1 Jun 2023 5:23 AM GMT
The Kerala High Court recently held that interim orders passed under the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965 are appealable under Section 18 of the Act only if it affects the rights and liabilities of the concerned party.A division bench of Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Shoba Annamma Eapen while dismissing a petition filed challenging the order of the Rent...
The Kerala High Court recently held that interim orders passed under the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965 are appealable under Section 18 of the Act only if it affects the rights and liabilities of the concerned party.
A division bench of Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Shoba Annamma Eapen while dismissing a petition filed challenging the order of the Rent Control Appellate Authority, that dismissed an appeal against interim orders of the Rent Control Court, held that ad interim orders which do not ‘affect or touch upon the substantial rights or liabilities of the parties’ are not appealable under Section 18 of the Act.
The petition before the High Court was filed by a tenant against whom the landlord had filed a rent control petition before the rent control court seeking eviction. In the rent control petition, initially, only shop room No.8 situated in front of the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium was mentioned but subsequently, to correct his mistake, the landlord substituted the expression 'room no.8’ with 'room no.7 & 8' by filing interlocutory applications. Even though the tenant objected to these applications, the same were allowed by the Rent Control Court. Challenging the interim orders of the rent control court, the tenant filed an appeal under Section 18 of the Act before the Appellate Authority which was dismissed. Challenging the dismissal the tenant approached the High Court.
Sr. Adv. K.Ramkumar appearing for the tenant argued that Section 18 of the Act does not specify that an interim order cannot be appealed against. The counsel for the tenant also argued that since the correction in the rent control petition alters the cause of action, the interim order affects the legal rights of the tenant.
Adv. A Balagopalan appearing for the landlord submitted that the correction of the petition was carried out at the pre-trial stage and no rights of the tenant are affected. Any opposition to the same can be brought up at the time of trial, the respondent argued.
The Court perused Section 18 of the Act which says that any person aggrieved by an order of by the Rent Control Court may appeal against it within 30 days.
In the matter at hand the Court observed that
“The order passed does not shut down the doors of the revision petitioner/tenant from adducing evidence. If the tenant is aggrieved by the final order to be passed by the Rent Control Court, an appeal lies to the appellate authority and the tenant can raise the correction allowed as a ground of objection in his appeal from the final order in the main proceeding.”
The Court noted that the Rent Control Court found it necessary to allow the correction by the landlord in order to protect his interest. As a landlord he has a right to file a petition for eviction of the tenant, the Court observed.
Dismissing the plea of the tenant the Court held that the ad interim orders were not appealable under Section 18 of the Act:
“Mere correction of room number does not affect the interests of the parties nor it could be said to be a final order passed by the court enabling the affected person to file an appeal. As said earlier, the rent control petition is in the pre-trial stage and the tenant is free to raise all contentions in the rent control petition. The orders impugned are not orders, which affect or touch upon the substantial rights or liabilities of the parties. If the parties have sufficient grounds to object to the petition for eviction, they are free to raise those grounds in the rent control petition itself.” The Court concluded.
Case Title: N M Basil V The Regional Sports Centre
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Ker) 246
Click here to read/download judgment