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Jagat Taran Berry Vs. Sardar Sant Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 92 of 1977
Judge
Reported inAIR1980Delhi7; 16(1979)DLT124; 1979RLR547
ActsDelhi Rent Control Act, 1958; Transfer of Property Act, 1882 - Sections 106
AppellantJagat Taran Berry
RespondentSardar Sant Singh
Advocates: R.L. Tandon,; Harsh Arora and; H.S. Wadhwa, Advs
Cases ReferredKrishna Das Nandy v. Bidhau Chandra Roy
Excerpt:
.....- sections 106 & 107--a lease for agricultural or manufacturing purposes not created by a registered instrument--whether section 106 or section 107 of the transfer of property act (1882) would prevail.; in the instant case, the lesser gave a notice of 15 days to quit. the tenant contended that as the lease was for 'manufacturing purposes'. section 106 of the transfer of property act, 1882 applied, and consequently the notice ought to have been for six months. no written lease deed was executed by the parties and the rent was paid month by month by the tenant. an order for recovery of possession made by the additional rent controller was confirmed by the rent control tribunal and hence the present appeal.; 1. the notice to quit of 15 days was valid because the 'deeming' part of..........of immovable 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.'the remaining classes of leases are governed by the second paragraph. it says: 'all other leases of immovable property may be made either by a registered instrument or by oral agreement accompanied by delivery of possession.'the third paragraph is not relevant to the present question. nor is the proviso which follows. (5) now the point to observe is that a lease falls under the first or second paragraph depending on its duration. the purpose for which the lease is granted is wholly immaterial under this section. thus, for example, a lease granted for a manufacturing purpose can be made only by 'registered instrument' if its duration.....
Judgment:

T.P.S. Chawla, J.

(1) This second appeal under the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958 raises an intricate question as to the validity of a notice to quit. An order for recovery of possession has been made by the Additional Rent Controller and confirmed by the Rent Control Tribunal. The notice to quit was of 15 days. The tenant contends that as the lease was for 'manufacturing purposes' the notice ought to have been of six months. There was no written lease deed executed by the parties; at least, none has been brought on record.

(2) The only other fact that need be mentioned is that for the few months that rent was paid, the payments were monthly. This is proved by the counterfoil of a receipt signed by the tenant. It shows that Rs. 400 was paid as rent for November, 1966. Admittedly, nothing was paid thereafter. The order for recovery of possession was sought and obtained on the ground that arrears of rent had not been paid since 1st December, 1966. In the course of the proceedings before the Additional Rent Controller, the defense of the tenant was struck out as he did not deposit the arrears of rent pursuant to an order under section 15(1) of the Act. That is why no argument has been advanced on the merits, and only the validity of the notice to quit has been questioned.

(3) The orders made below are not concurrent as to whether the lease was for a manufacturing purpose. The Additional Rent Controller held that such a purpose was neither alleged nor proved. But, the Rent Control Tribunal seems to have inferred that the premises were let for a manufacturing purpose from the fact that they were so used. Without so deciding, I will proceed on the assumption that the lease was for a manufacturing purpose. The problem is to reconcile section 106 and section 107 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882. Logically, section 107 should be read first because it states how leases are made, whereas section 106 prescribes by fiction the duration of various kinds of leases In the absence of a contract or local law or usage to the contrary'.

(4) Each paragraph of section 107 yields a distinct proposition. The first paragraph says that :

'Alease of immovable 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.'

The remaining classes of leases are governed by the second paragraph. It says:

'ALL other leases of immovable property may be made either by a registered instrument or by oral agreement accompanied by delivery of possession.'

The third paragraph is not relevant to the present question. Nor is the proviso which follows.

