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Nagarathinam Pillai Vs. Mahadevier - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1969)2MLJ492
AppellantNagarathinam Pillai
RespondentMahadevier
Excerpt:
- .....tenant, and the tenant instituted an appeal. the main ground was that the tenant had committed ' wilful default' in payments of rent for a total period of nine months. at least with regard to three months, out of this period, the tenant appears to have sent the rent by money orders, though not to the correct address of the landlord. this is rather curious, since the landlord claims that he was residing in practically the same premises, to the knowledge of the tenant, and that, there was neither justification nor reason for the tenant to send the money orders to any other address. however, i am willing to assume that, with regard to the three months in question, the default cannot be characterised as' wilful', for the simple reason that there was an attempt by the tenant to tender rent.....
Judgment:

M. Anantanarayanan, C.J.

1. In my-view, this revision will clearly have to be allowed, on the findings of fact. The first Court allowed the eviction of the tenant, and the tenant instituted an appeal. The main ground was that the tenant had committed ' wilful default' in payments of rent for a total period of nine months. At least with regard to three months, out of this period, the tenant appears to have sent the rent by money orders, though not to the correct address of the landlord. This is rather curious, since the landlord claims that he was residing in practically the same premises, to the knowledge of the tenant, and that, there was neither justification nor reason for the tenant to send the money orders to any other address. However, I am willing to assume that, with regard to the three months in question, the default cannot be characterised as' wilful', for the simple reason that there was an attempt by the tenant to tender rent by money orders.

2. But, there is, in any event, an unaccounted period of five months during which the tenant did not pay rent. The fact that the tenant deposited the rent subsequently and quite early, after the inception of the proceedings, may serve to extenuate his default in the sense that he might be now granted a reasonable time for vacating the premises. But, it is not a ground that the law can recognise for holding that a tenant who deposits such rent, is not guilty of ' wilful default' with regard to the period of default preceding the petition for eviction; it is very clear from the Act, that there is no condonation on the part of the landlord, merely because he takes the rents deposited into Court.

3. The fact that the landlord had advance rent with him, again, is no ground for holding that the tenant was not guilty of ' wilful default'. Hence, the three grounds relied on by the appellate authority, viz., (1) earlier rents sent by money orders, (2) arrears paid into Court after the petition, and (3) rental having been retained as advance, are not at all reasons that a Court can recognise for holding that the default was not ' wilful'. This Court has repeatedly pointed out that ' wilful default' within the meaning of the statute, implies a conscious or volitional failure to discharge obligations laid by law on a tenant, which also includes a ' supine indifference' to those obligations. The default has to be characterised as ' wilful', where there is no ground, that the law can take into account, to show that the default was not conscious or volitional. Naturally enough, each case will have to be judged on its merits, and the case may be different where the default has occurred with regard to a single month. But, where it occurs with regard to several months, as in this case, it is difficult to accept the argument that the default was not wilful. Accordingly, I allow the revision, order the eviction, and restore the decree of the first Court. However, taking into account the circumstances of this case, the tenant will have time for six months from to-day for compliance with the decree for eviction. It is only if he fails to comply within this period that the decree shall be executable. Parties will bear their own costs here.


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