Vashu Deo v. Bal Kishan

After reading this case, the readers will learn how the Apex Court saw the facts of the case in light of the legislation on the matter. The Court placed heavy reliance on Section 108(q) of the Transfer of Property Act.
CITATIONAIR 2002 SC 569
COURTSupreme Court of India
JUDGES/CORAMJustice R.C. Lahoti and Justice Brijesh Kumar
DATE OF JUDGEMENT11.01.2002

Introduction

The case at hand is a classic case of Landlord-Tenant Relationship with regards to the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act and the Rajasthan Premises Act.

Facts

The facts of the case are as follows: The Sarvajanik Trust owned a building, in which a shop was taken on rent by the Plaintiff-Respondent, Balkishan. He paid Rs.30/- per month to the Trust for that purpose. Balkishan sub-let the property to the Defendant-Appellant for a consideration of Rs. 150/- per month. Six years later after the execution of this contract between the Appellant and the Respondent, in the year 1981, Vashu Deo failed to pay the rent on time to BalKishan who then took to the legal recourse of filing appeal for recovery of the arrears and then subsequently for eviction of Vashu Deo from the aforementioned property. The Trust subsequently filed an eviction suit against Balkishan for sub-letting Vashu Deo into the premises that had been given on rent initially to him. The eviction suit was pending at the time of this judgment and the Hon’ble Court specified that it would not draw any inference from the aforementioned eviction suit.

Vashu Deo then raised an issue pleading that the rent on which Balkishan had sub-let the property to him was unreasonable and very high and thus that he was not liable to pay any of it. Further, the Appellant brought it before the notice of the Hon’ble Court that he had directly attorned in favour of the Trust on 01.04.1983 and thus had entered into a direct tenancy agreement with the Trust.

The appellant has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the impugned order of the High Court of Rajasthan.

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Issues

The main issue in the case was: Whether or not a sub-tenant sub-let by a tenant in the premises can, during the continuance of sub-tenancy and without vacating the site, attorney in favor of the owner of the site and thus decline to discharge his obligations towards the tenant who admittedly inducted him in the premises.

Summary of court decision and judgment

The Civil Judge at Bhilwara passed an order under Section 13(3) of the Rajasthan Premises Act asking the appellant to pay the amount of rent as had been agreed earlier. An appeal was filed by the Appellant in the Court of the Additional District Judge at Bhilwara who reversed the decision in favor of the Appellant in light of the fact that the Appellant had already directly attorned with the Trust and thus therefore the suit filed by the Respondent could not be treated as a suit for eviction.

A civil revision petition was filed by the Respondent against the decision of the Additional District Judge. The said petition was contested by the appellant by placing reliance on the case of Kewal Ram v. Mangu Mal. The Division bench consisting the Chief Justice then after hearing the case, overruled the judgment passed in Kewal Ram v. Mangu Mal and simultaneously held that rights and obligations of tenants were governed by Section 13 of the Act and thus that the tenant could not attorn directly in favor of the Trust by excluding the Principal Tenant.

The Hon’ble Apex Court at the very outset turned to the Rajasthan Premises Act. Herein the Court went through the definitions provided for “tenant” and “landlord” and then after going through Section 13 of the Act, came to the conclusion that:

  1. A tenant in relation to a subtenant is his landlord and that the subtenant in relation to the tenant is his tenant;
  2. A tenant, who had been legally given the title of the same, under the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act, will continue to stay as a tenant, even after the contract has expired, unless and until an order of eviction has been passed against him under the provisos of the Transfer of Property Act;
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Terming such tenancy as statutory tenancy the Court placed reliance on Gian Devi Anand v. Jeevan Kumar[1] and on Damadilal v. Parashram.[2]. Further the Hon’ble Court placed reliance on Chander Kali Bagh v. Jagdish Singh Thakur[3] and thus substantiated the fact that a tenant would continue to stay as a tenant, even after the contract has expired, unless and until an order of eviction has been passed against him under the provisos of the Transfer of Property Act. The Court also placed strong reliance on the case of Radheylal v. Ratansingh[4], the facts of which were very similar to the case at hand. In the aforementioned case the Madhya Pradesh High Court had held that:

the obligation of the tenant to hand over possession to the landlord on determination of Tenancy cannot be escaped by the Tenant contending that he has entered into a contract of tenancy with a person who has paramount title over his landlord.

Thus, accordingly the Court held that the sub-tenant’s voluntarily becoming the tenant of the municipality and that too without the consent of the plaintiff could not be set up as a defense for discharging his obligation under Section 108(q) of the Transfer of Property Act.

Analysis

Section 108(q) of the Transfer of Property Act has been extracted hereunder:

108. Rights and liabilities of lessor and lessee.—In the absence of a contract or local usage to the contrary, the lessor and the lessee of immoveable property, as against one another, respectively, possess the rights and are subject to the liabilities mentioned in the rules next following, or such of them as are applicable to the property leased:—

(q) on the determination of the lease, the lessee is bound to put the lessor into possession of the property.

The learned counsel for the Appellant’s had strongly relied on the judgment as passed in the D Satyanarayana[5]case. However, the Hon’ble Supreme Court after going through the aforementioned case failed to observe any such resemblance of the said case with the case in hand. Thus accordingly did not draw any inference from the aforementioned case.

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After having studied and gone through the judgment of the Hon’ble Court as well as the arguments and contentions of both parties, I am of the belief that the Court’s decision was appropriate and correct. The Hon’ble Court did not leave any doubt at all regarding its stand as it gave a very lengthy and a detailed judgment after having had relied on several foreign as well as Indian Judgments. The judgment also conforms to the existing laws and the Court in its judgment gave excellent reasoning and analysis for the judgment.

Conclusion

The Supreme Court did justice to the long ongoing litigation between the two parties. It correctly relied on the Judgment of the Maharashtra High Court in Radheylal v. Ratansingh[6] and thus upheld the decision of the Hon’ble High Court of Rajasthan asking the Appellant (Vashu Deo) to comply with the orders of the Civil Judge at Bhilwara.


[1] (1985) 2 SCC 683. 

[2] (1976) 4 SCC 855.

[3] (1977) 4 SCC 402.

[4] AIR 1977 NOC 340 (MP).

[5] AIR 1987  SC 2192.

[6] AIR 1977 NOC 340 (MP).