Sunday, 20 December 2020

Supreme Court: Landlord-Tenant Disputes Under Transfer Of Property Act Arbitrable Except When Covered By Rent Control Laws

  Landlord-tenant disputes governed by the Transfer of Property Act are arbitrable as they are not actions in rem but pertain to subordinate rights in personam that arise from rights in rem. Such actions normally would not affect third-party rights or have erga omnes affect or require centralized adjudication. An award passed deciding landlord-tenant disputes can be executed and enforced like a decree of the civil court. Landlord-tenant disputes do not relate to inalienable and sovereign functions of the State. The provisions of the Transfer of Property Act do not expressly or by necessary implication bar arbitration. Transfer of Property Act, like all other Acts, has a public purpose, that is, to regulate landlord-tenant relationships and the arbitrator would be bound by the provisions, including provisions which enure and protect the tenants.{Para 48}

49. In view of the aforesaid, we overrule the ratio laid down in Himangni Enterprises and hold that landlord-tenant disputes are arbitrable as the Transfer of Property Act does not forbid or foreclose arbitration. However, landlord-tenant disputes covered and governed by rent control legislation would not be arbitrable when specific court or forum has been given exclusive jurisdiction to apply and decide special rights and obligations. Such rights and obligations can only be adjudicated and enforced by the specified court/forum, and not through arbitration.


Civil Appeal No. 2402 of 2019, 

Decided On: 14.12.2020

 Vidya Drolia and Ors. Vs.  Durga Trading Corporation and Ors.

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:

N.V. Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari, JJ.

Citation: MANU/SC/0939/2020

Read full judgment here: Click here

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