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Ganga Prasad Vs. Sahdeo Prasad and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 1921 of 1966
Judge
Reported inAIR1973All500
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 1, Rule 13
AppellantGanga Prasad
RespondentSahdeo Prasad and anr.
Appellant AdvocateK.L. Grover, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateK.M. Dayal, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....facts on which such a plea could be established. - - that the suit was bad for non-joinder of girja shankar who was a necessary party. 'whether the tenancy was in the name of the defendant and girja shankar jointly and whether the suit was bad for want of notice to girja shankar. 8. having endorsed the finding of the court below that the tenancy was a joint tenancy of father and son, the question arises whether the suit against ganga prasad alone for his eviction would be competent and non-impleading of girja shankar as defendant would be fatal. there is good authority of this court, that in regard to the service of notice under section 3 (1) (a) of the act the same rule of presumption applied as are applicable to the service of notice under section 106 of the transfer of property..........control of rent and eviction act (hereinafter called the act) was passed in the name of girja shankar, son of ganga prasad, defendant on 16-1-1956. the accommodation let out in pursuance of the allotment order was used by ganga prasad and his son girja shankar as a 'godam'. originally the rent payable for the accommodation to the previous owner bhagwandin was rs. 10/- per mensem but it was increased to rs. 12.75 paisa by the plaintiff, sahdeo. it was alleged by the plaintiff that the defendant ganga prasad who was the tenant, fell in arrears of more than four months; that a notice of demand for payment of arrears within one month of the service thereof and terminating the tenancy given under section 106 of the transfer of property act was served on the defendant; that the.....
Judgment:

K.B. Asthana, J.

1. Ganga Prasad, appellant, appeals from a decree of his eviction from an accommodation in the ground-floor of a tenement in Kanpur City passed by the lower appellate Court after reversing the decree of dismissal of the suit by the Court of first instance. The plaintiff-respondent, Sahdeo, purchased the tenement, of which the accommodation in suit was a part, on 15th March, 1956. The previous owner of the tenement was Bhagwandin. The allotment order under the U. P. (Temporary) Control of Rent and Eviction Act (hereinafter called the Act) was passed in the name of Girja Shankar, son of Ganga Prasad, defendant on 16-1-1956. The accommodation let out in pursuance of the allotment order was used by Ganga Prasad and his son Girja Shankar as a 'Godam'. Originally the rent payable for the accommodation to the previous owner Bhagwandin was Rs. 10/- per mensem but it was increased to Rs. 12.75 Paisa by the plaintiff, Sahdeo. It was alleged by the plaintiff that the defendant Ganga Prasad who was the tenant, fell in arrears of more than four months; that a notice of demand for payment of arrears within one month of the service thereof and terminating the tenancy given under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act was served on the defendant; that the defendant did not paythe arrears of rent due within one month of the service of the notice and did not vacate the premises on expiry of one month of the service of the notice, hence the suit for eviction, arrears of rent and mesne profits.

2. The suit was defended by the defendant, Ganga Prasad, on the plea that he had taken the accommodation on rent from Bhagwandin on a rental of Rs. 10/- per month and that when the plaintiff became the owner by purchase, the rent was increased to Rs. 12.75 Paisa per month; that no notice demanding the arrears of rent and terminating the tenancy was ever served; that the defendant was always willing and ready to pay the rent and the rent personally tendered by him was refused by the plaintiff on some pretext or the other and that the defendant was entitled for reimbursement in respect of the costs incurred by him in repairing the accommodation.

3. The issues arising on the pleadings of the parties were framed by the learned Munsif trying that suit on 8-2-1965. Thereafter on 24-3-1965 the defendant filed an application for amendment of the written statement which was allowed on 3-4-1965. Two further pleas No. 14 (a) and (b) were incorporated in the written statement; that the tenancy was settled with one Ganga Prasad and Girja Shankar members of a joint Hindu family and the plaintiff gave receipts of rent in the name of Girja Shankar and Ganga Prasad; that the suit was bad for non-joinder of Girja Shankar who was a necessary party.

