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israr Ahmad and anr. Vs. Sant Ram - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 2345 of 1969
Judge
Reported inAIR1971All559
ActsUttar Pradesh (Temporary) Control of Rent and Eviction Act, 1947 - Sections 3(1) and 7C(6)
Appellantisrar Ahmad and anr.
RespondentSant Ram
Appellant AdvocateH.S. Nigam, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateBhuneshwar Prasad and ;K.C. Agarwal, Advs.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....payable by the lessee to the lessor periodically - arrears of rent deposited after one month of demand notice - notice deemed ineffective and as inconsequential as the one given by a landlord to tenant who factually does not owe any arrears of rent to the landlord. - - but before the said order was passed under section 7-c, the suit giving rise to this appeal was instituted by the landlord on 31-1-1968. it was alleged that the defendants having failed to comply with the notice of demand served upon them in june 1967, became defaulters and their tenancy having been terminated by notice under section 106 of the transfer of property act, they were liable to be evicted having refused to vacate the house as required by the notice. 105/-.in the circumstances, it could not be said that the..........month but the language of the subsection says that it shall be deemed that the rent has been duly paid. rent as defined under section 105 of the transfer of property act would be the money payable by the lessee to the lessor periodically. taking the fiction to its logical conclusion and not allowing the imagination to boggle, i think, the learned counsel for the appellantsis on strong ground when he submits that the court will have to hold on the basis of the fiction imported in the language of the sub-section that the landlord received the rent, that is the money periodically, in the instant case every month as that would be due payment of the rent. the learned counsel then further submits that if the rent has been duly paid every month during the period from 1st september 1965 upto.....
Judgment:

K.B. Asthana, J.

1. This is a defendants-tenants appeal from the judgment and decree of the learned Civil Judge of Saharanpur evicting them from a house and for recovery from them the arrears of rent and damages. Admittedly, the defendants-appellants are the tenants of the plaintiff-respondent in a house situate in the city of Saharanpur on a monthly rental of Rs. 5/-. The defendant did not pay any rent after September, 1965. The landlord sent a notice dated 23-6-1967 served on the tenants on 24-6-1967 demanding the arrears of rent from September, 1965 up-to-date. The tenants sent the rent due by a money order but deducted from it a small sum as money order commission. The landlord refused to accept the money order as the amount tendered was not sufficient to satisfy the arrears of rent due. The landlord then caused another notice dated 21-8-1967 to be served on the tenants which was received by them on 22-8-1967. The said notice stated that' they having not complied with the previous notice of demand served in June, 1967 they have become defaulters liable to ejectment, hence the tenancy was terminated and they should vacate the house on the expiry of thirty days of the receipt of the notice. It was also mentioned in the said notice that the arrears of rent due should also be paid.

On 31-8-1967 the tenants sent the entire amount of arrears by money order. It was refused by the landlord on 13-9-1967. The tenants then made an application on 18-9-1967 under Section 7-C of the U. P. Act in of 1947 (hereinafter called the Act) in the court of the Munsif and deposited the amount of arrears of rent up-to-date on 18-9-1967. After due notice to the landlord the learned Munsif by his order dated 10-2-1968 confirmed the deposit under Section 7-C of the Act. But before the said order was passed under Section 7-C, the suit giving rise to this appeal was instituted by the landlord on 31-1-1968. It was alleged that the defendants having failed to comply with the notice of demand served upon them in June 1967, became defaulters and their tenancy having been terminated by notice under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act, they were liable to be evicted having refused to vacate the house as required by the notice. The arrears of rent from 1-9-1965 to 22-9-1967 were claimed. Damages for use and occupation were also claimed.

2. The defence in the main was that the tenants were not in default inasmuch as they had complied with the notice of demand by tendering the arrears by money order which was refused and then by depositing the same under Section 7-C of the Act. It was pleaded that the notice of demand dated 23-6-1967 stood waived by the subsequent notice dated 21-8-1967. The learned Munsif repelled the plea of waiver on the ground that subsequent notice dated 21-8-1967 was not a notice of demand under Section 3 (1) (a) of U. P. Act III of 1947 but was merely a notice for terminating the tenancy under Section 106 of T. P. Act and the earlier notice of demand dated 23-6-1967 which was a notice of demand of arrears having remained uncomplied, the defendants became defaulters and any deposit made by them under Section 7-C of the Act more than one month after the receipt of the said notice by the defendants would not enureto their benefit. The suit was decreed for eviction, arrears of rent and damages.

