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Jai NaraIn Dass and anr. Vs. Smt. Zubeda Khatoon - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy;Civil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 481 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1972All494
ActsEvidence Act, 1872 - Sections 34 and 65; Uttar Pradesh (Temporary) Control of Rent and Eviction Act, 1947 - Sections 3(1); Transfer of Property Act, 1882 - Sections 106, 107 and 116
AppellantJai NaraIn Dass and anr.
RespondentSmt. Zubeda Khatoon
Appellant AdvocateNarendra Kumar and ;Sachitanand Sahai, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateBashir Ahmad and ;B.N. Asthana, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
(i) civil - entries in account books - sections 34 and 65 of evidence act, 1872 - account books kept in ordinary course of business - entries in such books alone not sufficient to fasten any liability on any person - primary evidence always needed - copies of original account books not admissible. (ii) termination of lease - sections 106,107,111 and 116 of transfer of property act, 1882 - notice sent to one partner - finding that partner of firm is tenant and not his firm - notice to other partners not necessary - unsigned rent agreement not executed by tenant cannot be relief if it is not registered - modes of termination of lease - for termination of lease under section 111 two notices - one for showing intention to terminate and other actually terminating lease not necessary. - - a..........period from 1st december, 1965 to 30th september, 1966. he placed reliance on the entries in his account books in support of these payments. the validity of the notice for ejectment was also challenged.2. the trial court decreed the suit. the defendants filed an appeal which was also dismissed. both the courts below recorded concurrent findings of fact to the effect that the defendant no. 1 appellant was the tenant, that he had not paid a sum of rs. 500/- as alleged and as such had committed default in making payment of rent. the notice to quit was also held to be valid by both the courts below. aggrieved, the defendants have come up in second appeal.3. at the outset it was urged on behalf of the defendants appellants that the payment of rs. 500/- towards rent was proved by the.....
Judgment:

T.S. Misra, J.

1. This is a defendants' appeal. A suit for recovery of arrears of rent and damages as well as ejectment of the defendants was filed by the respondent, inter alia, on the grounds that the defendant No. 1 had committed default in making payment of rent and had also caused nuisance in the accommodation in suit. The defendants contested the suit denying these allegations. The defendant No. 1 alleged that he had paid a sum of Es. 500/- to the plaintiff's son on 13th June, 1966 and had further remitted a sum of Rs. 150/- by money order on 3rd October, 1966 thus covering the rent for the period from 1st December, 1965 to 30th September, 1966. He placed reliance on the entries in his account books in support of these payments. The validity of the notice for ejectment was also challenged.

2. The Trial Court decreed the suit. The defendants filed an appeal which was also dismissed. Both the Courts below recorded concurrent findings of fact to the effect that the defendant No. 1 appellant was the tenant, that he had not paid a sum of Rs. 500/- as alleged and as such had committed default in making payment of rent. The notice to quit was also held to be valid by both the Courts below. Aggrieved, the defendants have come up in second appeal.

3. At the outset it was urged on behalf of the defendants appellants that the payment of Rs. 500/- towards rent was proved by the evidence of the defendant Jai Narain as also of Khatai Lal, who was the munim of the firm Madho Prasad Badri Narain, and that it finds support from the relevant entries in the account books of the defendants which were alleged to have been kept in the ordinary course of business. The bahiklmta entries referred to were marked as Exs. A-l, A-7 to A-1.4 and on the basis of these documents it was submitted that in view of the provisions of Section 34 of the Indian Evidence Act the statement of Jai Narain as also of Khatai Lal were corroborated. It was also urged that these two persons in their depositions corroborated the relevant entries made in the account books. The learned Counsel for the appellant also placed reliance on certain decided cases in regard to the provisions ol Section 34 of the Indian Evidence Act which reads as under:

'Entries in books of account, regularly kept in the course of business, are relevant whenever they refer to a matter info which the Court has to inquire, but such statements shall not alone be sufficient evidence to charge any person with liability.'

4. In order to apply the provisions' of Section 34 of the Act it would be necessary to establish that the account books were regularly kept in the ordinary course of business. The entries made in such account books would then become relevant and might be considered along with the other evidence to charge any person with liability but these entries alone would not be sufficient to fasten any liability on any person. The entries in the account books are, therefore, merely corroborative and primary evidence is always needed to prove the trans-action mentioned therein. It appears that the entries in the account books were not proved according to law. I was taken through the entire statement of Jai NarainJ He has nowhere referred to the particular entries in his account books in regard to the transaction in question. He has satisfied himself by stating that the account books were maintained by him in regular course of business but that by itself was not sufficient for bringing the case within the scope and ambit of Section 34 of the Evidence Act. Section 34 makes the particular entries in the account books relevant. The entryrelevant to the payment of Rs. 500/- to the son of the plaintiff should, therefore, have been proved without which it was not pos-sible to place reliance on the account books. There is one more difficulty for the defendant in this respect. The account books obviously were not in current use. He should, therefore, have filed the original account books and then proved the rele-vant entries according to law. In the instant case it was stated before me that the original account books were produced by the defendant before the Trial Court which means that the defendant did have in his possession the original account books on the date of evidence. The defendant should, therefore, have placed before the Court the primary and not the secondary evidence, the primary evidence being the original account books. The matter would have been different had the entry relied upon been in an account book which was in current use. In the present case the primary evidence having not been filed the secondary evidence, namely the copies thereof, were not admissible in evidence. Moreover, the copies were also not proved by any person. Neither the scribe of the relevant entry of Rs. 500/- was examined nor Jai Narain himself stated that he had either himself scribed the entry or had seen the Munim scribing the same. The Courts below were, therefore, justified in not placing reliance on Exs. A-1, A-7 to A-14.

