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Whether appeal is maintainable against order passed by court for compensation under order 15A of CPC?

IN THE HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY

Writ Petition No. 7516 of 2002

Decided On: 21.02.2003

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited
Vs.
Thakorbhai Ranchhodji Desai and Ors.

Hon’ble Judges/Coram:
R.M.S. Khandeparkar, J.

Citation: 2003(3) MHLJ 617

Heard learned Advocates for the parties.

Perused the records. Rule. By consent, rule made returnable forthwith.

1. The petitioners challenge the order dated 26.6.2002 passed by the Appellate Bench of the Court of Small Causes at Mumbai in Appeal No. 275 of 2001. The said Appeal arose out of the order dated 28.2.2001 passed in interim Notice No. 481 of 2000 in TE Suit No. 148-185 of 2000. By order dated 28.2.2001 the trial Judge had discharged the Notice which was taken out by the respondent bank and by the impugned order the Appellate Bench set aside the said order of the trial Judge and directed the petitioners to pay to the respondents sum of Rs. 10/- per sq. ft. per month being damages for wrongful use and occupation of the suit land w.e.f. 1.4.2000 and further to continue to pay at that rate till the disposal of the suit. Aggrieved by the said order, the petitioners had filed Civil Revision Application No. 1396/2002 wherein while issuing rule in the matter and ordering expeditious hearing thereof, an interim order was passed granting stay of the execution of the impugned order subject to the petitioners depositing sum of Rs. 12,00,000/- in this Court within a period of four weeks and to continue to deposit Rs. 50,000/- per month from September-2002 onwards till disposal of the revision application. The said order was passed on 9.8.2002. Subsequently in view of law on the point of maintainability of the Civil Revision Application consequent to amendment of Section 115 of C.P.C. which has come into force w.e.f. 1.7.2002, the Revision Application in question was dismissed as not maintainable and thereupon the petitioners filed the present Writ petition.

2. Few facts relevant for the decision are that by a registered deed of lease dated 7.5.1955 M/s. Burmah Shell Oil Storage & Distributing Company of India Ltd., the predecessors in title of the petitioners were inducted in the suit premises for a period of 25 years w.e.f. 1.3.1965 on payment of monthly rent of Rs. 5500/- and subject to the terms and conditions specified in the lease deed. While the petitioners were in possession of the leased premises under the said lease deed, on or about 24.1.1976 by virtue of Burmah Shell (Acquisition of Undertakings in India) Act, 1976 hereinafter called as “the said Act”, the rights, title and interests of the said M/s. Burmah Shell Oil Storage & distributing Company of India Ltd., were acquired by the Government of India in relation to the undertaking of the said company in India. Consequently, in terms of Section 7 of the said Act, all the properties owned by the said Burmah Shell Ltd., as well as the properties held or possessed by the said company under any lease or under any right of tenancy were deemed to have been transferred in favour of the petitioner Central Government. These rights stood assigned in favour of Burmah Shell Refineries Ltd., a Government Company, by virtue of notification dated 24.1.1976 issued by the Government under Section 7 of the said Act. On 12.2.1976 the name of Burmah Shell Refineries was changed to Bharat Refineries Ltd. In any case, there is no dispute that the petitioners are the successor of the said company in relation to the lease hold rights in the suit premises and infact the rent of the suit premises was paid by the petitioners to the respondents from the year 1976 onwards. By notice dated 27.12.1999 the respondents/plaintiffs informed the petitioners that the lease in relation to the suit premises has been cancelled as well as that on account of breach of terms and conditions of lease, they are not entitled for protection either under Bombay Rent Act or under Maharashtra Rent Control Act and therefore, by further notice dated 27.5.2000 they were called upon to deliver vacant possession of the suit premises to the respondents/plaintiffs. The petitioners by reply dated 15.6.2000 denied all the contentions which were raised by the respondents/plaintiffs and contended that in view of renewal of the lease, there was no question of termination of the lease by the respondents/plaintiffs. It is to be noted that by letter dated 27.12.1989 the petitioners had informed the respondents that they were exercising their option for renewal of the lease as stipulated under the lease deed. However, under reply dated 5.1.90 the respondents have informed the petitioners their willingness for renewal of lease subject to condition that monthly rent shall be Rs. 6250/- and the extension shall be for a period of 5 years with an option of another 5 years upto the period of 25 years and 25% increase for every 5 years in the payment of monthly rent. The petitioners on their part by letter dated 29.1.1990 had communicated their willingness to make payment of rent @ Rs. 5000/- Per month considering the fact that the leased premises had reduced in the area on account of the acquisition of the land for the purpose of road widening during the subsistence of the lease in favour of the petitioners. In reply to the said communication the respondents had informed the petitioners, their willingness for extension of lease for a period of 25 years subject to the payment of rent of Rs. 6250/- per month. There does not appear to be further communication in this regard between the parties but the fact that subsequently the petitioners started making payment of Rs. 6250/- per month and the acceptance thereof by the respondents till the issuance of the Notice dated 27.5.2000 is not in dispute.