3. On appeal the learned Civil Judge confirmed the view taken by the learned Munsif and dismissed the appeal.

4. The learned counsel for the defendants-appellants raised the following contentions in support of the appeal:--

(1) That the notice of demand dated 23-6-1967 stood waived by a subsequent notice of demand dated 21-8-67 and the court below erred in holding that the subsequent notice dated 21-8-67 was a mere notice terminating the tenancy and not a notice for demand of arrears of rent.

(2) That on the facts proved the said notice of 23-6-67 was complied with.

(3) Assuming that the earlier notice dated 23-6-67 did not stand waived even then the deposit made by the defendants during the subsistency of tenancy under Section 7-C of the Act would by virtue of Sub-section (6) of Section 7-C of the Act has the effect of annulling the earlier notice as the rent would be deemed to have been duly paid for all the months prior to June, 1967 and on the date when that notice was given, in law there was no arrears of rent at all due from the defendants.

5. The notice dated 23-6-67 demands an amount of Rs. 105/- as the rent due from 1st September, 1965 and asks the tenants to pay the amounts within fifteen days from the receipt of the notice. According to the recent decision of this Court, such a notice would be a valid notice of demand of arrears of rent though it gave only fifteen days' time. It is proved on the evidence on record that the money order of Rs. 103-35 paisa was sent to the landlord within fifteen days but the landlord refused to accept the money order. It was returned to the tenants. It was argued on behalf of the tenants-appellants that the deduction of the money order commission was a bona fide act on the part of the tenants and there has always been an intention to pay the arrears of Rs. 105/-. In the circumstances, it could not be said that the tenants failed to pay the arrears within one month of the receipt of the notice. Since the defendants had not set up a case that in compliance with the said notice they intended to pay the arrears in instalments, it cannot be said that when sending Rs. 103-35 Faisa by money order, they intended later on to make up the balance of Rs. 1-65 Paisa within the period of one month. But, however, if that were the only argument available in favour of the defendants appellants, I would have further examined this contention. Had there been some evidence that the tender of the full amount of Rs. 105/- in cash when offered to the plaintiff by the defendants face to face was refused, some justification would have been pleaded for sending the sum of Rs. 103-35 Paisa in full payment of the arrears after deducting the money order commission. No such evidence is on record. Thus the money order sent for Rs. 103-35 Paisa and refused by the landlord would not amount to compliance of the notice.

6. The next question that arises for consideration is whether by the subsequent notice dated 21-8-1967 the earlier notice of demand dated 23-6-1967 stood waived. The learned Judge of the lower appellate Court seems to have taken the view that there being no statutory provision or law providing for waiver of notice under Section 3 (1) (a) of U. P. Act III of 1947 like the one under the Transfer of Property Act, a notice for demand of arrears of rent, as a matter of law, could never stand waived. I think the learned Judge was in error in taking such a view. The doctrine of waiver, a part of the general doctrine of estoppel, is of general application. It is not necessary that there must be a statutory provision for the applicability of the doctrine of waiver or what can be described as estoppel by waiver. I have already observed above that the earlier notice dated 23-6-1967 was a notice for demand of arrears. Left to myself I would hold that the subsequent notice dated 21-8-1967 is also a notice for demand of arrears of rent as contemplated by Section 3 (1) (a) of the Act.

After reciting the previous history and reiteration by the landlord of the failure of the tenants to comply with the earlier notice of demand dated 23-6-1967 and chastising the tenants as defaulter, the landlord proceeds to terminate the tenancy and asks the tenants to vacate the accommodation on the expiry of one month from the receipt of the notice. At the end there is a sentence which translated in English runs as follows:--

'Whatever rent is due on you that also be paid.'

There is no doubt that on the authority of the decided cases of this Court this would be a language of demand. The provisions of the Act do not provide for any particular form in which a demand to comply with the provisions of Section 3 (1) (a) has to be made. However, learned counsel for the plaintiff-respondent strongly relied on a Division Bench decision of this Court in the case of B. C. Saxena v. S. C. Verma, 1960 All LJ 70 in which under similar circumstances as found in the instant case, the subsequent notice which was one for termination also contained a demand for payment of the arrears due was construed as merely a notice terminating the tenancy under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act and not a notice of demand under Section 3 (1) (a) of the Act.

