Skip to content


Jawan Mal Vs. Gaj Singhji - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 258 of 1973
Judge
Reported inAIR1974Raj184; 1973()WLN756
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Sections 115 - Order 6, Rule 17
AppellantJawan Mal
RespondentGaj Singhji
Appellant Advocate R.K. Rastogi and; M.M. Singhvi, Advs.
Respondent Advocate C.L. Agrawal and; Anop Singh, Advs.
DispositionApplication dismissed
Excerpt:
.....no liability under common law to put the demised premises into repairs.;(b) civil procedure code - written statement--amendment not to be allowed to bring case within section 108(f) of t.p. act.; the rights of the parties in this respect will be governed by clause (4)(x)(b) of the lease deed and not by section 108(f) of the transfer of property act. the proposed amendment therefore cannot be allowed so as to bring the case under section 108(f) of the transfer of property act.;(c) civil procedure code - written statement--amendment not to be allowed to by pass court's decision.; his object is that by the proposed amendment, the items claimed by him may be considered by way of set off. this, i think, is not permissible and the decision of this court dated 15-12-1971 in s.b. civil revision..........15-2-1973 by which the defendant-petitioner's application dated 31-1-1975 for leave to amend his written statement was dismissed. a few facts relevant for the disposal of this revision may be stated as below:--2. the plaintiff-non-petitioner owns a cinema known as stadium cinema in the city of jodhpur. a lease of the said cinema was granted by the plaintiff to the defendant for a period of 3 years with effect from 26-1-1963. the lease deed was executed and signed by both the parties on 2-4-1964. the rent was settled at rs. 6,101/- per month. on 10-1-1972 the plaintiff filed the present suit in the court of district judge, jodhpur for ejectment of the defendant as well as for arrears of rent rs. 1,42,852.48 paise upto 25-10-1971 and rs. 37,161.29 paise by way of damages for use and.....
Judgment:
ORDER

C.M. Lodha, J.

1. This is a revision petition directed against the order of the Additional District Judge No. 1, Jodhpur dated 15-2-1973 by which the defendant-petitioner's application dated 31-1-1975 for leave to amend his written statement was dismissed. A few facts relevant for the disposal of this revision may be stated as below:--

2. The plaintiff-non-petitioner owns a Cinema known as Stadium Cinema in the City of Jodhpur. A lease of the said cinema was granted by the plaintiff to the defendant for a period of 3 years with effect from 26-1-1963. The lease deed was executed and signed by both the parties on 2-4-1964. The rent was settled at Rs. 6,101/- per month. On 10-1-1972 the plaintiff filed the present suit in the Court of District Judge, Jodhpur for ejectment of the defendant as well as for arrears of rent Rs. 1,42,852.48 paise upto 25-10-1971 and Rs. 37,161.29 paise by way of damages for use and occupation from 26-10-71 to the date of the suit, and thereafter at the rate of Rs. 16,000/- per month till delivery of possession. The suit was resisted by the defendant on a number of grounds which it is not necessary to narrate here. On the pleadings of the parties the trial Court framed 24 issues. By his order dated 11-11-1972 the learned District Judge decided legal issues which were of a preliminary nature. Since the decision of some of these issues had gone against the defendant he filed a revision application to this Court which was registered as S. B. Civil Revision Petition No. 585 of 1972. The revision application was decided by the then Chief Justice Shri Jagat Narayan on 15-12-1972. The decision of the trial Court on Issues Nos. 19 and 20 was inter alia called into question in that revision petition. Since Issues Nos. 19 and 20 have some bearing on the decision of the present revision application, it would be proper to reproduce those issues here.

'19. Whether the defendant's claim for getting the amount of Rs. 1,74,102.57 P. mentioned in part III of Schedule II appended to his written statement (2) the amount of Rs. 1,23,531.17 on account of losses (3) the amount of Rs. 4,000.00 on account of remission of one month's rent due to Air raids during Indo-Pak War of 1965 and (4) the amount of Rs. 533.66 on account of remission in rent due to riots during the last General Election from 11-3-1972 to 14-3-72 adjusted against the plaintiff's claim in this suit is one for set off ............ (Plaintiff)

20. Whether the defendant can claim the adjustments of Rs. 1,74,102.57, Rupees 1,23,531.17, Rs. 4,000.00 and Rs. 533.66 without payment of court-fees in respect thereof.

(Defendant).'

