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M.K.S. Gopalakrishna Chettiar and anr. Vs. N. Sankaramoorthy and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1979)1MLJ225
AppellantM.K.S. Gopalakrishna Chettiar and anr.
RespondentN. Sankaramoorthy and ors.
Excerpt:
- .....for determination is whether the respondents could claim the benefits of section 3 of the tamil nadu cultivating tenants arrears of rent (relief) act, 1972 (tamil nadu act xxi of 1972). in' order to appreciate this issue, the following facts may be noted.2. the respondents are cultivating tenants under one g. pattammal, 1st appellant in c.m.s.a. no. 88 of 1975. her husband, gopalakrishna chettiar, was collecting the rents for and on behalf of his wife pattammal. for the arrears of rent upto the end of fasli 1371, the tenant n. sankaramoorthy executed a promissory note for a sum of rs. 600 on 1st may, 1962 in favour of gopalakrishna chettiar and for the two subsequent, faslis, he executed another promissory note in favour of the same person viz., gopalakrishna chettiar for a sum of rs......
Judgment:

S. Mohan, J.

1. In these cases, the short question that arises for for determination is whether the respondents could claim the benefits of Section 3 of the Tamil Nadu Cultivating Tenants Arrears of Rent (Relief) Act, 1972 (Tamil Nadu Act XXI of 1972). In' order to appreciate this issue, the following facts may be noted.

2. The respondents are cultivating tenants under one G. Pattammal, 1st appellant in C.M.S.A. No. 88 of 1975. Her husband, Gopalakrishna Chettiar, was collecting the rents for and on behalf of his wife Pattammal. For the arrears of rent upto the end of fasli 1371, the tenant N. Sankaramoorthy executed a promissory note for a sum of Rs. 600 on 1st May, 1962 in favour of Gopalakrishna Chettiar and for the two subsequent, faslis, he executed another promissory note in favour of the same person viz., Gopalakrishna Chettiar for a sum of Rs. 850 on 21st March, 1964. The said Gopalakrishna Chettiar filed O.S. No. 171 of 1967 and obtained an ex parte decree thereon. Under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Act XXI of 1972, payments made after 1st July, 1971 were to be credited for the arrears of lease for fasli 1381. The tenants alleged that they had paid Rs. 215 on 23rd September, 1971 and then Rs. 600 on 29th September, 1971 by way of adjusting the amounts due to the petitioners towards the sale price to be paid by the landlady. Then again, by the sale of a pair of bulls worth Rs. 600 that amount had already been adjusted. In the result, what remain to be paid is only Rs. 1,59 7 and the actual liability as per the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Act XXI of 1972 is only Rs. 823,25. Consequently by the application of Section 3 of the said Act, the entire arrears should be deemed to have been wiped off and full satisfaction recorded. On these allegations E.A. No. 1364 of 1972 came to be filed. The landlady contested the applications stating that she did not get the promissory notes in the name of her husband towards the arrears of rent due from the tenants, that she was managing her own affairs independently and passing receipts and that she had no interest in the payment made by the petitioners towards the discharge of the decree amount. The sale transactions referred to by the petitioners have nothing to do with the arrears of rent. She received a sum of Rs. 175 for fasli 1380 on 29th September, 1971. Therefore, the balance is due and hence the application is liable to dismissed.

3. The husband contended that the petitioner' were not Ids tenants and therefore, the provisions of Tamil Nadu Act XXI of 1972 will not apply to the decree rendered on the fact of the promissory notes. Consequently the petition was liable to be dismissed.

4. The Executing Court did not accept the case of the petitioners-tenants and consequently dismissed the application refusing to record full satisfaction. As against the same C.M.A. Nos. 81 of 1972 and 82 of 1972 were preferred which had been allowed by the learned Subordinate Judge of Kumbakonam. Aggrieved against that order, the husband Gopalakrishna Chettiar has preferred C.M.S.A. No. 87 of 1975 while C.M.S.A. No. 88 of 1975 has been preferred by Kis wife.

