Civil Appeal No. 145 of 1965
Question of title is irrelevant in a suit under Section 9 of the Specific Relief Act.
Date of Judgement:
Justice Sikri S M
Justice Shah J C
Appellant – Lallu Yeshwant Singh
Respondents – Rao Jagdish Singh & Ors
A landlord cannot forcibly dispossess his tenant without due process of law. Non-payment of arrear rent does extinguish the right of the tenant.
- Section 9 of the Specific Relief Act, 1877- If any person is dispossessed without his consent of immoveable property otherwise than in due course of law, he or any person claiming through him may by suit recover possession thereof, notwithstanding any other title that may be set up in such suit.
- The appellant herein was a cultivator and the respondent interfered in their possession of the property and prevented them from further cultivation and handed over the possession to someone else. The appellants filed a suit before the tehsildar for declaring the possession of land in their favour. The appellant contended that the landlord cannot forcibly demand to vacate and use coercion to drive out a tenant.
- The respondent contended that, due to the fact that revenue was not paid by the appellant, the right of the appellant has been extinguished.
- It was held by the court that a landlord cannot forcibly evict his tenant and due process of law is to be followed.
- The High Court on appeal held on the contrary that it is not an obligation for the landlord to file a suit under the then Qanoon Ryotwari act. The High Court was of the view that under the general law for a lessor and a lessee, there was no specific rule which made it obligatory for the lessor to approach the court and obtain an order for possession before the eviction of the tenant.
- Hence, an appeal was preferred before this court.
- Whether it is an obligation for a landlord to file a suit before the court and obtain order regarding the possession of the property before evicting the lessee?
- This court accepted the view of the court of the tehsildar that the right of a tenant whose right has been extinguished does not put to an end automatically but he has to be evicted by due process of law and also agreed upon the order that no one can take laws in his hands but the procedure prescribed in law must be followed.
- The court also examined a section of the Qanoon Ryotwari act which was similar to Section 9 of the Specific Relief Act. The court also noted a proviso to the section of Qanoon Ryotwari act which provided that the collector can accept the arrears if the payer is a “good payer”. Hence, taking the overall object of the section, the act of the appellant would dilute the insertion of this provision.
- This court held that the High Court erred in its decision and set aside its decree.
In India, landlords do not have the power to take forcible possession of property; they must obtain such possession by due process of law. No question of title can be raised for suit under Section 9 of the Specific Relief Act, 1877. The applicant for specific relief will be entitled to succeed even without proving any title.
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