3. The trial Court held that no part of the claim put forward, by the defendantcan be decided unless court-fee is paid as it amounts to set off within the meaning of Order 8, Rule 6, Civil Procedure Code.

4. Out of the amount of Rupees 1,74,102.57 paisa the defendant pressed the revision application only with regard to the following four items:--

(a) Rs. 18,571.08(b) Rs. 9,045.15(c) Rs. 3,000.00(d) Rs. 5,625.69

5. In connection with the first two items reliance was placed on behalf of the defendant on Section 108(f) of the Transfer of Property Act and Clause 4 (x) (b) of the lease deed. It was, however, held that these two items cannot be claimed by the defendant without payment of court-fee as they amount to a set off. As regards the other two items of Rs. 3,000/- and Rs. 5,625.69 paisa this Court framed an additional issue numbered as 'A'.

6. The last point contended on behalf of the defendant was that the defendant is entitled to a deduction as claimed in para 47 of his written statement on account of the fact that the possession over the whole of the premises was not delivered to him from the beginning and that the Administrator had agreed to allow Rupees 1,374.13 paisa on this amount. An additional issue marked 'B' was framed on this point also.

7. After dismissal of that revision petition the defendant made an application on 18-1-1973 for leave to amend the written statement. This application was however withdrawn on 31-1-1973 and a second application which is the subject-matter of the present revision petition was moved the same day.

8. At this stage I cannot fail to point out that the learned Counsel for the parties took considerable time in getting at the exact points on which amendment of the written statement was sought due to the fact that the application for amendment is a very lengthy document running into 18 pages stuffed with unnecessary details and arguments. The learned lower Court has held that even if the amendment is allowed the defendant would not be entitled to suspension of rent which is the only underlying object behind the application for amendment. Consequently, it dismissed the application. The learned District Judge also held that the amendment sought was not necessary to resolve the real controversy between the parties. In this connection he has further observed that the facts sought to be introduced by the application for amendment already find place in the written statement.

9. Learned. Counsel for the petitioner has urged that the amendment sought by the defendant does not change the nature of the case nor raises any inconsistent pleas but is only by way of supplying further and betterparticulars in respect of the allegations already made in the written statement. He has submitted that the defendant does not propose to submit any more documents in support of the amendment. He has also argued that the learned District Judge acted illegally and with material irregularity in exercise of his jurisdiction in judging the amendment on merits and in holding that the defendant would not succeed in his pleas even if the amendment was allowed. On the other hand the learned Counsel for the respondent plaintiff has strenuously urged that the application for amendment is not bona fide, and has been made only with a view to prolong the case and thereby postpone the decree for ejectment. He has submitted that the amendment sought would amount to change of front and that the proposed amendment is useless and of no substance. In order to test the bona fides of the defendant in the matter learned Counsel for the non-petitioner plaintiff made an offer that he would not oppose the application for amendment if the defendant agreed that the suit may be allowed, to proceed with respect to the relief for ejectment. To this proposal the defendant-petitioner was however not agreeable.

10. Now I may turn to the proposed amendment. The first three and half pages of the application for amendment relate to introductory facts. The proposed amendment is contained in para No. 5. The defendant seeks to add paras Nos. 48 to 51 to the written statement. In the main para 48 it has been alleged that there is common law warranty as well as express warranty embodied in the lease deed that the building, installation, equipments etc., are in a fit condition and are also kept fit throughout the period of tenancy. Then it is pleaded in sub-para (a) that the lessor was bound to disclose the material defects in the property with reference to the intended use of which the lessor was and the lessee was not aware and which the defendant could not have discovered with ordinary care and further that it was the duty of the lessor to set them right. Under this heading various items such as (i) sound and projection apparatus; (ii) electric fittings; etc., have been mentioned upto item (vii). Then under sub-para (b) it has been pleaded that the plaintiff was not entitled to get rent from 26-1-1963 to 31-7-1964 when the new sound and projection apparatus were installed and the defendant is entitled to abatement of rent of this entire period. It has been submitted on behalf of the defendant that this amendment is necessary to enable the defendant to take advantage of Section 108A (a) of the Transfer of Property Act which lays down that the lessor is bound to disclose to the lessee any material defect in the property with reference to its intended use of which the former is and the latter is not aware and which the latter could not with ordinary care discover.

