Sec.2(c) and sec. 5 of Assam Urban Areas Rent Control Act, 1972 - Sec.109 r/w 106 T.P.Act - Transfer of ownership - Attornment of Tenant is mandatory ? -No - Landlord"-From the definition of 'landlord', - not only the owner but also any person receiving rent, whether on his own account or on behalf of or for the benefit of any other person or as a trustee, guardian, or receiver for any other person, is also the landlord.-It is well settled that a transferee of the landlord's rights steps into the shoes of the landlord with all the rights and liabilities of the transferor landlord in respect of the subsisting tenancy.- Sec.109 - The section does not require that the transfer of the right of the landlord can take effect only if the tenant attorns to him. Attornment by the tenant is not necessary to confer validity of the transfer of the landlord's rights. Since attornment by the tenant is not required, a notice under Section 106 in terms of the old terms of lease by the transferor landlord would be proper and so also the suit for ejectment.- As noticed above, the respondent-tenant on many occasions approached the appellant, the transferee, owner and the landlord to receive the rent. Further, admittedly, the electricity charges of the tenanted premises were paid by the tenant to the present appellant. -Non-consideration of subsequent tenancy agreement executed by the erstwhile owner namely the brother of the appellant will not come in the way of the present appellant to seek eviction of the tenant on the ground of personal necessity as also on the ground of non-payment of rent. - The approach of the High Court reversing the appellate court's finding cannot be sustained in law.-2015 SC msklawreports



The trial court noted that 
PW3 Ranjeet Prasad had represented  himself
to be the landlord in  the  agreement  dated  20.05.2006  and  in  the  rent
receipts and also filed a suit for eviction against one of  the  tenants  in
the suit property in the capacity of a  landlord.  
PW3  was  noted  to  have
never stated being the representative of the  appellant  or  there  being  a
property exchange.  
Even  if  it  was  assumed  that  he  had  received  the
electricity charges, the appellant was held to have failed to prove  himself
as the landlord as the appellant had not produced  any  evidence  of  having
received rent from any of tenants. 
 The mutation entry in his name was  held to be not proof of title in the suit property. 
 Considering  the  deposition of Abdul Karim as DW1,
 wherein he stated that the appellant had  refused  to
accept the rent from him, the  trial  court  held  that  the  appellant  had
waived his right to be called a landlord.
 The  trial  court  held  that  PW3
Ranjeet Prasad was the landlord of the suit property under section  2(c)  of
the Assam Urban Areas Rent Control Act, 1972 (in short,  "Rent  Act").  
 The
trial court dismissed the suit, rejecting  plaintiff-appellant's  contention
that Abdul Karim had defaulted in the payment of rent  and  that  he  needed
the suit property for bonafide use on the grounds  that  the  appellant  was
not the landlord of the suit property and Abdul Karim  had  been  admittedly
depositing the rent in the court.

Appeal court reversed the finding of trial court

Aggrieved by the decision of the trial court, the appellant  preferred
an appeal before the District Court.
The  appellate  court  noted  that  the
ownership of the suit property has been proved in the light of the  exchange
deed, which remained unchallenged by the  defendant  and  supported  by  PW3
Ranjeet Prasad. 
The appellate court further noted that the plaintiff  served
notice requesting Abdul Karim to attorn the appellant as  the  landlord  and
pay the  rent  to  him.  
The  appellate  court,  therefore,  held  that  the
appellant is the landlord of the suit property  considering  the  deposition
of Abdul Karim that the appellant had refused to accept the rent  from  him,
the deposition of PW3 Ranjeet Prasad that he had directed  all  the  tenants
to pay the rent to the appellant from March, 2007 onwards and the  admission
of the respondent no. 1 (DW2) son of Abdul Karim, that  he  was  paying  the
electricity  charges  to  the  appellant. 
 Abdul  Karim  was  held  to  have
defaulted in the payment  of  rent  from  March,  2007  onwards  as  he  was
depositing rent in the court in the name of PW3 Ranjeet Prasad and  not  the
appellant  despite  knowing  that  the  appellant  was  the  landlord.  
 The
appellant also proved the need for bonafide use as  he  and  his  wife  were
medical practitioners wanting to open a clinic in the  rented  premises  and
as the defendant Abdul Karim owns another premises and would  not  hence  be
facing difficulty. 
Allowing the appeal, the  appellate  court  directed  the
defendant Abdul Karim to vacate the suit property.

