23 Dec 2022 4:30 AM GMT
The Chhattisgarh High Court recently held that a superstructure is included in the definition of 'accommodation' given under Section 2(1) of the Chhattisgarh Rent Control Act, 2011. A Division Bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri and Justice N.K. Chandravanshi passed the judgment in a case where the tenant had challenged an eviction order passed by the Rent Control Tribunal arguing that the...
The Chhattisgarh High Court recently held that a superstructure is included in the definition of 'accommodation' given under Section 2(1) of the Chhattisgarh Rent Control Act, 2011.
A Division Bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri and Justice N.K. Chandravanshi passed the judgment in a case where the tenant had challenged an eviction order passed by the Rent Control Tribunal arguing that the land belonged to the government and not the respondents.
"Reading the definitions of accommodation and landlord along with the admission of parties it goes to establish that the property is a super structure which is also admitted by the tenant. Therefore, the super structure alone would be within the definition of accommodation under Section 2(1)."
The respondents herein (landlords) had approached the Rent Control Authority seeking to vacate the petitioner (tenant) from the super structure/shop comprised over their land which had been let out to the petitioner.
The landlords contended that before the petition was filed before the Rent Control Authority, a civil suit was filed before the Civil Judge in 2007. During the pendency of that suit, the new Chhattisgarh Rent Control Act, 2011 came into being and the old Chhattisgarh Accommodation Control Act 1961 was scrapped. Therefore, the suit for ejectment was withdrawn in 2017.
They further submitted that in an another suit filed before the Third Civil Judge between the family members of the landlords, certain compromise was effected and on the basis of which it was held that the respondents are the landlords.
It was argued that after the new Act came into being, they served a notice to the tenant for vacating the premises within 6 months, but even after receipt of such notice, the tenant failed to vacate the premises within the said period.
Therefore, the respondents sought eviction and arrears of rent from the tenant.
Before the Rent Control Authority, the tenant filed his reply and admitted that he is the tenant but argued that the ownership was yet to be established by the landlords. The tenant further contended that the since earlier suit was withdrawn without any liberty, the subsequent petition was not maintainable and the legality of the notice was also put into question.
Thereafter, the Rent Control Authority passed the order of eviction with arrears of rent to be paid. Being aggrieved by such order, an appeal was preferred before the Rent Control Tribunal which Tribunal affirmed the order for eviction and payment of arrears of rent.
Hence, this petition was filed challenging the said order of the Rent Control Tribunal.
Advocate Mayak Chandrakar appearing for the petitioner submitted that documents would show that land belongs to government, being a nazul land and that the applicability of the new Act would thus be exempted. He further submitted that the Supreme Court in Parwati Bai Vs. Radhika [AIR 2003 SCC 3995] had held that when the ownership belongs to the government, a private ejectment suit would not be maintainable.
However, Advocate Shashi Bhusan Tiwari appearing for the landlords submitted that the ownership is vested on them by virtue of settlement and as per the will. He further submitted that the tenant has paid rent to them and therefore, admits the factum of tenancy.
Upon perusing the arguments raised and the evidence placed on record, the Court looked into Section 3 of the new Act based on which the petitioner challenged the applicability of the said Act.
"3. Nothing in this Act shall apply to (1) Any accommodation belonging to or owned by any department of Government and/or Board and/or Corporation promoted by and/or owned by the Government."
The parties had produced the decree of the Third Civil Judge with an appended map. The Division Bench held that it was clear that the super structure exists over the nazul land where a partition was effected and the respondents had become the owners. Further, the rent receipts filed by the landlords and the petitioner's affidavit placed on records established that he is a tenant of the premises.
The Bench pointed out that the tenancy was not with respect to an open place but a shop.
Section 2(1) of the new Act defines 'accommodation' as any building or part of a building, whether residential or non-residential, leased out by the landlord to the tenant and includes open space etc. Section 2(5) defines 'landlord' as a person who, for the time being, is receiving or is entitled to receive the rent of any accommodation.
Therefore, it was established that the superstructure alone would be within the definition of accommodation under Section 2(1).
Further, since the respondent was admitted to be landlord as per the rent receipts and admission by the tenant, the Court held that the Supreme Court decision was of no consequence here, as the ownership of the super structure did not belong to the government.
"In the instant case, the owner of the accommodation is with the respondents i.e. the landlord which would be within the definition of accommodation which was let out to the tenant."
As such, the petition was dismissed.
Case Title: Sushil Dhanorkar v. Sushila Soni & Ors.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Chh) 81
Click Here To Read/Download The Order