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Boologanathan Vs. P. Govindarajan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1979)2MLJ47
AppellantBoologanathan
RespondentP. Govindarajan and ors.
Cases ReferredVeerasami Naicker v. Alamelu Ammal
Excerpt:
- .....learned district judge, west thanjavur. the petitioner claims to be a legatee under a will of the quondam tenant of the suit land. the quondam tenant, namely, the testator, when he was confronted with a suit for ejectment by the owners of the land, filed an application under section 9 of the tamil nadu city tenants' protection act (hereinafter called the act). before the application could be disposed of, he died. the present petitioner was brought on record as the legatee under the will referred to above. the petitioner wanted to continue the said application under section 9 of the act and, on the foot of his status as the legatee of the lease-hold rights, claimed such protection after the death of the testator. it was this application which came up for consideration before the lower.....
Judgment:
ORDER

T. Ramaprasada Rao, C.J.

1. This Civil Revision Petition is against the order of the learned District Judge, West Thanjavur. The petitioner claims to be a legatee under a will of the quondam tenant of the suit land. The quondam tenant, namely, the testator, when he was confronted with a suit for ejectment by the owners of the land, filed an application under Section 9 of the Tamil Nadu City Tenants' Protection Act (hereinafter called the Act). Before the application could be disposed of, he died. The present petitioner was brought on record as the legatee under the will referred to above. The petitioner wanted to continue the said application under Section 9 of the Act and, on the foot of his status as the legatee of the lease-hold rights, claimed such protection after the death of the testator. It was this application which came up for consideration before the lower Court. It may be incidentally pointed out that in an earlier proceedings which was initiated by the respondents but under the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, against the testator referred to above (the quondam tenant), the plea was one of denial of title of the landlord. It was in these circumstances, the parties were referred to a civil suit. This compelled, therefore, the respondents as landlords to file a suit for possession or ejectment. Taking advantage of such a suit in ejectment the petitioner and the quoandam tenant desired to secure protection under the City Tenants Protection Act and, as already stated, filed the necessary application for obtaining relief, to wit, an application under Section 9 of the Act. I have already referred to the fact that the quondam tenant died during the pendency of the proceedings and the petitioner brought himself on record as legatee under the will of the quondam tenant and wanted to continue the application under Section 9. This application was heard by the Court below which framed two posers as arising from the pleadings, firstly, whether the petitioner was entitled to the benefits of Section 9 of the Act, and secondly whether the petitioner, as legatee of the quondam tenant, can claim the benefits of the Act. The lower Court, as appellate Court, agreed with the trial Court that the petitioner was not so entitled to the benefits under the Act. As against this, the present civil revision petition has been filed.

2. Though two questions do arise in this Civil Revision Petition, it appears to me to be sufficient, for the purpose of the disposal of the Civil Revision Petition, to deal with the question whether the petitioner as legatee of the quondam tenant who denied the title of the respondents in the proceedings, is entitled at all to be treated as a tenant within the meaning of Section 2 of the Act, and entitled to the consequential statutory benefits thereunder. If this is held against the petitioner, then it is unnecessary to consider the other question whether the petitioner, as a legatee, pure and simple, would be entitled to such protection.

3. If once a tenant openly denies the title of lessor or pleads jus tertii, then it automatically follows that he would not he considered as a tenant for any purpose whatsoever, as under Section 111(g) of the Transfer of Property Act, by such open denial of title or by pleading jus tertii there is a forfeiture of the tenancy and the relationship of landlord and tenant is snapped thereby. The fact that he remains in possession of the premises and pays, what according to him, is rent or is prepared or willing to pay such rent, could only, in the circumstances, be understood as money paid towards damages for use and occupation. Juridical possession, therefore, is the essence for the creation of the relationship of landlord and tenant. Once there is a snapping of the relationship by a voluntary Act of omission or commission on the part of the person in occupation as tenant then, he cannot inconsistently claim such a legal status under any provision of law. A Division Bench of this Court in Veerasami Naicker v. Alamelu Ammal : AIR1965Mad442 , held that where a. person, who continues to be in possession after the termination of the tenancy, claims that he does so, as he is entitled to the property as his own, it is obvious that there is hardly any room for such an owner to seek protection of his possession under the provisions of the Act. Clearly the Act is not intended to protect such owners, for, there is no need for it. The argument of the learned Counsel for the petitioner, however, is that he satisfied the definition of 'tenant' within the meaning of Section 2(4)(i) of the Act. That sub-Clause reads as under-

Tenant in relation to any land means a person liable to pay rent in respect of such land under a tenancy agreement, express or implied.

Admittedly, there is no express agreement in this case; nor it set up by the petitioner who is only a legatee of the quondam tenant. But, what is urged is that there is an implied tenancy because he is ready and willing to pay the rent to the respondents. It is said that such a gesture on his part would create the legal relationship of landlord and tenant as between the respondents and himself. This would be begging the question for the simple reason that a person cannot approbate and reprobate. Once the quondam tenant took up the position that the respondents are not the true owners of the property and this necessitated the respondents to file an independent suit as has been the position in this case and during the course of the proceedings the petitioner substitutes himself in the place of the quondam tenant as the legatee of him under the Will Exhibit A-,2, he cannot be heard to say that there is an implied tenancy created by his having acquired the status of a legatee. Only if there is such a status it would be an indicia to decide as to his statutory entitlement under the Act. It is in this respect, I characterised the contention as begging the question. Once it is established that the tenant and in this case the petitioner or the quondam tenant did take up the stand that the respondents are not the real owners of the property, then there is a denial of title. Once there is such a denial of title, any relationship of landlord and tenant automatically gets severed. This severance is caused because of the presumption which arises under Section 111(g) of the Transfer of Property Act, which forfeits the lease by reason of such denial of title. Forfeiture of lease, therefore (sic) does not buttress any such relationship of landlord and tenant even if it existed. Whilst not agreeing with the learned Counsel for the petitioner that there is implied tenancy in the instant case, I hold that even if such an implied tenancy were there, he cannot take advantage of the statutory benefits under the Act, since he or the quondam tenant persisted in denying the title of the landlord and thereby caused the attraction of the principle contained in Section 111(g) of the Transfer of Property Act. The lower Court was, therefore, right in having denied the statutory entitlement to the petitioner on the ground that he denied the landlord's title and that Division Bench judgment compelled if to dismiss his application under Section 9. I agree with the conclusion as I am obliged to follow the decision of the Division Bench also.

4. In view of the above, it is unnecessary to go into the other question whether as a legatee under the will, he could be construed as a tenant and if he could be so construed what are the other primordial requirements for gaining an entitlement under the beneficial provisions of the Act. Accepting the conclusion of the lower Court on the first contention, the civil revision petition fails and it is dismissed. No costs.


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