Nai Bahu Vs. Ramnarayan & Ors
 INSC 203 (14 October 1977)
CITATION: 1978 AIR 22 1978 SCR (1) 723 1978
SCC (1) 58
Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control Act,
1955- Nullity- Consent decree, if a nullity-If requirements of provisions of
Act must be satisfied-Whether pleadings and evidence can be looked into-Whether
consent decree giving time to vacate can create fresh tenancy-Construction of a
document-Whether dominant intention must guide the construction-Whether consent
decree giving time to vacate bad for non- registration.
The appellant filed a suit for eviction
against the respondent tenant. All the witnesses on behalf of the appellant
were examined. Thereafter 2 witnesses were examined on behalf of the
respondents. At that stage a joint compromise petition was filed settling the
The compromise deed provided that the
respondents admitted the full claim of the appellant for ejectment, arrears of
rent and mesne profits on the conditions that the respondents would put the
appellant in vacant and peaceful possession of the entire tenancy premises
except certain portion and that the said portion would be vacated on the expiry
of 5 years; and that the future mesne profits would be paid. It also provided
that the respondents would be entitled to construct separate latrine and urinal
in the verandah near the staircase; that the respondents would remove their
sign boards to the extent they prevent the proper light and air to the portion
of the appellant on the second storey.
After the 5 years' period expired, the
appellant took out execution proceedings which were resisted by the
respondents. The plea of the adjustment raised by the respondents was negatived
in the first round of litigation.
However, the respondents challenged the
decree as a nullity and further contended that the decree incorporated a lease
which on account of non-registration was invalid and, therefore, not
executable. The Trial Court rejected the objections raised by the respondents.
An appeal filed by the respondents was dismissed. The High Court allowed the
second appeal filed by the respondents holding that the term of compromise
created a new demise on different terms in regard to the premises which were
not identical with the premises covered by the original lease. The High Court
also held that the decree was passed in contravention of the provisions of
Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control Act, 1955. The High Court also held that
compromise purported to create a lease for 5 years which was ineffective on
account of non-registration.
Allowing the appeal,
HELD : (1) It is well-settled that where the
Rent Control and Restrictions Act are in operation a landlord cannot obtain
eviction of the tenant unless he can satisfy the requirements of the provisions
in those Acts. It is also well settled that if the court does not find the
permissible grounds for eviction disclosed in the pleadings and other materials
on record no consent or compromise would give jurisdiction to the court to pass
a valid decree of eviction. [726 G-H] (2)The court after going through the
pleadings and the evidence came to the conclusion that there was sufficient
material for the court to be satisfied about the existence of the ground for
eviction. The court held that if the pleadings and other materials on record
make out a prima facie case about the existence of statutory -rounds for
eviction the compromise decree cannot be held to be invalid and the executing
court will have to give effect to it.
[729 D-E] Konchada Ramamurthy Subudhi &
Anr. v. Gopinath Naik, 1968(2) SCR 559, Roshan Lal v. Madan Lal, 1976(1) SCR
Girdharilal (dead) by L. Rs v. Hukam Singh
and Ors. AIR 1977 SC 129; Kartar Singh v. Chaman Lal & Ors. 1970(1) SCR 9
and K. K. Chari v. R. M. Seshadri, 1973 (3) SCR 691, referred to.
724 Dr. Gopal Dass Verma v. Dr. S. K.
Bhardwaj and Another, 1962 (2) SCR 678, distinguished.
(3)The Court after a careful consideration of
the terms of the compromise and the whole tenor of the compromise came to the
conclusion that there was no intention to create a lease between the parties.
It is the dominant intention of the document which must guide the construction
of its contents.
In the recital at 3 places it is stated
categorically that the plaintiff shall be entitled to execute her decree
against the defendants. Thus there was no intention to create a lease. The few
alterations and improvements agreed upon by consent were merely an arrangement
for vacating two floors and in order to vacate the remaining portion after
using it for 5 years. Therefore, there is no question of registration of the
decree. [731 A-C] (4)There is nothing in the Madhya Pradesh Act to bar an
eviction from a building if a non-residential accommodation is genuinely
required not only for non-residential use but also a portion of it for bona
fide personal residence. [731- D]
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal
No. 25 of 1971.
(Appeal by special leave from the judgment
and order dated 19-8-1970 of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Misc. Second
Appeal No. 64 of 1968).
G. B. Pai, S. C. Jain, S. S. Khanduja and
Baij Nath Pandey, for the appellant.
