Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Whether is it mandatory for the landlord to secure fresh permission U/S 22 of Maharashtra slum Act after death of the original tenant?

Is there any defect in the permission under Section 22 of the 1971 Act the landlords secured?

20. Now, let us address the third issue: the alleged defect in the landlords' securing permission under Section 22 of the 1971 Act. The tenants have rightly contended that if there were an adverse finding on this question, the entire suit would fail; then the findings on the first two issues would be of no consequence. But I need to examine whether there is any defect in the landlords' securing permission from the Competent Authority under Section 22 of the 1971 Act. To illustrate on this point, I may first extract Section 22, which reads:

"22. Proceedings for eviction of occupiers or for issue of distress warrants not to be taken without permission of competent Authority:

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, no person shall except with the previous permission in writing of the Competent Authority,-

(a) institute, after commencement of the Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment) Act, 1971, any suit or proceeding for obtaining any decree or order for the eviction of any occupier from any building or land [in a slum area or for recovery of any arrears of rent or compensation from any such occupier, or for both; or]

. ..

(2) Every person desiring to obtain the permission referred to in sub-section (1) [or (1-A)] shall make an application in writing to the Competent Authority in such form and containing such particulars as may be prescribed.

(3) On receipt of such application, the Competent Authority, after giving an opportunity to the parties of being heard and after making such summary inquiry into the circumstances of the case as it thinks fit, shall, by order in writing, either grant or refuse to grant such permission.

(4) In granting or refusing to grant the permission under clause (a) or (b) of sub section (1) or clause (a) of subsection (1-A) the Competent Authority shall take into account the following factors, namely:-

(a) whether alternative accommodation within the means of the occupier would be available to him, if he were evicted;

(b) whether the eviction is in the interest of improvement and clearance of the slum area;

(b-1) whether, having regard to the relevant circumstances of each case, the total-amount of arrears of rent or compensation and the period for which it is due and the capacity of the occupier to pay the same, the occupier is ready and willing to pay the whole of the amount of arrears of rent or compensation by reasonable installments within a stipulated time;]

(c) any other factors, if any, as may be prescribed.

. ..

(5) Where the Competent Authority refuses to grant the permission under any of the clauses of sub-section (1) or (1A), it shall record a brief statement of the reasons for such refusal and furnish a copy thereof to applicant."

21. Whatever reasons we applied to Issue No. I--not issuing a fresh quit-notice to the successor-tenants--will apply here, too. Besides that, the third applicant, whom the landlords called a sublessee, was a party to the proceedings under Section 22 before the Competent Authority. And he did contest the landlords' application. The landlords, to begin with, sought and secured permission against the original tenant and the third applicant. Before they could sue, the original tenant died. Then they sued the legal heirs and the third applicant, the sublessee. It was on the same permission the landlords got under Section 22 against the original tenant. I have already noted that there is no privity of contract between the applicants 1 and 2 on the one hand and landlords on the other. Then, as the applicants had traced their rights through the deceased original tenant, the proceedings taken against that original tenant--even under Section 22 of the MRC Act--would survive and affect his legal heirs as well. If the applicants' argument is taken to its logical conclusion, even after the landlords securing a decree if the original tenant died, that decree could not be executed against the legal representatives. The whole issue has to be taken up afresh--de novo. Such a process, I am sure, the law has not contemplated. I, therefore, hold that even against the third issue, the applicants' challenge fails.

Civil Revision Application No. 867 of 2012

Decided On: 27.08.2019

 Sunanda Ramkrishna Ayare  Vs.  Harishchandra Gopal Parab

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
Dama Seshadri Naidu, J.

Citation: 2012(2) MHLJ 251
Read full judgment here: Click here
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