The Apex court has held that eviction of a tenant, protected by a Rent Control Act of a state, may be ordered only when a valid ground for eviction under the said act is made out. A compromise between the parties to an eviction petition is of no consequence in such a case.
The said ratio was delivered by the Supreme court in the case of Alagu Pharmacy Vs. N. Magudeswari in Civil Appeal Nos. 8256-8257 of 2018 decided on 14.08.2018.
The appellants claimed to be tenants in the suit property owned by the respondent since 1998. In 2012 a lease agreement was entered into, which according to the appellants was signed by the respondent, extending/renewing the period of lease. In 2013 the respondent had issued legal notices calling upon the appellants to vacate the suit property alleging that the latest lease agreement was a forged document. Soon thereafter an Eviction Petition was filed by the respondent before the Principal Rent Controller-cum-District Munsif, Coimbatore for eviction of the appellants. It is the case of the appellant that they were asked to appear before the police on 27.03.2014 and under the pressure exerted by the police a compromise deed was entered into under which the appellants agreed to vacate the suit property. Said compromise deed was presented before the Court and a consent order was passed directing the appellants to vacate the property.
In 2015, an appeal was filed by the appellants against the aforesaid compromise decree. The Appellate court allowed the appeal. The aforesaid order was challenged by the respondent by preferring Civil Revision Petition before the High Court at Madras which was allowed by the High Court. The said revision was allowed on the ground of delay of 604 days in raising the objection of coercion. The appellants preferred a review petition which was rejected by the High Court. Thus, the appeal ultimately reached the Supreme court.
Apart from assessing whether the compromise deed was a result of coercion exercised on the tenant, the Court observed that eviction petition was filed seeking eviction of the appellants under Section 10(2)(ii)(a), 10(3)(c) of Tamil Nadu Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1960. The Court was of the view that eviction in terms of the aforesaid provisions can be ordered only if the concerned Rent Controller or Court is satisfied that the ground seeking eviction is made out.
Referring to judgements wherein similar facts pertaining to rent control acts of other states were considered, the Apex court held that in cases where protection under a Rent Act is available, no eviction can be ordered unless ground seeking eviction is made out, even if parties had entered into a compromise. Moreover, the invalidity on that count can even be raised in execution.
In the case at hand, the Court was of the view that the order of the Rent Controller did not remotely note that any particular ground under the Rent Act was made out. Therefore, eviction on the ground of a compromise was held to be invalid.