Decided on March 02,1972



- (1.) THIS is a petition on behalf of the original plaintiffs in Small Causes Court Civil Suit No. 1543 of 1962 instituted at Poona. Respondent No. 1 is the original defendant-landlord.
(2.) THE Respondent No. 1 owns a house bearing City Survey No. 24 situate at Somwar Peth, Poona. The house consisted of different small tenants on the ground and two floors. The Petitioners Nos. 1 to 7 occupied different tenements at monthly rents. In consequence of the Panshet floods which occurred on 12th July 1961, the house was flooded with waters and excessively damaged. By a notice given in August 1961, the Municipal Corporation of Poona directed the Respondent No. 1 to remove first and second floors of the house as being dangerous to human life. The tenants claimed that the notice should be withdrawn but the Corporation refused to withdraw the notice. A large part of the house fell down in November 1961 and the Municipal Corporation ultimately removed the house to level of the plinth and called upon the Respondent No. 1 to remove the debris. After the debris was removed, the Respondent No. 1 completed the formalities of having a plan sanctioned and commenced to construct a new building at the site of the old house. The Petitioners thereupon filed the above suit in the end of April 1962, claiming a declaration that their tenancies had not been extinguished and they were entitled to occupy as tenants in newly constructed tenements at the place equivalent to the original tenements occupied by them. They further claimed mandatory injunction directing the Respondent No. 1 to deliver possession to each of them of equivalent tenement at the same places as the old tenements. They further claimed permanent injunction for restraining the Respondent No. 1 from letting out the tenements in the new building to outsiders-third parties. Having regard to the contention made by the Respondent No. 1, four main issues were raised by the trial Court as follows : - " (1) Whether the Plaintiffs are tenants of the suit premises? (2) Whether the Plaintiffs can ask for possession of the suit premises ? If yes, what is the standard rent of the suit premises?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Is the suit barred by misjoinder of parties?" The trial Court held that the plaintiffs continued to remain tenants and were entitled to possession of equivalent premises in the new building, it was not necessary to fix standard rent and the suit was not barred by misjoinder of parties. The lower appellate Court reversed the decree passed by the trial Court by holding that the suit was barred by misjoinder of parties and further that as the new building had not been completed it was difficult to say which premises could be given in possession even if it was held that the Petitioners as tenants had such right. The suit for mandatory injunction was, therefore, clearly premature and further that the declaration claimed by the Petitioners to be tenants was also premature. These Petitioners filed the present writ petition for challenging the correctness of the appellate judgment of the lower appellate Court.
(3.) MR. Pratap for the Petitioners has contended that it was not the case of the Respondent No. 1 that he had by notice to quit terminated the contractual tenancies of the petitioners. The mere fact that the house collapsed and became destroyed, was insufficient to make a finding that the Petitioners had not continued to be contractual tenants of the Respondent No. 1. He further submitted that the correct position in law was that whenever a landlord put up any new construction on the same land as was under old damaged house the hold tenants as contractual tenants would become tenants in respect of new premises and/or tenements situated at about the same places where the original tenements were situated. He, therefore, submitted that the declaration as granted by the trial Court was correct. He further submitted that having regard to the facts on which there was no dispute, the Petitioners'-Plaintiffs-right to relief had arisen out of the same act or transaction, viz. , destruction of the building of floods and in pursuance of notices of the Municipal Corporation and on the basis of these same important facts the Petitioners were each and all entitled to the reliefs claimed in the suit. The fact that the relief could be only several in respect of the premises to which each of the Petitioners was separately entitled, did not make the suit multifarious. The reason was that, as is evident from the pleadings, common questions of law and facts had arisen between the parties to the suit from out of the same transaction.;

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