Kapur Chand Jain Vs. B. S. Grewal
& Ors  INSC 252 (6 November 1964)
06/11/1964 HIDAYATULLAH, M.
GAJENDRAGADKAR, P.B. (CJ) WANCHOO, K.N.
CITATION: 1965 AIR 1491 1965 SCR (2) 36
The Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act (10
of 1953), ss.
9(1) (ii) and 14A (1) and (ii) -Non-payment
of rent-Whether without sufficient cause Determination--If conduct prior to Act
can be considered.
The appellant and respondent were the tenant
and land-lord of certain agricultural lands to which the Punjab Security of
Land Tenures Act, 1953 applied. The appellant tried to avoid payment of rent
for each year of the lease period (1951-1955), under one pretext or the other,
and for every year recoveries of rent were only made through the court.
After the period of lease expired, the
appellant continued to hold over without paying rent. So the respondent filed
two applications to the appropriate authorities, one for arrears of rent under
s. 14A(ii) and the other for eviction under s. 14A(1), on the ground, inter
alia, specified in s' 9(1) (ii) that the appellant had failed to pay the rent
regularly, without sufficient cause. On the application for rent, the appellant
was asked to pay the arrears which he did within the time fixed. The application
for eviction was dismissed, but on appeal by the respondent, the appellant was
ordered to be evicted. The appellant's further appeal application for revision
and petition to the High Court under Arts. 226 and 227 of the Constitution were
In the appeal to the Supreme Court it was
contended that, (i) s. 9(1) (ii) applies only prospectively and therefore the
conduct of the tenant, prior to the enactment of s. 14A in 1955, could not be
taken into account for determining that there was not sufficient cause for
non-payment, and (ii) as the appellant had paid the arrears within the time
fixed he could not be ,evicted.
HELD : Though the appellant could not be
evicted under s. 14A(ii) his case was covered by s. 14A(1) and his eviction
could be ordered because, the irregularity in payment was patent and there was
no sufficient cause. [42 A] The necessary condition for the application of s. 9
(1) (ii) may commence even before the Act came into force and past conduct
which is as relevant for the clause as conduct after the coming into force of
the Act, cannot be overlooked. A statute is not applied retrospectively merely
because a part of the requisites for its action is drawnfrom a moment prior to
its passing. [41 A-C] The scheme of the Act shows that cls. (1) and (ii) of s.
14A are entirely different and that there is no inconsistency between them.
Clause (ii) deals with eviction as punishment for non-compliance with an order
to deposit arrears of rent within the time fixed for payment, whereas cl. (1)
deals with eviction for any of ',he reasons given in s. 9(1), one of which is
non-payment of rent regularly without sufficient cause, under s. 9(1) (ii) [41
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal
No. 833 of 1962.
Appeal by special leave from the order, dated
March 9, 1961 of the Punjab High Court in Civil Writ No. 291 of 1961.
37 B. R. L. Iyengar and T. S. Venkataraman,
for the appellant.
Bishan Narain, S. K. Mehta and K. L. Mehta,
for respondent No. 4.
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
Hidayatullah, J. The appellant obtained on lease from the 4th respondent (Raja
Charanjit Singh) 208 canals of agricultural land for five years commencing from
Rabi 1951 to Kharif 1955 on an annual rent of Rs. 7,500. The lease deed was
registered and was executed on November 20, 1950.
The appellant paid a sum of Rs. 7,500 as
advance rent for one year. There was a tube well on the land and one of the
terms of the lease was that the Raja would put the tube well into working order
and the lease was to commence on the day this was done. The tube well was
repaired on July 11, 1951 and the lease is said to have commenced on that day.
According to the appellant the tube well did
not deliver the right quantity of water and that led to certain disputes.
The appellant did not pay rent for the
subsequent years. On August 15, 1952 the Raja filed a suit for recovery of Rs. 7,500
as rent for Rabi and Kharif, 1951. He claimed that Rs. 7,500 paid to him was to
be retained as deposit to be adjusted towards the final payment. The appellant
resisted this demand mainly on the ground that the tube well was not
functioning as required by the lease deed. This suit was decreed on March 23,
1957 and an amount of Rs. 859-4-0 was found due. This was because on April 15,
1953 the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act, 1953 came into force and under s.