(5) Now the point to observe is that a lease falls under the first or second paragraph depending on its duration. The purpose for which the lease is granted is wholly immaterial under this section. Thus, for example, a lease granted for a manufacturing purpose can be made only by 'registered instrument' if its duration is that stated in the first paragraph. But, a lease for the same purpose of a Lesser duration can, under the second paragraph, be made 'either by a registered instrument or by oral agreement accompanied by delivery of possession'. I now turn to section 106. Its relevant part reads as follows :

In the absence of a contract or local law or usage to the contrary, a lease of immovable property for agricultural or manufacturing purposes shall be deemed to be a lease from year to year, terminable on the pan of either Lesser or lessee, by six months notice expiring with the end of a year of the tenancy ; and a lease of immovable property for any other purpose shall be deemed to be a lease from month to month, terminable, on the part of either Lesser or lessee, by fifteen days' notice expiring with the end of a month of the tenancy.'

Here, the classification of leases is according to their purpose. The object of this section is to determine the duration of leases when the parties have left a lacuna. If the parties have themselves indicated the duration, the section is redundant. For, it operates only 'In the absence of a contract........... to the contrary'. What it does is to prescribe the duration of various kinds of leases by legal fiction. Leases for 'agricultural or manufacturing purposes' are 'deemed to be..................... from year to year'. All others are 'deemed to be........ ....... ......from month to month'.

(6) Consider a lease not created by registered instrument, as is the position in the present case. If such a lease is from 'month to month', it can, according to the second para of section 107, be made by 'oral agreement accompanied by delivery of possession'. So, there is no room for conflict between the second part of the fiction in section 106 and section 107. But if a lease, not created by a registered instrument, is for an 'agricultural or manufacturing purpose', the two sections come head-on into collision. According to the first part of the fiction in section 106, the lease is from 'year to year'. But, the first paragraph of section 107 enjoins that a lease from 'year to year' can be made 'only' by a registered instrument. Ex hypothesi, no such instrument exists. In that event, which of these sections should prevail?

(7) Two different views appear in the decided cases. One view is that the fiction in section 106 was not intended to override section 107. In Sati Prasanna Mukherjee and others v. Md. Fazel, : AIR1952Cal320 , it was said :

'UNDER S. 106, Transfer of Property ACt if the lease is for manufacturing purpose it will be deemed to be a lease from year to year. A lease from year to year under S. 107, Transfer of Property Act, can be made only by a registered instrument. In this case there is admittedly no registered instrument and it is a case of holding over under oral arrangement. Although S. 106, Transfer of Property Act provides that a lease for manufacturing purpose will be 'deemed' to be a lease from year to year that does not in my view exclude such lease from the operation and requirement of S. 107, Transfer of Property Act. A lease which under the law is 'deemed' to be a lease from year to year is in my view nonetheless 'a lease from year to year' under Section 107 of the Act and must thereforee satisfy the statutory requirement of registration subject of course to the provision of S. 53A Transfer of Property Act. No question of S. 53A of the Act arises here nor has any Issue been raised on that point. I am thereforee unable to hold that there is a lease for manufacturing purpose in this case and answer Issue No. 1 in the negative.'

(8) The same view is expressed in the following passage from Kishan Lal v. Lal Ram Chander. : AIR1952All634 : In this connection, reference may be made to S. 107, Transfer of Property Act, which provides that a lease from year to year must be by registered document. If the holding over, in this case, were to be treated as one from year to year, it will mean that the parties will, successfully, be able to evade the provisions of S. 107, Transfer' of Property Act which requires that leases from year to year must be by registered instruments. It seems to me. thereforee, that when a person holds over, after an unregistered lease of this kind for one year, which, fixes only monthly rent, the holding over cannot be from year to year as that would amount to negativing the provisions of S. 107. Further considering that the rent, in this case, was reserved from month to month and became payable after the holding over from month to month, the proper construction to be put on the nature of this holding over must be that it was a monthly tenancy which came into existence after the year was over. It would have been a different matter if the document of 24th May, 1938 had been a registered document. In that case, the provisions of S. 107 would have been complied with and the holding over could only be from year to year considering the nature of the document itself. But when the document is nor. registered, it would in my opinion, be going against the provisions of S. 107. Transfer of Property Act to hold that the holding over was from year to year and, thereforee six months' notice was necessary.'