5. Mr. V. Krishnan, learned Counsel for the appeallants, urges that in order to have the benefit or Section 3 of the Tamil Nadu Act XXI of 1972, it must be proved that there is relationship of landlord and cultivating tenantsas between Gopalakrishna Chettiar, the appellan - in C.M.S.A. No. 87 of 1975 and the respont dents/tenants. In this case, Pattammal, the 1st appellant in C.M.S.A. No. 88 of 1975 alone is the landlady. The fact that the two promissory notes came to be executed in discharge of the arrears of rent due to the wife of Gopalkrishna Chettiar and decree has been obtained on the foot of the promissory notes cannot mean that relationship of landlord and tenants has come to be established between the appellant in C.M.S.A. No. 87 of 1975 (Gopalakrishna Chettiar) and the respondent/tenants. Consequently, the order is liable to be set aside.

6. As against this, what is pointed out by Mr. G. Jagadeesa Ayyar, learned Counsel for the respondents, is that it was the husband who was through out acting on behalf of the wife and to fact had accepted certain payments made on behalf of the wife and Pattammal, landlady herself had been paid certain amounts. Having regard to the relationship between the parties, it must be held that the husband alone is the landlord. Besides, the power of attorney had been executed in favour of the husband which means that he will be entitled to evict the tenants viz., respondents and that is the definition of 'landlord' under the Tamil Nadu Cultivating Tenants Protection Act, 1955. Therefore, the orders of the lower appellate Court are unassailable.

7. Having regard to the above argument, I have to necessarily refer to Section 3 of the Tamil Nadu Act. XXI of 1972. The relevant portion is extracted below:

3. Relief in payment of arrears of rent - (1)(a) All arrears of rent payable by a cultivating tenant to the landlord and outstanding on the 30th June, 1971 (hereinafter referred to as arrears of rent), shall be deemed to be discharged, whether or not a decree or order has been obtained therefor, if such cultivating tenant....

(i) has before the date of the publication of this Act paid to the landlord or deposited in the Court or before the competent authority, to the account of the landlord; or

(ii) pays or deposits in the manner specified in Clause (b) within six months from the date of the publication of this Act; or (iii) is deemed to have paid or deposited under this Act the whole of the rent due for the fasli year commencing on the 1st July, 1971 and ending with the 30th June, 1972 (hereinafter referred to as the current rent).

8. A close reading of this sub-section reveal that there are three important conditions for the application of this Sub-section. (i) arrears of rent (ii) payable by a cultivating tenant to the landlord and (Hi) outstanding on the 30th June, 1971. In the instant case, there is no difficulty in holding that there are arrears of rent. In fact, the promissory notes themselves contain the recitals that they had come to be executed only towards the arrears of rent due by the tenants to G. Pattammal, the landlady. It cannot also be gainsaid that the respondents are the cultivating tenants. But the real difficulty arises only when deciding the question whether the husband, in whose favour the promissory notes have been executed, could be called a landlord within the meaning of the above sub-section. The definition of 'landlord' as occurring under Section 2(f) of the Tamil Nadu Act XXI of 1972 reads as follows:

(f) 'landlord' means a landlord as defined in Clause (e) of Section 2 of the Tenants Protection Act and includes.... (i) A public trust as defined in Clause (25) of Section 2 of the Public Trusts Act; and (ii) a landlord as defined in Clause (1) of Section 3 of the Malabar Tenancy Act.

This takes me on to the Tamil Nadu Cultivating Tenants' Protection Act, 1955. Under that Act, the definition of 'landlord' occurs under Section 2(e) which run thus:

(e) 'Landlord' in relation to a holding or part thereof means the person entitled to evict the cultivating tenant from such holding or part;

9. In this case, no doubt, a power of attorney has been executed in favour of the husband. From that it cannot be held that he is entitled to evict because he does so as an agent of the landlady. Therefore, it is abundantly clear that there is no relationship of landlord and tenants as between Gopalakrishna Chettiar, the appellants in G.M.S.A. No. 87 of 1975 and the respondents. Consequently, I have no hesitation in upholding the argument of Mr. V. Krishnan, learned Counsel for the appellant. In the result C.M.S.A. No. 88 of 1975 will stand allowed.

10. There is a controversy as to the various payments made in discharge of the liability due from the tenants of respondents. That will be enquired into by the executing Court. For this purpose, I allow C.M.S.A. No. 87 of 1975 and remit the matter to the executing Court for determination of the liability of the tenants. No costs.


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