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Tenancy Case – Land acquisition – suit for eviction – maintainable – as per the facts , there is no acquisition nor the possession was taken by corporation except mere pleadings of tenant – even as per sec.16 of Land Acquisition Act – Govt. is entitled for possession with out encumbrances – until possession was not taken , no right and title divest from the owner , a suit for eviction is maintainable – High court has to take an undertaking before granting time to vacate the site = Sheela Jawarlal Nagori & Anr. …..Petitioners Versus Kantilal Nathmal Baldota & Ors. …Respondents = 2014 ( March. Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41330

Tenancy Case – Land acquisition – suit for eviction – maintainable – as per the facts , there is no acquisition nor the possession was taken by corporation except mere pleadings of tenant – even as per sec.16 of Land Acquisition Act – Govt. is entitled for possession with out encumbrances – until possession was not taken , no right and title divest from the owner , a suit for eviction is maintainable – High court has to take an undertaking before granting time to vacate the site =

 

whether a landlord can maintain a  suit  for eviction of his tenant even after an award has been  passed  in  respect  of the tenanted property under the provisions  of  the  Land  Acquisition  Act,

1894. = 

In our opinion, the answer must be in the affirmative.

The question raised by the  tenant  is  that  the  suit  property  was

acquired by the Pune Municipal Corporation for  the  purpose  of  a  primary

school and the Special Land Acquisition  Officer  had  passed  an  award  in

respect  thereof  on  3rd  August,  1979.   Accordingly,  the  landlord  was

divested of his right, title and interest in the  suit  property  after  the

land acquisition proceedings and  therefore  a  suit  for  eviction  of  the

tenant was not maintainable.

11.   The High Court noted that there was no material on record  to  suggest

that the Pune  Municipal  Corporation  had  taken  possession  of  the  suit

property  from  the  landlord.   On  the  contrary,  the   Corporation   had

sanctioned a development plan submitted by the landlord in  respect  of  the

suit property through a notification issued on  5th  January,  1987.  It  is

clear, therefore, that the Corporation had not taken possession nor had  any

intention of taking possession of the suit property. =

That apart, Section 16 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894  enables  the

acquiring authority to take possession of acquired land  and  when  that  is

taken, it would be free from  all  encumbrances.  

Section  16  of  the  Land Acquisition Act, 1894 reads as follows:

           

16. Power to take possession – When the Collector  has  made  an

           award under Section 11, he may  take  possession  of  the  land,

           which shall thereupon vest absolutely in  the  Government,  free

           from all encumbrances.

 

 

Therefore,  on  a  plain  reading  of  the  provision,  in  the  absence  of

possession of  the  suit  property  being  taken  by  the  Corporation,  the

contention of learned counsel for the tenant cannot  be  accepted  that  the

landlord was divested of his right, title or interest in the suit property.

 

13.   We may also note that it was brought out during the course of  hearing

that the tenant continues to pay rent to the landlord even though  according

to the tenant the landlord had no concern with the suit property  after  the

award was passed on  3rd  August,  1979  by  the  Special  Land  Acquisition

Officer.  

The stand of the tenant seems to be self-defeating for on the  one

hand it is submitted that the landlord had no right, title  or  interest  in

the suit property but on the other hand the tenant continues paying rent  to

him.

 He stated that  the  tenants  would

file an undertaking along with all others using  the  suit  property  on  or

before 19th November, 2013 incorporating therein the  following  terms:  (i)

that they are in possession of the suit  premises  and  nobody  else  is  in

possession; (ii) that they have neither created third  party  interests  nor

parted with possession; (iii) that they will hereafter neither create  third

party interests nor part with possession of the  suit  premises,  (iv)  that

they will clear all arrears of rent, if any, within four  weeks  subject  to

adjustment, (v) they will not apply for extension of time, and (vi) that  in

case they are unable to obtain suitable orders from  this  Court  within  12

weeks, they will hand over  vacant  and  peaceful  possession  of  the  suit

premises to the landlord.

 

15.   The tenants failed to file any such undertaking in the High  Court  on

or before 19th November, 2013.  This  was  brought  to  our  notice  by  the

landlord on 4th February, 2014 and we  directed  the  tenants  to  file  the

necessary undertaking as ordered by the High Court within a  week.  We  were

subsequently given to understand that the undertaking was filed.

 

16.   These cases  indicate  that  even  though  the  High  Court  trusts  a

litigant before it to comply with its orders, sometimes a litigant does  not

take the High Court  seriously.

 

2014 ( March. Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41330

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (C) NO.36518 of 2013
Sheela Jawarlal Nagori & Anr. …..Petitioners

Versus

Kantilal Nathmal Baldota & Ors. …Respondents

AND

SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (C) NO.37456 of 2013
J U D G M E N T