(9) On the other hand, in Krishna Das Nandy V. Bidhau Chafndra Roy : AIR1959Cal181 , rhe opposite view is elaborately expounded as follows :

'SECTION 107 of the Transfer of Property Act does not control S. 106 and, notwithstanding the former section, the latter will apply to a manufacturing lease, whether registered or unregistered, so as to make it a lease from. year to year for purposes of that section (S. 106), terminable with a six months' notice to quit, or, in other words to control its duration and period of notice, in the absence of a contract or local law or usage to the contrary. The lease will be a lease from year to year for the limited purpose of S. 106, that is, for the limited purpose of its duration and period of notice, the duration being until the notice expires. This will not raise any conflict with S. 107. Where the lease is silent as to its duration, the omission is supplied by S. 106, according to the purpose of the lease, for applying the provisions of notice as contained therein.'

After referring to some cases, the judgment proceeds ; 'The section (Sec. 106) deals with the notice to quit, its period and requisites, and the implied duration under its 'deeming provision' may well be for that purpose and no more and, in that view, it will be outside the mischief of S. 107. Only if S. 106, by virtue of its 'deeming provision' had sought to fix the period of the lease for all purposes so as to make it a fulfledged lease of that particular character, a conflict might have arisen with S. 107, although there also the position is not very clear (vide the observations in Ram Protap's case, ) which appear to give a wider scope to S. 106. Then, a further reason is adduced to support the view taken :

'THAT section 106 was not intended to be controlled by S. 107 would also be clear if we study the implications of S. 116. That section deals with the effect of holding over and enacts that, 'in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, ' the tenancy by 'holding over' would be a renewal of the old or the original tenancy which has determined by efflux of time and the renewal would be 'from year to year or from month to month according to the purpose for which the property is leased as specified in S. 106'. The period of the original lease having expired, ex hypothesi there would be no period of the tenancy by 'holding over', where there is no fresh agreement between the parties, and this omission is supplied by the statutory application of S. 106 which fixes the period of the renewed tenancy, to wit, its duration and period of notice, in terms of the section (Sec. 106) according to the purpose of the lease that is, according to the purpose of the expired or the original lease. Thus, if the purpose of the original lease was manufacturing, the renewal would be from year to year and the renewed lease or the tenancy by 'holding over' would be one from year to year, terminable by six months' notice, expiring with the end of a year of the tenancy, in terms of S. 106. This will be so whether the original lease was registered or not as S. 116 contains no contrary indication and no other provision in this respect, and the statute certainly did not intend to leave the period of the tenancy by 'holding over' unprovided for in any case. In S. 116, thereforee, the statute itself indicates by necessary implication, that S. 106 will apply to all leases, covered by the statute, whether under registered instruments or not, to supply the omission as to duration and period of notice. To this aspect of the matter we drew the attention of the learned Advocate General during the course of arguments but we did not get any satisfactory answer.'

This case impliedly overrules Sati Prasanna Mukherjee and others v. Md. Fazel, A.T.R. 1952 Cal 320.

(10) Other cases in which this view is found stated are Balwant Singh and others v. L. Murari Lal, : AIR1965All187 ; Steuart and Co. Ltd. v. C. Mackertich, : AIR1963Cal198 ; Kali Kumar Sen and another v. Haridas Roy, Air 1969 A&N; 134. It is also implicit in the conclusion reached in Bastacolla Colliery Co. Ltd. v. Bandhu Beldar and another, : AIR1960Pat344 , Sallomal v. Badri Prasad and others, 1978 (2) R.C.R. 302, Kahan Chand etc. v. Municipal Committee, Amritsar, 1969 R.C.R. 485 and Ram Swarup Jain v. Sri Janki Devi Bhagat Trust, : AIR1974All424 , though in none of them is the point directly or fully discussed.

(11) It seems to me that the second view is largely the result of a misunderstanding of the judgment of the Supreme Court in Ram Kumar Das v. Jagdish Chandra Deo, Dhabal Deb and another. : [1952]1SCR269 . The notice, in that case, allowed the tenant a little more than fifteen days to quit the land. Whether it was valid, would depend on the nature of the tenancy. Although the tenant had executed a registered Kabuliyat, it was conceded that it was ineffective to create a lease under the Transfer of Properly Act, as it was not signed by the Lesser. Hence, the decision proceeded on the footing that a lease was to be inferred from payment and acceptance of rent.