3. Sometimes in September-2000 the respondents/plaintiffs filed TE Suit No. 148/185 of 2000 in the court of Small Causes in terms of the provisions of Section 41 of the Presidency Small Causes Court Act, 1882 for the decree of possession against the petitioners as also for recovery of sum of Rs. 37,50,000/- being damages for wrongful use and occupation of the suit land from 1.4.2000 to 31.8.2000 @ Rs. 7,50,000/- and further monthly sum of Rs. 7,50,000/- for the use and occupation of the suit land till the delivery of possession. During the pendency of the suit, respondents took out an Interim Notice 481/2000 in the said suit seeking direction to the petitioners to pay to the respondents sum of Rs. 37,50,000 being damages for the alleged wrongful use and occupation of the suit land from the period 1.4.2000 to 31.8.2002 as also for direction to deposit sum of Rs. 7,50,000/- per month w.e.f. 1.9.2000. The said interim Notice was contested by the petitioners and the trial court by its order dated 20.2.2001 after hearing the parties discharged the said Notice. The respondents being aggrieved, preferred an Appeal against the said order and the lower appellate court allowed the same by the impugned order. Hence, the present Petition.

4. The impugned order is sought to be challenged firstly on the ground that the order dated 28.2.2001 passed by the trial Judge being in exercise of powers under Order XV-A of CPC, no Appeal was maintainable and therefore, the impugned order is without jurisdiction and on that count itself deserves to be set aside. In the alternative, impugned order is sought to be challenged on the ground that the lower appellate court failed to consider that the right of renewal was assured to the petitioners under the original lease agreement itself, besides there being statutory recognition to the said in terms of Section 5(2) r/w Section 7(3) of the said Act and the impugned order has been passed totally ignoring the same and therefore, the same is contrary to the provision of law as well as the terms of the Agreement between the parties. On the other hand, the impugned order is sought to be justified as regards its maintainability by referring to the provisions of Order 39 Rule 10 of CPC contending that the relief which was claimed by the respondents during the pendency of the Suit was in terms of Order 39 Rule 10 of CPC and any order passed under those provisions of the law is appealable in terms of Order 41-1(r) of CPC and therefore, no fault can be found with the exercise of the appellate jurisdiction by the Bench of the Small Causes Court. On merits, it is submitted that though terms of the agreement between the parties entitled the petitioners for renewal of the lease, the proposal for renewal was not accepted by the respondents in as much as that the petitioners insisted for the rent to be Rs. 5000/- per month whereas respondents had proposed Rs. 6250/- per month and as the proposal of the respondents was not accepted by the petitioners, there was no renewal for a period of 25 years as sought to be claimed by the petitioners. It is also submitted on behalf of the respondents that provisions of Section 5(2) of the said Act merely enables the petitioners to seek renewal but subject to the other provisions of law including requirement of registration of the lease and admittedly in the case in hand, there is no such lease deed registered and therefore, petitioners at the most could have claimed to have occupied the premises either as a tenant holding over or the tenancy being month to month and same having been terminated by lawful notice, the petitioners cannot insist for continuation of occupation of the suit premises. Reliance is placed in the reported decision of the Division Bench in the case of Trade Centre D & B. Pvt. Ltd. v. Union of India reported in MANU/MH/0200/1985 : AIR1985Bom4 and unreported decision of Division Bench in the matter of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited v. Tahsildar and Ors. reported in Writ Petition No. 235/85 delivered on 21.3.1991 on behalf of the petitioners in support of their contention. The respondents have sought to rely upon the decision of the Division Bench in the matter of Chandrakant v. Haribhau reported in 1983 MLJ 88 and of learned Single Judge in Sangeeta Prints v. Hemal Prints reported in MANU/MH/0301/1985 : AIR1986Bom423 as well as of the Apex Court in the matter of Biswabani Pvt. Ltd. v. Santosh Kumar Dutta and Ors., reported in 1980 (1) RCJ 156.