High court - reversed the finding of Appellant court

   Aggrieved  respondents,  therefore,  preferred  a  revision  petition
before the High Court.
The High Court observed that the appellate court  has
not considered the  tenancy  agreements  dated  20.12.1968  and  20.05.2006,
which were also not mentioned in the depositions of the appellant (PW1)  and
Ranjeet Prasad (PW3) and the plaint. 
The High Court upheld the  trial  court
findings regarding the various instances when  PW3  represented  himself  as
the landlord.  
Observing that there was no conveyance  of  title  after  the
execution of the agreement dated 20.05.2006, the High Court opined that  the
appellant could not be held  to  be  the  owner  or  landlord  of  the  suit
property on the basis of the  exchange  deed  dated  23.04.1975.   
The  High
Court observed that the definitions of the  terms  'tenant'  and  'landlord'
were not related to ownership of the suit property. 
PW3 Ranjeet  Prasad  was
held to be the landlord of defendant Abdul Karim considering the  agreements
dated 20.12.1968 and 20.05.2006 and that Ranjeet Prasad had  filed  eviction
suits as a landlord. 
Once landlord-tenant relationship existed  between  the
PW3 Ranjeet Prasad and the defendant Abdul Karim, the same should have  been
determined only as per the provisions of the Rent Control Act. 
Holding  that
there was no need to give a finding regarding  default  in  the  payment  of
rent or bonafide requirement when there was no landlord-tenant  relationship
between the appellant and the defendant Abdul Karim, the High Court  allowed
the revision petition filed by the  respondents-tenants  and  dismissed  the
suit for eviction filed by the appellant.

Apex court held that

Assam Urban Area Rent Control Act, 1972.

The expression "landlord" has been defined in Section 2(c) of the  Rent  Act
which reads as under:-

"(c) Landlord" means any person who is, for the  time  being  receiving,  or
entitled to receive rent  in  respect  of  any  house  whether  on  his  own
account, or on account, or on behalf,  or  for  the  benefit  of  any  other
person, or as a trustee, guardian, or receiver for  any  other  person;  and
includes, in respect of his subtenant, a tenant who has  sub-let  any  house
and includes every person not being a tenant who from time to  time  derives
title under a landlord."

Section 5 of the Act creates a bar against the passing  or  execution  of  a
decree or order for ejection.  Section 5 reads as under:-

"5. (1) No order or decree for the  recovery  of  possession  of  any  house
shall be made or executed by any Court so long as the tenant  pays  rent  to
the full extent allowable under this Act and performs the conditions of  the
tenancy:

Provided that  nothing  in  this  sub-section  shall  apply  in  a  suit  or
proceedings for eviction of the tenant from the house:-

(a) Where the tenant has done anything contrary to the provisions of  clause
(m), clause (o) or clause (p) of Section 108 of  the  Transfer  of  Property
Act, 1882 or to the spirit of the aforesaid clause in areas where  the  said
Act does not apply, or

(b) Where the tenant has been guilty of conduct which is a  nuisance  of  an
annoyance to the occupiers of the adjoining or neighbouring houses, or

(c) Where the  house  is  bonafide  required  by  the  landlord  either  for
purposes of repairs or rebuilding, or for his  own  occupation  or  for  the
occupation of any person for whose benefit the house  is  held,  or  whether
the landlord can show any other cause which may be  deemed  satisfactory  by
the Court, or

(d) Where the tenant sublets the house or  any  part  thereof  or  otherwise
transfers his interest in the house or any part thereof  without  permission
in writing from the landlord, or

(e) Where the tenant has not paid the rent lawfully due from him in  respect
of the house within a fortnight of its falling due, or

(f) Where the tenant has built, acquired or been allotted a suitable
residence."

