1. This is a landlord's second appeal from the concurrent decisions of the Courts below decreeing the tenants' suit for a declaration of their title as tenants. The facts are these. There is a house in Gandhinagar, Kanpur, which was owned by Gopeshwar Nath the second defendant. He lived in a portion of it and had let out the rest to several tenants, including the two plaintiffs in the suit. In April 1950 he sold the house to Gur Bux Singh, the first defendant. It is common ground that under the law the two plaintiffs became the tenants of Gur Bux Singh. But the position was complicated by the fact that simultaneously with the transaction of sale a lease was executed by the new owner in favour of the old owner purporting to make him the tenant-in-chief of the entire house with the right to collect the rent from the two plaintiffs as his subtenants.
Subsequently, the new owner obtained a decree for the ejectment of the tenant-in-chief (the old owner) and sought to execute it against the plaintiffs. He contended that as they were sub-tenants they had no right to occupy the house after the tenant-in-chief had been ejected. They resisted the execution and contended that they never became sub-tenants and the lease in favour of the so-called tenant-in-chief could not affect their rights as tenants. They relied on Section 109 of the Transfer of Property Act. Their objections were dismissed in the execution proceedings and they filed the present suit for a declaration of their title which has been decreed by both the Courts below.
2. I think the decision of the Court below is unassailable. A landlord cannot destroy the rights of a lessee in possession by the simple device of creating a 'tenant-in-chief' with the right to collect rent and then obtaining a decree for his ejectment. (The permission of the District Magistrate will not be necessary if the 'tenant-in-chief is not in occupation). He cannot infringe the rights of the tenants in this fashion by first depressing their status to that of sub-tenants by a transaction made behind their backs and then claiming that their rights as sub-tenants have been extinguished with the ejectment of the so-called tenant-in-chief. In my opinion, the plaintiffs continued to be the tenants of the new owner and no suit could be filed for their ejectment without the permission of the District Magistrate.
3. This appeal is without substance and dismissed with costs.