5. It was next contended that this payment of Rs. 500/- was mentioned by the defendant No. 1 in his notice dated 3rd October, 1966, which had been given to the respondent prior to the notice for ejectment, Ex. 2 dated 22nd October, 1966. The defendant No. 1 stated in that notice that he had paid a sum of Rs. 500/- to the plaintiffs son towards rent for the period commencing from 1st December, 1965, and onwards. This fact was repudiated by the plaintiff in her reply of 22nd October, 1966, Ex. 2 and also in the plaint. From the very outset the defendant No. 1 had come with the allegation that he had paid Rs. 500/-whereas the plaintiff had been denying that fact. The burden to prove this fact obviously, therefore, lay heavily on the defendant No. 1. He had admittedly no receipt for the amount and had, therefore, to place reliance on the oral testimony and his account books referred heretofore. The entries in the account books having not been proved and the original account books having not been filed and proved were, therefore, not available to the defendant No. 1, as evidence. His bare statement was, therefore, to be examined in the light of the surrounding circumstances, the defendant being an interested person. He has examined Khatai Lal but the statement of Khatai Lal also does not go so far to establish this fact. Both the Courts below have recorded a concurrent finding of fact that the sum of Rs. 500/-had not been paid by the defendant No. 1,This finding of fact is not vitiated by any error of law. The only error which was pointed out was that the Courts below did not place reliance on the entries in the account books of the defendant. I have already discussed above that these entries were not proved and therefore could not be considered in evidence. In these circumstances I find no reason to interfere with the concurrent findings of fact in regard to the transaction of the payment of Rs. 500/- to the plaintiffs son. It therefore, follows that the defendant No. 1 had committed default in making payment of rent for more than three months. He had remitted a sum of Rs. 150/- by money order on 3rd October, 1966. It was urged by the learned Counsel for the appellant that this payment of Rs. 150/- would save the defendant No. 1 from the mischief of the default referred to above. In this connection he placed reliance on the case of Indrasani v. Din Ali, 1968 All WR (HC) 167 (FB) where it was held that where a tenant remits rent by money order and the amount remitted covers rent for a particular month and the landlord refuses to accept the same, the tenant cannot be said to be in arrears in respect of that month within the meaning of Section 3 (1) (a) of the U. P. (Temp.) Control of Rent and Eviction Act

6. In the money order coupon 48 Ka, which was returned refused to the defendant No. 1, it was stated that rent from 1st December, 1965 to 30th, September, 1966 at the rate of Rs. 35/- per month amounting to Rs. 500/- had been received by the plaintiffs son on her behalf the receipt of which had not been received by that time and after adjusting the same a sum of Rs. 150/- was being remitted. The defendant No. 1 did not, however, state that he was remitting the rent for a particular period. However, this remittance be-ing in part payment of the entire arrears of rent it could only be of some relevance if the payment of the sum of Rs. 500/- had been established by the defendant. The defendant having failed to prove the payment of Rs. 500/- he became a defaulter despite remittance of Rs. 150/- by money-order. He was, therefore, liable for the consequences thereof. The remittance of Rs. 150/-was, therefore, of little consequence.

7. It was then urged by the learned Counsel for the appellants that the notice to quit sent by the plaintiff landlady was invalid inasmuch as it did not appear from the notice itself that the counsel, who bad signed it, did so on the instructions of the landlady. This submission has no merits inasmuch as the notice Ex. 2 bears the signatures of a counsel and it purports to have been signed by him for the landlady as he has stated just above his signatures that it was being sent through the counsel. The validity of the notice was also challenged on the ground that it had not been sent to all the partners of the defendant No. 1.This submission has also no force. Both the Courts below have held that the defendant No. 1 and not his firm was a tenant of the accommodation in suit. In these circumstances it was not necessary to have sent that notice to the alleged partners of defendant No. 1.