It was also held that since it was not stated in the subsequent notice that if the rent due was paid within one month of the receipt thereof, the landlord will not file a suit for eviction of the tenant the subsequent notice would not have the effect of waiving the earlier notice of demand. With great respect to the learned Judges who decided the case of 1960 All LJ 70 (supra) I fail to appreciate the reasoning or the logic for I find it somewhat contradictory. However, since I am not deciding the case on the argument of the appellants' learned counsel that the subsequent notice waived the earlier notice of demand, I need not refer the case for consideration by a larger Bench. For the purpose of this case I proceed on the basis that the subsequent notice Was a mere notice terminating the tenancy and not being a notice of demand would not have the effect of waiving the earlier notice.

7. Now coming to the third point raised by the learned counsel for the defendants-appellants indicated above, it becomes necessary to examine the scheme of Section 7-C of the Act, but before I do that I must clear the factual position. The subsequent notice dated 21-8-1967 would effectively terminate the tenancy of the defendants on 22-9-1967. Thus up to 22-9-1967 the relationship of landlord and tenants subsisted between the parties. When on 13-9-1967 the defendants remitted the whole of the amount of rent due up to that date by a money order they were the tenants of the plaintiff. The plaintiff refused to accept the money order tendered on 13-9-1967. On that date the plaintiff was the landlord of the defendants. Again on 18-9-1967 when the defendants approached the court of the Munsif and filed an application under Section 7-C of the Act and made the deposit of all the rent due in the court they were the tenants of the plaintiff.

The deposit was subsequently accepted by the court after notice to the plaintiff landlord on the finding that the plaintiff as landlord had refused to accept the rent lawfully paid to him by the tenants in respect of the house let out. In view of the Full Bench decision of this Court in the case of Mohd. Bashir v. Azizul Qadir, 1966 All LJ 677 = (AIR 1967 All 1 (FB)) the deposit made on 18-9-1967 in the court of the Munsif would amount to the rent being duly paid on that date, though the order of confirmation was passed by the learned Munsif on 10-2-1968. On 18-9-1967 the relationship of landlord and tenant subsisted between the parties. The argument of the learned counsel for the appellants was that once the deposit was accepted on 18-9-1967 the fiction under Sub-section (6) of Section 7-C of the Act will become operative and giving that fiction its full effect by taking it to its logical conclusion it must be held that even in June 1967 when the notice for demand of arrears was given on 23-6-1967 there was no arrears of rent due from the defendants tenants inasmuch as the rent of those months would be deemed to have been duly paid by the tenants to the landlord.

7A. Learned counsel emphasized the words 'duly paid' used in the Sub-section. He submitted the words 'duly paid' mean paid in accordance with the terms of the contract of tenancy. Rent, according to the learned counsel, would be the money payable periodically to the lessor by the lessee and in the instant case the tenancy being a monthly tenancy the money representing the rent was payable every month. Hence such, rent would be duly paid, when paid every month, that is, periodically under the terms of the contract of tenancy. In this connection a reference was made to the case of State of Bombay v. Pandurang,' AIR 1953 SC 244, in which the Supreme Court had occasion to lay down the rule of interpretation of 'deeming provisions' in a Statute. It was held that when a Statute enacts that something shall be deemed to have been done, which in fact and truth was not done, the court is entitled and bound to ascertain for what purposes and between what persons the. statutory fiction is to be resorted to and full effect must be given to the statutory fiction and it should be carried to its logical conclusion.

In the body of the judgment reported at page 246 the learned Judges of the Supreme Court approved the observation of Lord Asquith in the case of East End Dwellings Co. Ltd. v. Finsbury Borough Council, 1952 AC 109 CB, which can profitably be quoted by me:

'If you are bidden to treat an imaginary state of affairs as real, you must surely, unless prohibited from doing so, also imagine as real the consequences and incidents which, if the putative state of affairs had in fact existed, must inevitably have flowed from or accompanied it..........The Statute says that you must imagine a certain state of affairs; it does not say that having done so, you must cause or permit your imagination to boggle when it comes to the inevitable corollaries of that state of affairs.'