Madan B. Lokur, J.
1. The question before us is whether a landlord can maintain a suit for
eviction of his tenant even after an award has been passed in respect of
the tenanted property under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act,
1894. In our opinion, the answer must be in the affirmative.
2. The petitioners in both special leave petitions are the tenants of
the respondent landlord. For convenience we have taken the facts from SLP
(C) No. 37456 of 2013, but note that the issue that arises in both the
cases is the same and the hearing proceeded on this basis.
3. The landlord had instituted Civil Suit No. 433 of 2000 in the Court
of the 5th Additional Small Cause Judge and Jt. Civil Judge, Senior
Division, Pune for vacant possession of the ‘suit property’ being CTS Old
99-B Raviwar Peth, New 767 Budhwar Peth, Pune from the tenant. The
contention of the landlord was that the suit property was open space let
out to the tenants and that it was not protected by the Maharashtra Rent
Control Act, 1999 (for short the Act). The Trial Court accepted the
contention of the landlord and passed a decree on 28th June, 2005 directing
the tenant to hand over vacant possession of the suit property.
4. Feeling aggrieved, the tenant preferred Civil Appeal No. 515 of 2005
before the Additional District Judge, Pune. The appeal was allowed by a
judgment and order dated 3rd February, 2006 and the decree passed by the
Trial Court set aside. It was held that the suit property was an open plot
and that the provisions of the Act were not applicable, but it was held
that the tenancy was required to be terminated in terms of Section 106 of
the Transfer of Property Act, 1882.
5. The judgment and order passed by the appellate Court has attained
finality since neither the tenant nor the landlord has challenged it.
6. Following up on the order passed by the Additional District Judge,
the landlord issued a notice to the tenant on 13th February, 2006
terminating the tenancy under Section 106 of the Transfer of Property Act,
1882. The tenant did not respond to the notice and that led the landlord
to file Civil Suit No. 207 of 2006 in the Court of the Small Causes Judge,
Pune for eviction of the tenant. The suit was decreed on 3rd March, 2009
and the tenant was directed to deliver vacant possession of the suit
property to the landlord.
7. Feeling aggrieved, the tenant preferred Civil Appeal No. 225 of 2009
before the District Judge but that was dismissed by judgment and order
dated 19th January, 2012. The tenant was given two months time to vacate
the suit property.
8. Against the decision passed by the appellate Court the tenant
preferred Writ Petition No. 2089 of 2012 which was dismissed by the Bombay
High Court by its judgment and order dated 24th October, 2013 (impugned).
9. In all the proceedings, the finding of fact has been that the suit
property let out to the tenant was open land. We are not inclined to
disturb this finding of fact arrived at by several Courts and indeed this
finding was not seriously challenged by learned counsel for the tenant.
10. The question raised by the tenant is that the suit property was
acquired by the Pune Municipal Corporation for the purpose of a primary
school and the Special Land Acquisition Officer had passed an award in
respect thereof on 3rd August, 1979. Accordingly, the landlord was
divested of his right, title and interest in the suit property after the
land acquisition proceedings and therefore a suit for eviction of the
tenant was not maintainable.
11. The High Court noted that there was no material on record to suggest
that the Pune Municipal Corporation had taken possession of the suit
property from the landlord. On the contrary, the Corporation had
sanctioned a development plan submitted by the landlord in respect of the
suit property through a notification issued on 5th January, 1987. It is
clear, therefore, that the Corporation had not taken possession nor had any
intention of taking possession of the suit property.
12. That apart, Section 16 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 enables the
acquiring authority to take possession of acquired land and when that is
taken, it would be free from all encumbrances. Section 16 of the Land
Acquisition Act, 1894 reads as follows:
16. Power to take possession – When the Collector has made an
award under Section 11, he may take possession of the land,
which shall thereupon vest absolutely in the Government, free
from all encumbrances.

 
Therefore, on a plain reading of the provision, in the absence of
possession of the suit property being taken by the Corporation, the
contention of learned counsel for the tenant cannot be accepted that the
landlord was divested of his right, title or interest in the suit property.

13. We may also note that it was brought out during the course of hearing
that the tenant continues to pay rent to the landlord even though according
to the tenant the landlord had no concern with the suit property after the
award was passed on 3rd August, 1979 by the Special Land Acquisition
Officer. The stand of the tenant seems to be self-defeating for on the one
hand it is submitted that the landlord had no right, title or interest in
the suit property but on the other hand the tenant continues paying rent to
him.
14. An issue that arises out of these cases, and which we would like to
flag, relates to the purpose and effectiveness of an order passed by the
High Court granting time to the tenants to vacate suit premises. We are
mentioning this because in these cases, the tenants had the benefit of an
interim order passed by the High Court staying the execution of the decree
against them as well as a stay of operation of the judgments of the Trial
Court and the appellate Court. On the dismissal of the proceedings by the
High Court, learned counsel for the tenants applied for continuation of the
interim order for a period of 12 weeks. He stated that the tenants would
file an undertaking along with all others using the suit property on or
before 19th November, 2013 incorporating therein the following terms: (i)
that they are in possession of the suit premises and nobody else is in
possession; (ii) that they have neither created third party interests nor
parted with possession; (iii) that they will hereafter neither create third
party interests nor part with possession of the suit premises, (iv) that
they will clear all arrears of rent, if any, within four weeks subject to
adjustment, (v) they will not apply for extension of time, and (vi) that in
case they are unable to obtain suitable orders from this Court within 12
weeks, they will hand over vacant and peaceful possession of the suit
premises to the landlord.

15. The tenants failed to file any such undertaking in the High Court on
or before 19th November, 2013. This was brought to our notice by the
landlord on 4th February, 2014 and we directed the tenants to file the
necessary undertaking as ordered by the High Court within a week. We were
subsequently given to understand that the undertaking was filed.

16. These cases indicate that even though the High Court trusts a
litigant before it to comply with its orders, sometimes a litigant does not
take the High Court seriously. This is unfortunate and undermines the
authority of the Court. We feel the recurrence of a situation as has
happened in these cases needs to be avoided. Therefore, the High Court
would be well advised to consider having the tenant first file an
undertaking and placed on record before granting any interim order after
dismissal of the tenant’s petition. Otherwise this may place the High Court
in a difficult position where its order is flagrantly disobeyed, as has
happened in these cases.

17. We find no merit in these petitions and they are accordingly
dismissed. The interim applications are also dismissed.
……………………………………J
(Ranjana Prakash Desai)
……………………………………J
(Madan B. Lokur)
New Delhi;
March 25, 2014

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