Thursday, January 21, 2010

Madras High Court ruling on vacating tenants

High Court ruling on vacating tenants

Mohamed Imranullah S.

MADURAI: Landlords cannot right away file a civil suit to evict their tenants if the latter either questions the ownership of the immovable properties or claims permanent tenancy, the Madras High Court has said.

Passing orders in a two-decade-old litigation, Justice A. Selvam said that the landlords had to approach the Rent Controller initially as stipulated under Section 10 (1) of the Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Control) Act, 1960.

"If the Rent Controller gives a finding (that the claim made by the tenant is not true), the next course open to the landlord is to file a suit for eviction and only then the civil court is competent to pass a decree for eviction," he said.

In the present case, the Judge set aside the concurrent judgements passed by two lower courts in 1994 and 1997. He said that the only remedy available was to approach the Rent Controller and then move the civil court concerned for appropriate orders.

K. Simson of Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli district had originally filed a civil suit in 1990 before the jurisdictional District Munsif Court for declaring his title over an immovable property and recovery of possession from the tenant.

He claimed to have purchased the property from his father in 1988. Then, the tenant was given six months time to vacate the property. However, she did not oblige and continued to be in occupation without even paying the monthly rent of Rs.75.

On the contrary, the supposed tenant denied that she had agreed to pay monthly rental. Claiming that she was the rightful owner of the property, she said that it was given to her husband (since dead) through a family arrangement.

After hearing elaborate arguments, the Munsif Court decreed the suit in favour of Mr. Simson in 1994. The decree was also confirmed by the Ambasamudram Sub-Court in 1997 while dismissing an appeal filed by the other party.

Taking a different view, Mr. Justice Selvam allowed the present second appeal and held that the two judgements passed by the lower courts were nothing but nullities because the supposed landlord had not approached the Rent Controller before filing the suit.

Courtesy_

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