From the definition of 'landlord',  it  is  clear  that  the  definition  is
couched in a very wide language, according to which not only the  owner  but
also any person receiving rent, whether on his own account or on  behalf  of
or for the benefit of any  other  person  or  as  a  trustee,  guardian,  or
receiver for any other person, is also the landlord.

However, for the purpose of eviction of a tenant on the ground  of  personal
need or reasonable requirement, one must show that he is the  owner  of  the
building.
The  High  Court  appears  to  have  taken  a  very   narrow   meaning   and
interpretation of the expression 'landlord' as defined  in  the  Assam  Rent
Act.
The finding recorded on that score to the effect that there exists  no
relationship of landlord and tenant is  not  in  accordance  with  the  true
meaning of the term 'landlord'.   
This  aspect  of  the  law  has  not  been considered by the High Court. 
 On the contrary, the High Court proceeded  on
the basis that the relationship  of  'landlord  and  tenant'  has  not  been
established although the ownership of the appellant by virtue  of  the  deed
of exchange has neither been denied nor been  disputed  by  the  respondent-
tenant.  
Even assuming for the sake of argument that the  elder  brother  of
the appellant was acting as a landlord by receiving rent, it will not  debar
the original owner from filing a suit for eviction not only  on  the  ground
of personal necessity but also on the ground of default when it has come  in
evidence that the respondent on many occasions went to the appellant to  pay
rent but the latter refused to receive the rent. 
 Moreover, admittedly,  the
respondent-tenant was paying electricity and other charges of  the  tenanted
premises to the appellant.

  On the question of tenancy, both the trial court and  the  High  Court
have not considered  the  provision  of  Section  109  of  the  Transfer  of
Property Act.

"109. Rights of lessor's transferee.-If the lessor  transfers  the  property
leased, or any part thereof, or  any  part  of  his  interest  therein,  the
transferee, in the absence of a contract to the contrary, shall possess  all
the rights, and, if the lessee so elects, be subject to all the  liabilities
of the lessor as to the property or part transferred so long as  he  is  the
owner of it; but the lessor shall not,  by  reason  only  of  such  transfer
cease to be subject to any of  the  liabilities  imposed  upon  him  by  the
lease, unless the lessee elects  to  treat  the  transferee  as  the  person
liable to him:

Provided that the transferee is not entitled to arrears of rent  due  before
the transfer, and that, if the lessee, not having  reason  to  believe  that
such transfer has been made, pays rent to the lessor, the lessee  shall  not
be liable to pay such rent over again to the transferee.

The lessor, the transferee and the lessee may determine what  proportion  of
the premium or rent reserved by the lease is payable in respect of the  part
so transferred, and, in case they disagree, such determination may  be  made
by any Court having jurisdiction to entertain a suit for the  possession  of
the property leased.


 From perusal of the aforesaid Section, it is manifest that  after  the
transfer of lessor's right in favour of the transferee, the latter gets  all
rights and liabilities of the lessor in respect of subsisting tenancy.   The
Section does not insist that transfer will take effect only when the  tenant
attorns.  It is well settled that a  transferee  of  the  landlord's  rights
steps into the shoes of the landlord with all the rights and liabilities  of
the transferor landlord in respect of the subsisting tenancy.   The  section
does not require that the transfer of the right of  the  landlord  can  take
effect only if the tenant attorns to him.  Attornment by the tenant  is  not
necessary to confer validity of  the  transfer  of  the  landlord's  rights.
Since attornment by the tenant is not required, a notice under  Section  106
in terms of the old terms of lease  by  the  transferor  landlord  would  be
proper and so also the suit for ejectment.

 As noticed above, the respondent-tenant on many  occasions  approached
the appellant, the transferee, owner and the landlord to receive  the  rent.
 Further, admittedly, the electricity charges of the tenanted premises  were
paid  by  the  tenant  to  the  present  appellant.   Non-consideration   of
subsequent tenancy agreement executed by  the  erstwhile  owner  namely  the
brother of the appellant will not come in the way of the  present  appellant
to seek eviction of the tenant on the ground of personal necessity  as  also
on the ground of non-payment of  rent.   The  approach  of  the  High  Court
reversing the appellate court's finding cannot be sustained in law.-2015 SC msklawreports

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