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Lalchand Vs. Sant Ram - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 141 of 1977
Judge
Reported inAIR1979Raj140; 1978(11)WLN133
ActsRajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950 - Sections 13(4)
AppellantLalchand
RespondentSant Ram
Appellant Advocate R.S. Sharma, Adv.
Respondent Advocate R.M. Bhansali, Adv.
DispositionApplication allowed
Cases ReferredHiralal v. Hari
Excerpt:
.....for extension may in my view, be filed within the period specified for payment or deposit of rent month by month in sub-section (4) of section 13 or even thereafter even the order of the court on such in application for extension of time may be passed before the expiry of the period specified in sub-section (4) of thereafter. the power of the court to extend the lime under the aforesaid provision is restricted only to the extern that the court cannot allow extension for a period exceeding 15 days; beyond the period of 15 days from the date of expiry of the month. within that limit and subject to the aforesaid condition, the court has complete discretion in the matter of extension of time for depositing or making payment of monthly rent during the pendency of the suit.;(b) rajasthan..........which has been newly inserted, permitting the court to extend the time for payment or deposit of rent month by month for a maximum period of 15 days, beyond the period of 15 days from the expiry of the month, was introduced for the purposes of removing hardship in genuine cases.3. it is not contested before me that the trial court enjoyed the power of extension of time fixed for payment of rent by a further period of 15 days, but the argument of the learned counsel for the opposite party is that the application for such extension of time should have been filed by the defendant-tenant within the period of 15 days from the expiry of the month of aug. 1976. in other words, the application for extension of time should have been made in the present case, according to the learned counsel, on.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Dwarka Prasad, J.

1. This revision application has been preferred against the order passed by the learned District Judge, Jodhpur, dated May 28, 1977. In a suit for ejectment, inter alia on the ground of default in payment of rent and for recovery of arrears of rent, the trial Court passed an order under Section 13 (3) of the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). The overdue rent together with interest, as calculated by the trial Court, was deposited by the defendant-tenant within the time allowed. However, the rent for the month of Aug. 1976 which was payable up to Sept. 15, 1976 was not paid or deposited by the defendant-tenant within the aforesaid time but the same was deposited by him in the trial Court on Sept. 17, 1976 and thus there was a delay of two days in making the deposit under Section 13 (4) of the Act. The defendant-tenant filed an application on Dec. 16, 1976 praying that the delay of two days in making the deposit of rent for the month of Aug. 1976 be condoned. The trial Court by its order dated Jan. 4, 1976 rejected the application of the defendant for extension of time in making the deposit of rent for the month of Aug. 1976 and consequently directed that the defence of the defendant-tenant in respect of eviction be struck off. The defendant filed an appeal against the aforesaid order but the learned District Judge, Jodhpur by his order dated May 28, 1977 maintained the order passed by the trial Court. Hence this revision application,

2. Sub-section (4) of Section 13 of the Act was substituted by the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) (Amendment) Ordinance, 1975 (Rajasthan Ordinance No. 26 of 1975) which was published in the Rajasthan Gazette vide Notification dated Oct. 29, 1975 and which was subsequently replaced by the Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) (Amendment) Act, 1976 (Amending Act No. 14 of 1976). The amended provisions of Sub-section (4) of Section 13, which are relevant for the purposes of this revision petition, are as under:--

'(4) The tenant shall deposit in Court or pay to the landlord the amount determined by the Court under Sub-section (3) within fifteen days from the date of such determination, or within such further time, not exceeding three months, as may be extended by the Court. The tenant shall also continue to deposit in Court or pay to the landlord, month by month the monthly rent subsequent to the period up to which determination has been made, by the fifteenth of each succeeding month or within such further time, not exceeding fifteen days, as may be extended by the Court, at the monthly rate at which the rent was determined by the Court under Sub-section (3).'

Prior to the enactment of the present provisions of Sub-section (4) of Section 13, the tenant was bound to make payment of rent, during the pendency of the suit, month by month, by the 15th of the next succeeding month. But the present provisions of Sub-section (4) of Section 13 vests a discretion in the Court, to extend the time specified under that provision for depositing the monthly rent, by allowing the defendant to make payment or deposit the over-due rent within 15 days more after the expiry of 15 days from the end of the month, but no further. Thus according to the present provisions of Sub-section (4) the tenant should ordinarily make the payment or deposit of rent, during the pendency of the suit, month by month within 15 days of the expiry of the month, but the Court has a discretion to enlarge such period by a further period not exceeding 15 days. This provision, which has been newly inserted, permitting the Court to extend the time for payment or deposit of rent month by month for a maximum period of 15 days, beyond the period of 15 days from the expiry of the month, was introduced for the purposes of removing hardship in genuine cases.

