R.M. SESHADRI Vs. K.K. CHARI
LAWS(MAD)-1970-9-11
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
Decided on September 15,1970

R.M. SESHADRI Appellant
VERSUS
K.K. Chari Respondents

JUDGEMENT

G.Ramanujam, J. - (1.) THIS revision arises out of an application filed by the petitioner (tenant) against the order of the lower Court refusing to recall a warrant of possession issued in E.P. No. 953 of 1969 on its file. The facts leading to this revision may briefly be stated.
(2.) THE respondent herein filed H.R.C. No. 983 of 1968 for evicting the petitioner on the ground that he required premises No. 64, Lloyds Road, Madras bona fide for his own personal occupation. The petitioner contended inter alia that the alleged requirement of the building for owner's occupation is not bona fide that the respondent's purchase from the original owner, Indian Academy of Science, on 23rd October, 1967 was not valid as the premises was inalienable being a trust property. The petition was finally taken up for hearing on 16th January, 1969, when the respondent as P.W. 1 was examined and Exhibits P -1 to P -3 were marked. The enquiry was continued on 25th January, 1969 and 22nd February, 1969 when P.W. 1 was further examined and Exhibits P -4 to P -45 were filed. Exhibit P -45 was an order of eviction obtained against the respondent by his landlord and this was filed to establish that the respondent's requirement of the premises for his own occupation was bona fide. At that stage both the petitioner and the respondent entered into a compromise and a memo of compromise was actually filed before the Rent Controller on 31st March, 1969. On the basis of the said compromise the Rent Controller passed the following order: Compromise memo filed and recorded. By consent, eviction is ordered granting time to vacate till 5th June, 1969. No costs. Since the petitioner did not vacate the premises on 5th June, 1969, the respondent filed E.P. No. 953 of 1969 and a warrant of possession was issued by the Lower Court under Section 18 of the Madras Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960. The petitioner filed E.A. No. 1314 of 1969 to recall the said warrant of possession issued by the Lower Court and three main grounds on which such a relief was asked were : (1) that the order of eviction passed on the basis of a compromise and by consent was a nullity and was in executable (2) that there has been no proper notice terminating the tenancy of the petitioner as contemplated under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act and as such the Rent Controller has acted without jurisdiction in ordering eviction and (3) that once the petitioner has denied the title of the respondent to the premises in question the Rent Controller had no jurisdiction to assume the relationship of landlord and tenant between the petitioner and the respondent and pass an order for eviction on that basis. The Court below rejected the above three contentions and dismissed the application. However, it granted time till 20th April, 1970, for the petitioner to vacate. It is against the said rejection of his application to recall the warrant, this revision has been filed by the petitioner urging the same three contentions as were raised before the Lower Court. As regards the first contention, the learned Counsel for the petitioner submits that the following decisions of the Supreme Court are decisive on the point and that the contentions has to be decided in favour of the petitioner. In Bahadur Singh v. Muni Subrat Dass : [1969] 2 SCR 432 , the Supreme Court held that a decree for eviction passed on the basis of an award was in contravention of Section 13(1) of the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, because the Court had passed the decree without satisfying itself that any one of the grounds of eviction as set out in Section 13(1) existed. Kaushalya Devi v. K.L. Bansal : [1969] 2 SCR 1048 , was a case where the Court had, in a suit for ejectment under Section 13 of the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act, passed the following order: In view of the statement of the parties' Counsel and the written compromise, a a decree is passed in favour of the plaintiff against the defendant. It was held that the said decree passed on the basis of a compromise was in contravention of Section 13(1) of the Act, because the Court had passed the decree in terms of the compromise without satisfying itself whether the ground of eviction pleaded existed, and that the decree directing delivery of possession of the premises to the landlord in such circumstances was a nullity and could not be executed. In Ferozi Lal v. Man Mal : AIR 1970 SC 794 , the Supreme Court again reiterated the same principle as was laid down in the two earlier decisions. Here also a decree directing delivery of possession under Section 13 of the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control Act had been passed, and the Supreme Court had laid down that the jurisdiction of the Court to pass a decree for recovery of possession of any premises under Section 13 depends upon its satisfaction that one or more of the grounds mentioned therein have been proved, that, where the Court had proceeded solely on the basis of the compromise arrived at between the parties, it was not competent to pass such a decree for recovery of possession, and that such a decree was therefore a nullity. After dealing with the facts in that case the Supreme Court observed: From the facts mentioned earlier, it is seen that at no stage, the Court was called upon to apply its mind to the question whether the alleged subletting is true or not. Order made by it does not show that it was satisfied that the subletting complained of has taken place, nor is there any other material on record to show that it was so satisfied. It is clear from the record that the Court had proceeded solely on the basis of the compromise arrived at between the parties. That being so there can be hardly any doubt that the Court was not competent to pass the