4. Here I may point out that there seems to be some confusion as regards the contents of paragraph 14 (a). In the application for amendment paragraph 14 (a) says that the tenancy was settled with Ganga Prasad and Girja Shankar as joint tenants family, but as incorporated the paragraph reads as stated above. A rejoinder was then filed on behalf of the plaintiff controverting the amended pleas set up in the written statement and it was pleaded that the tenancy was settled with Ganga Prasad and not jointly with Ganga Prasad and Girja Shankar, the latter having nothing to do with the tenancy and Ganga Prasad being the father and senior member of the family looks after the business carried on in the name of Ganga Prasad Girja Shankar. It is he who always paid the rent and is the tenant. Thus Girja Shankar is not a necessary party. Two new issues were added by the trial Court on 8-5-1965 to the effect: 'whether the tenancy was in the name of the defendant and Girja Shankar jointly and whether the suit was bad for want of notice to Girja Shankar.' The Trial Court having found on the evidence on the record that the tenancy was a joint tenancy in the name of the defendant and his son Girja Shankar, the latter was a necessary party, dismissed the suit. However, the trial Court held that the notice of demand of arrears of rent and terminationof tenancy was duly served on Ganga Prasad by refusal of the registered envelope containing the notice, with the result that the trial Court dismissed the suit for eviction but decreed it for recovery of arrears of rent.

5. On appeal by the plaintiff the learned Judge of the lower appellate Court held that the service of notice on Ganga Prasad was sufficient even if the tenancy was a joint tenancy of the father and son relying upon the decision of the Supreme Court in Kanji Manji v. The Trustees of the Port of Bombay, : AIR1963SC468 and it was not necessary for the plaintiff to serve a separate notice on Girja Shankar. For the same reason the lower appellate Court held that Girja Shankar was not a necessary party. The result was that the appeal was allowed and the plaintiff's suit stood decreed for eviction of defendant Ganga Prasad.

6. The main point urged by the learned counsel for the defendant-appellant was that Girja Shankar himself was the real tenant as the allotment order under the Act was passed in his name and the plaintiff not having served any notice of demand for arrears of rent and of termination of tenancy on Girja Shankar, the tenancy of Girja Shankar subsisted, and any decree for eviction of Ganga Prasad being of no use to the plaintiff, the suit was incompetent deserving dismissal for the defect of not impleading the necessary party.

7. I think the defendant-appellant cannot set up a case against his own pleadings. By the amendment of the written statement the defendant set up a specific plea that the tenancy was settled with himself and Girja Shankar who formed a joint family. Even if a typographical mistake crept in the incorporation of the amendment allowed, the plea of the defendant would be that the tenancy was settled with the defendant himself and Girja Shankar who constituted a joint tenancy. In either case the submission made in the Second Appeal that the tenancy was in the name of Girja Shankar alone as he was the allottee under the Act, is quite inconsistent with the defence plea in the written statement. Much emphasis was laid by the learned counsel for the appellant on the allotment order which is exhibited on record. No doubt, it is in the name of Girja Shankar, but considering the relationship between Girja Shankar and Ganga Prasad being son and father and it having been admitted by Ganga Prasad in paragraph 10 of the written statement that the tenancy was settled with him on 16-1-1956 at Rs. 10/- per month and later on the landlord increased the rent to Rs. 12.75 Paisa, it is clear that the allotment order was treated by Ganga Prasad as meant for himself though the name of his son Girja Shankar was entered on it. Nothing therefore turns on the allotment order as such.

It has been held by a Full Bench of this Court in the case of Udhoo Dass v.Prem Prakash : AIR1964All1 that a contract entered into by a landlord with a person on payment of rent by the latter for the purpose of carrying on the business in the accommodation though such accommodation is governed by the Act, is not void. Here the allotment order was in the name of Girja Shankar. No doubt, being in the name of Girja Shankar only, it permitted the landlord to enter into a contract of tenancy with him and if instead of Girja Shankar being on the actual scene, his father Ganga Prasad entered into engagement with the landlord and paid rent to him and used the accommodation as a godown for the benefit of himself and his son Girja Shankar, it would not amount to any breach of provisions of the Act by the landlord. Ganga Prasad was the father of Girja Shankar and there is nothing on record to show that Girja Shankar was a separated son. The receipts of payment of rent were always granted in the name of Ganga Prasad and Girja Shankar. If on this state of facts, the learned Judge of the Court below held that it was a joint tenancy which came into existence in the name of father and son, this finding would be consistent with the plea raised by the defendant himself. It is too late now in second appeal to raise the bogey of a tenancy being in the name of Girja Shankar alone.

8. Having endorsed the finding of the Court below that the tenancy was a joint tenancy of father and son, the question arises whether the suit against Ganga Prasad alone for his eviction would be competent and non-impleading of Girja Shankar as defendant would be fatal. Before I answer this question it is necessary to consider the argument raised that Girja Shankar was entitled to a separate notice even as a joint tenant as the notice issued was one under Section 3 (1) (a) of the Act. Girja Shankar was also entitled to an opportunity to save the tenancy by paying all the arrears within one month of the receipt of the notice. The submission was that the considerations which applied to service of a notice of termination of tenancy under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act to one of the joint tenants, will not apply to a notice of demand of arrears of rent under Section 3 (1) (a) of the Act. Reliance was placed on a decision of learned Single Judge in the case of Balloo Ram v. Chhedi Lal : AIR1960All477 .

