1. Sri Jai Pal Gupta, plaintiff-revisionist has appeared In Person and Sri Shesh Kumar, learned Counsel for the defendant-respondents is present.
2. The present revision has been filed under Section 25 of the Provincial Small Cause Court Act against the judgment and order dated 28.7.1987, dismissing the Original S.C.C. Suit No. 16 of 1980 filed by the landlord/plaintiff-revisionist against the defendant-respondents for rent and ejectment from the premises (shop), in question, on account of default in payment of arrears of rent, which had been let out by a registered rent deed in favour of the father of the defendant-respondents No. 1, 2, 3 and husband of defendant No. 4. As per the plaintiff-revisionist, the shop in question was reconstructed in the year 1970 and therefore, the U.P. Act No. 13 of 1972 was not applicable to it.
3. The defendant-respondents contested the aforesaid S.C.C. suit by filing a written statement averring therein that they had never committed any default in making payment of rent and on refusal to receive the rent, the same was sent by money order and when the plaintiff-revisionist refused to receive the money order, the defendant-respondents started depositing the rent in the Court concerned and the same was received by the plaintiff-revisionist. It was also averred in the written statement that the shop, in question, being an old construction, U.P. Act No. 13 of 1972 was fully applicable and the notice given by the plaintiff-revisionist was irregular,
4. On consideration of respective pleadings of the parties, 9 issues were framed by the learned Judge, Small Causes Court in which issues No. 4 and 5 related to deposit of rent by the defendant-respondents vide alleged tenders dated 30.10.1975 and 30.5.1977 and as to whether the defendant-respondents had deposited any rent under Section 30 of the U.P. Act No. 13 of 1972 which the plaintiff-revisionist had withdrawn. The learned Judge, on the application of the Landlord observed that the said tenders were not available on the record and were missing and at the most a liability could be cast upon officials of the Court for which an inquiry was continuing and even if it was found that the defendants Were responsible for the missing, no liability could be fastened upon them, in respect with the ejectment and no decree could be passed against them. The learned Judge also held that the notice sent by the plaintiff-landlord was invalid and non-availability of alleged tenders on the record would have no effect in the present case and no finding was required to be recorded in this regard. It also held that since no claim was made by the plaintiff-revisionist about arrears of rent in the plaint and the same was only claimed in the year 1983 by way of amendment, he was not entitled to any arrears of rent beyond a period of three years and decided the case against the plaintiff-revisionist vide order dated 28.7.1987.
5. The plaintiff filed a review petition on 5.8.1987 against the order-dated 28.7.1987 in the same Court, i.e., before the District Judge, which was dismissed vide order-dated 2.2.2002. The plaintiff-revisionist feeling aggrieved with the said order filed a Civil Revision No. 245 of 2002 before this Court, which was rejected, vide order dated 28.2,2003 as under Article 227 of the Constitution of India. In the said order it was made clear that the order passed by this Court shall not prevent the petitioner from taking appropriate steps against the judgment and decree of the trial court before any appropriate forum. It was also made clear that it was always open and was still open to the plaintiff-petitioner to challenge the findings and decree passed In the Suit No. 16 of 1980 by taking appropriate steps. While rejecting the application this Court also observed that assuming that the trial court had in delivering the judgment and decree in the suit, acted illegally, even then such a ground could not be permitted to be raised in revision. Being aggrieved, the landlord-revisionist filed a review application before this Court against the said order, which too was rejected. However, in the order on review application this Court again clarified that any observations made in the order shall not prevent the applicant from taking appropriate steps, in accordance with law, before appropriate forum.
