1. This is an appeal against the decree of the Principal Judge, City Civil Court, dismissing the appellant's suit for ejectment of his tenant (the respondent) and for mesne profits.
2. The respondent and another entered into possession of the suit land on the 14th July, 1921, by Ex. D-1, which was a registered lease for a term of ten years, agreeing to pay Rs. 12 per month for the first five years and Rs. 15 per month for the second period of five years. According to the evidence of the respondent, which has not been refuted, the respondent alone continued in possession after the expiry of the lease in 1931. The other lessee is said to have died in 1936, where-upon his relatives took away his cows and took no further interest in the sheds which had been erected on the suit land after the execution of the lease in 1921. On the 15th July, 1944, after the suit land had been sold to the plaintiff by Bala-sundara Achari, son of Gangadhara Achari (the lessor under Ex. D-1) the defendant executed a rental agreement, Ex. P-1, in favour of the plaintiff. The question is whether on these facts the respondent is a tenant within the meaning of the Madras City Tenants Protection Act and is entitled to the benefit of those provisions. If he is, then the suit was rightly dismissed : if he was not then the plaintiff is entitled to succeed in his suit for ejectment.
3. In Section 1, Sub-clause 3, the Act is said to apply to tenancies of land created before the commencement of the Act. The only tenancy prior to the Act with which we are concerned is Ex. D-1, dated the 14th July, 1921, which expired after the coming into force of the Act. Under Section 2(4) 'tenant' is defined as ' tenant of land liable to pay rent on it... and includes persons who continue in possession after the termination of the tenancy.' The respondent was liable to pay rent on the land from 1921 onwards and he continued in possession after the termination of the tenancy. So, under the clear wording of this sub-section, he is a tenant within the meaning of the Act entitled to the privileges conferred by the Act.
4. It is argued that after the termination of the lease a new tenancy was created, not only because one of the joint tenants ceased to be a tenant, but also because the respondent continued to hold over afterwards, and that therefore his rights under the new tenancy were not created before the commencement of the Act. With regard to the second point, it is true that the original tenancy came to an end an 1931; and it may be that the respondent continued under a new tenancy. That does not mean that he is not a tenant within the, meaning of the Act, entitled to the benefits of the Act; because the very definition of a tenant, as already pointed out, includes a person holding over after the termination of the tenancy.
5. When there are joint tenants and only one of them holds over, the tenant holding over is liable to pay the whole of the rent, to the landlord, who is not entitled to claim from the tenants who do not hold over, any portion of the rent: nor is the landlord entitled to look to any person other than the tenant holding over for the rent. So that after 1931 the appellant was entitled to claim the rent from the respondent; and the respondent alone was entitled to remain in possession and pay the rent. The other tenant and his heirs had no rights at all after 1931, when the tenancy came to an end; for they did not hold over.
6. There remains for consideration the effect of Ex. P-1 If Ex. P-1 had been registered and had been executed by the lessor as well as the lessee, it might have been, arguable that after 15th July, 1944, the respondent was no longer a tenant within the meaning of the Act. In that connection, the learned advocate for the appellant has referred us to Ranganatham v. Ethirajulu (1940) 1 M.LJ. 24 : L.R. 67 IndAp 25 : I.L.R. (1940) Mad. 172 (P.C), in which a lease was created in very different terms sometime after the expiry of the original lease, which was created before the commencement of the Act. Their Lordships held that Section 2(4) applied only to persons holding under the original tenancy or holding over after the tenancy had come to an end and did not include persons in possession under a new lease. A case somewhat similar to the present case came before King, J., in Nayar Varada Pillai v. Ghulam Dastagir : AIR1946Mad11 , in which the learned Judge distinguished the case before him from that before their Lordships in Ranganadham v. Ethirajulu (1940) 1 M.LJ. 24 : L.R. 67 IndAp 25 : I.L.R. (1940) Mad. 172 (P.C) on the ground that in the leases that he was considering, the terms were substantially the same. It is not necessary for us to consider how far this distinction drawn by King, J., was valid, because Ex. P-1 had no legal effect, as it was unregistered and was not signed by the lessor. That being so, the possession of the respondent is referable only to his holding over after the termination of Ex. D-1, and not to the execution of Ex. P-1.
7. The appeal fails and is dismissed with costs.