In the case cited the learned Judge was considering the question whether service of notice of demand of arrears of rent on an unauthorised person would be service of notice on the tenant On the facts of the case it appears that the notice demanding arrears of rent was received by the minor son of the tenant during the absence of the latter who was out of station on business and when the tenant came back and the notice was handed over to him, he immediately tendered the rent but by that time one month had elapsed from the date of the receipt of the notice by the minor son but was within one month from the date when the notice came actually into the hand of the tenant. It was to repel the argument advanced on behalf of the landlord that the notice was not complied with, that the learned Judge discussed the scope and purpose behind Section 3 (1) (a) and held that the notice of demand on the facts of the case before him would be deemed to have been served on the date when it came into the hands of the tenant on his return from out-station. The decision, therefore, in that case turned on the peculiar facts before the learned Judge. To my mind, it does not lay down any rule of law. Indeed no question here arises as to the scope and purpose behind Section 3 (1) (a) as no doubt has been raised about it. In the instant case, it was a composite notice served on Ganga Prasad. Because he refused to accept the registered envelope containing the notice, the Courts below rightly applied the rule of presumption and held the notice as served. There is good authority of this Court, that in regard to the service of notice under Section 3 (1) (a) of the Act the same rule of presumption applied as are applicable to the service of notice under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act. Had the matter been res integra, I would have always held that rule of presumption based on refusal of a registered cover ought not to be extended to a notice under Section 3 (1) (a) of the Act as Section 24 of the General Clauses Act in terms would not apply.

However, I am bound by the Division Bench decisions of this Court and the question is no longer open. It is only another step then to extend the rule of law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of : AIR1963SC468 (supra) that the service of notice of demand of arrears of rent under Section 3 (1) (a) of the Act on one of the joint tenants would be sufficient compliance with law and will bind all the other joint tenants. However, on the facts of the case I need not go even so far as Ganga Prasad is the father of Girja Shankar and it has come in evidence that he used to pay the rent and similarly Girja Shankar also used to pay the rent and the receipt was always granted in the name of Ganga Prasad and Girja Shankar. Ganga Prasad having admitted in his evidence that he had entered into the engagement with the landlord though the tenancy was taken in his name as well as in the name of his son and that he had paid the rent, no prejudice has been caused to Girja Shankar if he were fixed with the knowledge that the landlord had demanded arrears of rent and it is difficult then to agree with the argument raised that he has not been afforded an opportunity to save the tenancy. It was open to Girja Shankar always to go and pay up the arrears as it has come in evidence that the plaintiff landlordhad previously accepted the rent paid by Girja Shankar.

9. Reverting then to the question whether Girja Shankar was a necessary party, the learned counsel for the appellant submitted that Girja Shankar had an interest in the tenancy as a joint tenant and a decree for eviction against Ganga Prasad alone will be of no benefit, hence a decree against Ganga Prasad alone would be a useless and futile decree. The submission seemingly appears to be full of plausibility and tenability. However, it does not appeal to me for the reasons discussed below. Firstly, the relationship between the parties again comes to force. From the evidence on record and the pleas raised by the defendant Ganga Prasad himself, it appears that Girja Shankar is nothing but the alter ego of defendant Ganga Prasad. For all practical purposes two are one and in so far as the tenancy was concerned, they are not two distinct persons having separate and distinct legal rights. Secondly in his original written statement Ganga Prasad had set up a case that he was the tenant of the accommodation carrying on business therein and his tenancy started on the basis of an allotment order dated 16-1-1956. Though the finding has been recorded by the Court below that the tenancy was joint of father and son, and I am bound by it in second appeal, but so far as the question of non-impleading of necessary parties is concerned, it does not lie in the mouth of Ganga Prasad to raise such a plea when he himself came to the Court with the case that he was the actual allottee and the contract of tenancy was entered by the landlord with him. Thirdly, it appears to be an afterthought when by amendment a plea was raised that the tenancy was joint of father and son and that afforded an opportunity to raise the further plea that the suit was bad for non-joinder of necessary party. The amendment which has been incorporated in paragraph 14, further creates a complication for the defendant. As it stands, the case of the defendant is that the tenancy was settled between the landlord on one side and the father and son on the other but the father and son constituted a joint family. In that view of the matter Girja Shankar could only at best claim to be a proper party but not a necessary party as the father, head of the family, has been impleaded. Fourthly, there is much force in the submission put forward on behalf of the plaintiff-respondent that such a plea as non-joinder of the necessary party ought to have been raised at the earliest stage and at any rate, on the date of the settlement of the issues. Rule 13 of Order 1 of Civil P. C. barred the raising of this plea after the settlement of the issues. From the dates of the various events which I have mentioned above, it is obvious that no such plea was indicated either in the written statement or in any separate application on behalf of the defendants prior to8-2-1965, the date on which the issues were settled. Unless a plea was raised as to how Girja Shankar was interested and the necessary facts pleaded, it would not have been possible for the Court to decide the question whether Girja Shankar was a necessary party.

