(1.)Late Parmodh Paul, who died during the pendency of the proceedings and whose legal representatives, the appellants before us, have been brought on record, filed a petition under Section 13 of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restrictions Act, 1949 (hereinafter 'the Act', for short), against the respondent-firm through its two partners, on the ground of the tenants having defaulted in payment of rent, a ground for eviction under Clause (i) of sub-Section (2) of Section 13 of the Act. Hereinafter for the sake of convenience and brevity, Late Parmodh Paul shall be referred to as the 'landlord' and the respondents as the 'tenants'.
(2.)According to the averments made in the petition for eviction filed on 17.9.1991, the suit premises were obtained by the tenants on tenancy from Shri Mani Ram and Smt. Ratan Devi, the then owners and landlords, under the rent note dated 20.9.1982. The rate of rent agreed upon was Rs. 2000/- per month excluding water and electricity charges. The tenants neither paid nor tendered the arrears of rent from 1st March, 1985. There was a civil litigation relating to partition of joint family properties, including the suit premises, between the members of the family wherein, in terms of an interim order passed by the Civil Court, the tenants had deposited rent at the rate of Rs. 1800/- per month for the period October 1985 to January 1988. In the eviction petition, the landlord prayed for a direction from the Rent Controller to evict the tenants on the ground of non-payment of rent.
(3.)In the written statement dated 8.1.1992 the tenants admitted to have executed the rent note reciting the rate of rent at Rs. 2000/- per month, other than water and electricity charges, but submitted that the rate of rent so appointed was never intended to be acted upon and the real monthly rent of the premises was Rs. 1800/- only. In the family litigation, to which the tenants, were not a party, in terms of the order passed by the Civil Court, rent at the rate of Rs. 1800/- was deposited for the period October 1985 to January 1988. The rent for the period upto September 1985 was paid to the landlords. Subsequent arrears accumulating, owing to infighting amongst the legal heirs, for the period 1.2.1988 to September 1991, i.e. for 44 months, amounting to Rs. 79200/- plus interest Rs. 8910/- and costs Rs. 75/- totalling Rs. 88,185/- were tendered before the Rent Controller on 14.11.1991.