6. The defendant-respondents had during the pendency of the suit filed a Misc. Case No. 68 of 1987 before the Civil Judge (Junior Division) Chandausi, district Moradabad under Section 30 of the U.P. Act No. 13 of 1972 seeking permission to deposit rent with the allegations that the landlord-revisionist refused to accept the rent. The application of opposite parties for permission to deposit the rent under Section 30 of the U.P. Act No. 13 of 1972 was rejected on 18.2.2002 with the findings that the tenants have not deposited any rent under Section 30 of the Act No. 13 of 1972 upto 18,2.2002. In respect with the deposits made under Section 30 of the Rules 1972, he has relied upon the decision of this Court rendered in the case of Pasupati Singh v. First Additional District Judge, Ballia and Ors. 1981 ARC 222, The landlord revisionist has also placed reliance upon a decision of this Court given in Kailash Chandra and Anr. v. IIIrd Additional District Judge, Jalaun and Ors. 1999 (1) AWC 302, in respect with Section 25 of the Provincial Small Cause Court Act, 1887. During the pendency of the said case, a revision was filed by the landlord plaintiff before the lower appellate court against the rejection of substitution application of legal heirs and representatives of one of the deceased-defendant-respondents which was allowed conditionally on 22.5.2002 that the deposit made by the tenant/defendant-respondents would be at their own risk. The plaintiff-revisionist moved a review against the said order, which was rejected. Thereafter the plaintiff-revisionist/landlord challenged the said order in Writ Petition No. 53520 of 2002 which was disposed of vide order dated 6.8.2003 in terms of a Full Bench decision in the case of Gokaran Singh v. 1st. Additional District and Sessions Judge, Hardoi and Ors. 2000 (1) ARC 653, wherein it has been held that the benefit of deposit under Section 30 of the U.P. Act No. 13 of 1972 cannot be availed if the deposit was made after the notice of demand of rent and if the benefit of deposit under Section 30 of the Act was claimed by the tenant in the ejectment suit, the Court would decide the validity of the deposit under Section 30 of the Act, keeping in view that it was made after notice and also the effect of non-compliance of Rule 21 (5) of the Rules framed under the U.P. Act No. 13 of 1972 keeping in view the principle laid down in the case of Pasupati Singh v. 1st Additional District Judge, Ballia and Ors. 1981 ARC 222, and also if any other illegality or irregularity was committed in deposit under Section 30 of the Act.
7. The landlord-revisionist thereafter filed the present revision along with delay condonation application under Section 5 of the Indian Limitation Act. The application under Section 5 of the Indian Limitation Act was allowed and the delay in filing the revision was condoned. The present revision has been preferred, inter alia, on the grounds that the trial court has misconstrued the application of the provisions of Order XV, Rule 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure in respect with Small Cause Court Act, 1887 regarding default in payment of arrears of rent and the defendant-respondents neither paid any arrears of rent nor deposited any amount through tenders towards regular deposit of rent from 27,8.1980, the date of enforcement of the rule till date and, as such, committed default in terms of Order XV, Rule 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure applicable in U.P. towards payment of arrears of rent as well as in the payment of admitted regular current rent for more than 27 years and the oral statement of the defendants regarding payment of arrears of rent is not liable to be accepted.
8. The plaintiff-applicant has submitted with reference to the notification issued regarding Order XV, Rule 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure that the default would be considered and is not to be waived under Order XV, Rule 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure even for a month and further that it is not exhaustive of default but if it is proved that the default has been committed then the notice of demand of rent would be of no consequence. The plaintiff-revisionist has relied upon the decision of the Apex Court in the case of S. Sundaram Pillai v. V.R. Pattabiraman and Ors. 1985 CCC 916 (SC) (para 58). He has also submitted that since the tenant-defendants did not file the original demand notice issued by the revisionist-landlord before the trial court the demand notice stood deemed to have been admitted, in terms of Order VIII, Rule 1 (A) of the Code of Civil Procedure and has relied upon the decision in the case of Juggilal Kamlapat v. Pratapmal Parmeshwar 1978 SCR 219. It has also been submitted that the defendant-respondents had to submit the proof of the alleged deposit as per the provisions of Order XV, Rule 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The attention of this Court has been drawn to the Rule 285 of the General Rules (Civil) Volume-I for Civil Courts Subordinate to the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, which reads as under :
285. Order to receive payment.--The order to receive payment be prepared in the office of the court and shall be enfaced upon the duplicate and triplicate forms of the tender, and shall run in the name of the treasury or Receiving Officer as prescribed in Rules 277 and 278. The order shall be signed by the Presiding Judge for all amounts payable under Heads of Account (I), (2) and (3), and by the Munsarim or clerk of the Court for all amounts payable under Head of Account (4). The Original Tender shall be retained in safe custody by the Munsarim or Clerk of the Court, the duplicate and triplicate forms being returned to the applicant for presentation and payment of the money to the officer named in the order endorsed thereon.