The question whether it is necessary to implead a party, more often than not, will be a question of fact, and not a question of law, unless some provision of law is relied upon which expressly lays down or expressly specifies as to who will be a party to a suit. Here is not a case of that kind. It was necessary, therefore, for the defendant to place before the Court the data for raising plea that Girja Shankar was a necessary party. The purpose and the object behind Rule 13 of Order 1 is that such data should be placed before the Court at the earliest so that the defect in the suit may be cured before the plaintiff has incurred further expenses and the time of the Court has been spent on the proceedings in the suit. That is why Rule 13 says that if the defendant does not raise such a plea at the earliest and, at any rate, up to the time of the settlement of the issues, he would be deemed to have waived the plea as by that date sufficient time of the Court and money of the parties has already been spent. I do not find anything in the language of Rule 13 of Order 1 that it will not apply in the case of a person or body of persons who are to be impleaded as necessary party to a suit.

10. The learned counsel for the appellant In this connection referred to a Full Bench decision of the Assam High Court in the case of Chandra Mohan Sana v. Union of India, (AIR 1953 Assam 193) (FB) and a Full Bench decision of this Court on the old Civil Procedure Code in Mata Din Kashodhan v. Kazim Husain, (1891) ILR 13 All 432 (FB). In so far as the Allahabad case is concerned, I do not think the observations at page 465 relied upon by the learned counsel are the ratio decidendi. They appear to me mere obiter. Though the language of the old Sections 32 and 34 of the Civil P. C. may not be in pari materia with the language of Rule 10 and Rule 13 of Order 1 of the Civil P. C., but they basically appear to be similar. At page 465 the learned Judges observed that as Section 85 of the Transfer of Property Act now repealed, laid down that every person interested in the mortgage security must be made a party and as they were dealing with a case of a mortgage, they observed that the suit of the plaintiff was liable even to be dismissed as one Mata Prasad, the subsequent mortgagee who was interested in the mortgage security, was not made a party to the suit. The facts in that case illustrate a principle which would not be applicable to the facts before me in the instant case. In the Full Bench case of Matadin on the very facts pleaded it was clear and obvious without anyfurther proof of pleading that Mata Prasad was subsequent mortgagee. Thus on the record there was already a plea on the basis of which an inference would be drawn that Mata Prasad was a necessary party. The question, therefore, of raising such a plea after the first date of hearing did not actually arise. What was enforced there by the Full Bench was the provisions of repealed Section 85 of the Transfer of Property Act as they stood then.

In the Full Bench case of AIR 1953 Assam 193 (FB) (supra) in paragraph 7 of the report at page 194 the learned Chief Justice seems to have observed that Rule 13 of Order 1, Civil P. C., however, has no application to the case, and the suit in such cases is inherently defective, but has taken a caution that such a point can be taken at any stage provided no new facts have to be alleged or proved. The principle of law which emerges from what the learned Chief Justice observed is that where on the facts of a case without bringing any further facts it appears that a necessary party has not been impleaded, the Court can always refuse to grant a decree. It is well-recognised principle that a Court will not grant a decree which is useless or futile. Such a principle has nothing to do with the rule of procedure enshrined in Order 1 of the Civil P. C. It is always open to a Court to refuse to grant a decree and declare the suit incompetent if it finds on the established facts of a case that a decree granted by it would be utterly futile and useless. The real question that arises is where a plea of non-joinder of necessary party before it can be enforced, requires proof of certain facts on the evidence on record, then not raising it at the earliest stage, as indicated by Rule 13 of Order 1, would amount to waiver of pleading the facts on which such a plea could be established. I am, therefore, unable to agree with the learned counsel for the defendant appellant that the plea that Girja Shanker was a necessary party and the failure of the plaintiff to implead him as defendant is fatal, could be raised at any stage of the proceedings and Rule 13 of Order 1 was not applicable.

11. No other point has been urged. For the reasons given above, I do not find any force in this appeal and dismiss it with costs.


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