Wednesday 8 May 2019

Whether relinquishment of leasehold interest in partnership firm constitute transfer of tenancy right prohibited under bombay rent Act?

 The legislative prohibition against the transfer of tenant's interest in the premises, operates "notwithstanding anything contained in any law". these words signify the overriding effect of the legislative command that a tenant shall not transfer his interest in the tenancy. After setting out the prohibition, the legislature enumerates two specific modes of the prohibited transfers. They are; subletting and assignments. In order to preclude transfer by a mode not named in the Section, the legislature employed the words "in any other manner".

35. The word "transfer" in the clause "transfer in any other manner" is used in its generic sense to denote the idea of making over property to another person. Rejecting the restricted meaning of "transfer" in the Transfer of Property Act , this court went so far as to hold that devolution of tenant's interest by bequest falls within the prohibition of Section 15(1) Dr. Anant Trimbak Sabnis v. Vasant Pratap Pandit MANU/MH/0173/1980 : AIR1980Bom69 . The broad generic sense, taking in its sweep all species of dealings with tenant's interest resulting in making over of property is consistent with the object of the Section.

36. The legislature has used the word "any" which is word with a wide meaning and is used to exclude all limitations. Clarke - Jerviose v. Scutt - (1920) I Ch. 382. The legislature could not have fore sent the modes that may be employed for the purpose of transferring tenancy. Aware of this, the legislature specified subletting and assignment, the two known modes of transfer; but it took care to use the words signifying exclusion of any other mode, arrangement or process of transfer. The significance of the word "any" is clear if one notices its meaning. It weans "in any degree, to any extent or at all". Therefore, when the legislature used the word "any" with reference to the transfer, it clearly intended to say that no transfer "at all " or "to any extent" or "in any degree" shall be made, New Webster's Dictionary of the English Language. The meaning of the word "other" in the context of transfer is also significant. It is used to denote a form of transfer "different or distinct from the ones mentioned or employed" New Webster's Dictionary of the English Language.

37. Whether a tenant sublets or assigns his interest - the obvious modes named by the statute - or the tenancy is made over to another through the medium of dissolution of a firm or retirement from the partnership, the result is identical; for, the tenant's interest's interest has been parted with. Aware of this possibility, the legislature used these words to mean that the tenant's interest in the premises shall not be made over to another persons by any mode at all.

38. In my opinion, therefore, having regard to the meaning of the words, "in any other manner", the transfer of tenant's interest through the mode of dissolution of partnership or retirement from partnership is a transfer forbidden by Section 15(1) of the Bombay Rent Act .

39. My conclusions on the question of the validity of the transfer of tenancy may be summarised as under.

The Partnership Act conceives the interests of partners in severalty. There is no community or unity of interest between partners. Therefore, they hold immovable property of the firm as tenants-in-common and not as joint tenants. Having regard to the and not as joint tenants. Having regard to the incidents of tenancy-in-common, one partner has no interest in the share in the property of another partner. Where one partner transfers or relinquishment his share in the partnership business to another, the transfer partner has no antecedent title to the share of the transferring partner. Therefore the making over or relinquishment of leasehold interest as a part of the transferor's share in the assets of the firm constitutes transfer of such lease hold interest.

Section 15(1) of the Bombay Rent Act prohibits transfer of tenant's interest in the prohibits not only by subletting or assignment but also "in any other manner". The words "in any other manner" mean a manner other than by subletting and assignment. The effect of giving up of his share in the tenancy by a partner as a part of his share in the partnership is to make over his share in the tenancy. Such making over of tenancy or parting with tenancy constitutes transfer of tenant's interest "in any other manner". Such transfer of tenancy is forbidden by Section 15(1) of the Bombay Rent Act and is, therefore, void. The transferee partner does not, therefore acquire the transferor's interest in the tenancy.


Suit No. 756 of 1977

Decided On: 20.06.1989

Nariman Aspandiar Irani Vs. Adi Merwan Irani

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
G.H. Guttal, J.

Citation: AIR 1989 Bom 362,1990 MHLJ 265.
Read full judgment here:Click here
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