IN THE HIGH COURT OF JHARKHAND AT RANCHI W.P.(C) No. 1782 of 2015 Bibi Sahana Parween Wife of Safiullah, resident of Mohalla Pagmil, PO, PS and District- Hazaribagh …. Petitioner --Versus-- Md. Serajuddin Son of Md. Hafiz, resident of Pagmil, PO, PS and District- Hazaribagh …. Respondent CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE RAVI NATH VERMA For the petitioner : M/s. Shamim Akhtar & Sajid Yunus Warsi, Advocates, For the Respondent: M/s. Atanu Banerjee & Md. Zaid Ahmad, Advocates ----------- C.A.V. on 08.09.2016 PRONOUNCED ON1409/2016 Challenge in this writ application is to the order dated 16.03.2015 passed by learned Munsif (Civil Judge Jr. Division), Hazaribagh in Eviction Suit no. 08 of 2013 whereby and whereunder the petition field by the plaintiff-petitioner under section 15 of the Bihar (Jharkhand) Building Lease, Rent (Eviction & Control) Act ( in short ‘the Act’), for a direction to the defendant- respondent to deposit the arrears of rent as well as the current rent, has been rejected holding that the relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties is under dispute and there is also dispute with regard to rate of rent and the period of default.
2. Bereft of unnecessary details, the pleadings of the plaintiff-petitioner as it appears from the plaint, in short, is that the aforesaid eviction suit was filed against the present defendant- respondent for his eviction from the suit premises consisting of seven shop rooms on the ground of default and personal necessity. The property to which the shop rooms form part of the suit, was purchased by the petitioner on 13.09.2004 through registered sale deed whereafter her name was mutated and on a sanctioned map by the proper authority, the present building was constructed. The said seven shop rooms were let out to the defendant on a monthly rental of Rs.1,000/- per shop total being Rs.7,000/- per month on the basis of a written agreement dated 30.04.2006. Accordingly, the respondent 2 was paying rent but after April, 2011, the defendant stopped making payment of rent without any lawful reason and made himself defaulter in the eye of law. It is also pleaded that the plaintiff- petitioner requires the suit premises for her personal need since her husband wants to start his own business. So on these two grounds, the eviction suit was filed.
3. After receiving the notice, the defendant-respondent appeared and filed his written statement denying the fact that he was ever inducted in the suit premises by the plaintiff-petitioner rather he was inducted in six shop rooms by her husband through an agreement dated 21.10.2004 on a total monthly rent of Rs.2,400/- per month but the rent was gradually enhanced to Rs. 4,200/- per month and a fresh agreement dated 31.10.2012 was made and seventh shop room was also given to him on rent. It is also pleaded that the husband of the plaintiff accepted the rent till September, 2013 but thereafter he refused to accept the rent. So, the defendant-respondent started remitting the rent through money order and he is remitting it regularly. So, the relationship of landlord and tenant between the plaintiff-petitioner and defendant-respondent has been denied and the quantum of rent as well as period of default has also been denied.
4. During pendency of the suit, the petitioner filed a petition under Section 15 of the Act in court below with prayer to direct the respondent to deposit the arrears of rent as well as the current rent as claimed by the petitioner in her petition. The respondent filed a rejoinder to the above petition filed under Section 15 of the Act and reiterated the pleadings already mentioned in the written statement denying the relationship of landlord and tenant between the petitioner and the respondent and also pleaded that he was inducted in the suit shop not by the plaintiff but by her husband way back in October, 2004 and he was regularly paying rent to the husband of the plaintiff. 3 5. The court below after hearing both the parties rejected the prayer of the plaintiff-petitioner vide order impugned dated 16.03.2015 as indicated above. Hence, this writ application.