9. The plaintiff-revisionist also referred to Rule 21 of the U.P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent And Eviction) Rules, 1972 and Order XV, Rules 4 and 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure as applicable in the State of U.P., which read as under :
21. Deposit of rent (Section 30).--(1) Any person desirous of depositing rent under Section 30 shall apply in Form E. The application shall be accompanied by as many copies thereof as there are opposite parties, and also the process fee and notices in Form F.
(2) The deposit shall be made under the Head "P--Deposits and Advances-II. Deposits not bearing interest-C-Other Deposit Accounts --(B) Departmental and Judicial Deposits-Civil Deposits-Civil Court's Deposits".
(3) On such deposit being made, the Court shall cause notice of the deposit to be served on the opposite party along with a copy of the application.
(4) Where a notice of the deposit is returned unserved, the Court shall fix a date on or before which the applicant shall deposit fresh process fee and notice in Form F. If within the time so allowed or within such extended time, as the Court may grant, the applicant fails to take steps as above, the application shall be rejected and the amount deposited shall be refunded to the applicant.
(5) In the case of continuance of deposit of rent for any subsequent period, fresh application shall not be necessary. But process fee and the notice in Form F shall accompany every deposit.
Order XV, Rules 4 and 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure :
Order XV, Rule 4.--Failure to produce evidence.--Where the summons has been issued for the final disposal of the suit and either party fails without sufficient cause to produce the evidence on which he relies, the Court may at once pronounce judgment, or may, if it thinks fit, after framing and recording issues, adjourn the suit for the production of such evidence as may be necessary for its decision upon such issues.
State Amendment (as inserted by States) UTTAR PRADESH.--In Order XV, for the existing Rule 5, the following rule shall be substituted, namely :
5. Striking off defence on failure to deposit admitted rent, etc.--(1) In any suit by a lessor for the eviction of a lessee after the determination of his lease and for the recovery from him of rent or compensation for use and occupation, the defendant shall, at or before the first hearing of the suit, deposit the entire amount admitted by him to be due together with interest thereon at the rate of nine per centum per annum and whether or not he admits any amount to be due, he shall throughout the continuation of the suit regularly deposit the monthly amount due within a week from the date of its accrual, and in the event of any default in making, the deposit of the entire amount admitted by him to be due or the monthly amount due as aforesaid, the Court may, subject to the provisions of Sub-rule (2), strike off his defence.
Explanation 1. -- The expression 'first hearing' means the date for filing written statement or for hearing mentioned in the summons or where more than one of such dates are mentioned, the last of the dates mentioned.
Explanation 2.--The expression 'entire amount admitted by him to be due' means the entire gross amount, whether as rent or compensation for use and occupation, calculated at the admitted rate of rent for the admitted period of arrears after making no other deduction except the taxes, if any, paid to a local authority in respect of the building on lessor's account (and the amount, if any, paid to the lessor acknowledged by the lessor in writing signed by him) and the amount, if any, deposited in any Court under Section 30 of the U.P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972.
Explanation 3.--(1) The expression 'monthly amount due' means the amount due every month, whether as rent or compensation for use and occupation at the admitted rate of rent, after making no other deduction except the taxes, if any, paid to a local authority in respect of the building on lessor's account.
(2) Before making an order for striking off defence, the Court may consider any representation made by the defendant in that behalf provided such representation is made within 10 days, of the first hearing or, of the expiry of the week referred to in Sub-section (1), as the case may be, (3) The amount deposited under this rule may at any time be withdrawn by the plaintiff :
Provided that such withdrawal shall not have the effect of prejudicing any claim by the plaintiff disputing the correctness of the amount deposited :
Provided further that if the amount deposited includes any sums claimed by the depositor to be deductible on any account, the Court may require the plaintiff to furnish the security for such sum before he is allowed to withdraw the same." U.P. Act 57 of 1976, Section 7 (1.1.1977).
Vide Noti. No, 121/IV-h-36-D, dated February 10, 1981, w.e.f. October 3, 1981.