G. L. Sanghi and A., G. Ratnaparkhi, for the
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
GOSWAMI, J.-This appeal, by special leave, is directed against the judgment of
the Madhya Pradesh High Court of August 19, 1970. The facts and circumstances
in this appeal disclose the highly tortuous. Nature of litigation between the
landlord and the tenants. To highlight this aspect we may briefly state the
A suit was filed by the appellant on February
17, 1959, for eviction of the respondents (tenants) from a three-storeyed
premises. The tenants resisted the claim and trial proceeded in which, after
the close of the plaintiff's case, the tenants examined two witnesses and the
suit was adjourned for their further evidence to July 12, 1960. On that day a
joint compromise petition was filed settling the matter. Statement of counsel
on both sides was recorded by the court on the same day and an order was passed
on the following day, namely, July, 13, 1960 and a decree was passed in terms
of the compromise. Without referring to the details of the terms of compromise
at this stage, it may be stated that the decree of eviction was executable only
after five years.
Five years passed. The appellant took
execution on July 21, 1965. The execution was resisted by the tenants. They set
up a plea of adjustment under Order 21, rule 2 Civil Procedure Code. The said
objection was rejected by the court on December 10, 1966 An appeal against the
said order was also rejected on July 13,. 1967.A second appeal by the tenants
was dismissed by the High Court on September 27, 1968. Thus the first
litigation regarding plea of adjustment of the decree terminated in the High
Court on September 27 1968.
725 Even so, the tenants had already opened
another front of attack against the decree on July 17, 1967, by means of an
application in the executing court while the earlier litigation in respect of
adjustment of the decree was pending. By that application the tenants
challenged the decree as a nullity and further objected that the decree
incorporated a lease which, on account of non-registration, was invalid and
therefore was not executable. The application was rejected by the executing
court on July 20, 1967. The judgment debtor then approached the appeal court
which also did not oblige and dismissed this appeal.
Undaunted, the judgment-debtor filed a second
appeal before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh and this time successfully.
The High Court allowed the appeal and set
aside the order.
According to the High Court the main question
for consideration in the appeal before it was "whether the terms of the
decree, which was passed on the basis of a compromise between the parties,
created a fresh tenancy and so inhibited the decree-holder from terminating it
and taking possession of the demised premises otherwise than in accordance with
the provisions of section 12 of the M.P.
Accommodation Control Act". Answering
the question in favour of the appellants (respondents herein the High Court
held that "the terms of compromise created a new demise on different terms
in regard to the premises which were not identical with the premises covered by
the original lease".
The High Court also held that the decree was
passed in contravention of the provisions of the Act. The High Court also
observed that "the compromise decree purported to create, as shown, a
lease for five years" and was "ineffective" on account of non-registration.
The High Court refused to grant leave for
Letters Patent Appeal and hence this appeal by special leave.
Mr. G. B. Pai, learned counsel for the
appellant, submits that the High Court was entirely wrong in holding that the
decree was a nullity. He submits that the case is squarely covered by the
decision of this Court reported in Konchada Ramamurthy Subudhi & Anr. v.
Gopinath Naik.(1)In the said appeal the only point raised was whether the
compromise decree created a lease or a licence. On the terms of the
compromisethis Court held that it did not create a lease as "the intention
of the parties was not to enter into the relationship of a landlord and
tenant". Mr. Pai also drew our attention to the decision of this court in
Roshan Lal v. Madan Lal.2 )This Court observed in that decision as follows
"If the agreement or compromise for the eviction of the tenant is found,
on the facts of a particular case, to be in violation of a particular Rent
Restriction or Control Act, the Court would refuse to record the compromis e as
it will not be a lawful agreement. If on the other hand, the Court is satisfied
on consideration of the terms of the compromise and, if necessary, by
considering them in the context of the pleadings and other materials in the case,
that the agreement is law- (1)  2 S.C.R. 559.
(2)  1 S.C.R. 878.
726 ful, as in any other suit, so in an
eviction suit, the Court is bound to record the compromise and pass a decree in
With regard to the objection that the decree
was unregistered, Mr. Pai relied upon a decision of this Court in Girdharilal
(dead) by L. Rs. v. Hukam Singh and others(1) and read to us the following
observations therefrom :
"Even though the decree of a Court
embodies an agreement between the parties, we do not think that the agreement
between the parties placed before us, involving the recognition of a transfer,
could require registration unless the terms of the compromise decree
necessarily involved the execution of a deed of conveyance also." Mr. Pai
finally submits that a perusal of the terms of compromise in the joint
application under Order 23, rule 3 of the Civil procedure Code and the order of
the trial court in pursuance thereof and other materials on record will clearly
show that the court was satisfied that a lawful compromise was entered upon
between the parties and , that there was ground for eviction of the tenants as
required under the law. The decree was, therefore, not a nullity and was
clearly executable, says Mr. Pai.
