Saturday 10 November 2018

How landlord should prove his title in eviction suit against tenant?

 It is a settled principle of law laid down by this Court that in an eviction suit filed by the landlord against the tenant under the Rent Laws, when the issue of title over the tenanted premises is raised, the landlord is not expected to prove his title like what he is required to prove in a title suit.

46. In other words, the burden of proving the ownership in an eviction suit is not the same like a title suit. (See Sheela and Ors. v. Firm Prahlad Rai Prem Prakash MANU/SC/0150/2002 : 2002 (3) SCC 375, Para 10 at page 383 and also Boorugu Mahadev & Sons and Anr. v. Sirigiri Narasing Rao and Ors. MANU/SC/0044/2016 : 2016 (3) SCC 343, Para 18 at page 349).

47. Similarly, the law relating to derivative title to the landlord and when the tenant challenges it during subsistence of his tenancy in relation to the demised property is also fairly well settled. Though by virtue of Section 116 of the Evidence Act, the tenant is estopped from challenging the title of his landlord, yet the tenant is entitled to challenge the derivative title of an assignee of the original landlord of the demised property in an action brought by the assignee against the tenant for his eviction under the Rent laws. However, this right of a tenant is subject to one caveat that the tenant has not attorned to the assignee. If the tenant pays rent to the assignee or otherwise accepts the assignee's title over the demised property, then it results in creation of the attornment which, in turn, deprives the tenant to challenge the derivative title of the landlord. [See Bismillah De (dead) by Legal Representatives v. Majeed Shah MANU/SC/1557/2016 : 2017 (2) SCC 274 Para 24]

48. It is equally well-settled law with regard to attornment that it does not create any new tenancy but once the factum of attornment is proved then by virtue of such attornment, the old tenancy continues. (See Uppalapati Veera Venkata Satyanarayanaraju and Anr. v. Josyula Hanumayamma and Anr. MANU/SC/0343/1961 : AIR 1967 SC 174).


Civil Appeal No. 4249 of 2018 (Arising out of S.L.P. (C) No. 27775 of 2017)

Decided On: 20.04.2018

Apollo Zipper India Limited Vs. W. Newman and Co. Ltd.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
R.K. Agrawal and Abhay Manohar Sapre, JJ.

Citation:(2018) 6 SCC 744.
Read full judgment here: Click here
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