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Srinivasa Aiyangar and ors. Vs. Rangasami Aiyangar and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported inAIR1915Mad717; 25Ind.Cas.812
AppellantSrinivasa Aiyangar and ors.
RespondentRangasami Aiyangar and ors.
Cases ReferredV. Balakrishnudu v. G. Narayanasawmy Chetty
Excerpt:
transfer of property act (iv of 1882), section 108 (a) - limitation act (ix of 1908), schedule i, article 115--lessor and lessee--breach of covenant for quiet enjoyment--disturbance by trespasser, whether breach--trespasser acting under lessor's instructions--breach --deposit money, suit to recover--limitation. - .....these defendants ever got into possession in fasli 1312. in any case, the sixth witness for the plaintiffs, srinivasa aiyengar, the successful bidder at the first auction, within a few days after the beginning of the fasli, instituted a suit for an injunction restraining these defendants from interfering with his possession of the lease-hold premises. these defendants appeared and gave an undertaking that they weald not collect any rents pending the disposal of the suit; and, when the time came to harvest the crops, the court appointed a receiver. ultimately it was held that this man srinivasa aiyengar was not the lessee, but that these defendants were.2. in the present suit, among other things, the plaintiffs seek to recover from these defendants the rent of the suit lands for fasli.....
Judgment:

1. In this case the plaintiffs, who are the trustees of a temple, sued for the rent for five faslis of certain lands which were leased to the defendants Nos. 1 to 4. The procedure adopted by the trustees was to auction the lease and one Srinivasa Aiyengar, the sixth witness for the plaintiffs in this case, was the successful bidder at the first auction. Under the conditions of the auction he was bound to execute an agreement in favour of the trustees on certain terms. He did execute an agreement in favour of the trustees and got it registered and according to the well-known decision of the Full Bench of this Court in Syed Ajavi Sahib v. Meenatchi Devastanam 8 Ind. Cas. 668 : 35 M. 95 : (1910) M.W.N. 766 : 8 M.L.T. 437 : 21 M.L.J. 202, by which we are bound, this registered agreement -by the lessee was a registered lease within the meaning of the Transfer of Property Act so as to render the lease effectual. However, the majority of the trustees were not satisfied with the terms of this document and said that it was not the sort of lease which they had bargained for. They accordingly declared it cancelled and held a fresh auction at which the defendants Nos. 1 to 4 in this suit were the successful bidders and they in turn executed another registered agreement, which must be regarded as a registered lease, in favour of the plaintiffs and became the lessees of the plaintiffs. This was in July 1902, at the beginning of Fasli 1312. It is disputed whether these defendants ever got into possession in Fasli 1312. In any case, the sixth witness for the plaintiffs, Srinivasa Aiyengar, the successful bidder at the first auction, within a few days after the beginning of the fasli, instituted a suit for an injunction restraining these defendants from interfering with his possession of the lease-hold premises. These defendants appeared and gave an undertaking that they weald not collect any rents pending the disposal of the suit; and, when the time came to harvest the crops, the Court appointed a Receiver. Ultimately it was held that this man Srinivasa Aiyengar was not the lessee, but that these defendants were.

2. In the present suit, among other things, the plaintiffs seek to recover from these defendants the rent of the suit lands for Fasli 1312. The defendants rely on the fact that they were out of possession and upon the lessor's implied covenant of a quiet enjoyment. Under Section 108 (c) of the Transfer of Property Act, which, however, does not apply to agricultural leases, The lessor shall be deemed to contract with the lessee that, if the latter pays the rent reserved by the lease and performs the contracts binding on the lessee he may hold the property during the time limited by the lease without interruption.' That is what is generally known as the covenant for quiet enjoyment. The usual covenant for quiet enjoyment in England is a covenant for quiet enjoyment against disturbance by the lessor or those claiming through or under him, as distinct from an unconditional covenant for quiet enjoyment which also extends to disturbance by some one claiming by a title paramount to the lessor. It is, however, perfectly well settled in England that even in the more extended form the covenant for quiet enjoyment is only a covenant against disturbance by somebody claiming under a lawful title. It does not extend to disturbance by a trespasser. In the present case the result of the litigation between the parties in the suit already referred to has been that this Srinivasa Aiyengar has been found to have been a trespasser. The disturbance of these defendants was by Srinivasa Aiyengar, not by the plaintiffs. So far as this fasli is concerned, it was a disturbance by a trespasser and, therefore, it would not come within the covenant for quiet enjoyment under Section 108 (c) of the Transfer of Property Act. Although Section 108 does not in terms apply to this case, which is an agricultural lease, yet, nonetheless, we think it ought to be followed as embodying the rules of justice, equity and good conscience. It is what the Legislature thought was applicable to other leases, and there is no reason why it should not be applied as a matter of justice, equity and good conscience to agricultural leases also, as has been done in the case of several other provisions of the Transfer of Property Act relating to leases which have been applied to agricultural leases which were not directly within the scope of the Act. As regards the scope of this section the same view was taken in Tayawa v. Gurshidappa 25 B. 269 : 2 Bom. L.R. 1070.