On the other hand, Mr. Sanghi on behalf of
the tenants submits that the decree was clearly invalid as it was passed in the
teeth of the provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control Act, 1955
and it cannot be held that the court was satisfied that the compromise was
lawful to enable it to pass a decree for eviction. According to counsel, any
compromise which is against the law cannot confer on the Court a jurisdiction
to pass a decree on its basis. Mr Sanghi further submits that the plaint in
this case disclosed that the premises were let out for non-residential purpose.
Since the plaintiff sought for eviction from the premises on the composite
ground of bona fide requirement for residence as well as for business of
money-lending and also to start her own business of cloth as she had no other
accommodation in the city for those purposes, the court has no; jurisdiction to
pass a decree, on those grounds because originally the premises were let out
for non-residential purpose.
It is well-settled that where the Rent
Control and Restrictions Acts are in operation, a landlord cannot obtain
eviction of the tenant unless he can satisfy the requirements of the provisions
in those Acts. The general law of landlord and tenant to that extent will give
way to the special Act in that behalf. It is also well-settled that if the
court does not find the permissible grounds for eviction disclosed it,. the
pleadings and other materials on the record, no consent or compromise will give
jurisdiction to the court to pass a valid decree of eviction.
(1) A.I.R. 1977 S.C. 129, 727 It will,
therefore, be appropriate at this stage to look- to the nature of the suit
disclosed in the plaint. It is stated in the plaint that "the defendants
are carrying on their business jointly in the aforesaid tenancy premises in the
name and style of Lala Ramswarup and Sons". Para 4 of the plaint discloses
the grounds under section 4 of the Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control Act,
1955 which are to the effect that the plaintiff requires the premises for her
own bona fide residence and also for her business of money lending and to start
her own business of cloth and that she has no other suitable accommodation for
either purpose in the city of Jabalpur. She has also mentioned the business
need of her brother, Tek Chand, whose income from the business will be utilised
to meet the expenses of the plaintiff. It is also stated that the defendants
have built and acquired vacant possession of accommodation in Manjipura,
Jabalpur and were in possession of three three storeyed houses having three
spacious shop premises therein.
It will be necessary now to set out below the
terms of compromise arrived at by the parties on the basis of which the decree
was passed "1. That the defendants admit the full claim of the plaintiff
for ejectment, arrears of rent and mesne profits as claimed in the suit on the
following conditions :- (a) That the defendants shall put the plaintiff in a
vacant and peaceful possession of the entire tenancy premises except portion of
the ground floor only shown by letters A.B.C.D.E. in the map attached with this
application, today. If the defendants fail to do so the plaintiff shall be
entitled to execute her decree against the defendants for the same at their
costs. The portion shown by letters A.B.C.D.E. is of the ground floor only.
(b) That the defendants shall vacate the
portion marked by letters A.B.C.D.E. of the ground floor in the map attached
with this application and put the plaintiff in its vacant possession by
15-7-1965, (Fifteen July Nineteen hundred and sixty five). If the defendants do
not vacate the same by this date, the plaintiff shall be entitled to execute
her decree against the defendants for possession of this portion at their
2. That towards mesne profits from 15-2-59
upto 14-7-1960 the defendants have already passed a cheque dated 11-7-1960
28264 drawn on the Central Bank of India.
3. That towards mense profits from 15-7- 1960
onwards the defendants shall pay Rs.
170/- per month to the plaintiff till they
actually vacate the house by the appointed date. The defendants shall pay a sum
3,000/- to the plaintiff by 15-8-1960 towards
mense profits from 15-7-60 728 onwards in advance. This amount is liable to be
adjusted towards mense profits at the rate of Rs. 170/- per month from
After this amount is fully adjusted the
defendants shall pay Rs. 170/- per month regularly on the 15th of the next
month. If the defendants fail to comply with the above terms the plaintiff
shall be entitled to execute her decree against the defendants for the same and
in that case the defendants shall be liable for the costs of execution.
4. That the parties shall bear their
respective costs of the suit. The par-ties shall not now claim anything against
each. other on account of costs awarded to them by the courts in previous
litigation between the defendants and the plaintiff's husband.