5. The first point for consideration which arises in the matter is whether the Appeal which was filed by the respondents before the appellate bench of the Small Causes Court was maintainable or not? The contention of the petitioners is that the interim relief which was sought for by the respondents in Interim Notice 481/2000 was in the nature of deposit of rent or compensation by the petitioners who were undisputedly inducted in the premises as the leasee and therefore, the provisions of law which were attracted in the matter were of order XV-A of the CPC and not Order 39 Rule 10 or Section 151 of C.P.C. and further that this was also to the knowledge of the respondents as they themselves had specifically stated so in their application for the interim relief. According to the respondents such a relief falls squarely under Order 39 Rule 10 as has been held by the Division Bench of this Court in Chandrakant case and further followed by the learned single Judge in Sangeeta Prints case.

6. Undisputedly, the suit which has been filed by the respondents is for eviction of the petitioners from the suit land and for recovery of possession thereof, alongwith the recovery of the damages for alleged wrongful use and occupation of the suit land by the petitioners w.e.f. 1.4.2000. The interim notice is sought to be taken out for payment of sum of Rs. 37,50,000/- being the damages for wrongful use and occupation of the suit land from 1.4.2000 to 31.8.2000 and direction to deposit monthly sum of Rs. 7,50,000/- from 1.9.2000 onwards till the disposal of the suit. It is also not in dispute that the entry of the petitioners in the suit land was pursuant to the grant of lease dated 7.5.1965.

7. Order 39 Rule 10 provides that

“Where the subject-matter of a suit is money or some other thing capable of delivery, and any party thereto admits that he holds such money or other thing as a trustee for another part, or that it belongs or is due to another party, the court may order the same to be deposited in court or delivered to such last-named party, with or without security, subject to the further direction of the court.”
It cannot be disputed that in a suit for recovery of money or anything which is capable of being delivered and further when the opposite party admits that the money or such things is held by the said opposite party as trustee or that it belongs to or is due to another party, the Court is empowered to issue direction to deposit money or such thing or to deliver such thing to the party on whose behalf such money or thing is held as trustee or to whom admittedly such money or thing belong to. For due performance of such order, the Court can also issue further directions as may warrant in a given case including the direction for furnishing security whenever occasion arises for such direction. Being so, in case of a suit for the claim of damages, if an application for interim relief is filed, the Court would not be debarred from exercising the power under the provisions of law contained in Order 39 Rule 10 of CPC. However, to ascertain whether such an exercise in the case in hand was permissible and/or warranted, it is not sufficient merely to refer to Order 39 Rule 10 of CPC and it would also necessary to take into consideration Provisions of Order XV-A of the C.P.C.

8. Order XV-A which is applicable to the area comprising under the State of Maharashtra deals with the subject to striking of defence of lessee in a suit filed by a lessor. The same provides that-

(1) In any suit by lessor against the lessee or licensor against the licensee as the case may be for his eviction and future mesne profits the defendant shall deposit such amount as the Court may direct on account of arrears up to the date of the order (within such time as the Court may fix) and thereafter continue to deposit in each succeeding month the rent claimed in the suit as the Court may direct. The defendant shall unless otherwise directed to continue to deposit such amount till the decision of the suit and in the event of making default in making the deposit as aforesaid, the Court may subject to the provisions of Sub-rule 2 strike off the defence.

(2) Before passing order of striking off defence the court shall serve notice on the defendant or his Advocate and the defence should not be struck off and the Court shall consider any such cause if shown and order to decide as to whether the defendant is entitled to any relief”.

(3) The amount deposited under the said rule shall be paid to the plaintiff or his advocate and the receipt of such amount shall not have effect or prejudicing claim of the plaintiff and it shall not also to be treated as wherever of notice of termination. The explanation clause makes it clear that the suit for eviction shall include suit for mandatory injunction from the premises for the purpose of the said rule.”