11. It may be pointed out that in para 36 of the written statement the defendant has pleaded that the defendant was not willing to take the cinema house even after his tender was accepted, but the Administrator of the plaintiff assured the defendant that the house would be completely renovated and it was as a result of this representation that the defendant agreed to run the cinema and further that after the defendant had taken over the possession of the cinema, some repairs were carried out. In view of this averment in the written statement, it does not lie in the mouth of the defendant now to plead by way of amendment that the lessee was not aware of the material defects in the property which the lessor was bound to disclose. This would amount to change of the defendant's case. Moreover Clause (A) (a) of Section 108 of the Transfer of Property Act is subject to a contract or legal usage to the contrary. Learned Counsel for the plaintiff was at pains to point out that there was no common law warranty or express warranty as mentioned in the proposed amended para 48. In this connection reliance was placed on the following lines contained in para 1233 of Halsbury's Laws of England: Third Edition, Volume 23, at page 562:

'In the absence of express stipulation (a), or of a statutory duty, the landlord is under no liability towards the tenant (b) to put the demised premises into repair at the commencement of the tenancy.'

12. There is force in the non-petitioner's contention that apart from the express stipulation or a statutory duty, the landlord is under no liability under common law to put the demised premises into repairs. However, I do not consider it necessary to pursue this point further as in my opinion para 48 would give rise to a change of front in the defence which cannot be allowed. The defendant cannot be allowed thus to change his case.

13. Coming to para 49 it has been stated that the defendant is entitled to reduction in rent on account of breach of the covenants committed by the plaintiff as set out in main para 48. Para 49 pertains to the following three amounts spent for repairs said to have been carried out by the defendant:

(i) Rs. 20,570.85 paisa;(ii) Rs. 18,571.08 paisa; (iii)Rs. 9,046.15 paisa.

It is submitted that this amendment has become necessary in view of the observations made by this Court in the decision dated 15-12-72 in S. B. Civil Revision Petition No. 585/72. It was held therein that no reference was made before the trial court to Section 108(f) of the Transfer of Property Act, nor it had been pleaded that any notice was issued to the plaintiff as prescribed under this clause and further that Section 108 of the Transfer of Property Act is subject to a contract to the contrary. As regards the contract it was held that it hadnot been pleaded that the damage which was got repaired was attributable to fair wear and tear, nor it had been pleaded that the lessee submitted any statement of required repairs together with the estimate for the lessor's approval. Learned Counsel for the petitioner has argued that although the documents which go to make out a case for the defendant under Section 108 (f) have already been produced with the original statement and the basic facts laying down the foundation for the defendant's plea under the aforesaid provision have already been mentioned, but the pleadings are not clear. For instance, it is pointed out, that in para No. 44 of the written statement it has been mentioned that the defendant had to incur an expenditure of Rs. 18,571.08 paisa on account of repairs to the cinema building and that the aforesaid expenditure was incurred by the defendant under intimation to the plaintiff's Administrator. It is argued that these repairs were effected after notice to the lessor and now the defendant wants to allege the fact that the repairs were effected after notice to the lessor. This contention is, in my opinion, devoid of force. All the clauses under Section 108 are subject to a contract to the contrary. It has already been pointed out in the previous judgment of this Court dated 15-12-1972 that the rights of the parties in this respect will be governed by Clause (4) (x) (b) of the lease deed and not by Section 108(f) of the Transfer of Property Act. The proposed amendment therefore cannot be allowed so as to bring the case under Section 108(f) of the Transfer of Property Act.

14. Coming to Clause 4 (x) (b) of the lease deed it was not pleaded in the original statement that the damage which was not repaired was attributable to fair wear and tear nor it can be pleaded that the lessee submitted any statement of repairs required together with an estimate for the lessor's approval before executing the repairs himself, It is conceded before me on behalf of the petitioner that the lessee has not put on record any statement of required repairs together with estimate for the lessor's approval which may have been submitted to the lessor before executing the repairs himself. A perusal of the letter dated 30-3-1965 marked Ex. A-15 from the plaintiff to the defendant (admitted by the defendant) also goes to show that the plaintiff called upon the defendant to submit a proper estimate for the repairs of the electric wiring etc., in order to remove leakage of electric current. Para 49 of the proposed amended written statement pertains firstly to Rs. 20,570.80 paisa on account of electric repairs, repairs to furniture, fixing of iron gates, repairs to motor pumps and sanitary repairs. Another item of this para of Rs. 18,571.08 paisa is in respect of painting, providing of fixtures to chairs, improvement of sanitary arrangement, repair to cooling plant, providing ceiling fans in auditorium andemergency lights. There is yet another item of Rs. 9,046.15 alleged to have been spent by the defendant by way of repairs to furniture, theatre, cooling plant and electric fittings. In respect of these items the defendant has alleged in the proposed amendment that they were attributable to fair wear and tear.