6. Assailing the order impugned as bad in law, learned counsel Md. Shamim Akhtar relying upon the Division Bench judgment of this Court passed in Jagarnath Prasad Vs. Santosh Kumar Sahu; 2007(1) JCR206(Jhr.) submitted that a similar issue was considered by the Division Bench where also the relationship of landlord and tenant was denied but the Hon’ble Court held that it is incumbent upon the court to tentatively examine the material available on record and determine as to whether such denial of relationship of landlord and tenant is bonafide or a mere pretence and that the court is required to make a summary inquiry and record a prima facie finding regarding the existence of landlord and tenant before directing the defendant to deposit the rent. Learned counsel further submitted that the petitioner in support of her claim of ownership of the suit property as well as the relationship of landlord and tenant between her and respondent filed the sale deed by which land in dispute was purchased by her, the rent receipts, the correction slip, building plan and copy of rent agreement between the her and respondent dated 30.04.2006 for perusal of the court and submitted that the materials produced before the court were sufficient enough to prove prima facie that the plaintiff was the landlord of the suit property and the defendant was a tenant under her and contrary to the aforesaid documents, nothing was produced on behalf of the defendant in support of his denial of relationship or payment of rent except a fake agreement between the husband of the plaintiff and the respondent dated 30.04.2006 and the further agreement dated 31.10.2012 whereby one more shop was let out to him. Learned counsel further submitted that the court below erred in not making summary inquiry for the prima facie satisfaction of the court and brushed aside all the documents showing the relationship between the parties. 4 7. Contrary to the aforesaid submissions, learned counsel Mr. Atanu Banerjee appearing for the respondent relying upon a Full Bench judgment reported in 1990 BBCJ55equivalent to 1989 PLJR1141 [Dr. Sachidanand Sinha Vs. Collector (Full Bench)] supported the order impugned and submitted that in view of the fact that the defendant-respondent has categorically denied the relationship of landlord and tenant and also the arrears of rent and the period of default, no order under Section 15 of the Act directing the present respondent to deposit the rent, can be passed.
8. Before I enter into the veils of submissions of the learned counsels, a reference of the case Jagarnath Prasad (supra) is necessary wherein considering a similar situation based upon the ratio decided in the case Shamim Ara Naz Vs. Md. Qumaruddin; 1997 (1) PLJR526 the Division Bench of this Court recorded the following observations:- “It is well settled that in a case where the defendant denies the relationship, the court has to examine the material then available and come to a conclusion whether such denial or a dispute as to title of defendant denies the relationship, the court has to examine the material then available and come to a conclusion whether such denial or dispute as to title of the plaintiff is bonafide or a mere pretence and if the court finds that there is no prima facie merit in the said denial then the defendant can be called upon to make deposit of rent .”
9. In view of the observations made in the above case, it was incumbent upon the court below to examine the materials available on record and prima facie come to a conclusion whether the dispute as to the title of the plaintiff as raised by the defendant, is bonafide or a mere pretence.
10. Apparently, several documents were produced in the court below at the instance of the plaintiff-petitioner but no document was produced on behalf of the defendant-respondent in denial of relationship and payment of rent.
11. The trial court is expected to make a summary inquiry and to record a prima facie finding on the issue relating to relationship of landlord and tenant and the rent payable, if any, by the defendant. It is true that the court has not to give finding on those two issues as 5 like in the suit after trial but in the light of the ratio decided in Jagarnath Prasad (supra), the jurisdiction of the court in passing the order under Section 15 of the Act was not ousted. I have gone through the order impugned and find that the learned court below does not appear to have considered the dispute raised in proper perspective in the light of the ratio decided in the above case and failed to record a prima facie finding on those issues. I find force in the submission of the learned counsel for petitioner.
12. For the reasons stated above, there is merit in this writ application. It is, accordingly, allowed. The order impugned dated 16.03.2015 passed by learned Munsif (Civil Judge Jr. Division), Hazaribagh in Eviction Suit no. 08 of 2013 is, hereby, set aside. The matter is remitted to the court concerned to take a fresh decision on the petition filed by the plaintiff-petitioner under Section 15 of the Act in accordance with the ratio decided in the case of Jagarnath Prasad (supra), as early as possible. (R.N. Verma, J.) Jharkhand High Court, Ranchi Dated, 14th September, 2016 Ritesh/N.A.F.R.