8. The question thus posed is that when Sub-section (6) of Section 7-C of the Act says: 'In any case where a deposit has been made, as aforesaid it shall be deemed that the rent has been duly paid by the tenant to the landlord', will the deposit made in accordance with other provisions of Section 7-C amount to the rent as having been received by the landlord at the due time each month during the period for which the deposit was made? In fact and in truth the rent was not paid by the tenant each month but the language of the subsection says that it shall be deemed that the rent has been duly paid. Rent as defined under Section 105 of the Transfer of Property Act would be the money payable by the lessee to the lessor periodically. Taking the fiction to its logical conclusion and not allowing the imagination to boggle, I think, the learned counsel for the appellantsis on strong ground when he submits that the court will have to hold on the basis of the fiction imported in the language of the sub-section that the landlord received the rent, that is the money periodically, in the instant case every month as that would be due payment of the rent. The learned counsel then further submits that if the rent has been duly paid every month during the period from 1st September 1965 upto the date of deposit under Section 7-C on 18-9-1967 and the putative state of affairs is the real state of affairs, then it would inevitably flow from it that there was no arrears of rent at any time.

This was countered by the learned counsel for the respondent by relying on Full Bench decision of 1966 All LJ 677 = (AIR 1967 All 1 (FB)) (supra) and submitting that the effect of Sub-section (6) of Section 7-C is only this that all the rent would be deemed to have been duly paid on 18-9-1967 and the fiction does not allow it to be imagined that the rent was paid on any date prior to 18-9-1967. I do not think the decision of the Full Bench limits the effect of the fiction in the manner as submitted by the learned counsel for the respondent. The Full Bench had no occasion to deal with the problem which arises in this case. For the purposes of the Full Bench it was sufficient to hold that the date of deposit of the arrears due in the proceedings under Section 7-C of the Act would be deemed to be the date on which the rent was duly paid to the landlord. The learned Judges were not called upon in that case to interpret the full effect of the words: 'it shall be deemed that rent has been duly paid', that is to say, the learned Judges in the Full Bench were not concerned with the inevitable corollaries of the fiction.

9. The learned counsel for the respondent strenuously argued that if such an interpretation was given to the fiction implied in Sub-section (6) of Section 7-C then it would be always open to the tenant to make a deposit in court under Section 7-C even after the expiry of one month of the receipt of notice of demand and once such a deposit was confirmed then he will escape the consequences of Section 3 of the Act. Thus the law would be defeated. This line of argument does not appeal to me. I do not think any such contingency can arise, as I think under the scheme of Section 7-C the landlord can always interfere on notice being given to him and raising an objection. I do not see any justification for a landlord to sit quiet for months together after a notice of demand for arrears of rent served by him has remained uncomplied and file a suit long after terminating the tenancy and then rely upon the long forgotten lapse of the tenant to escape the bar of Section 3 of the Act. I think the interpretation put by me is more consistent with the object of the Act which aims at affording protection to the tenant. It is inherent in the interpretation sought to be put by the learned counsel for the respondent that a landlord can always press into service a lapse on the part of the tenant in the years past arising out of non-compliance of a notice under Section 3 (1) (a) served on the tenant once upon a time.

I think so long as the tenancy subsists, that is, the contractual relationship of the lessor and lessee continues and the proceedings take place under Section 7-C of the Act and deposits are duly made in Court the landlord cannot escape from the consequences of the fiction imported by the language of Sub-section (6) of Section 7-C of the Act. Any previous notice given by him demanding arrears of rent, though it may have remained uncomplied would automatically fall and it would be treated in the same manner as the one given by a landlord to a tenant when at the time the notice was issued in fact there was no arrears of rent due from the tenant. The fiction under Sub-section (6) of Section 7-C of the Act places the tenant in the position of a tenant who factually was never in arrears on the date when the notice of demand of arrears of rent was served upon him by his landlord. Learned counsel for the respondent conceded that if in a suit for eviction of a tenant it were proved that the tenant was not in arrears of rent and nothing was due from him on the date when the notice of demand of arrears of rent alleged by the landlord was served upon him and remained uncomplied the suit would fail as barred by Section 3 of the Act. I am, therefore, inclined to accept the contention that the effect of the deposit of all the arrears of rent due from the tenant under Section 7-C of the Act was that the earlier notice of demand dated 23-6-1967 was rendered as ineffective and as inconsequential as the one given by a landlord to a tenant who factually does not owe any arrears of rent to the landlord.

10. It follows from what I have held above that by fiction of law there being no arrears of rent due from the defendant the Court below was in error in passing a decree for recovery of arrears of rent. It is always open to the plaintiff landlord to withdraw the amount deposited in the court of Munsif under Section 7-C of the Act. The Court in this suit could not have passed a decree for recovery of arrears of rent as in law there was no arrears of rent due on the date of the suit.

11. For the reasons given above, I allow this appeal, set aside the judgment and decree of the Court below and dismiss the plaintiff's suit with costs.


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