(12) There was no dispute that the object of the lease was to 'enable the lessee to build structures upon the land. It was nobody's case that the lease was for an 'agricultural or manufacturing' purpose. thereforee, under section 106 the lease had to be deemed to be from month to month. That would make the notice valid.

(13) For countering this argument the tenant contended that section 106 applied only if there was an express contract, and not to one arising by implication of law. This submission was rejected. The court said :

'THE section lays down a rule of construction which is to be applied when there is no period agreed upon between the parties. In such cases the duration has to be determined by reference to the object or purpose for which the tenancy is created. The rule of construction embodied in this section applies not only to express leases of uncertain duration but also to leases implied by law which may be inferred from possession and acceptance of rent and other circumstances.'

In other words, it was held, that section 106 applies not only to leases under the first paragraph of section 107, but also those within the second paragraph. It is to the latter that leases 'inferred from possession and acceptance of rent and other circumstances' are referable. What is important to be observed is that the court was not here concerned with. the question whether the 'deeming' part of section 106 could be used to create a lease not conforming with section 107. The court's mind was not directed to the possibility of an opposition between the sections.

(14) The other, and different, submission on behalf of the tenant was that a 'contract to the contrary' should be inferred as on two occasions 'annual rent' had been paid. The landlord contended that to infer such a contract would violate section 107. Regarding this facet of the argument, the court said :

'THE question now is, whether there was a contract to the contrary in the present case Mr. Setalvad relies very strongly upon the fact that the rent paid here was an annual rent and he argues that from this fact it can fairly be inferred that the agreement between the parties was certainly not to create a monthly tenancy. It is not disputed that the contract to the contrary, as contemplated by S. 106 Transfer of Property Act, need not be an express contract; it may be implied, but it certainly should be a valid contract. If it is no contract in law, the section will be operative and regulate the duration of the lease. It has no doubt been recognised in several cases that the mode in which a rent is expressed to be payable affords a presumption that the tenancy is of a character corresponding thereto. Consequently, when the rent reserved is an annual rent, the presumption would arise that the tenancy was an annual tenancy unless there is something to rebut the presumption. But the difficulty in applying this rule to the present case arises from the fact that a tenancy from year to year or reserving a yearly rent can be made only by registered instrument, as laid down in S. 107, Transfer of Property Act.'

(15) So, the Supreme Court held that no 'contract to the contrary' could be implied which would infringe section 107. The Supreme Court never said, as the cases which adopt the second view seem to suppose, that the 'deeming' part of section 106 would operate notwithstanding anything in section 107. In point of fact, that percise point was not discussed by the court. It did not arise for consideration at all as the lease there under consideration was not for 'agricultural or manufacturing purposes', which is the factor necessary to produce a conflict when the lease has not been created by a registered instrument. But, inasmuch as the Supreme Court held that even a contract to the contrary' could not be implied in contravention of section 107, the case fends to endorse the view that the same limitation controls the 'deeming' part of section 106. In this way, so far from giving support to the second view, it goes against it.

(16) That this is the proper interpretation of the judgment of the Supreme Court is corroborated by the fact that Debendra Nath Bhowmik and Ors. v. Syama Prosanna Bhowmik and others, 2 C.W.N. 1124, was approved therein. In the Calcutta case, Mr. Justice Woodroffe said :

'THEN assuming that this case is governed by the Transfer of Property Act I should like to notice the argument that because an annual rent was mentioned the tenancy must be taken to be a yearly one. The lease was not for agricultural or manufacturing purposes and thereforee must, in the absence of a contract to the contrary, be deemed to be a tenancy from month to month. It is said here that there was such a contract, for a yearly tenancy is to be implied from the mention of an annual rent. But when section 106 speaks of a contract I think it means a valid contract. But in the present case there is no such contract and under section 107 a lease such as is argued, for in this appeal can only be created by a registered instrument and there is none here. The notice was thereforee sufficient so far as the tenancy is concerned.'

