RAJENDER BANSAL & ORS. Vs. BHURU (D) THR. LRS. & ORS.
LAWS(SC)-2016-10-33
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on October 18,2016

Rajender Bansal And Ors. Appellant
VERSUS
Bhuru (D) Thr. Lrs. And Ors. Respondents

JUDGEMENT

A.K.SIKRI,J. - (1.) The appellants in this appeal are the landlords who had filed suit for eviction of the respondents herein, their tenants. Suit was filed in the Civil Court. The premises in-question were outside the ambit of rent legislation. It is because of this reason that civil suit for possession/ejectment was filed. However, during the pendency of the suit and before it could be finally decided, the area in question was brought within the sweep of rent legislations by requisite notifications. The effect of such coverage was to give protective umbrella to the tenants. As a fortiorari, the landlord can now evict the tenant only by taking recourse to the rent legislation, that too, by filing the petition for eviction under the Rent Act before the Rent Controller/Tribunal constituted under the said Acts. Civil Court ceases to have jurisdiction over the matter insofar as eviction/ejectment of tenant is concerned. In this backdrop, the question that has arisen for consideration is as to whether the Civil Court would cease to have jurisdiction to try the suit of eviction if the suit property came under notified area during pendency of the suit? To put it differently, the question is : whether Rent Act would apply even to the pending suits or it will be enforced only from the date when notification covering the area in-question is issued and, therefore, will have no effect on the suits which are already pending before the civil courts?
(2.) In the instant case, the premises in-question were in rural area in respect of which suit was filed by the appellants on February 11, 2002. These premises consist of a shop (suit property) which is situate at Barkali Hodal Road, Punhana, Tehsil Punhana, District Gurgaon, Haryana. In the State of Haryana, Rent Act, known as Haryana Rent Urban (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1973 (for short, 'Rent Act, 1973') is promulgated. Its sweep, however, is over the urban areas of Haryana, as defined in the Act. As pointed out above, at the relevant time suit property was in rural area and, therefore, not covered by the said Rent Act, 1973. This suit was filed, after terminating the tenancy, by the landlord, namely, father of the appellants (predecessor of the appellants) under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882. The ground taken was that shop was let out to one Rehmat who inducted his son (respondent/defendant herein) as a sub-tenant without the consent of the landlords. Rehmat passed away in the year 1997 and had not even paid rent for 10 years. Therefore, possession of the respondent as sub-tenant was unauthorised and illegal. Notice of vacating the premises and handing over the possession was given on October 22, 2001 and as the respondent failed to vacate the premises, suit was filed on February 11, 2002. In the suit, brother of the respondent, Yasin, was also impleaded as a defendant, who did not appear and was proceeded ex-parte. Insofar as, Respondent No. 1 is concerned, though he had appeared but did not pay any rent for more than 14 years and, therefore, his defence was struck off by the civil court vide order dated May 26, 2008.
(3.) Five months thereafter, i.e., on October 29, 2008, notification was issued whereby the area where the suit premises situate was declared as urbanised area and, thus, was brought within the fold of Rent Act, 1973. The Trial Court, however, after striking off defence of Respondent No. 1 continued with the suit, recorded the evidence of the plaintiff and ultimately decreed the suit vide judgment and decree dated December 12, 2008. Against this decree, respondent no. 1 filed Civil Appeal No. 11/9 in the Court of Additional District Judge, Nuh taking the plea that the Civil Judge ceases to have jurisdiction over the matter from October 29, 2008 when Municipal Committee, Punhana came into existence vide notification dated October 29, 2008 and the area in-question was included in municipal limits because of which Rent Act, 1973 became applicable to the suit premises. This contention found favour with the learned Additional District Judge who allowed the appeal vide judgment dated March 16, 2009. Aggrieved by that judgment, the appellants herein preferred second appeal under Section 100 CPC, being RSA No. 3963 of 2009 in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, but unsuccessfully inasmuch as the High Court has dismissed the appeal vide judgment dated February 10, 2014. It is this judgment which is impugned in the present proceedings giving rise to the question of law that has been noticed in the earlier portion of this judgment.;


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