12 of that Act the maximum rent payable by a tenant for any land held by him
was not to exceed 1/3rd of the crop of such land or of the value of the crop
determined in the manner to be prescribed by Rules. For this period an amount
of Rs. 4,313 was held to be the value of the produce and after making deduction
for sundry payments to the Raja the decree was for the amount stated. The
appellant paid that amount forthwith. The appellant did not pay the rent for
the years 1952, 1953 and 1954 and on January 5, 1955 the Raja brought another
suit for the recovery of Rs. 22,500 as arrears of rent for these three years
and on October 8, 1956 filed a revised application under s. 14-A(ii) added from
1955 to the Act. During the pendency of this suit the appellant was asked to
deposit a sum of Rs. 7,000 which he did on January 22, 1957. Later, the amount
payable under s.
12 of the Act was found to be Rs. 13,378-2-0
and on June 21, 1957 the appellant deposited the balance. The appellant did not
pay 38 rent for the year 1955 and though his lease expired with Kharif, 1955 he
continued holding over and did not pay rent for Rabi 1956. The Raja made an
application on October 10, 1956 under s. 14-A(1) for the eviction of the
appellant on the ground inter alia that he had failed to pay rent regularly
without sufficient cause. Under s. 14-A(1) the application for eviction lay
before an Assistant Collector, First Grade, while under s. 14-A(ii) the application
for recovery of arrears of rent (to which category belonged the revised
application dated October 8, 1956, which we have mentioned before) lay before
an Assistant Collector Second Grade. As a result the question of the eviction
of the tenant on the ground that he was irregular in payment of rent was tried
in one court and the recovery proceedings were tried in another court. The
proceedings under s. 14A(1) terminated in favour of the appellant on December
24, 1958, the Assistant Collector, First Grade, Jullundur holding that the
tenant had sufficient cause not to pay rent fixed by the lease deed and the
Raja could not claim ejectment on that ground. The Raja appealed. The
Collector, Jullundur District, on May 20, 1959, reversed the order and directed
that the appellant be evicted. An appeal by the appellant before the
Commissioner, Jullundur Division failed as also an application for revision
before the Financial Commissioner, Punjab. The appellant then moved the High
Court of Punjab at Chandigarh under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution.
His petition was summarily dismissed by a Division Bench on March 9, 1961. The
appellant has filed this appeal by special leave.
Section 14-A of the Punjab Security of Land
Tenures Act, 1953 reads as follows :"14-A. Notwithstanding anything to the
contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force, and subject to
the provisions of section 9-A,(i)a land-owner desiring to eject a tenant under
this Act shall apply in writing to the Assistant Collector, First Grade, having
jurisdiction, who shall thereafter proceed as provided for in sub-section (2)
of section 10 of this Act, and the provisions of sub-section (3) of the said
section shall also apply in relation to such application, provided that the tenants'
rights to compensation, and acquisition of occupancy rights, if any, under the
Punjab Tenancy Act, 1887 (X-VI of 1887), shall not be affected;
(ii)a landowner desiring to recover arrears
of rent from a tenant shall apply in writing to the Assistant Col39 lector,
Second Grade, having jurisdiction, who shall thereupon send a notice, in the
form prescribed, to the tenant either to deposit the rent or value thereof, if
payable in kind, or give proof of having paid it or of the fact that he is not
liable to pay the whole or part of the rent, or of the fact of the landlord's
refusal to receive the same or to give a receipt, within the period specified
in the notice. Where, after summary determination, as provided for in
sub-section (2) of section 10 of this Act, the Assistant Collector finds that
the tenant has not paid or deposited the rent, he shall eject the tenant
summarily and put the land-owner in possession of the land concerned;
(iii)(a) if a land-lord refuses to accept
rent from his tenant or demands rent in excess of what he is entitled to under
this Act, or refuses to give a receipt, the tenant may in writing inform the
Assistant Collector, Second Grade, having jurisdiction of the fact;
(b)on receiving such application the
Assistant Collector shall by a written notice require the landlord to accept
the rent payable in accordance with this Act, or to give a receipt, as the case
may be, or both, within 60 days of the receipt of the notice." In this
connection we may quote the relevant provisions of s. 9 "9(1)
Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in
force, no land-owner shall be competent to eject a tenant except when such
tenant(i) is a tenant on the area reserved under this Act or is a tenant of a
or (ii)fails to pay rent regularly without
sufficient cause; or (iii)is in arrears of rent at the commencement of this
Act; or (iv) (v) (vi) (Vii) Explanation.-For the purposes of clause (iii), a
tenant shall be deemed to be in arrears of rent at the 40 commencement of this
Act, only if the payment of arrears is not made by the tenant within a period
of two months from the date of notice of the execution of decree or order,
directing him to pay such arrears of rent." Section 10 provides the procedure
which has to be followed when the landlord makes an application. That section,
however, need not be quoted because no question about the right procedure
It will be noticed that the first clause of
s. 14-A is general. It enables a land-owner to apply for the eviction of his
tenant on any of the grounds stated in the Act in s. 9. The second clause is
designed primarily to enable the land-owner to recover arrears of rent from a
tenant but the tenant may be ordered to be evicted if after the determination
of the rent be does not pay it within the time fixed by the Collector. Clause
(iii) enables a tenant to inform the Collector of the landlord's refusal to
accept rent from him or of a demand of rent in excess of what it should be
under the Act.
