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Uncontroverted Testimony Of Landlord Is Sufficient Evidence To Determine Mesne Profits: Delhi HC [Read Judgment]

2 Aug 2019 2:03 PM GMT
Uncontroverted Testimony Of Landlord Is Sufficient Evidence To Determine Mesne Profits: Delhi HC [Read Judgment]
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Dismissing the appeal of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd., the Delhi High Court held that an unrebutted oral evidence of a landlord in support of his claim for mesne profits at a certain rate was sufficient evidence in terms of Order XX Rule 12 of CPC.

The Appellant was aggrieved by the order of trial court granting mense profits to the Respondent landlord at a rate of Rs.2,00,000/- per month with an annual enhancement of 10%, in a suit for possession of property. Three broad contentions of the Appellant were:

  1. The Respondent did not lead any evidence in support of his claim for mesne profits at a monthly rate of Rs.2,00,000/- and therefore it was incumbent upon the trial Court to independently determine the actual rate of mesne profits by conducting an inquiry, in accordance with the procedure prescribed under Order XX Rule 12 CPC.

  1. The Respondent was not entitled to future mesne profits at an enhanced rate of 10% since the same was not claimed by the Respondent in his pleadings.

  1. The trial court could not grant interest on mesne profits as it would amount to granting a relief to the Respondent beyond his pleadings.

Each of the contentions raised by the Appellant were discussed by Justice Rekha Palli and culminated into dismissal of the appeal. The court's reasoning was as follows:

  1. The Respondent had made oral submissions with regard to the prevailing rate of mense profits and the same were met by mere bald denials of the Appellant. Further, an inquiry under Order XX Rule 12 CPC was unnecessary if the Court found that there was sufficient and authentic evidence available on record for determination of the landlord's claim for mesne profits. In view of thereof and based on the verdict in National Radio & Electronic Co. Ltd. v. Motion Pictures Association, 122 (2005) Delhi Law Times 629, the court held that once a Court exercised its discretion to award mesne profits by relying upon the virtually uncontroverted testimony of the landlord, it could not be said that the mesne profits awarded were whimsical.

  1. With regards to the second contention of the Appellant it was held that grant of relief for future mesne profits at a rate higher than what was claimed in the pleadings was, in fact, a natural consequence of the delay in adjudication of the Respondent's claim for mesne profits. The court relied on M.C. Agrawal HUF v. Sahara India & Ors., 183 (2011) Delhi Law Times 105, and observed that merely because the Respondent claimed mesne profits at the rate of Rs.2,00,000/- p.m. in his pleadings, the same would not preclude him from subsequently claiming a higher amount towards mesne profits for the period which had elapsed during the pendency of the suit.

  1. The court placed reliance on Consep India Pvt. Ltd. s. CEPCO Industries Pvt. Ltd., (2010) ILR 3 Delhi 766, and concluded that the Appellant's third contention was misconceived. It was held that interest forms an integral part of mesne profits and a tenant cannot be permitted to urge that mesne profits, which in fact ought to have been paid years ago, should not bear any interest.

Arguments for the Appellant were advanced by Senior Advocate V.K. Garg and for the Respondent by Senior Advocate Raman Kapur.

Click here to download the Judgment

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