15. Learned Counsel for the non-petitioner plaintiff has however urged that under Clause (1) (d) of the lease deed it was the duty of the lessee to keep and maintain the whole of the demised premises together with the compound, fittings etc., in clean and good condition subject however to reasonable wear and tear for the use thereof and under Clause (c) to maintain the projection and sound equipments provided that if the lessee wants to replace the machinery, projectors and sound equipments etc., he would do so at his own cost. In this respect my attention has also been invited to the following sentence in Halsbury's Laws of England: Third Edition, Vol. 23, page 562, para 1233:

'The fact that the tenant has covenanted to repair, 'fair wear and tear excepted' (g), or 'damage by fire and tempest excepted' (h), does not imply a covenant by the landlord to make such fair wear and tear or damage good.'

16. There is nothing on the record to show that any damage had occurred to the demised premises and its equipment which may be attributable to fair wear and tear and it appears that in order to get round the order of this Court dated 15-12-1972 and to bring the case within the ambit of Clause 4 (x) (b) of the lease deed the defendant has come forward with the allegation of fair wear and tear which was not the case originally put up by him. But, apart from that, in absence of any allegation as to the defendant having submitted a statement of repairs together with estimate to the lessor for the latter's approval, the defendant cannot succeed in bringing his case within Clause 4 (x) (b) of the lease deed and consequently the amendment even if permitted would not help the defendant in supporting his defence on the ground of fair wear and tear. It appears that the plea of fair wear and tear is now being taken to make up the deficiency in the defendant's case as pointed out in the judgment of this Court, dated 15th December, 1972. But even Clause 4 (x) (b) does not imply a covenant by the landlord to make such fair wear and tear good. The proposed amendment, in my opinion, also introduces a different, new and inconsistent case, and has been applied for to by-pass the order of this court dated 15-12-1972.

17. I may observe that the underlying idea behind the proposed amendment is to show that the defendant is entitled to deduct the amounts claimed by him and an enquiry should be held into them without treating them as a set off and without payment of court-fee. Otherwise there is no denyingthe fact that there is already an issue regarding these items and the liability of the plaintiff to pay the same. This is issue No. 23. But in fact what the defendant wants is that the decision of Issues Nos. 19 and 20 may be indirectly changed in his favour. In other words his object is that by the proposed amendment, the items claimed by him may be considered by way of adjustment and not by way of set off. This, I think, is not permissible and the decision of this Court dated 15-12-1972 in S. B. Civil Revision Petition No. 585 of 1972 must be treated as final, so far as this Court is concerned. The defendant is not entitled to by-pass it under the garb of the proposed amendment.

18. Learned Counsel for the petitioner has severely criticised the judgment of the court below and has submitted that the learned Judge was not justified, in examining the merits of the defendant's case in light of the proposed amendment and in holding that no useful purpose would be served by allowing the proposed amendment as on the facts alleged by the defendant he would not be entitled to suspension of rent. He has also argued that the court below has dealt with the case as if the proposed amendment is for suspension or abatement of rent only though in fact it is for adjustment of the defendant's claim even otherwise than by way of suspension or abatement of rent.

19. It is not necessary to examine this criticism of the lower court's judgment as, in my opinion, the amendment sought for does not appear to be in good faith and raises a totally different, new and inconsistent case. There is no hard and fast rule that under no circumstances the Court can examine the merits of the proposed amendment. There is ample authority for the view that leave to amend will be refused where the amendment is useless and of no substance. Leave to amend should be refused to the plaintiff where the proposed amendment would not help him in substantiating his claim, and to the defendant, where the proposed amendment would not help in supporting his defence. In this view of the matter, I cannot say that the court below acted without jurisdiction or acted illegally or with material irregularity in exercise of its jurisdiction in coming to the conclusion that the proposed amendment would not help the defendant in supporting his defence. But apart from that, as already stated above, I have come to the conclusion that the proposed amendment seeks to set up a new and inconsistent case and has not been asked for in good faith.

20. In the result, I do not see any force in this revision application and hereby dismiss it but without any order as to costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //