of my watch with the number 7 and the arrival of the train are simultaneous events' -- Albert Einstein in Annalen Den Physik, Berlin 1905, quoted in Albert Einstein by Leopold Infield, New York, 1950.

Applying this test to the question before me, the statement that the 30th day expires on midnight means thatthe coincidence of the small hand of the watch with thefigure 24 and the arrival of a particular spot on the Earth'sSurface (Greenwich) at a particular position during the Earth'sspinning motion are simultaneous events, and both are conveniently labelled midnight of 30th September or 'expiryof 30 September.' If time is measured by the movementof matter in space, if follows that the interval between thelast moment of the previous day and the first moment ofthe next is immeasurable because the distance covered bya moving particle [on earth) In the process of moving awayfrom a point cannot be measured. Motion has been calleda 'contradiction' because a moving body is at any momentat a given point and also not there. If time is to bemeasured by the spinning motion of the earth on its axis,it would be impossible to measure the gap or interval oftime between the expiry of one day and the beginning ofanother as both events take place when a particular pointon the Earth's surface (in Greenwich) is in the processof being on a place and moving away from it. In the language of time it is called midnight or the simultaneous expiryof one day and the commencement of another. Thus thereis no measurable gap between the expiry of one month andbeginning of another and no difference between a noticeasking the tenant to vacate 'within one month' and anothergiving him 'one month's notice to vacate.' I had to consider some of these points in an earlier case but I prefer to summarise my opinion once again.

8. I do not think that the notice served by the landlord suffers from any vital defect. It gave the tenant one month to vacate the accommodation and the phrase 'within one month' did not have the effect of reducing this period.

9. No other point was urged in favour of the appeal which is dismissed with costs.

10. The notice under review was in Hindi, and used the words 'ander ek man.' These were precisely the words used in the notice in Special Appeal No. 434 of 1953 (All), which the learned Judges deciding that case translated as 'within one month'. The attention of the learned Judges does not appear to have been drawn to the different meanings of the word 'within' as detailed in the great Oxford Dictionary. Para 6 explains the meaning of this word when denoting a period of time and runs thus:

'6. In the limits of (a period of time); most usually, before the end of, after not more than; also, since the beginning of, not more than ...... ago; or generally between the beginning and end of, in the course of, during.'

Thus one of the meanings of the phrase 'within amonth' would be 'after not more than a month.' Therefore a notice requiring the tenant to vacate the accommodation within a month means that he should not take morethan a month to do so.' In my opinion, phrases like 'vacatewithin a month' and 'you are given a month's notice tovacate' are virtually interchangeable and mean that thetenant is given a month within which to vacate the premises.I think the observations of the Division Bench in SpecialAppeal No. 434 of 1959 (All), were confined to the factsof that case, and were not intended to lay down a generalprinciple of law, but I grant leave to appeal so that a largeBench may consider their import.


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