5. That the defendants shall be entitled to
construct a septic latrine and urinal in the verandah near the stair case near
points D and C shown in the map at their own costs. The plaintiff shall allow
the defendants facilities to make a drain for the proper discharge of water
etc. from the septic latrines and urinal through her court yard.
The cost of the drain will be borne by the
6. That the defendants shall remove their
sign Boards etc. to the extent they are preventing the proper light and air to
the portion of the plaintiff on the second storey.
PRAYER The parties, therefore, pray that a
decree in terms of the above compromise be passed".
It is submitted by Mr. Sangbi that there is
nothing to show either on the face of the decree or even on the materials on
the record that the court applied its mind for the purpose of being satisfied
that a decree for eviction on any of the admissible grounds under section 4 of
the Madhya Pradesh Accommodation Control Act, 1955 (briefly the Act M.P. Act),
were present in the case. Having examined the pleadings, the terms of the
compromise as well as the statement of counsel of either party recorded by the
trial court and the resultant order passed thereafter, we are unable to accede
to the submission that the court did not apply its mind to the relevant
question that was necessary to be considered at that stage at the time of
passing the decree.
Mr. Sanghi next submits that the plaintiff
did not at all establish the valid ground for passing a decree for eviction
under the M.P. Act. According to him the house was let out for non-residential
purpose, viz., for a shos. He states that it is clear from the averments in the
plaint that the plaintiff wanted the house for her own use as well as for the
purpose of business. Counsel asserts that the ground for eviction in this case
is clearly under section 4(h) of the M.P. Act. Since on her own showing that
the plaintiff seeks eviction for a composite purpose, viz., for her residence
and for business the house being a non-residential accommodation she is not
entitled to eviction under section 4(h) of the M.P. Act. In this context Mr. 729
Sanghi relies upon a decision of this Court in Dr. Gopal Dass Verma V. Dr. S.
K. Bhardwaj and Another(1) and read to us the following passage from that
decision "....where premises are let for residential purposes and it is
shown that they are used by the tenant incidentally for commercial,
professional or other purposes with the consent of the landlord the landlord
would not be entitled to eject the tenant even if he proves that he needs the
premises bona fide for his personal use because the premises have by their user
ceased to be premises let for residential purposes alone".
Mr. Sanghi also relied upon another decision
of this Court in Katar Singh v. Chamman Lal & Others (2) where the decision
in Dr. Gopal Dass Verma (supra) has been followed.
It is true that a decree for eviction of a
tenant cannot be passed solely on the basis of a compromise between the parties
(see K. K. Chari v. R. N. Seshadri"(3). The Court is to be satisfied
whether a statutory ground for eviction has been pleaded which the tenant ])as
admitted by the compromise. Thus dispensing with further proof, on account of
the compromise, the court is to be satisfied about com- pliance with the
statutory requirement on the totally of facts of a particular case bearing in
mind the entire circumstances from the stage of pleadings upto the stage when
the compromise is effected.
When a compromise decree is challenged as a
nullity in the course of its execution the executing court can examine relevant
materials to find out whether statutory grounds for eviction existed in If the
pleadings and other materials on the record make out a prima facie case about
the existence of statutory grounds for eviction a compromise decree cannot be
held to be invalid and the executing court will have to give effect to it.
According to Mr. Sanghi when the house was
let for non- residential purpose the appellant cannot succeed in ejecting the
tenant 'from the house for a composite purpose of residence as well as business
and he submits that the principles laid down in Dr. Gopal Dass Verma (supra)
fully support him.
In Dr. Gopal Dass Verma (supra) this Court
was dealing with the provisio ns of Delhi & Ajmer Rent Control Act, 1952
(briefly the Delhi Act). Section 2(g) defines premises under that Act thus
" 'Premises' means any building or part of a building which is, or is
intended to be let, separately for use as a residence or for commercial use or
for any other purpose, " We may contrast the definition of accommodation
in the M.P.
Act with which we are concerned. Under
section 3(a) of the M.P. Act, "accommodation" means- (x) any land
which is not being used for cultivation, (1)  2 S.C.R. 678.
(2)  1 S.C.R. 9.
(3)  3 S..C.R. 691.
730 (y) any building or part of a building,
and it includes- (1) garden, open land and out houses, if any, appurtenant to
such building or part of a building;
(2) any furniture supplied by the landlord
for use in such building or part of a building;
(3) any fittings affixed to such building or
part of a building for the more beneficial enjoyment thereof,).
