Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Valmiki Mehta, J. dismissed an appeal filed by the appellant-tenant impugning the judgment of the trial court whereby mesne profits were awarded to the respondent-landlord.

The appellant was a tenant in the subject premises. The tenancy commenced in 1986 and was terminated in 1998 vide legal notice. The appellant in the meanwhile, during the pendency of suit for possession and mesne profits, handed over the possession of the tenanted premises to the landlord in 1999. Therefore, the mesne profits were calculated from May 1998 to August 1999 (date of filing the suit to date of handing over of possession). Against the award of mesne profits, the appellant filed the present regular first appeal under Section 96 CPC.

The High Court noted that the trial court relied on the rent paid by another tenant to calculate the mesne profits. It was also observed that some amount of honest guess work is always involved in calculation of mesne profits, therefore, once the rent paid on similar premises on same area was taken as the basis, there was no illegality in the award of the mesne profits passed by the trial court. Furthermore, the definition of mesne profits in Section 2(12) CPC provides that mesne profits include the interest payable thereon. Holding that the judgment impugned did not require any interfere, the learned Judge went on to observe that there is no inherent right in citizens of this country, who are tenants, to violate the law by overstaying in the premises where the tenancy stands dismissed. The appeal was dismissed. [Hindustan Motors Ltd. v. Seven Seas Leasing Ltd.,2018 SCC OnLine Del 11391, decided on 19-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir: A Single Judge bench comprising of Sanjeev Kumar, J. while dealing with a civil revision petition directed against the judgment of trial court passed in relation to Section 9 of the Jammu & Kashmir Specific Relief Act, 1977 declined to interfere with trial court’s judgment directing re-possession in favour of respondent but set aside the order directing payment of mesne profits to the respondent.

Facts of the case are that a shop was purchased by the plaintiff-respondent and since its purchase, the property was in his possession and under his lock and key. In October 2002, the petitioners-defendants broke open the locks of the plaintiff-respondents house, stole all the documents including title deed and also broke open locks of the suit shop and forcibly occupied the same in his absence.

The respondent-plaintiff filed a suit under Section 9 of the Act seeking possession of the suit shop and also for recovery of mesne profits at Rs 2000 per month from the date of illegal occupation of the shop by the petitioners-defendants. After filing of the written statement, petitioner-defendant did not participate in the proceedings and appreciating evidence adduced before the trial court, the court decreed the suit in favour of plaintiff-respondent and also granted the decree for mesne profits at Rs 2000 per month for wrongful use and occupation of the suit property.

The High Court discussed at length, the scope of interference with an order or decree passed in a suit instituted under Section 9 of the Act and held that the inquiry in a suit under Section 9 of the Act is limited to the determination of three questions: (i) if the plaintiff is formally in settled possession, (ii) whether the plaintiff was dispossessed of immovable property without his consent other than in due course of law, and (iii) whether the dispossession has taken place within six months immediately preceding the date of the institution of the suit.

The revision petition was disposed of holding that court cannot interfere with the findings of fact of the trial court by re-appreciating the evidence and as such the re-possession order was upheld. However, it was held that under Section 9 the court did not have jurisdiction to grant mesne profits and as such, trial court’s order to that effect was set aside. [Mohan Lal v Madan Lal,2018 SCC OnLine J&K 642, Order dated 19-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Valmiki Mehta, J. dismissed an appeal filed under Section 96 of CPC  against the judgment of the trial court whereby appellant’s suit for possession and mesne profits was dismissed.

The suit was dismissed by the trial court holding that the appellant being only one of the co-owners, could not claim possession in absence of support from other co-owners. It was held that a  single landlord could not terminate the tenancy. Aggrieved thus, the appellant preferred the instant appeal.

The High Court relied on Sk. Sattar Sk. Mohd. Choudhari v. Gundappa Amabadas Bukate, (1996) 6 SCC 373 and Jagdish Dutt v. Dharam Pal, (1999) 3 SCC 644 to hold that one co-owner/co-landlord is not entitled on his own, in the face of opposition from other co-owners/co-landlords, to terminate the tenancy for seeking possession of the tenanted property and/or mesne profits. In the present case, the other co-owners had infact opposed the termination of tenancy as well as the suit filed by the appellant. Observing that the appeal was completely frivolous, the High Court held that the suit was rightly dismissed by the trial court. Therefore, the appeal was dismissed. [Navin Chander Anand v. Union Bank of India,2018 SCC OnLine Del 9902, 17-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: In a petition heard by a Single Judge Bench comprising of C.V. Bhadang, J., the decision of the trial court to allow all amendments in the prayer except the prayer with respect to compensation/mesne profits was reversed. The suit had been filed in 1992 against the respondents for a direction to demolish illegal structures in the suit property.

While the petitioners contended that future mesne profits are exclusively within the discretion of the trial court and that the court can grant mesne profits even without a specific claim in that regard, the respondents contended that the application for amendment was barred by limitation and the claim can be restricted to a period of three years prior to the amendment.

The High Court held that once the substantive amendment had been granted, the trial court could not have refused to allow introduction of a prayer claiming mesne profits. It stated that “the matters about grant of future mesne profits i.e. from the date of filing of the suit till the delivery of possession are exclusively within the discretion of the Trial Court.” Future mesne profits were held to be of two types: from the date of the filing of the suit till the decree is passed and from the date of the decree till actual delivery of the possession. The amendment was subsequently allowed. [M/s Suvarn Rajaram Bandekar v. Armando Cardozo, Writ Petition No. 2 of 2017, decided on 07.08.2017]