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Smt. Sona Bai And Ors. vs Khoob Chand on 15 July, 1992

Madhya Pradesh High Court
Smt. Sona Bai And Ors. vs Khoob Chand on 15 July, 1992
Equivalent citations: AIR 1993 MP 173, 1993 (0) MPLJ 520
Author: S Seth
Bench: S Seth


ORDER

S.K. Seth, J.

1. The present revision by the landlady/applicant No. I and the other applicants is directed against the interim order dated 31-7-1989 passed by the Rent Controlling Authority in Case No. 51/86-87. It may be mentioned that the revision was barred by limitation as provided under Section 23-E of the M.P. Accommodation Control Act, 1961. But, then, vide order passed by this Court on 7-7-1992, it, in the facts and circumstances of the case, considered it proper to entertain the same in exercise of its suo motu power unddr the said section and as such there remains no question of it being barred by limitation.

2. As the tenant-applicant had not de-‘posited rent during the pendency of the case instituted by landlady-applicant No. 1 and the other applicants for his eviction from the . accommodation in question under Section 23-A of’ the M.P. Accommodation Control Act, 1961, the landlady-applicant No. 1 and the other applicants made an application to the Rent Controlling Authority for striking out his defence under Sub-section (6) of Section 13 of the Act. But, then, since in his written statement, the tenant non-applicant had denied the relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties, it was held by the Rent Controlling ‘ Authority vide his order dated 31-7-1989 that before it could pass any order in respect of the said application it was necessary that they produced evidence before it to establish the fact that the defendant-non-applicant was the tenant of the landlady-applicant No. I in respect of the said accommodation.

3. The present revision under Section 23-E of the Act is directed against the abovesaid order dated 31-7-1989 passed by the Rent Controlling Authority. In the opinion of this Court, there is an error of law apparent on the face of the said order. In fact, it was for the said reason that this Court vide its order dated 7-7-1992 considered it proper and to be in the interest of justice to interfere with the said order in exercise of its suo motu power of revision under Section 23-E.

4. Now, it is laid down in Section 23-H of the Act that the provisions of Section 13 thereof shall apply ‘mutatis mutandis’ in respect of an application for recovery of possession of accommodation under Section 23A and in respect of proceedings for revision under Section 23-E against final order by the Rent Controlling Authority under Section 23-C or under Section 23-D as they apply to a suit or proceedings instituted on any of the grounds referred to in Section 12; provided that no suit or proceedings for eviction of the tenant is pending before any Court at any of its Stages in relation to the same accommodation. In the case before us, there was no material on record indicating that there was any suit or proceedings of eviction of the tenant-non-applicant pending before any Court in relation to the accommodation in question. Thus, the proviso to Section 23-H was not attracted in respect of it. It, therefore, followed that in accordance with the main part of the said section, the provisions of Section 13 of the Act applied ‘mutatis mutandis’ in respect of the proceedings in question initiated by the landlady-applicant No. 1 and the other applicants for eviction of the tenant-non-applicant from the accommodation in question under Section 23-A. It, therefore, further followed that as the tenant-non-applicant had admittedly failed to deposit rent in respect of the accommodation in question as required by Sub-section (1) of Section 13 of the Act, the Rent Controlling Authority had power to direct his defence against eviction to be struck out under Sub-section (6) of the said section.

5. In the above connection, it may be mentioned that the stand taken by the tenant-non-applicant in the proceedings in question that there had existed no relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties did not make difference to the exercise of power of striking out his defence by the Rent Controlling Authority under Sub-section (6) of Section 13 read with Section 23-H of the Act. Needless to say, what could be directed to be struck out by the said authority in exercise of its said power was only the defence against eviction under the Act and that in spite of striking out of the said defence the tenant-non-applicant was not to be precluded from establishing any other defence which might have been taken by him. Thus, even after the striking out of his defence under Sub-section (6) of Section 13 of the Act on account of non-deposit of rent as required by Sub-section (1) of the said section, the tenant-non-applicant, under the leave to defend granted to him Under Section 23-C, could still establish the defence taken by him that since there had existed no relationship oflandlord and tenant between the parties, the application made by the landlord applicant No. 1 and the order applicants for his eviction from the accommodation is question under Section 23-A was liable to be rejected on the said ground.

6. In the opinion of this Court, from the legal position as explained above, it followed that when any landlord made an application before the Rent Controlling Authority for eviction of a tenant Under Section 23-A of the Act, any application made by him during the pendency of the proceedings for striking out the defence of the tenant under Sub-section (6) of Section 13 read with Section 23-H of the Act was (not) required to be disposed of by the said authority on the basis of allegations as regards existence of relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties made by him and that it was not necessary for the said authority to determine the question relating to existence of such relationship finally before proceeding to dispose of the said application.

7. It could easily be seen that there was a good reason for interpreting the provisions of Sub-section (6) of Section 13 read with Section 23-H of the Act in the abovesaid manner. If the denial of the landlord-tenant relationship on the part of the tenant was false and mala fide, and he chose to avoid deposit of rent by taking shelter under such denial, there remained no valid reason why any defence against eviction under the Act was continued to be made available to him during the course of the proceedings. On the other hand, if the denial of the said relationship by him was true and bona fide, and he chose not to deposit rent for the said reason, striking out of his defence did not affect him prejudicially in any manner for the reason that it was still open to him to have the application made by the landlord for his eviction from the accommodation dismissed by establishing his defence that there had existed no such relationship between the parties.

8. For the reasons stated above, in exercise of the suo motu power of this Court under Section 23-E of the Act, the order dated 31-7-1989 passed by the Rent Controlling Authority, Jabalpur in Case No. 51-86-87 is set aside. The said authority is directed to dispose of the application made by trie landlady-applicant No. 1 and the other applicants for striking out the defence of the tenant-non-applicant under Sub-section (6) of Section 13 read with Section 23-H of the Act afresh after hearing both the parties with advertence to the legal position as regards the said provisions as explained in this order.

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