1. Kundan Lal and Rattan Chand respondents are the owner landlords of the shop in dispute situated in Gobar Mandi near Main Gate, Ferozepur City, which was let out to Maghi Mal Petitioner in 1954 at Rs. 12 Per month. In January 1974 the respondents filed an ejectment petition against the petitioners on the grounds of non payment of rent and house tax with effect from September 25. 1973. and that Maghi Mal petitioner having sublet the premises to Sohan Lal and Khushi Ram petitioners Nos. 2 and 3 without the written consent of the landlords. The ejectment was also sought on the ground that the shop being very old was likely to collapse at any time.
2. The arrears of rent and house tax were tendered by the petitioners but were not accepted by the respondents. Their counsel made the following statements:
'I am not prepared to accent the tender made by the respondent's counsel on behalf of all respondents respondent No. 2 is also present today. This fact may be noted. The reasons for my non-accepting of the tender are that respondents Nos. 2 and 3 are sub-tenants and otherwise too the tender is not valid and proper one.'
3. In the written statement filed by the petitioner it was averred that the shop had been rented out to the firm Messrs Maghi Mal Hans Raj and the petitioners are its partners. It was denied that the shop was old or it was likely to collapse at any time.
4. The Rent Controller. framed the following issues:
'1. Whether the tender made by the respondents (now petitioners) is valid?
2. Whether the disputed shop was rented out to Maghi Mal in his individual capacity?
3A. Whether the respondents Sohan Lal and Khushi Ram are the partners of the firm M/s. Maghi Mal Hans Raj? If so its effect?
3. Whether the respondent Maghi Mal has sublet the disputed Shop to Sohan Lal and Khushi Ram?
4. Whether the Petition is had for non joinder of firm Messrs Maghi Mal Hans Raj?
5. Whether the respondents have impaired the utility and value of the disputed premises?
6. Whether the: respondents are liable to ejectment on the rounds alleged by the petitioners?
The Rent controller hem that to star with the shop was let out to Maghi Mal. The petitioners entered into partnership in 1958. The petitioners, other than Maghi Mal as partners of the said firm are carrying on business in the shop in dispute. Petitioners Nos. 2 and 3 are not sub-tenants under petitioner No. 1. The tinder of rent made was valid and the shop was not proved to be in dangerous and dilapidated condition. The Rent Controller vide order dated November 25, 1975. dismissed the ejectment petition of the respondents. The respondents filed an appeal and the Appellate Authority vide order dated November 1, 1976. maintained the finding, of the Rent Controller that the shop was not in dangerous or dilapidated condition and petitioners Nos. 2 and 3 are not the sub-tenants. The Appellate Authority however held that the tender of rent was invalid inasmuch as it was made on behalf of the petitioners and was not made on behalf of Maghi Mal petitioner alone. The petitioners were consequent1y ordered to be elected. It is against this order that the present revision is directed.
5. It is not disputed that the shod was let out to Maghi Mal in June. 1954 and the firm Messrs Maghi Mal Hans Raj was formed in 1958. It is also not disputed that the petitioners are the partner of this firm.
6. The contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners is that the rent from the year 1960 onwards was shown, to have been paid in the account books of the firm and many of such entries from 1960 onward, were signed either by Durga Dass father of the respondents or, Kundan Lal respondent Durga Dass died sometime in 1966 Durga Dass and Kundan Lal having accepted the rent of the shop in dispute from the firm accepted it and or its partners (petitioners) as tenants. The arrears of rent ark house tax tendered to behalf of the Petitioners therefore cannot be treated an invalid.
7. Kundan Lal respondent appeared as a witness and stated that during the lifetime of his father Durga Dass, Maghi Mal petitioner took the shod in dispute on rent after the Basakhi of 1954. He has always been seeing Sohan Lal petitioner working at the shod. The rent was sways paid by Sohan Lal. Khushi Ram petitioner also sits at the shop and he works, as Weighman Sohan Lal and Khushi Ram petitioners close the shop and he has never seen Maghi Mal working there. Sohan Lal and Khushi Ram represented that they were working as Munim and Weighman respectively, of Maghi Mal before the ejectment petition was filed. He learnt that Sohan Lal was not the Munim but was the occupant of the shop. He does not know Landa script. He has been accepting rent on the understanding that it was paid by Maghi Mal. In his cross-examination he stated that his father died in 1966. He used to sign the entries in the Bahis in token of receipt, of rent. He denied that he had been receiving rent from the firm Maghi Mal Hans Raj and had also been signing the entries in the account-book of that firm. He added that he had been receiving rent from Maghi Mal as an individual and had been signing the receipts in the account-books. The account-books in which he put his signatures did not belong to the firm.
