The Delhi High Court held that when a tenant denies the title of the landlord and the tenancy, the suit filed for recovery of possession is not on the basis of the relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties, and would lie only in the civil suit and not otherwise.
The said judgement was delivered by the Delhi High Court in the matter of Jatinder Pal Vs. Harinder Singh Jaggi & Anr, RFA No. 344/2006 decided on 05.10.2018
A suit for possession, damages and injunction was filed by the appellant/plaintiff (landlord) against the respondents/defendants (tenant) which came to be dismissed. Admittedly, the Respondent no.1/defendant no.1 was inducted as a tenant at a monthly rent of Rs. 260/- per month and thus qualified as a protected tenant under the Delhi Rent Control Act. The only issue for consideration in the suit, as well as in the present appeal, was whether the suit filed by the appellant/plaintiff was barred under Section 50 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958.
It was the case of the appellant/plaintiff that the respondent no.1/defendant no.1 was not entitled to protection of the Delhi Rent Control Act, inasmuch as the respondent no.1/defendant no.1 did not remain a tenant because in proceedings instituted in an earlier suit, the reply filed by the respondent no.1/defendant no.1 to a contempt application filed by the appellant/plaintiff under Order XXXIX Rule 2(A) CPC, the respondent no.1/defendant no.1 had denied the ownership of the appellant/plaintiff to the suit property. It was pleaded that on denial by a tenant of the ownership of the appellant/plaintiff/landlord of a tenanted property, the tenancy comes to an end, and a civil suit for possession in the civil court is maintainable.
The Delhi High Court placed reliance on a judgment of the Division Bench of the same court in the case of Naeem Ahmed vs. Yash Pal Malhotra (Deceased) Through Lr’s and Another, 188 (2012)DLT 579 wherein it was held that upon the tenant denying the ownership of the landlord of a tenanted premises, the tenancy of a tenant is legally brought to an end. When a tenant denies the title of the landlord and the tenancy, the suit filed for recovery of possession is not on the basis of the relationship of landlord and tenant between the parties, and would lie only in the civil suit and not otherwise. The Court concluded that the respondent no.1/defendant no.1 had indeed denied the title of the appellant/plaintiff of the suit property while continuing to claim tenancy of the said property, and therefore, applying the ratio of the Division Bench Judgment of this Court in the case of Naeem Ahmed, it was held that the tenancy of the respondent no.1/defendant no.1 came to an end on the respondent no.1/defendant no.1 denying the ownership title of the appellant/plaintiff of the suit property. Once the tenancy comes to an end, a suit can be filed in a civil court for possession. Further, once there is no relationship of landlord and tenant, then, Section 50 of the Delhi Rent Control Act is not a bar to filing of a civil suit for possession.