3. It is not contested before me that the trial Court enjoyed the power of extension of time fixed for payment of rent by a further period of 15 days, but the argument of the learned counsel for the opposite party is that the application for such extension of time should have been filed by the defendant-tenant within the period of 15 days from the expiry of the month of Aug. 1976. In other words, the application for extension of time should have been made in the present case, according to the learned counsel, on or before Aug. (sic) (Sept. ?) 15, 1976 and as no such application was made within the aforesaid time, the trial Court had no power to extend the time for payment of rent for the month of August 1976. I am unable to give such a restricted interpretation to the provisions of Sub-section (4) of Section 13 of the Act as they now exist. In my view, the provisions of Section 13 have been amended so as to remove the hardship to the tenant, where he is unable to deposit the rent month by month within the specified time on account of some genuine difficulties or unforeseen obstacles in his way or for reasons beyond his control and beneficial construction should be given to the amended provisions of Sub-section (4), in the light of the purpose for which the amendment has been introduced in Section 13 of the Act. It has not been laid down by the Legislature that the tenant should submit an application, within the period of fifteen days after the expiry of the month, if he desires an extension of the period specified for depositing the monthly rent, in Sub-section (4) of Section 13 of the Act. In the absence of any restrictive provisions in that respect, the Court could extend the time for making the deposit at any time, subject to the only condition which is prescribed by the Legislature viz. that further extension could not be made for a period of more than 15 days, after the expiry of 15 days from the end of the month. Of course, it must be understood that it is not the right of a tenant to obtain such an extension but the Court has a discretion, which should always be exercised in a judicial manner,

4. The lower Court relied upon a decision of this Court in Hiralal v. Hari bux, 1975 WLN 235 in refusing to extend the time prayed for by the defendant-tenant in the present case. It must be observed that at the time when the aforesaid decision was rendered by this Court, the provisions of Sub-section (4) of Section 13 were not amended and there was no power vested in the Court then to extend the tune for making the deposit of monthly rent, beyond the period of 15 days from the date of expiry of the month. In those circumstances, this Court was right in observing that the provisions of Section 13 (4) of the Act, as they stood then, did not contemplate extension of time by the Court. But the amended provisions of Sub-section (4) of Section 13 now contain an express provision empowering the Court to extend the time for making payment or depositing the monthly rent by a further period not exceeding 15 days, beyond the permissible period of 15 days after the expiry of the month. Learned counsel for the opposite party drew my attention to the decision of their Lordships of the Calcutta High Court which has been referred to in Hiralal's case. But the provisions under consideration in the Calcutta case were entirely different. Sub-section (2B) of Section 17 of the Calcutta Rent Act, which was under consideration before their Lordships of the Calcutta High Court, specifically provided that no application for extension of time for deposit or payment of any amount of rent could be entertained, unless it was made before the expiry of the time specified therefor. Thus by express enactment, it was provided that the application for extension of time under the said provision could be made only before the expiry of the time which was sought to be extended and not thereafter. There is no such restriction contained in Sub-section (4) of Section 13 of the Rajasthan Act in respect of the period during which the application for extension of time should be made. In the absence of any such restrictive clause contained in Sub-section (4) of Section 13 or elsewhere in the Act, providing that the application for extension of time should be made before the expiry of the time specified for payment or deposit of rent month by month, there is no reason to take such a stringent view of the provisions of Sub-section (4) of Section 13 of the Act which may defeat its very purpose. The application for extension may, in my view, be filed within the period specified for payment or deposit of rent month by month in Sub-section (4) of Section 13 or even thereafter. Even the order of the Court on such an application for extension of time may be passed before the expiry of the period specified in Sub-section (4) or thereafter. The power of the Court to extend the time under the aforesaid provision is restricted only to the extent that the Court cannot allow extension for a period exceeding 15 days, beyond the period of 15 days from the date of expiry of the month. Within that limit and subject to the aforesaid condition, the Court has complete discretion in the matter of extension of time for depositing or making payment of monthly rent during the pendency of the suit.

5. Coming to the facts of the present case, it is not in dispute that the amount of rent for the month of Aug. 1976 was not deposited within the period of 15 days from the expiry of that month, but it was deposited 2 days thereafter, that is, on Sept. 17, 1976. The lower Courts were not justified in refusing to extend the time to the defendant-tenant for depositing the rent for the month of Aug. 1976 merely on the ground that the application for condonation of delay of two days was not submitted within the said period of 15 days, after the expiry of the month of Aug. 1976. Even if the application was made subsequently the power of the Court under Sub-section (4) of Section 13 could be exercised, subject to the condition that the Court could not extend the said time by a period exceeding 15 days after Sept. 15, 1976. As I have already observed above, it cannot be denied that the discretion vested in the Court under Sub-section (4) of Section 13 for extension of time has to be judicially exercised, In my view, in the circumstances of the present case, there was no reason for the two Courts below for not allowing the defendant-tenant extension of two days in respect of depositing the rent for the month of Aug. 1976. I am not in agreement with the view expressed by the learned District Judge that the Court became powerless in the matter of extension of time under Sub-section (4) of Section 13 of the Act merely because the period of 15 days after the end of the month of Aug. 1976 had expired.

6. In this view of the matter, the revision application is allowed and the delay of two days is condoned under the provisions of Sub-section (4) of Section 13 of the Act The order passed by the two Courts below are set aside. The order regarding striking off the defence of the defendant-tenant is also set aside. The parties are, however, left to bear their own costs.


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