8. The learned Counsel also referred to Clause 7 of the rent note, Ex. 1, which provides that if the defendant executant had failed to pay the rent for three successive months as well as the electricity dues and house and water taxes the landlady shall have a right to dispossess him after serving on him the legal notice. It was urged that in view of this provision in the rent note Sub-clause (g) of Section 111 of the Transfer of Property Act was attracted and the respondent having failed to serve a notice under Sub-clause (g) of that section the suit for ejectment was not maintainable.

9. Sub-clause (g) of Section 111, inter alia, provides for determination of a lease of immovable property by forfeiture; that is to say, in case the lessee breaks an express condition which provides that on breach thereof, the lessor may re-enter and and the lessor gives notice in writing to lessee of his intention to determine the lease. It was urged that in the instant case there was an express condition in the rent note to the effect that after the tenant executant failed to pay the rent for three months as also the water tax and electricity charges the landlady would be entitled to dispossess the tenant after serving on him a notice to that effect. As the defendant No. 1 had failed to pay the rent for more than three months his tenancy could be determined only by forfeiture by giving him a notice in writing expressing the intention to determine the lease. In this connection it was also urged that two notices were required to be given. In the first notice the landlady should have expressed her intention to determine the lease and in the second the landlady should have actually determined the lease. I find no force in this contention.

10. The provisions of Section 111 of the Transfer of Property Act deal with the determination of lease. A lease can be determined by either efflux of time limited thereby or on the happening of some event or where the interest of the lessor in the property terminates, or in case the interests of the lessee and the lessor in the whole of the property become vested at the same time in one person. It also determines by express surrender or implied surrender or by forfeiture and lastly on the expiration of a notice to determine the lease or to quit or intention to quit the property leased duly given by one party to the other. Thus it deals with the various modes and circumstances in which a lease determines. It cannot therefore, be said that if one mode operates the other mode would stand excluded. Arent note might provide for the contingency for forfeiture of tenancy and yet the lessee might determine the lease by surrender itself. Similarly the lease might itself come to an end on the expiration of the period fixed in the lease deed though there might be a stipulation in the lease deed for forfeiture on non-payment of rent. Similarly a lessor might elect to determine the lease if the condition was breached and there was specific provision in the lease deed itself for forfeiting the lease on the happening of such breach. He may not avail of the condition and may give a notice under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act and determine the lease in the manner laid down therein. It is true that the happening of any of the events mentioned under Sub-clause (g) of Section 111 would not ipso facto determine the lease. The landlord will have to express his intention to detennine the lease in a notice in writing which should be served on the lessee but this does not mean that the lessor must give two notices, one expressing his intention to determine the lease and the other actually determining the lease.

11. The learned counsel for the respondent urged that the lease deed, Ex. 2, was not registered and as such its terms were operative only for a maximum period of eleven months on the expiration of which the tenancy having become a monthly tenancy the respondent could determine the lease by serving on the defendant No. 1 appellant a notice under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act.

12. A lease of immoveable property from year to year, or for any term exceeding one year, or reserving a yearly rent, can be made only by a registered instrument as provided in Section 107 of the Transfer of Property Act. In the instant case the lease was not from year to year or for any term exceeding one year or reserving an yearly rent. Para 2 of Section 107, however, stipulates that all other leases of immoveable property may be made either by a registered instrument or by oral agreement accompanied by delivery of possession. So in those cases where the lease is neither from year to year nor for any term exceeding one year or reserving yearly rent the lease can be made either by a registered instrument or by an oral agreement accompanied by delivery of possession. In other words in all such cases which are covered by para 2 of Section 107 a lease can be made by oral agreement accompanied by delivery of possession and it is not necessary that a document should be executed evidencing the terms thereof. However, if the parties choose to execute a lease deed so as to bring the terms and conditions thereof in writing it would be necessary that such a document should be registered one. If the document is not registered the provi-sions of Section 49 of the Registration Act would come into play and in that event the document itself would not be admissible in evidence except for collateral purposes. In the instant case the defendant No. 1 executed Ex. 2, a rent note. It is not signed by the landlady. So it is not a bilateral document signed by both lessor and lessee. It was not the case of the lessee that the lease was created by oral agreement accompanied by delivery of possession. The document, therefore, ought to have been got registered under the provisions of the Indian Registration Act and as the same was not done it was not admissible except for collateral purposes and, therefore, reference to Clause 7 thereof was not possible. It further appears that it was nowhere pleaded on behalf of the defendants that the suit was not maintainable for want of a notice under Section 111(g) of the Transfer of Property Act and no issue was framed on the point, Even in the grounds of appeal before this Court this plea was not asserted. It is not now open to the defendants appellants at this stage to set up this plea in defence.

13. No other point was pressed.

14. In the circumstances the appeal fails and is accordingly dismissed with costs. The learned counsel for the appellants prays that the defendants appellants may be given some time to vacate the premises. Keeping in view all the facts and circumstances of the case the defendants are allowed two months' time to vacate and deliver vacant possession of the accommodation in suit to the plaintiff respondent.


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