9. Bare reading of the provisions of Order XV-A of C.P.C. therefore, would disclose that in a suit filed by the lessor or licensor against the lessee or licensee either for the eviction or for the recovery of arrears of rent as well as for future mesne profit, the Court can direct the defendant in the suit to deposit such amount as Court may direct on account of arrears of rent as well as may direct to continue to deposit further rent or license fees during the pendency of the suit and in case of failure to comply with such order, the Court may after hearing the parties, if dissatisfied with the explanation given for non compliance thereof, may order striking off the defence. Being so, it is apparent that in the suits between the lessor and lessee or licensor and licensee specific provision is made under Order XV-A to ensure the recovery of the amount of arrears as well as amount arising during the pendency of the suit for the possession of the premises by way of eviction of the licensee or the lessee therefrom. It is well settled law that when specific provisions are made for specific purposes in the CPC, the Courts are expected to take resort of those provisions of law and not to exercise their jurisdiction under some other provision of law. Undoubtedly, Order 39 Rule 10 empowers the Court to direct delivery of the money or the property or thing held by the defendant as trustee for the plaintiff or admitted to be belonging to the plaintiff or due to the plaintiff and pass an appropriate order in that regard in a suit where the subject matter is either the money or relating to thing capable of delivery; at the same time in relation to the suits between the lessor and lessee or licensor and licensee specific provisions are made under Order XV-A to deal with the matters pertaining to the payment or deposit of the amount accruing during the pendency of the suit either as rent or as license fees or even as mesne profit and therefore, it is difficult to agree with the respondents’ contention that in the present case wherein the suit was undoubtedly for eviction of the firm who was inducted as the lessee and from whom possession was sought for and similarly claim for compensation/damages is made on account of continuation of occupation of the leased premises by the petitioners after the expiry or the alleged termination of lease by the respondents, the trial court could have granted the interim relief for payment of monthly amount or arrears in exercise of powers vide Order 39 Rule 10, when specific provisions of law for grant of such interim relief are available under Order XV-A of C.P.C. Undoubtedly, such a relief can be availed under order XV-A and therefore, it was not permissible to the Court to take resort to the other provisions in such cases and therefore, the contention sought to be raised on behalf of the petitioners is well founded that the interim application which was filed by the respondents was in terms of Order XV-A of CPC and not in terms of Order 39 Rule 10 of CPC.

10. However, before arriving at any final decision on this aspect it will be necessary to take note of the decisions relied upon by the respondents. In Chandrakant case the Division Bench of this court has ruled that:

“It cannot also be disputed and denied that where a tenant admits that he was a tenant he admits the liability to pay for his use and occupation of that property. He may dispute his liability to deliver the property where he claims that his tenancy has not been validly and legally terminated. But it cannot be said tat such an amount, call either rent or call it for compensation for use and occupation, is not due to the plaintiff. In other words, therefore, in terms of Rule 10, in a suit between a landlord and tenant, the subject matter of the suit is money claim for use and occupation of property before the termination of the contract and after the termination of the contract, which the tenant does not dispute belongs to the plaintiff. …..If that is so we think the Court clearly has a power in a given case to direct such party to deposit it in Court or deliver it to the plaintiff. It would be therefore, wrong to say that there is no provision in the Civil Procedure Code by which such an order could be passed…… A tenant can, therefore, always be directed, subject to the other circumstances and conditions, to deposit rent due or becoming due from him to his landlord during the pendency of a suit call it either compensation for use and occupation or rent, depending upon whether the tenancy is or is not terminated.” It was further observed in the said decision that Order 39 Rule 10 of CPC by itself does not impose any conditions or limitations upon the exercise of that power, and therefore, to prevent abuse of the process of Court and in order to subserve the ends of justice, the powers conferred upon a Court under Order 39, Rule 10 Civil Procedure Code can be invoked by any party.”
It was further held that-

“To us it also appear that it is implicit in the relationship that it is implicit in the circumstances, that the liability on the part of the person in occupation for payment on account of use and occupation of the premises is admitted. If it is admitted, then the form which the order will take directing him to make that payment will vary and may depend upon the circumstances and situation. It may be an amount of rent claimed as due and admitted. It may be an amount equivalent to rent where the claim is for mesne profits before the institution of the suit and also subsequent to the institution of the suit until delivery of property. The nature of the claim and the label with which it would be described will not change the character or the principle governing the orders in that behalf. We feel therefore, that on the basis of the principle enshrined in Order 12, Civil Procedure Code empowering the Court to pass orders and decrees on admission, it is a mere extension of that principle to make an order relating to delivery of an amount claimed as due prior to the institution of the suit and pending trial and decision of the suit. It is clear to us that the liability to pay for use and occupation of the premises during the pendency of the suit, no matter by whatever name it is called, is not only admitted but is a necessary postulate of the situation.