By parity of reasoning, I would say, that the 'deeming' part of section 106 could not have been intended to create a lease which would be invalid according to section 107. It follows that I do not agree with the second view, and prefer to go along with the first.

(17) But, with diffidence, I would suggest there is a simple solution to the whole problem. My hesitation in propounding it is due to the reflection that it is not authenticated, directly or indirectly, by any decided case. Yet, to me, it seems the obvious answer. I would put it as follows.

(18) Under section 107 the parties have an option. They can negotiate a lease of a duration mentioned in the first paragraph. If they decide upon such a lease, they must execute a registered instrument. Alternatively, they can decide to have .a lease for A shorter period. In that event they can create the lease with or without executing a registered instrument. Whenever, a lease is created without a registered instrument the inevitable conclusion must be that the parties have, so to speak, opted out of the first paragraph. They have negatived any intention of creating a lease of the duration therein mentioned. Or, to put it in positive form, they have agreed upon a lease of a duration coming within the second paragraph. This is, or must be deemed to be, a conscious decision on their part. It is, thereforee, indicative of a contract between them. That contract is that the lease will not be of a duration mentioned in the first paragraph of section 107. Such a contract will always be a 'contract to the contrary' envisaged by the opening words of section 106. The Supreme Court has said that a 'contract to the contrary' can be implied, and need not be express. So, from the single fact that a registered instrument is not executed, one can, and should, immediately deduce a contract to create a lease of the kind that can be created without such an instrument. Thus, if the lease is for 'agricultural or manufacturing purposes' and there is no registered instrument, that fact itself is conclusive to establish a 'contract to the contrary'. Considering that it was always open to the parties to execute a registered instrument but they chose not to do so, this inference accords with their intention, whether actual or ascribed.

(19) On this line of reasoning there never can be a conflict between section 106 and section 107. For, whenever according to section 106 a lease is deemed to exist which could only be created by registered instrument according to section 107, the non-existence of a registered instrument will of itself invoke the opening words of section 106 by implying a contract to the contrary. Thus, the two sections become fully reconciled.

(20) I think, this also achieves the result the draftsman intended. By section 106 he sought to supply an omission as regards the duration of a lease. He could not sensibly have intended to create, under the garb of providing the duration, a lease which would be invalid according to the very next section. The argument based on section 116, which was relied upon in Krishna Das Nandy v. Bidhau Chandra Roy, : AIR1959Cal181 , is also met. That section, too, applies only in the absence of an agreement to the contrary'. The reasoning which I have just enunciated will equally fit those words. Besides, section 116 itself makes section 106 applicable to the renewal of a lease. The opening words of section 106 will function on this occasion as on any other. Their effect will be the same whether it be an original grant or the renewal of a lease. For the want of a registered instrument, a 'contract to the contrary' will be implied or inferred in either case.

(21) In the present case there is no registered instrument. No doubt, under section 106, the fact that the lease was granted for a manufacturing purpose leads to the conclusion that the lease was from 'year to year'. But, the other fact that there is no registered instrument implies a contract to the contrary, which must prevail. The ultimate conclusion is that the tenancy was from 'month to month'. Hence, the notice to quit served on the tenant was valid.

(22) The same conclusion flows from the fact that rent was paid monthly, which is established by the counterfoil of the receipt for November 1966. As the Supreme Court has said, in the case already cited, 'the mode in which a rent is expressed to be payable affords a presumption that the tenancy is of a character corresponding thereto'. Thus, from the manner in which, rent was paid it can be presumed that the lease was from 'month to month'. This is, again, a contract to the contrary which will override the 'deeming' part of section 106. Such a contract is valid under the second paragraph of section 107 even without a registered instrument. It will, thereforee, prevail.

(23) In either of these ways, the conclusion is the same. The notice to quit was perfectly valid. Consequently, the appeal is dismissed with costs.


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