impugned decree. Hence the decree under execution must be held to be nullity. Relying on the above decisions the learned Counsel contends that the order passed by the Rent Controller was a nullity and was not executable. The learned Counsel for the respondent. however, seeks to get over the above three decisions of the Supreme Court on the ground that the facts in this case are different and that the principle of the above decisions cannot be applied straightaway to this case. He states that apart from the compromise on the basis of which the eviction order was passed, there was enough material before the Court to conclude that the requirement of the premises by the respondent for his own occupation was bona fide that such material was not there before the Courts in the cases dealt with by the Supreme Court. He stated that on the face of Exhibit P -45 filed during the enquiry before the Rent Controller, the Court had no other alternative except to pass an order of eviction on the ground that the respondent (landlord) required the building bona fide for his own occupation and that it was because the petitioner felt that there was no case for him to defend the eviction petition he submitted to an order of eviction being passed against him by entering into a compromise. These facts, it is stated, are sufficient to take the case out of the purview of the said decisions of the Supreme Court.
(3.) THE learned Counsel for the respondent also referred to the decision of the Punjab High Court in Vas Dev v. Milkhi Ram , where Grover, J. (as he then was) held, dealing with an order of eviction based on consent, that where a tenant admitted after a suit for ejectment under Section 13(1) of the Delhi and Ajmer Rent Control has been filed, that the landlord is entitled to possession on one of the statutory grounds, or where the landlord had made some representation within the terms of the statute to the tenant and which is one of the ingredients of a ground on which possession can be ordered and the tenant accepted that representation and submitted to an order, the Court would be fully justified in making a valid order of eviction. The learned Judge took that view after discussing the following English Cases: (1) Remon v. City of London Real Property Co. Ltd. L.R., (1921) 1 K.B. 49. (2) Thome v. Smith L.R., (1947) 1 K.B. 307 and (3) Middleton v. Baldock (T.W.), L.R. (1950) 1 K.B. 657 . The learned Judge had also expressed that where enough material and evidence had come on the record to satisfy the Court as well as the tenant that the ground on which ejectment had been sought by the landlord would be ultimately established, and the tenant enters into a compromise with the landlord, it is implicit that he was admitting the correctness of the grounds which had been taken for his ejectment by the landlord, and in such a case the decree passed on the basis of such a compromise was not a nullity. The learned Counsel also referred to the decision in Jagan Nath v. Jatinder Nath , where also an eviction order had been passed on the basis of a compromise and the question was whether such an order was a nullity and unenforceable. The High Court in that case took note of the fact that the plaintiff's evidence as to personal requirement has been let in and that the defendant thereafter consented to the passing of a decree for ejectment in return for a concession of continued occupation of the premises for a time and held that the Lower Court was fully justified in coming to the conclusion that the defendant admits the strength of the plaintiff's case and consents to a decree for ejectment being passed in return for the concession. The principle of the earlier decision Vas Dev v. Milkhi Ram , was followed in this case. The learned Counsel also took me through the said three English decisions and particularly to the following observations of Bucknill, L.J. in Thorne v. Smith, (1947) 1 All E.R. 39 . But in the present case it is, I think reasonably clear that the tenant, is effect, agreed to the order because at the time when the landlord asked the Court to make the order the landlord by his own statements had satisfied the tenant that he intended to occupy the house himself and he, the tenant, could not hope successfully to resist the claim. If the tenant had stated this expressly in Court the Judge would surely have had jurisdiction to make the order on that ground. I think in the events which happened here, the tenant being legally represented, the Judge was entitled to proceed on the view that this was the true position. Before making an order for possession the Judge is under a duty to satisfy himself as to the truth if there be a dispute between landlord and tenant, but if the tenant in effect agrees that the landlord has a good claim to an order under the Acts, I think the Judge has jurisdiction to make the order for possession under the Acts, without further enquiry. and of Jenkins, L.J. in Middleton v. Baldock, (1950) 1 All E.R. 708 . I think the Principles deducible from a those cases are that under the Acts the Court only has jurisdiction to order possession on one or other of the specified statutory grounds. The Court, however, is not always obliged to hear a case out, because, if the tenant appears and admits that the plaintiff is entitled to possession on one of the statutory grounds, the Court may act on that admission and make the appropriate order. Again - and this, I think, is an extension of what I have just said - if there is a representation made by the plaintiff -landlord to the defendant tenant to the effect, for instance that the landlord wants the premises for his own occupation - which is one of the ingredients of a ground on which possession may be ordered - and the tenant accepts that representation and on that footing submits to an order the order can validly be made, subject to the possibility that in the event of the representation turning out to have been false the efficiency of the order may be destroyed.;


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