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BHASKARAN, AGED 46 v. GOURI, D/O. VELU - RCRev No. 461 of 2004  RD-KL 15983 (18 August 2007)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAMRCRev No. 461 of 2004()
1. BHASKARAN, AGED 46,
1. GOURI, D/O. VELU,
2. BALAN, S/O. VELU,
3. LEELA, D/O. VELU,
4. MALATHI, D/O. VELU,
5. SHYAMALA, W/O. VIDHYADHARAN -DO- -DO-.
6. NISHA, D/O.VIDHYADHARAN -DO- -DO-.
7. AYSHA DEVI, D/O. VELU, -DO- -DO-.
8. KANNAN, AGED 44,
For Petitioner :SRI.K.C.CHARLES
For Respondent :SRI.S.SREEKUMAR
The Hon'ble MR. Justice K.BALAKRISHNAN NAIR The Hon'ble MR. Justice HARUN-UL-RASHID
O R D E R
K. BALAKRISHNAN NAIR & HARUN-UL-RASHID, JJ.R.C.Rev.Nos.461, 462 & 463 of 2004
Dated, this the 18th day of August, 2007
Balakrishnan Nair, J.Since a common order is under challenge in these revisions, raising the same grounds, they are heard and disposed of by this common order. R.C.Rev.No.463/2004 is treated as the main case. R.C.Rev.No.463/2004.
2. The petitioner/tenant challenges the decision of the Rent Control Appellate Authority, Ernakulam in RCA No.216/2002. The Appellate Authority by the said judgment reversed the decision of the Rent Controller in R.C.P.No.117/2000. The brief facts of the case are the following:
3. The tenanted premises belonged to one Sreedharan who was a
lunatic. The District Court in Lunacy O.P.No.151/1972 appointed
P.P.Prathapan as the court guardian. The tenanted premises were taken
on rent by the petitioner from the court guardian.
Mr. Sreedharan was a
bachelor. He died on 24.1.1996. Thereupon the landlords who are the
respondents herein moved the District
Court by filing I.A.No.164/1998
praying to release the property managed by the court receiver to them.
that they are the legal heirs of late Sreedharan. The District
Court issued a public notification inviting objections. Certain
of the late Sreedharan filed I.A.No.421/1998 and got themselves
impleaded in the proceedings. The claim of
the landlords was that they
RCR 461, 462 & 463/04 Page numbers
are the children of the brother of Sreedharan's
father. The parties who got
themselves impleaded were the children of the sister of the father of
Sreedharan. The District
Court found that the agnates should be
preferred to cognates and therefore put the landlords in this revision in
of the properties managed by the court receiver. The relevant
portion of the order of the District Court dated 6.4.1998 in I.A.No.164/1998
in Lunacy O.P.No.151/1972 reads as follows:
"In the decision reported in (1970) 1 MLJ 168 it has been held that the court is not justified in continuing the proceedings after the death of the lunatic. The court cannot and has no jurisdiction to sanction proceedings under the Lunacy Act after the death of the lunatic. The property rests in the heirs of the lunatic. Prima facie, for the reasons mentioned above, the property rests in the applicants in I.A.No.164/1998. They are to be preferred against the applicants in I.A.No.421/1998. No other intervenor entered appearance and contested the application." Based on the above finding I.A.No.164/1998 was allowed and directed the receiver to deliver possession of the properties to the landlords herein.
4. There is some dispute whether the tenants have attorned to new landlords. Subsequently the landlords filed a batch of Rent Control Petitions on the grounds of arrears of rent and also bona fide requirement of the premises for them or their dependents under sec.11(3) of the Kerala RCR 461, 462 & 463/04 Page numbers Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act (for short, the Act). The premises occupied by the petitioner herein was required by Leela, the 3rd respondent herein, for the occupation of her son Mr. Ashok Kumar. The said Mr. Ashok Kumar is married and is presently living with his mother Leela. Along with her, another son is also residing. So, the said Mr. Ashok Kumar requires the building for his residence. The petitioner herein who is the tenant resisted the application on various grounds. A preliminary objection was raised that the tenants have no title over the property. When this dispute was raised, the Rent Controller considered it as a preliminary point and upheld the same. The landlords were relegated to move the competent civil court. By the impugned order herein, the said order of the Rent Controller was reversed by the Appellate Authority and the appeal was allowed. It was held that the denial of title is made without any bona fides. So, the said order is under challenge in this revision petition.
5. The learned counsel for the petitioner/tenant would submit that the denial of title is bona fide. The District Court in the Lunacy O.P. did not adjudicate the right to title of the landlords. A tentative decision was taken and possession was ordered to be handed over. It was subject to any decision of the competent civil court concerning the claim of the legal heirs. The learned counsel for the landlords submitted that the claim of the cognates was pending before the civil court. But the said suit was dismissed. It has been brought to our notice that another suit, RCR 461, 462 & 463/04 Page numbers O.S.No.1403/2004, was filed by the cognates against the present landlords and the same was also dismissed. But the learned counsel for the petitioner would say that the landlords are yet to establish their title over the property and therefore the denial of title by the tenants including the petitioner herein is bona fide and therefore the matter should have been left for the decision of the civil court.
6. We find that the Appellate Authority has considered the matter in detail and upheld the status of the landlords as such. We are of the view that until some other legal heirs come forward and establish their right, the whole world has to treat the present landlords as the owners of the tenanted premises. Their right over the property may be subject to the claim of any other legal heir who is yet to stake his claim. But such a possibility will not in any way affect the status of the landlords herein as against the petitioner/tenant. Since the landlords have got the property from the receiver appointed by the court, the petitioner is bound to pay rent to the landlords and suffer eviction if they succeed in proving their case under the relevant subsections to sec.11 of Act. Therefore, the claim of the petitioner that the landlords do not have any title and the dispute raised by him is bona fide and therefore they have to be relegated to the civil court is plainty untenable.
7. The learned counsel for the petitioner relied on the decision of the Apex Court in A.V.G.P. Chettiar v. Palanisamy Gounder - 2002 (5) RCR 461, 462 & 463/04 Page numbers SCC 337. The said decision was concerning the legal effect of payment of rent to the landlord whose title is disputed by the tenant. The said decision has no application to the facts of this case. We notice that the decision of the District Court in the Lunacy O.P. has become final. Therefore, the landlords herein can enjoy the property as its owners. In view of the above position we feel that the decision of the Appellate Court is not illegal, irregular or improper. Accordingly the Rent Control Revision is dismissed with costs. R.C.Rev.Nos.461 & 462 of 2004.
8. The point raised by the petitioners in these revision petitions is covered against them by the judgment in R.C.Rev.No.463/2004. Accordingly, these revision petitions are also dismissed with costs. K. BALAKRISHNAN NAIR
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