Once the arrears are permitted to be paid in installments, there is no discretion available with the court to deny interest, the court said.
The Supreme Court, in Bhagirath Agarwal vs M/s Simplex Concrete & Piles (I) Pvt. Ltd, has held that once the court permits the tenant to pay arrears of rent in installments, there is no discretion available with the court to deny interest of the same to the landlord.
A bench comprising Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice R Banumathi set aside the order of the trial court that denied interest for the arrears of rent payable to the landlord and allowed the tenants to pay the arrears in installments.
Referring to Section 17(2A) of the West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1956, the bench said whenever payment of rent, including arrears, is permitted to be paid in installments, the statute contemplates that the beneficiary shall be granted interest.
This is irrespective of the justification or explanation, if any, available for the non-payment, the bench added.
The court also observed that though under Section 34, the said amount can be set off, in case the landlord has refused to provide amenities, but in the instant case, no set-off has been granted by the trial court and the tenant was permitted to pay the dues in installments.
Once the arrears are permitted to be paid in installments, there is no discretion available with the court to deny interest. It is not a discretionary relief; it is the statutory right and entitlement of the landlord to get interest, the bench added.
Read the Judgment here.