It is significant that in the Delhi Act
intention to let separately for use as a residence or for commercial use or for
any other purpose is expressly mentioned under section 2(g) thereof. The
principle underlying the scheme for letting separately for different uses is
reflected in the Second Schedule to the Delhi Act in both Parts A and B (see
paras 3 to 5 both in parts A and B). The said differentiation of purpose for
separate letting does not find such significant importance in the M.P. Act as
has been found by this Court in the Delhi Act Mr. Sanghi, however, draws our
attention to section 4(d) of the M.P. Act which provides that if the tenant has
done any act which is inconsistent with the purpose for which he was admitted
to the tenancy of the accommodation, that will furnish a ground for eviction
under the M. P. Act. He also relies upon s. 6 of the M.P. Act where there is
provision for compensation in the case of eviction on the ground mentioned in
clause (h) of section 4 in case of non-residential accommodation.
Counsel therefore submits that although the
word 'separately' is absent in the definition of "accommodation" in
the M.P. Act there is no difference whatsoever in the actual intent of the
provisions in the M.P. Act to warrant a departure from the principles laid down
in Dr. Gopal Dass Verma (supra) We are unable to accept the above submission.
It is clear that under the Delhi Act the scheme is significantly different from
that of the M.P. Act. The definition of "premises" in the Delhi Act
is a pointer. Under the M.P.
Act a landlord can seek eviction of a tenant
from a non- residential accommodation if he genuinely requires the same for his
business purpose. But the position is not the same under the provisions of the
Delhi Act where the landlord cannot ask for eviction of a tenant from the
premises let for commercial use even if the former requires it bona fide for
his own business purpose. The landlord may seek eviction of the tenant on other
grounds but not on the ground of bona fide requirement for his own business
under the Delhi Act. This brings out the difference between the scheme
underlying the two Acts and Mr. Sanghi cannot call in aid the decision in Dr.
Gopal Dass Verma (supra) in support of his submission. The High Court was not
right in its conclusion that the decree was passed in contravention of the
provisions of the Act.
Mr. Sanghi also submits that the decree in
this case incorporated a lease for five years and in absence of registration
under section 17(1) (d) of the Registration Act the decree is invalid and
cannot be acted upon. As already pointed out this objection is untenable in 731
view of the decision of this Court in Girdharilal (supra).
The question would turn on the terms of the
After a careful consideration of the terms of
the compromise and the whole tenor of the compromise petition it is absolutely
clear that there was no intention to create a lease between the parties. It is
the dominant intention of the document which must guide the construction of its
contents. In the recitals of the compromise petition in three places it is
stated categorically that "the plaintiff shall be entitled to execute her
decree against the defendants". There was therefore, no intention to
create a lease with regard to any portion of the property although certain
arrangements had been entered for the-intermediate occupation of a certain
portion before vacating that portion after expiry of five years. The few
alternations and improvements agreed upon by consent were merely an arrangement
for vacating two floors and in order to vacate the remaining portion after
using it for five years. There was no intention whatsoever to create a new
lease. There is, therefore, no question of registration of the decree.
The submission is devoid of substance. The
High Court is, therefore, clearly wrong in holding that a lease was created by
the compromise and that the decree was ineffective on account of
There is nothing in the M. P. Act to bar an
eviction from a building if a non-residential accommodation is genuinely
required not only for non-residential use but also a portion of it bona fide
for personal residence. We are clearly of opinion that the compromise decree in
this case is a lawful decree of eviction founded on permissible statutory
ground and there are sufficient materials to show that the trial court, applied
its mind and was satisfied that a valid decree under the M.P. Act could be
In the result the judgment and order of the
High Court are set aside and the orders of the lower courts are restored.
The appeal is allowed with costs.
ORDER GOSWAMI, J. We have pronounced the
judgment and order in this appeal. On the undertaking given by counsel on
behalf of the respondents that they will voluntarily and peacefully vacate the
portion of the premises in dispute in this appeal on or before 31st January,
1978 and hand over vacant and peaceful possession to the appellant, the
execution of the decree will be stayed till then. Meanwhile, the respondents
also undertake to pay Rs. 170/- p.m. as mesne profits to the appellant within
the first week of the month due. Failure to pay mesne profits as aforesaid will
enable the decree- holder to execute the decree without reference to this Court
and the stay of the decree will automatically stand vacated.
P.H.P. Appeal allowed.