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Prasanta Kumar De Chowdhury and ors. Vs. Tapas Kumar Das - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTenancy
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberC.R. No. 1952 of 1980
Judge
Reported inAIR1981Cal332,86CWN56
ActsWest Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1956 - Sections 4(2) and 17(1)
AppellantPrasanta Kumar De Chowdhury and ors.
RespondentTapas Kumar Das
Appellant AdvocateSwapan Kumar Mallick, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS.P. Roychowdhury, Adv.
Cases ReferredMani Subrat Jain v. Raja Ram Vohra
Excerpt:
- .....on oct. 25, 1976 corresponding to 8th kartick 1383 b. s. should have included the rent for the month of aswin 1383 b. s. under section 17 (1) of the act the tenant was to deposit in court at the admitted rate of rs. 42.55 not only the rent for the months in arrear but also the rent for the month previous to the month in which deposit is made. the opposite party, of course, deposited the rent for the month of aswin on 2-11-1976 corresponding to kartick 15, 1383 b. s.4. mr. swapan kumar mallick, the learned advocate for the petitioner argues that the language in section 17 (1) of the act clearly shows that within one month of the service of the summons or the date of appearance as the case may be, the tenant is to deposit in court or with the rent controller or pay to the landlord, an.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Sudhindra Mohan Guha, J.

1. The order dated April 7, 1980 passed by Sri S. L. Biswas, Munsif, Ranaghat, in Title Suit No. 314 of 1976 overruling the objection to the application under Section 17 (2) of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, has been challenged. This application under Section 17 (2) of the Act was said to be not maintainable.

2. This suit was filed by the petitioners against the opposite party on 31st Aug., 1976 for eviction on the ground of default, amongst others. The writ of summons was served on Sept. 15, 1976. After the Puja holidays the Court opened on 25th Oct., 1976and on that very date the opposite party-tenant after appearance tiled an application under Section 17 (2) of the Act and deposited the sum of Rs. 127.65 being the rent for the months of Ashar, Shravan and Bhadra 1383 B. S. at the rate of Rs. 42.55 per month.

3. The petitioners challenged the deposit as invalid because the deposit made by the opposite party on Oct. 25, 1976 corresponding to 8th Kartick 1383 B. S. should have included the rent for the month of Aswin 1383 B. S. Under Section 17 (1) of the Act the tenant was to deposit in Court at the admitted rate of Rs. 42.55 not only the rent for the months in arrear but also the rent for the month previous to the month in which deposit is made. The opposite party, of course, deposited the rent for the month of Aswin on 2-11-1976 corresponding to Kartick 15, 1383 B. S.

4. Mr. Swapan Kumar Mallick, the learned Advocate for the petitioner argues that the language in Section 17 (1) of the Act clearly shows that within one month of the service of the summons or the date of appearance as the case may be, the tenant is to deposit in Court or with the Rent Controller or pay to the landlord, an amount calculated at the rate of rent at which it was last paid for the period for which the tenant may have made default including the period subsequent thereto up to the end of the month previous to that in which the deposit or payment is made together with usual interest. Thus, it is contended by Mr. Mallick that the deposit for the months of Ashar Shravan and Bhadra 1383 B. S. must be taken to be invalid as the deposit did not include the rent for the month of Aswin 1383 B. S. as provided in Section 17 (1) of the Act.

5. Mr. Mitter, the learned Advocate for the opposite party simply points out that the rent for Aswin 1383 B. S. was not due on the date of deposit namely, Kartick 8, 1383 B. S. and as such it was subsequently deposited on 15th of Kartick.

6. On construing the Section 17 (1) of the Act I think that Mr. Mallick is right. If the intention of the legislature was that a tenant in order to avail of the protection was to deposit only the rent in arrear, in that case the underlined portion of the section referred to above becomes redundant of superfluous. The underlined portion of Section 17(1) must be intended to add something more to the usual concept of deposit of arrears of rent. But if upon construction of any part or portion of any section it appears to be without effect, that portion may be normally overlooked.

7. In this connection Mr. Mitter refers to Section 4 (2) of the Act which states (that) rent in the absence of any contract rent is to be paid by the 15th of the next following month and argues that Section 17 (1) relating to the portion underlined is contrary to Section 4 (1) and as such should not be accepted.

8. It is the rule that the literal construction to a statute is to be given, unless that is at variance with the intention of the legislature, to be collected from the statute itself. Again, construction is to be made to avoid inconvenience and injustice. It is also the rule that if two sections of the same statute are repugnant, in that case the last must prevail. The West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act is not a general statute but a special statute enacted for the benefit or protection of the tenant and as such construction of this statute is to be made in such a way that it goes in favour of the tenant. In this case the provision made in Section 17 (1) is in conflict with Section 4 (1) of the Act.

9. In the case of Mohd. Shafi v. Additional District and Sessions Judge, Allahabad reported in : [1977]2SCR464 the Supreme Court observed that of the two possible interpretations, one in favour of the tenant should be preferred. In this case since the Explanation raises a conclusive presumption in favour of the landlord in a legislation which is intended to protect the tenant against unreasonable eviction, it was construed strictly against the landlord so as to cut as little as possible into the protection afforded to the tenant. If the language of the Explanation is susceptible of two interpretations, the Supreme Court would prefer that which enlarges the protection of the tenant rather than that which restricts it. In this connection para. 6 of the report at p. 230 (of SCC): (at p. 840 of AIR) may be referred to.

10. It would not be out of place to refer to another decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Mani Subrat Jain v. Raja Ram Vohra, reported in : [1980]2SCR141 . iN this case in paragraph 5 of the report at page 300 their Lordships made certain observations which I may quote here :--

'It is too platitudinous to preach and too entrenched to shake, the proposition that rent control legislation in a country of terrible accommodation shortage is a beneficial measure whose construction must be liberal enough to fulfil the statutory purpose and not frustrate it. So construed, the benefit ofinterpretative doubt belongs to the potential evictee unless the language is plain and provides for eviction. That intendment must, by interpretation, be effectuated. This is the essence of rent control jurisprudence'.

11. Thus, it is the established principle that in interpretation of a section of the statute of this nature the Court must interpret and accept one which goes in favour of the tenant for whose benefit the statute was enacted.

12. In this case again the rent for Aswin 1383 B. S. was deposited by 15th of Kartick 1383 B. S. Section 17 (1) cannot override the general rule as to payment of rent contained in Section 4 of the Act.

13. In this view of the matter, this application for revision cannot be accepted. It is, accordingly, rejected. The Rule is discharged.

14. There will be no order as to costs.


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