10. It has been submitted that the alleged two forged tenders were not in conformity with the terms of Rule 285 of the General Rules (Civil) or Rule 21 of the Rules 1972 nor the proof of deposit has been placed on record in accordance with the provisions as provided under Order XV, Rule 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure by the defendants. There is no such entry of any such amount in any record required under law to be maintained for it nor there was any record of the money deposited with the Treasury Officer. It has been further contended that the Judge, Small Causes Court on 19.2.1986 was pleased to pass an order on the applications moved by the Landlord-plaintiff/revisionist under Order XV, Rule 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure which reads as under :
19.2.1986 Case called out. Parties present. 264C Defendant with his counsel are present. 205C, 206C Heard plaintiff himself and counsel for the defendant on 264/C, 205/C. 206/C and 263-C. 263C Fix 26.2.86 for orders on these applications.
11. That the court below decided the suit finally instead of deciding these applications, i.e., papers No. 205C dated 18.12.1985, 263C dated 16.1.1986 and 46C dated 22.1.1986 moved under Order XV, Rule 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure which were kept pending for orders and thus the order dated 28.7.1987 under challenge was erroneous on the face of it. It has also been averred by the revisionist-plaintiff that the liability of respondents was to deposit dues under Order XV, Rule 5 and Explanations 1 to 3 thereunder of the Code of Civil Procedure on the first day of hearing and they were bound to pay the entire arrears of rent etc. w.e.f. 18.7.1978 till 27.8.1980 and thereafter had to deposit the monthly dues within one week of the date of accrual of dues of each month. As per the decision in the case of Khadi Gram Udyog Trust v. Ram Chandraji Virajman Mandir Sarasiya Ghat, Kanpur , the rent due implies that the obligation of the tenant to pay or tender the rent extends to depositing all the arrears of rent without regard to the period of limitation.
12. It has also been submitted by the revisionist-plaintiff that the opposite parties had committed theft of 8 documents from the record of Original S.C.C. Suit No. 16 of 1980 and the opposite parties accepted the fact that the revisionist plaintiff had moved application before the court below under Rule 216 of the General Rule (Civil) Vol.-l, for Civil Court Subordinate to the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad after giving information to them praying therein that the review petition be decided only after disposal of the matter relating to stolen and loss of documents, but despite that the opposite parties without letting the theft matter disposed of pressed the court below to dismiss the review petition. From the record it is evident that the matter relating to missing of papers was referred to this Court by the District Judge, Moradabad, as per his order dated 16.9.2002, passed in Misc. Case No. 251 of 2002 whereby the court below had opined that the theft matter of 8 documents missing from the record of Original S.C.C, Suit No. 16 of 1980 was to be disposed of by the Hon'ble High Court as the matter was pending before it. The petitioner has stated that they were very important documents and most important of them were the original statement of the opposite parties wherein they had admitted their default in depositing the dues and had accepted the demand notice as valid and the order dated 5.2.1985, passed by learned 1st Additional District Judge in Civil Revision No. 203 of 1984 wherein the tenant was declared defaulter in terms of the notice dated 16.3.1979 of the landlord plaintiff.
13. The plaintiff-revisionist has strongly relied upon an earlier decision of this Court rendered in Sohan Lal v. Hodal Singh and Ors. AIR 1979 All 230, (Paras 6, 7, 8, 11, 14, 17 and 18) in which a similar controversy and dispute was involved. The plaintiff-revisionist has also submitted that the court below has in its impugned order referred to the case as appeal and did not correct the same inspite of the filing of the review application and has also failed to apply its mind to the facts of the case.
14. Learned Counsel for the defendant-respondents has submitted that the word appeal appearing in the first paragraph of the judgment of the court below is to be ignored, as it is only a clerical mistake apparent on the face of the record which does not result into a miscarriage of justice. It has also been submitted that though there was no issue framed or raised by the defendants regarding ownership of the joint property nor the case was based on it, but the notice being not in terms of the provisions of Section 20 (2) (2) (a) of the Act No. 13 of 1972 the suit was liable to be dismissed on this count alone. He has relied upon a decision rendered in the case of Mangat Ram v. Meharban Singh 1987 AWC 1149. However, it has been admitted by the learned Counsel for the defendant-respondents that no proof of deposit of rent in terms of Order XV, Rule 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure has been furnished.
