SUPREME COURT ALLOWS EVICTION OF TENANT ON THE GROUND THAT HE CONTINUED TO DEPOSIT RENT IN THE COURT DESPITE LANDLORD’S WILLINGNESS TO RECEIVE RENT
A Two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia passed a Judgment dated 05.04.2023 in a recent case of Man Singh vs Shamim Ahmad (D) Thr. LRS. Civil Appeal No. 1874 of 2015 and observed that a tenant is permitted to deposit rent in the Civil Court for such time period when the landlord refuses to accept the rent. But once the landlord expresses his willingness to accept the rent, the Tenant has to deposit the rent directly with the landlord and not in Court.
- In the present case one, Man Singh, the Appellant herein is a Appellant-Tenant (Appellant-Tenant) of a Shop situated at Kotla, Gangoh-Town, Nukur Tehsil, Sarhanur, Uttar Pradesh (Shop), since 06.01.1982 and pays a monthly Rent of Rs. 165/- per month (Rent) to the Respondent-Landlord, Shamim Ahmed, the Respondent herein (Respondent-Landlord).
- The Rent was enhanced from Rs.165/- to Rs.195/- per month and then again increased to Rs. 250/- per month from 01.01.1993 onwards.
- Thereafter from May 1993 the Respondent-Landlord refused to accept monthly Rent of Rs. 250/- from the Appellant-Tenant, alleging that on the basis of an oral agreement between the Appellant-Tenant and Respondent-Landlord, there would be an increase in the Rent of Rs.25/- per month every year and thus, demanded payment of Rent of Rs.300/- per month. However, the Appellant-Tenant refused to pay the enhanced Rent.
- Thereafter, the Appellant-Tenant sent a Money Order to the Respondent-Landlord towards payment of Rent. The Respondent-Landlord refused to accept the Money Order and sent it back to the Appellant- Tenant.
- Thereafter, the Appellant-Tenant started depositing the Rent of Rs.750/- for months of May, June, and July i.e. at the rate of Rs. 250/- per month in the Ld. Court of the Civil Judge Junior Division at Saharanpur District, Uttar Pradesh in Miscellaneous Case No.24 of 1993.
- A Notice dated 05.04.1995 was served upon the Appellant-Tenant by the Respondent-Landlord, thereby demanding payment of Rent from May 1993 onwards. The said Notice was received by the Appellant-Tenant on 10.04.1995, yet, the Tenant continued to deposit the Rent in the Court.
- As the Appellant-Tenant failed to pay the Rent to the Respondent-Landlord, the latter instituted a Civil Suit bearing No. 179 of 1995 before the Ld. Court of the Judge, Small Causes Court at Saharanpur (Trial Court) for Recovery of Rent from 01.05.1993 onwards and further sought for eviction of the Tenant from the Shop.
- The Ld. Trial Court passed a Decree dated 02-08-2001 in favor of the Respondent-Landlord for Eviction and Recovery of Rent from the Appellant-Tenant.
- Aggrieved by the Trial Court Decree dated 02-08-2001, the Appellant-Tenant filed a Civil Revision Petition before the Ld. District Judge, Session Court, at Saharanpur (Revisional Court), which was dismissed vide Order dated 31.07.2003.
- Aggrieved by the Revisional Court Order dated 31.07.2003, the Appellant-Tenant filed CMWP-38925-2003 before the Hon’ble Allahabad High Court seeking setting aside of the Trial Court Decree dated 02-08-2001 and the Revisional Court Order dated 31.07.2003.
- The High Court dismissed the Writ Petition filed by the Appellant-Tenant vide Order dated 17.02 2012 on the ground that under the Uttar Pradesh Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972 (Act), the Appellant-Tenant can deposit Rent in the Court for such time period when the Respondent-Landlord refuses to accept the Rent. Thus, once the Respondent-Landlord expresses his willingness to accept the Rent, the Appellant-Tenant has to deposit the Rent directly to the Respondent-Landlord and not in Court. In the present case, the Respondent-Landlord expressed his willingness to accept the Rent, vide Notice dated 05.04.1995 (received by the Tenant on 10.04.1995). Hence, the Appellant-Tenant ought to have deposited the Rent with the Respondent-Landlord, which he failed to do so.
Supreme Court Observations
Aggrieved by the High Court Order dated 17.02 2012, the Appellant-Tenant filed Civil Appeal No. 1874 of 2015 before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Apex Court passed a Judgment dated 05.04.2023 and made the following observations:
(i) That the Bench referred to a case of Gokaran Singh v. Ist Additional District and Sessions Judge, Hardoi and Ors. (2000 SCC Online All 174) where it was held as follows:
“37. (2) If the landlord has been refusing to accept the rent at the correct rate and has been claiming rent at higher rate, the tenant as a consequence of landlord’s earlier refusal in the past, deposited the rent in the Court under Section 30 (Deposit of rent in court in certain circumstances) and if thereafter landlord serves formal notice to of demand against the higher rate and expresses his willingness to accept the rent, the tenant after receipt of notice is under an obligation to tender the rent at least at the rate admitted to him to the landlord and has got no right to straight away deposit the same under Section 30(1) of the Act.”
(ii) That (a) as per Section 30 (2) of the Act, a tenant can deposit the admitted rent in the Court so long as the dispute with the landlord is not settled; (b) but once the dispute is settled and the landlord expresses his willingness to accept the rent from the tenant, the latter is required to deposit the rent with the landlord, as per Section 20 (2) of the Act (Bar of suit for eviction of tenant except on specified grounds).
(iii) Thus, applying the aforesaid principles to the present case, (a) the Appellant-Tenant ought to have paid the Rent to the Landlord within the statutory period of one month from the date of receipt of the Respondent-Landlord’s Notice dated 05.04.1995 (received on 10.04.1995). (b) Further, the Tenant could have at least deposited the admitted Rent of Rs.250/-, if not the enhanced Rent of Rs.300/- with the Respondent-Landlord, which he failed to deposit.
Therefore, based on the aforesaid observations, the Supreme Court held that as the Appellant-Tenant failed to deposit the Rent with the Respondent-Landlord despite receipt of the Landlord’s Notice demanding payment of Rent, hence, the Bench held that the Respondent-Landlord was entitled to file the Suit for Eviction and Recovery of Rent against the Appellant-Tenant, before the Ld. Trial Court. Thus, the Apex Court dismissed the Appeal and upheld the High Court Order dated 17.02 2012 that had allowed the Trial Court Decree dated 02-08-2001 for Ejectment and Arrears of Rent and the Revisional Court Order dated 31.07.2003.
The Indian Lawyer