1. The rental agreement was executed by the respondents in favour of the petitioner for a period of one year from the 30th Makaram 1111. The particulars of the pattom were set out, and the rent payable calculated to be Rs. 28. The deed then contains this important sentence:
This sum of Es. 28 shall be paid for the year 1111 onwards every season before the 30th Makaram and your receipt obtained there fore; and if the arrears of rent are allowed they shall be paid with interest at 12 per cent per annum.
2. This sentence is relied upon by the petitioner as indicating that the lease was not merely for one year as stated earlier in the document but for an unlimited period. This sentence is however followed by one roughly to this purport:
We shall surrender possession at our own expense after the 30th Makaram 1112.
3. Then comes a sentence which imposes a charge and is in these words:
For the balance of rent and interest, the equity of redemption over and above the mortgage for Rs. 1,165, our other properties and ourselves are liable and we agree to your taking surrender of the properties.
4. The question is whether this sentence creates a charge for the arrears of rent only for the year which is stated in the early part of the document to be the period of the lease or also for the subsequent years during which the respondents remained in possession. The lower Court purporting to follow Gnanadesikam Pillai v. Boopalarayar (1934) 67 M.L.J. 455 : I.L.R. 58 held that there was no charge beyond the period of the lease and that the suit was therefore barred by limitation altogether, as the suit claim did not relate to any period within three years of the filing of the suit.
5. Gnanadesikam Pillai v. Boopalarayar (1934) 67 M.L.J. 455 : I.L.R. 58 was largely a decision on the particular facts of that case as they appeared from a study of the two relevant documents. Reference is however made therein to Kutti Umma v. Madhava Menon : (1901)11MLJ186 . The learned advocate for the respondents relies also on the two other cases in which it was held that when a document creates a charge, the charge is only for the rent due during the period of the lease. They are Rama Vadhyar v. Krishna Nair (1925) 93 I.C. 20.Mad. 75 and Mamambath Pettiyeth v. Cheria Uthalamma (1912) 16 I.C. 560. following Kutti Umma v. Madhava Menon : (1901)11MLJ186 . The ratio decidend was that after the expiry of the term of the lease, the tenant was only holding over and was not in possession and owing rent under the lease. The rent was then due under an oral contract implied by the conduct of the tenant in tendering rent and of the landlord in accepting it. The rent was therefore not due under a registered document and no charge could therefore be created.
6. I agree with the learned Advocate for the respondents that Ex. P-8, the rental agreement, is for a period of one year and not for an indefinite period. On the face of it, the document states that it is for a period of one year and near the end of the document we find the sentence already set out, viz., 'We shall surrender possession at our own expense after the 30th Makaram 1112' This case therefore differs from that in Erassa Menon v. Abdul Rahiman : AIR1926Mad1061 . in which the learned Judges found upon a reading of the document as a whole, that despite the initial recital that the lease was for one year, it was really for an indefinite period. The sentence, 'This sum of Rs. 28 shall be paid from the year 1111 onwards every season before the 30th Makaram...; seems merely to make provision for the possibility that after the year had expired the tenant would continue on the same terms and does not have the effect of extending the period of the lease beyond one year. I do not however think that this interpretation would have the effect of restricting the charge to the rent due during the year of lease. The documents referred to in the cases relied on by the respondents do not contain a sentence of this kind, 'For the balance of rent and interest...our other properties (and ourselves are liable.... This sentence refers to the total amount of rent referred to in 'This sum of Rs. 28 shall be paid from the year 1111 onwards every season; and so on a plain reading of the document this charge would extend to the whole of the rent due, in the event of the tenants remaining in possession beyond the year of lease. That means that the petitioner's claim is not barred by limitation.
7. The petition is allowed and the suit in the lower Court decreed as prayed for. The petitioner is entitled to his costs in both the Courts.