15. I have looked into the record of the case and heard Sri Jai Pal Gupta, plaintiff-appellant who appeared In Person as well as learned Counsel for the defendant-respondents at length and find that, since principal question of nonpayment of rent was not disposed of by the trial court, this revisional court is entitled to sift evidence and arrive at a correct finding as a very long period of about 27 years have elapsed and no fruitful purpose would be served by remanding the case to the lower court for deciding the application for striking off the defence under Order XV, Rule 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure. This Court is well fortified by the earlier decision of this Court given in Smt. Shanti Ojha and Ors. v. Smt. Sachi Kwnari Mishra 1986 All LJ 745. Article 215 of the Constitution of India provides that every High Court shall be a court of record and shall have all the powers of such a Court including the power to punish for contempt of itself. The Supreme Court in the case of M. M. Thomas v. State of Kerala and Anr. (2001) 1 SCC 666, has held that the High Court as a superior court of record, as envisaged in Article 215 of the Constitution of India, must have inherent powers to correct the records. A court of record envelops all such powers whose acts and proceedings are to be enrolled in a perpetual memorial and testimony. A court of record is undoubtedly a superior court, which is itself competent to determine the scope of its jurisdiction. The High Court, as a court of record, has a duty to itself to keep all its records correctly and in accordance with law. In this connection reference is made to the decision of Hon'ble Supreme Court rendered in M.V. Elizabeth and Anr. v. Harwan Investment and Trading Put. Ltd., Goa, AIR 1993 SC 1014, in which at para 67 the Hon'ble Apex Court has held as under:
The High Courts in India are superior courts of record. They have original and appellate jurisdiction. They have inherent and plenary powers. Unless expressly or impliedly barred, and subject to the appellate or discretionary jurisdiction of this Court, the High Courts have unlimited jurisdiction, including the jurisdiction to determine their own powers. See Naresh Shridhar Mirajkar v. State of Maharashtra . As stated in Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th edition, Vol. 10, para 713 :
Prima facie, no matter is deemed to be beyond the jurisdiction of a superior court unless it is expressly shown to be so, while nothing is within the jurisdiction of an inferior court unless it is expressly shown on the face of the proceedings that the particular matter is within the cognizance of the particular court.
16. It is also found that it is not a case where the tenant may have deposited considerable amounts towards rent due on the first date of hearing or may have made deposit even thereafter regularly and may have committed default in respect to rent for a short time to say for a month or two. In the present case, no amount was deposited on the first date of hearing. There has also been default in subsequent regular deposits under law and the tenant has failed to show his bona fides. The tenant is required to observe the procedure as prescribed in the statute and strict compliance of the procedure is necessary. To meet the needs of the present situation, it would be pragmatic to exercise the inherent powers of the Court and pass necessary orders to strike off the defence of the defendants in terms of the statutory provisions under Order XV, Rule 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure in the ends of justice,
17. The trial court has failed to consider the pleas of revisionist-plaintiff under Order XV, Rule 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure to strike off the defence and did not decide the material point of dispute regarding the deposit of rent keeping in view the provisions of Order XV, Rule 4 of the Code of Civil Procedure and Rule 21 of the U.P. Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting Rent and Eviction) Rules, 1972 and Rule 285 of the General Rules (Civil) Volume-I for Civil Courts Subordinate to the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, The trial court has also taken an erroneous and perverse view regarding evidence of deposit of rent through the alleged two tenders which has been totally misread by the trial court not being in consonance with law and procedure laid down for the same and thus It has not applied its mind. It is clearly apparent from record that substantial injustice has directly resulted to the revisionist-plaintiff from non-application of the provisions of Order XV, Rule 5 of the Code of Civil Procedure by the trial court and failure to exercise its jurisdiction which amounts to material error in procedure in court of small causes. In the result, the defence of the defendant-tenant is hereby struck off.
18. For the reasons stated above, the judgment and order of the court below dated 28.7.1987, under revision, passed in Original S.C.C. Suit No. 16 of 1980 is hereby set aside. The case is remanded back to the court below for deciding the Original S.C.C. Suit No. 16 of 1980 afresh within a period of two months in the light of this order, in accordance with law.
19. The revision is allowed with costs.