8. The main stress of the learned counsel for the petitioners is that the entries in the account books of the firm from 1960 onwards were signed either by Durga Dass or Kundan Lal respondents. The argument proceeds that no form of consent in writing of the landlord in terms of Section 2(i) of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act. 1949 (hereafter the Act) is prescribed. Durga Dass and Kundan Lal respondents accorded consent in writing in terms and Section 2(i) of the Act qua Sohan Lal and Khushi Ram petitioners by signing entries in the account-books of the firm relating to the payment of the rent of the shop in dispute. Sohan Lal and Khushi Ram therefore shall be treated as tenants of the shop from 1960 onwards. The arrears of rent tendered on the first date, of hearing on behave of the petitioners cannot be treated as invalid. Reliance has been placed on the decision in Chiranji Lal v. Smt. Bhagwanti (Civil Revn. No. 63 of 1961) decided on 11-7-1961 (Punj) wherein it has been held:
'The previous consent was derived from a receipt. Exhibit R-1/A. which was signed by the landlord on June 11. 1956. This receipt recounts the fact the a sum of Rs. 900 on account of a year's rent for the period commencing April 1. 1956. was being paid by Hira Lal who had taken it from Charanji Lal and Panna Lal. The oral evidence is that Charnji Lal and Panna Lal have throughout been in possession of the premises which are situated on the ground-floor the-landlord is in occupation of the first-floor and. therefore he had full knowledge of the fact that Charanji Lal and Panna Lal were occupying the premises on the ground-floor and not the original tenant Hira Lal. There is no specified phraseology prescribed for the consent m without of the landlord. His consent may be derived.from any writing provided it in unequivocal. In the permit cam if it is usurped indeed it must be. that the landlord knew who was in occupation of the orneriness and he received the rent from Hira Lal. who had taken it in his presence from, the actual occupants and While issuing a recent for this Payment he mentioned this fact in the recent. then surely it must be held proved that 'he was giving hi,; consent. in writing to the factotum of the sub-tenancy,: no other conclusion in permissible from, this circumstance and unless it is to he assumed that the landlord was deliberately adopting evasive tactics it must be found as proved that the sustenance was with the previous permission in writing of the landlord. and that being so the landlord is not entitled to an order of ejectment.'
9. It is clear that the ratio of the decision in Chiranj Lal's case (supra)cannot he justifiably applied in the instant case. Durga Dass and Kundan Lal did sign the entries in the account-books of the firm regarding the receipt of rent. They did not make a specific mention that they were receiving the rent from the firm Kundan Lal has rather Mated that he has been receiving rent from Maghi Mal. He has also stated that the entries in the account-books were in Landa script and he did not know it. Under these circumstances it is difficult to infer that Durga Dass or. Kundan Lal had unequivocally given consent in writing in terms of Section 2 (i) of the Act qua Sohan Lal and Khusi Ram. It hag, therefore, been rightly held by the Appellate Authority,that Sohan Lal and Khushi Ram were in occupation of the shop as partners of the firm and not otherwise.
10. The arrears of rent were tendered an behalf of the petitioner. Sohan Lal and Khushi Ram petitioners did not become tenants of the shop by entering into partnership with Maghi Mal, to whom the shop had been let out. The arrears of rent were therefore tendered in Court by Maghi Mal tenant and others who were not tenants. The Appellate Court has rightly found that the tender thus made was invalid.
11. The learned counsel for the petitioners has argued that the tender was not accepted by the learned counsel for the respondent on the ground that Sohan Lal and Khushi Ram were subtenants. In view of the finding of the Appellate Court that they were not suit tenants under Maghi Mal and that the were in fact partners of the firm, the tender could not be held invalid on the ground that it had not been made exclusively by the tenant. This contention is also without merit. The tender arrears of rent was refused the ground that it had also been made by Sohan Lal and Khushi Ram petitioner who were sub-tenant and otherwise too the tender is not valid and proper. It is thus clear that the tender was no refused exclusively on the around the Sohan Lal and Khushi Ram were subtenants. This apart the tender mad was refused because it had been made on behalf of Sohan Lal Khushi Ram petitioners as well. The Appellate Authority has rightly held that the tender having been made on their behalf is invalid inasmuch as they are neither tenants nor sub-tenants with the permission of the landlord.
12. In the result the revision fails and is dismissed with no order as to costs. The Petitioners are allowed three months' time to vacate the premises in dispute.
13. Petition dismissed.