We feel therefore, that the combined result of the provisions of Section 151, Civil Procedure Code, principle underlying the provisions of Order 12, Civil Procedure Code and the provision made for passing interlocutory orders under Order 39, Rule 10, Civil Procedure Code in a case of this kind clearly and easily permit the Courts to pass orders for deposit of money pending decision of a suit. Whereas provisions of Section 151 Civil Procedure, Code, can be exercised and utilised in aid and in furtherance of the provisions expressly made in the Civil Procedure Code they cannot be employed as against the said provisions. Order 39, Rule 10, Civil Procedure Code and the principle underlying Order 12, Civil Procedure Code are provisions in the code specifically intended to give relief in certain circumstances. In such a case the principle and the provisions of Section 151, Civil Procedure Code, can be called in aid to cover cases which are analogous to these principles but may not be directly covered by the express words in the Code.”

11. In Sangeeta prints case relying upon the decision of the Division Bench in Chandrakant Deshmukh case it was held that-

“Learned Judges of the Division Bench in the above case also relied upon Order XXXIX, Rule 10, Civil P.C. in support of their decision. They held that in the case of landlord and tenant, the tenant cannot dispute his liability to pay the rent to the landlord although the quantum of such rent may be in dispute. The Division Bench held that in such cases the tenant, in fact, is deemed to admit that some money is due to the plaintiff. In such a situation the court can direct the tenant to deposit such amount as the court may deem fit under Order XXXIX Rule 10. The same reasoning applies to a case between licensor and licensee also. The licensee can be similarly directed to deposit certain amounts in respect of licence fees or mesne profits under the provisions of Order XXXIX Rule 10 in view of the Division Bench of this court in the above case.”
Undisputedly, the issue before the learned single Judge was a dispute between licensor and liecensee, whereas in Chandrakant case was that between landlord and tenant. Before considering the effect of the decisions of the Division Bench in Chandrakant case and learned Single Judge in Sangeeta Prints Case and the applicability of the said decision to the case in hand, it is pertinent to note that the decision in Chandrakant case was delivered on 1.7.1982 and the decision in Sangeeta Prints case was delivered on 3.5.1985. When the decision in Chandrakant case was delivered. Order XV-A was not on the statute book. It came into force w.e.f. 1st October, 1983. When it was introduced for the first time in 1983, the applicability of the said order was restricted to the suits for recovery of rent and future mesne profit between the lessor and lessee and it was not applicable to the licensor and licensee. The necessary amendment to that effect was introduced which came into force w.e.f. 11.1.1990. Sub-rule 1 of Order XV-A prior to 11.1.1990, and since it was introduced w.e.f. 1.10.1983, read thus:-

“In any suits by lessor recovery of rent and future mesne profits, the defendant shall deposit such amount as the court may direct on account of arrears within such time the court amy fix and thereafter continue to deposit in each succeeding month as the court may direct, the defendant shall continue to deposit such amount till the decision of the suit unless otherwise directed. In any event of any default, the court may subject to the provisions of law strikes out the defence.”
It is also pertinent to note that prior to 11.1.1990 Sub-rule 3 was not on the statute book in Order XV-A. While amending Sub-rule 1, Sub-rule 3 was also added w.e.f. 11.1.1990. Apparently, therefore, decision of the Division Bench delivered on 1.7.1982 in a situation when there was no provision of law for directing the person who was admittedly inducted as the tenant in the suit premises but whose eviction was sought for. In those circumstances, the Division Bench had held that the court is empowered to exercise powers under Order 39 Rule 10 of CPC. This is also apparent from bare reading of the decision itself. Paragraph-7 of the Judgment of the Division Bench makes reference to the contention sought to be made, and it reads thus:-

“Elaborate arguments were advanced on behalf of the revision applicants by Mr. Deopujari. Mr. Deopujari’s contention principally was, as was observed by the learned single Judge, that there is no provision in the civil Procedure Code to pass an order directing payment of rent or mesne profits pending decision of a suit. Mr. Deopujari contended that the only provision which is to be found in the Civil Procedure Code permitting payment of mesne profits is after the decree and after their determination under Order 20, Rule 12(1)(c).”
Apparently in a situation where there was no other provision dealing specifically in relation to the suit between the landlord and tenant, the resort was sought to be taken to the provisions of Order 39 Rule 10 of CPC and in that connection it was held that in the absence of any other provision, resort can be had to provisions of Order 39 Rule 10 in such cases. As regards Sangeeta Prints case, the learned single Judge referring to the decision of the Division Bench in Chandrakant Case has observed in paragraph-14 that-

“This case was decided prior to the introduction of Order 15A in the Code of Civil Procedure”.
Indeed the decision by the Division Bench in Chandrakant case was delivered on 1.7.1982. It is apparent that it was delivered prior to the introduction of Order XV-A in the CPC.