-The Rules for the determination of the value
of the produce under s. 12 did not come into existence till May 19, 1953.
The appellant has taken advantage of this
circumstance to plead before us that his failure to pay the rent was solely due
to his inability to determine the exact rent in the manner contemplated in s.
12 and the Rules. This belies his statement that he took the amount to the
landlord but the landlord refused to receive it. His statement was rightly not
believed because if the landlord had refused to receive payment, the appellant
would have informed the Assistant Collector under s. 14-A(iii) and asked for
protection. He did nothing of the kind. It is quite clear that he took
advantage of the new Act to avoid payment of rent. For the first year he did so
on the ground that the tube well was not functioning according to the
agreement. For the subsequent years he avoided payment on the ground that he
was only required to pay 1/3rd of the produce or its value.
For every year a suit had to be filed and
recoveries were only made through the court. This establishes the very kind of
conduct which is contemplated by S. 9 (1 ) (ii) and which furnishes a ground
for eviction of the tenant under s. 14A(1).
Mr. Iyengar argues that s. 9(1)(ii) applies prospectively
and the conduct of the tenant prior to the enactment of S. 14-A cannot 41 be
taken into account. In our opinion, the conduct of the tenant prior to the
coming into force of the new section can be taken into account. No doubt a
statute must be applied prospectively. But a statute is not applied
retrospectively because a part of the requisites for its action is drawn from a
moment of time prior to its passing. The clause in question makes a particular
conduct the -round for an application for eviction. The necessary condition for
the application of s. 9 (1) (ii) may commence even before the Act came into
force and past conduct which is as relevant for the clause as conduct after the
coming into force of the Act, cannot be overlooked. The Tribunals were
therefore right in considering conduct of the appellant prior to the coming
into force of s. 14-A while determining whether the appellant was irregular in
paying the rent.
Mr. Iyengar next contends that as under cl.
(ii) of s. 14-A the appellant was asked to pay the arrears of rent and he paid
them within the time fixed, no eviction can be ordered.
Clause (ii) deals with eviction as punishment
for noncompliance with the orders of the court. Clause (1) deals with evictions
for any of the reasons given in s. 9 (1). One such reason is that the tenant
has failed to pay rent regularly without sufficient cause. Eviction under the
second clause is for failure to carry out the orders to deposit arrears of rent
within the time fixed for payment and eviction under the first clause is a
penalty for not paying the rent regularly without sufficient cause. The clauses
are on different footing and as the scheme of the Act itself shows different
Tribunals determine the two issues. The appellant tried to have the various
proceedings consolidated in the same court, but curiously enough he asked that
the proceedings for the recovery of arrears of rent should be stayed. His
motive is quite apparent. He wanted to defend himself against liability arising
tinder s. 0 (Ion the ground that he could not pay the rent till 1 1/3rd of the
or its value was determined under the Rules. We above that his statement was
that he wanted to pay the extra amount but the landlord did not receive it. It
is quite obviously that he avoided Payment over the years under one pretext or
the other and the Tribunal-, were right in holding that be had failed to make
out sufficient cause for non-payment. Indeed such a finding giving concurrently
by the High Court and the three Tribunals below would be sufficient for the
disposal of the case. We have only allowed the argument to be used because Mr.
Iyengar claimed that conditions on which persons can be evicted under the two
clauses of s. 14-A were inconsistent. On examination it is apparent that the reasons
for eviction under the two clauses are 3Sup.165 4 42 entirely different. The
appellant could not be evicted under the second clause of S. 14-A but it is
obvious that his case is covered by the first clause. The irregularity in
payment is patent and there was no sufficient cause.
The appeal fails and it is dismissed with
costs. Appeal dismissed.