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No Interference U/A 227 Unless Lower Court Committed Manifest Error Or Decision Is Against Settled Principles Of Law: Kerala High Court

Athira Prasad
2 July 2022 2:23 PM GMT
No Interference U/A 227 Unless Lower Court Committed Manifest Error Or Decision Is Against Settled Principles Of Law: Kerala High Court
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The Kerala High Court recently allowed a petition seeking to set aside an order passed by the Rent Control court finding that the lower court had committed a manifest error while passing the impugned order.

The Division Bench of Justice Anil K Narendran and Justice P.G Ajithkumar, while considering the question of whether interference of the High Court was warranted on the order passed by the Rent Control Court, observed that it was only necessary if the lower court had committed a manifest error or utilised patently perverse reasoning to arrive at the decision.

"No interference under Article 227 of the Constitution is called for unless this Court finds that the lower court or tribunal has committed a manifest error, or the reasoning is palpably perverse or patently unreasonable, or the decision of the lower court or tribunal is in direct conflict with settled principles of law."

The respondent herein (landlord) filed a petition seeking eviction of the petitioner-tenant from the scheduled building on the ground of arrears of rent. In the Rent Control Petition, the landlord filed an interlocutory application seeking an order directing the tenant to remit admitted arrears of rent and continue to pay rent from the subsequent period. Since the tenant did not contest the petition, he was set ex parte.

Thereafter, the Rent Control Court allowed the application, but later recalled the order noticing that it was passed in the absence of the tenant. Since the tenant failed to appear in the subsequent postings of the case, the Rent Control Court allowed the landlord's application.

Challenging the impugned order, the tenant moved the High Court invoking the supervisory jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution. The main issue here was whether interference is warranted on the order passed by the Rent Control court invoking the provision under section 12(1) of the Act.

Section 12 of the Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act deals with payment or deposit of rent during the pendency of proceedings for eviction.

The Court observed that the object of Section 12(1) was to deny the defaulting tenant the right to contest the application for eviction before the Rent Control Court or to prefer an appeal against any order made by the Rent Control Court on an application made by a landlord unless he pays to the landlord, or deposits with the Rent Control Court or the Appellate Authority, all arrears of rent admitted by him to be due, up to the date of payment or deposit, and continues to pay or to deposit any rent which may subsequently become due in respect of the building until the termination of the proceedings before the concerned authority.

It was also found that the liability of a tenant under Section 12(1) is limited to all arrears of rent admitted by the tenant to be due in respect of the building, up to the date of payment or deposit, and he shall continue to pay or deposit any rent which may subsequently become due in respect of the building, until the termination of the proceedings before the Rent Control Court or the Appellate Authority, as the case may be.

Further, reliance was placed on certain Supreme Court decisions where it was held that in the exercise of the power of superintendence under Article 227, the High Court can interfere with the order of the court or tribunal only when there has been a patent perversity in the orders of the tribunal and courts subordinate to it or where there has been gross and manifest failure of justice or the basic principles of natural justice have been flouted and the jurisdiction of this court is only supervisory in nature and not that of an appellate court.

Therefore it was concluded that interference under Article 227 was called for in the case, since the Rent Control Court committed a manifest error in passing an order in the interlocutory application, invoking the provisions under Section12(1). Thereby the impugned order was set aside.

Advocates Reji George, Naseer Moidu, Binoy Davis and Saishankar S appeared for the petitioner. Advocates P.G. Jayasankar, P.K. Reshma, Revathy P. Manoharan, S. Rajeev and Sajana V.H appeared for the respondents.

Case Title: K.V Shiraz v. Binny Emmatty

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 319

Click Here To Read/Download The Order

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