12. Being so the ruling of Division Bench in Chandrakant case is of no help to the respondents to contend that the application which was filed by the respondents for interim relief was treated or that the Court had exercised jurisdiction in terms of Order 39 Rule 10. The provisions of law under which the trial court could have exercised jurisdiction were contained in Order XV-A and therefore, it must be held that the order dated 28.2.2002 was passed in exercise of powers under Order XV-A of CPC.

13. Considering the fact that the order dated 28.2.2002 was passed by the trial court in exercise of powers under Order 15A and the provisions relating to appeal against the orders passed by the Courts in terms of the provisions of CPC, it is apparent that the orders passed under 15A are not appealable. Being so, the petitioners are justified in contending that the appellate bench of the Small Causes Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the Appeal against the order dated 28.2.2002. On that count itself, the petition is bound to succeed and the impugned order is liable to be set aside.

14. Normally, after holding that the Appeal itself was not maintainable, the order being liable to be set aside it would not have been necessary to consider further argument in the matter. However, reading of the impugned order calls for further observation by this court. The impugned order discloses direction to the petitioners to pay sum of Rs. 10 per sq. ft. per month being damages for wrongful use w.e.f. 1.4.2000 onwards. It is pertinent to note that order has been passed on interim application. The issue as to whether petitioners have occupied the premises from 1.4.2000, whether such occupation is wrongful or not, are the issues to be gone into and decided on merits in the Suit. It was highly improper on the part of the appellate bench of the Small Causes Court to declare the occupation of the suit land by the petitioners as wrongful at the interim stage itself. It is one thing to say that prima facie, in view of continuation of the occupation by the petitioners in the property belonging to the respondents that the petitioners would be liable to pay compensation during the pendency of the suit and another thing to say that such occupation is wrongful w.e.f. 1.4.2000 and that to at the interim stage. Even while exercising powers under Order 39 Rule 10, it was not permissible for the Court below to declare the occupation of the suit land by the petitioners as of wrongful as the said issue is yet to be decided on merits and it is too premature to pronounce any declaration in that regard. In fact, that could not have agitated in that regard. In fact, that could not have agitated under Order XV-A and on that count also the impugned order cannot be sustained. There is yet another reason for interference in the impugned order. By the impugned order the appellate bench has directed the petitioners to pay sum of Rs. 10 per sq. ft. per month as damages. Neither under Order 39 nor under Order XV-A there is any provision for grant of damages as such during the pendency of the suit. Order 39 Rule 10 speaks of the amount either admitted to be due or belonging to the other side which can be ordered to be paid and provisions of Order XV-A speaks of arrears of rent or licence fees or future mesne profit. Being so, what can be ordered to be paid under both the provisions of law are specifically described there under and those powers do not include power to order payment of damages during the pendency of a suit between the landlord and tenant on the claim that the tenancy is terminated and therefore, the landlord is entitled for eviction of the tenant. On all counts, therefore, the appellate bench of the Small Causes Court has transgressed its jurisdiction and travelled far beyond it while passing the impugned order and therefore, the same cannot be sustained and is liable to be set aside.

15. In the result, therefore, the petition succeeds. The impugned order is therefore, set aside. Rule is made absolute with no order as to costs.

16. At this stage, it is necessary to pass appropriate order in relation to the amount deposited in this Court. Since the impugned order has been set aside and there is no grievance of non payment of amount equivalent to the monthly rent which was offered by the petitioners to the respondents till March-2000, subject to confirming the liability of the petitioners to continue to pay the same during the pendency of suit, there is no justification with-holding the said amount by this Court and therefore, the same is to be released in favour of the petitioners. Registry to do the needful accordingly.

17. At this stage, learned Advocate for the respondents requests for direction to the trial court for expeditious hearing of the suit. Though there is no question of any such direction being issued to the lower court at the instance of the respondents in a petition filed by the petitioners, needless to say that considering the nature of controversy, the Court below is expected to expedite the hearing of the matter and dispose of the same as expeditiously as possible.

Parties to act on ordinary copy of this order duly authenticated by the P.S./Sheristedar of this court.

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