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Rathnaswami Moopanar and ors. Vs. R.C. Negaraja Moopanar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1938Mad100; (1937)2MLJ871
AppellantRathnaswami Moopanar and ors.
RespondentR.C. Negaraja Moopanar
Cases ReferredManickam Pillai v. Ratnaswamy Nadar
Excerpt:
- - 3. we are therefore clearly of the opinion that ex......not operate as such an assignment. the second defence was that on the date of the execution of the lease in favour of the plaintiff, seethalakshmi ammal was not in a sound state of mind; therefore the lease must be deemed to be void and no rights accrued to the plaintiff thereunder. in regard to the first point, the contention of mr. t.r. venkatarama sastriar is that once a lease has been executed for a term and it is outstanding, there can be no lease of the reversion because such a lease would in law amount to a transfer of the rents and profits due and recoverable from the prior lessee and can only be done by an assignment executed by the lessor. it seems to us that this contention is not sound. under section 105 of the transfer of property act (before the amendment) which governs.....
Judgment:

Venkataramana Rao, J.

1. This is an appeal from the decree of the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Tanjore awarding a sum of Rs. 12,942-8-3 in favour of the plaintiff. The suit was to recover arrears of rent on the basis of a lease, Ex. B, dated 25th December, 1920, executed by the first defendant in favour of one Seethalakshmi Ammal, the then proprietrix of Kapisthalam estate and the second and third defendants are the undivided father and brother of the first defendant. The said lease was to run for ten faslis commencing from Fasli 1333 to Fasli 1342. The lands comprised in the lease were about 59 acres 37 cents in the village of Sathyamangalam. Subsequent to the execution of this lease, on the 23rd September, 1925, the said Seethalakshmi Ammal gave a lease Ex. A in favour of the plaintiff of the whole of the Sathyamangalam village including the lands which had been leased under the prior lease of 1920. The latter lease was for ten faslis from Fasli 1335 to Fasli 1344 and was to commence from Fasli 1335. The document was executed by the plaintiff in favour of Seethalakshmi Ammal. Not only did it comprise the lands which were the subject-matter of the lease of 1920, it also included lands comprised under three other leases whose terms were outstanding. This lease deed was attested by the first defendant in whose name the lease of 1920 Ex. B had been executed. In and by the terms of the said document Ex. A the plaintiff was authorised to collect the lease paddy and cash rent due from all the lessees mentioned in the said document including the lease of 1920. This suit has been instituted for the recovery of arrears for Faslis 1335 to 1339 payable under Ex. B.

2. Two defences were urged by the defendants in answer to the plaintiff's claim. One was that the plaintiff had no right to sue for the recovery of the arrears of rent in the absence of any assignment executed by Seethalakshmi Ammal in his favour and the lease deed in favour of the plaintiff does not operate as such an assignment. The second defence was that on the date of the execution of the lease in favour of the plaintiff, Seethalakshmi Ammal was not in a sound state of mind; therefore the lease must be deemed to be void and no rights accrued to the plaintiff thereunder. In regard to the first point, the contention of Mr. T.R. Venkatarama Sastriar is that once a lease has been executed for a term and it is outstanding, there can be no lease of the reversion because such a lease would in law amount to a transfer of the rents and profits due and recoverable from the prior lessee and can only be done by an assignment executed by the lessor. It seems to us that this contention is not sound. Under Section 105 of the Transfer of Property Act (before the amendment) which governs this case, there can be a lease of immovable property by virtue of a registered document executed by the lessee in favour of the lessor--vide Syed Ajam Sahib v. Ananthanarayana Aiyar (1910) 21 M.L.J. 202: I.L.R. 35 Mad. 95 . The subject-matter of the lease must be immovable property and the immovable property may be actual land or may be a reversion upon an existing term. There is nothing, in the Act to preclude the lease of a reversion. Under the English law, it is open to a landlord to create concurrent leases that is, he can execute a lease to-day for a term and to-morrow he can execute another lease for another term to run from the date on which he executed the latter lease. Such a lease has always been held to be valid and in law would operate as an assignment upon the existing term--vide Palmer v. Thorpe (1653) C. E. 152: 78 E.R. 410. There is nothing to preclude the application of this principle to India and it has been adopted by the Indian High Courts vide Manickam Pillai v. Ratnaswamy Nadar : (1917)33MLJ684 . Therefore, the question is, ' would Ex. A be a valid lease according to the Transfer of Property Act?' It is conceded that it is. If Ex. A had mentioned simply that a lease of the lands which were also the subject-matter of the prior lease is being granted that would in law without anything more operate as an assignment of the reversion and entitle the lessee under the latter lease to recover the rent due and payable under the former lease. On a construction of the plaint document, the intention is clear that there should be a lease of the reversion; in fact all the rights and obligations which the lessor had at the date of the lease were intended to be leased to plaintiff and the lease is not a bare assignment of the rents and profits in which case, probably, as Mr. T.R. Venkatarama Sastriar contends such an assignment would be an assignment of an actionable claim within the meaning of Section 130 of the Transfer of Property Act and therefore require a transfer in writing signed by the transferor. But the present document Ex. A is not a bare assignment of the rents and profits and it is not logical or possible in this case to treat the right to recover profits and rents apart from other rights and obligations which the lessor had on the date of the lease. There is always a distinction between an assignment of the rents and profits and a lease of a reversion. In the case of an assignment of rents and profits, all that the assignee will be entitled to is the right to realise the rents and profits by virtue of the assignment in his favour but in the case of a reversion, it is not merely the right to recover the rents and profits that are transferred to him but also the rights which the lessor had on the date of the reversion, for example, his right to recover possession immediately on the expiry of the previous term and if before the expiry of the term by virtue of any forfeiture, the lessor had the right to re-enter, the right of such re-entry.

3. We are therefore clearly of the opinion that Ex. A is a lease of the reversion upon the existing term under Ex. B in regard to the suit property and the plaintiff is therefore entitled to realise the rents and profits for the faslis in question.

4. In regard to the second point, the only evidence that has been relied on is an alleged admission of the plaintiff in his deposition to the effect that he presented an application in 1926 to the Court of Wards requesting them to take possession of the Kapisthalam estate on the ground that Seethalakshmi Ammal, the proprietrix, was not in a sound state of mind and had been so for a period of two years before the date of the application but what he says in that deposition is that she was not in a sound state of mind now and then and not continuously. But in order to invalidate the suit document, it must be established that on the date of its execution in September 1925, Seethalakshmi Ammal was not in a sound state of mind and there is no evidence whatever on this point. Mr. Venkatarama Sastriar requests us to admit the application which the present plaintiff preferred to the Court of Wards as additional evidence in this case. The defendants had ample time to make that application to the lower Court and no explanation has been given for their delay in not doing so and we are not inclined to entertain this request at this state. No other point was argued before us.

Therefore, on the evidence on record, the finding of the learned Subordinate Judge that Seethalakshmi Ammal was in a sound state of mind on the date of the lease in favour of the plaintiff must be affirmed.

5. In the result, the appeal fails and is dismissed with costs.


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