3. With regard to Fasli 1313 the facts are more complicated. Towards the end of Fasli 1312, Srinivasa lyengar, who claimed to be the lessee, applied to the Court to be appointed Receiver for the ensuing fasli, and these defendants also applied to be appointed Receivers. On the 24th July 1903, when there was no Judge for the Court, the trustees put in a counter-petition, Exhibit F: 'What we submit regarding the petition which the plaintiff has presented in respect of the cultivation during this year so that the cultivation business may be done hereafter without delay, is we have no objection to plaintiff and 6th defendant cultivating. In the end we are ready to admit it as the cultivation of that lessee whose lease is established.' The sixth defendant in that case was the fourth of the defendants in the present case, but he was apparently acting in opposition to defendants Nos. 1 to 3. On the same day the trustees delivered a letter, Exhibit VII; to Srinivasa Iyengar and the present 4th defendant: 'As mentioned in the petition we presented today in Original Suit No. 60 of 1902 of the Kumbakonam Sub-Court, we have no objection whatever to your cultivating the Mekkarimanglam village yourselves. We consent to your doing so. You should take action accordingly.' And by Exhibit VII (a) they practically made an advance to these two people for the cultivation expenses. What happened is made still clearer by a paragraph in the affidavit filed by Srinivasa Iyengar, Exhibit VIII, on the 26th January 1904. All these facts he has spoken to in his evidence in this case. While matters stood thus, as no Judge was appointed to this Court till the 25th August last year, as the season was over to begin cultivation, and as the lands in the village were lying waste, the trustees (that is, the present plaintiffs) requested me and the 6th defendant to cultivate the village so that none might sustain loss and wrote and gave us varthamanams (letters) marked A and B that is, Exhibit VII and VII (a) in this case and presented herewith in support of the same. As the 6th 4efendant stated that it would not fee convenient for him to cultivate in accordance with that arrangement, I have myself solely carried out the cultivation, etc., in reference to the arrangement separately made with the trustees and not in accordance with the arrangement of the lease in question.' Later on in the year, when the time came to harvest the crop, the present plaintiffs obtained an order from the Court that the crops of the plaint village, now ready for harvest, will be gathered by. the plaintiff' (that is Srinivasa Iyengar) and the trustees or by any one of them or by the agent deputed by them in writing for the purpose and that the produce gathered will be taken possession of by the trustees or any one of them or their agent after. delivery of the portion due to cultivating tenants and incidental expenses.' On these facts we are of opinion that the action of the plaintiffs in asking this Srinivasa Iyengar and the present 4th defendant to go into possession not in right of the defendants' lease, and their subsequent action in obtaining an order for the gathering of the crops by Srinivasa Iyengar himself and for the delivery to them of the crops and the acceptance of such delivery, constitutes a disturbance of these defendants under their lease, and it is a breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment and disentitles the plaintiffs to recover anything in respect of rent for this fasli from these defendants.

4. The only other question argued before us by Mr. Narasimha Aiyangar was as to a sum of Rs. 500 which was paid by these lessees prior to bidding for the lease. Under the terms of the notice all bidders were required to deposit Rs. 500. The unsuccessful bidders were entitled to get back their deposits at once. The successful bidder was to get his deposit back after executing a lease and a security bondi Under the terms of the contract between the parties the money became payable to these defendants on the execution of the lease and the security bond and there was a breach of contract in not paying it to them then and if no other Article is applicable Article 115 applies to the case which is 'for compensation for the breach of any contract, express or implied, not in writing registered and not herein specifically provided for.' Sitting on the original side one of us recently held that that was the Article applicable to a deposit of money which was payable on the happening of a certain event but had not been paid. That case, Balakrishnudu v. Narayanasawmy Chetty 24 Ind. Cas. 852 : 37 Ma. 175, is reported in 37 Madras 175 and that decision has been affirmed on appeal on this point in V. Balakrishnudu v. G. Narayanasawmy Chetty 22 Ind. Cas. 60 : (1914) M.W.N. 264 by the learned Chief Justice and Mr Justice Oldfield. Following that decision we must hold that the defendants' claim in respect of this Rs. 500 is barred. They claim that they had placed this money in the hands of the plaintiffs and that the plaintiffs appropriated it in satisfaction of a debt due from the 4th defendant. It appears, however, that before that appropriation, if it could avail them, the debt had become barred.

5. As regards the question argued on the memorandum of objections we think the Court below was right.

6. In the result the appeal will be allowed so far as the claim for Fasli 1313 is concerned, and the decree modified accordingly. The party will pay and receive proportionate costs throughout.

7. The memorandum of objections is dismissed with costs.


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