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Sinnapa Pillai Vs. Ramaswamy Iyer and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in118Ind.Cas.79
AppellantSinnapa Pillai
RespondentRamaswamy Iyer and ors.
Cases ReferredSrinivasa Aiyangar v. Rangaswami Aiyangar
Excerpt:
landlord and tenant - lease of agricultural land--irrigation source impaired by floods--tenant's right-to avoid contract. - .....objection and quit the land in the middle of his tenancy. it seems to me that having paid his rent in january, 1925, though it is suggested that it was paid under protest, i do not think the protest really amounts to a protest in 'law the petitioner has put himself out of court.6. the petitioner further contends that the plaintiffs having forfeited the right to claim for the year 1926 inasmuch as the petitioner went out in may 1926 and the landlords immediately allowed somebody else to come in, it does not seem to be quite fair that the lessee should be asked to pay for may and june, 1926. but the rent is an annual rent and dot a monthly rent. further, it is due on the 15th of january and, as the learned judge points out, there would be no crop on the land during the hot months of.....
Judgment:

Odgers, J.

1. This is a revision petition to revise the decree of a Small Cause suit before the Small Cause Judge of Trichinopoly. The petitioner was the tenant of the respondent under a lease of certain lands in the Trichinopoly District for 7 years from the 15th July, 1922, at Rs. 350 a year, the rent being payable on 15th January each year. The Petitioner went into possession and in October, 1924, as is well-known, owing to the devastating floods in the Trichinopoly District the land was severely injured, that is to say, the irrigating sources were impaired and the land was silted up. The petitioner seems to have made some representations to the landlords in respect of this damage to the land, but he paid the rent as usual on the 25th January, 1925. The landlords are said to have promised to do certain repairs to the land which it is said would cost about Rs. 400. The landlords did not do the repairs The tenant, however, occupied the land till May 1926 when he definitely threw up the lease and vacated the land which the landlord gave to somebody else.

2. The petitioner contends that under the analogy of Section 108 of the Transfer of Property Act it ought to have been held that by reason of this flood which rendered the lands substantially unfit for the purpose for which it was let, the lessee should be entitled to treat the lease void. Unfortunately for him, Section 117 renders this provision inapplicable to the present case. But it is said that the section ought to be applied on the analogy of Srinivasa Aiyangar v. Rangaswami Aiyangar 25 Ind. Cas. 812, a of Sir John Wallis, Officiating Chief Justice, and Seshagiri Iyer, J., to the effect that Section 108 (c) of the Transfer of Property Act as to quiet enjoyment though not applicable to agricultrual leases should be followed in the case of such leases That covenant, of course, simply extends to the acts of the lessor and those claiming under him and cannot, in my opinion, help the case of the petitioner here.

3. Then it is said that the petitioner is entitled to refuse to pay rent on the ground that what he contracted for has been destroyed under Section 56 of the Contract Act. This is not so because it seems to me on reading the evidence through which I have been taken at great length that the land could have been put perfectly right by an expenditure of Rs. 400.

4. A custom was pleaded, namely, that the plaintiffs, the landlords, were bound to remove the silt as a customary obligation and the Judge has held that no such customary obligation has been clearly proved.

5. Another custom seems to have been established and that is this. The witnesses say that if the landlords do not do the necessary repairs, then the lessees could leave the land. This appears to be a great advantage to the tenant who wants to throw up the lease apparently without objection and quit the land in the middle of his tenancy. It seems to me that having paid his rent in January, 1925, though it is suggested that it was paid under protest, I do not think the protest really amounts to a protest in 'law the petitioner has put himself out of Court.

6. The petitioner further contends that the plaintiffs having forfeited the right to claim for the year 1926 inasmuch as the petitioner went out in May 1926 and the landlords immediately allowed somebody else to come in, it does not seem to be quite fair that the lessee should be asked to pay for May and June, 1926. But the rent is an annual rent and Dot a monthly rent. Further, it is due on the 15th of January and, as the learned Judge points out, there would be no crop on the land during the hot months of May and June until the next cultivation season comes round in July. It seems to me that in such circumstances he is liable to pay for the complete year as the rent is annual and not sub-divided.

7. There is no ground to revise the decree of the Small Cause Judge, the civil revision petition is dismissed with costs.


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