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Sufficient opportunity to vacate the public premises


These appeals arise out of the orders of the High Court of Calcutta in MAT No. 586 of 2018 dated 10.12.2018 and 19.12.2018 in and by which the High Court has quashed the order dated 1.10.2018 passed by the Estate Officer under sub-section (1) of section 5 and sub –section (2) and (2-A) of section 7 of the Act, 1971 in the application bearing CAN 9489 of 2018 and remitted the matter to the concerned Estate Officer for consideration of the matter afresh.

Brief facts which led to filing of these appeals are as follows :

Appellant No.1 is the owner of a limited Company, Government of India Enterprises known as Harvard House situated at No.168, Maniktala Main Road, PS Phoolbagan, Kolkata – 700054. The property in question is a public premises within the meaning of premises as contemplated under the provisions of section 2(e) of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971 (Act No. 40 of 1971).

Respondent No. 1 was a lessee under applicant No. 1 in respect of 6500 sq. ft., a three storied building alongwith an open space measuring 2575.13 sq. ft. in the said premises at No. 168, Maniktala Main Road in terms of the lease agreement dated 21.8.1995 commencing on and from 1.6.1993 at the initial lease rent of Rs.55000/- per month. Respondent No. 1 has been running a Montessori School in the said building known as Harvard House and the entire schedule premises was leased out to respondent No. 1 – Ajit Nain in terms of the aforesaid lease agreement for 21 years.

Hon’ble R. Banumathi and A.S. Bopanna, JJ., have held that in the nature of the order which we propose to pass, we are not inclined to go into the merits of the rival contentions of the parties. Admittedly, the lease has come to an end on 31.5.2014 by efflux of time. According to respondent No. 1, the meeting was held on 20.5.2014 in the office of appellant No. 1 and there was discussion on the question of renewal of lease. It is stated that appellant No. 1 has forwarded a letter on 30.5.2014 to respondent No. 1 for further renewal of lease subject to the acceptance of the terms :- (i) from June 20, 2014, the rent of the covered space as well as the open space shall be at Rs. 50/- per sq. ft. subject to increase of 10% for every two years; (ii) the tenure of the agreement will be three years and thereafter, the agreement may be renewed for further period upon mutual discussion between the parties. The terms proposed by appellant No. 1 in the said letter dated 30.5.2014 was not agreeable to respondent No. 1. According to respondent No. 1, as per the terms of the lease , the rent payable was only Rs. 1,42,656/- per month.

Be that as it may, admittedly, from 1.6.2014, respondent No. 1 has not paid the rent except the amount of Rs. 25,00,000/- which he has deposited in compliance with the order of the High Court dated 17.1.2018. In the proceeding before the Estate Officer, respondent No. 1 has not put forth his defence; respondent No. 1 was only taking adjournments on the ground of pendency of the appeal before the High Court in MAT No. 586 of 2018. In our view, sufficient opportunity has to be given to respondent No. 1 and the order of the High Court remitting the matter to the Estate Officer therefore, has to be maintained, however, subject to respondent No. 1 paying the reasonable amount as damages by way of interim measure for use and occupation. As pointed out earlier, respondent No. 1 is in occupation of land and building measuring 6500 sq. ft. consisting of three storied building plus open space of 2575.13 sq. ft. in Maniktala Main Road, Kolkata. Without prejudice to the contentions of both the parties, we direct respondent No. 1 to pay an amount of Rs. 2,50,000/- per month as damages for use and occupation from June, 2014 till May, 2018. From June, 2018, respondent No. 1 shall pay an amount of Rs. 3, 00,000/- per month.

The order of the High Court dated 10.12.2018 corrected by the order dated 19.12.2018 passed in MAT No. 586 of 2018 remitting the matter afresh in accordance with law is affirmed.

Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd v. Ajit Nain, 2019 (200) AIC 1 SC.


Limitation for filing a suit for possession is 12 years


A suit was filed by respondent Nos. 1 to 4 herein before the Trial Court against the present appellants and others in which the main prayers were as follows :

(i)“That, the lands S.Nos. 60, 62, 77, 79/2 and 78 admg. 31 acres 32 gunthas, 15 acres 22 gunthas , 27 acres 18 gunthas, 15 acres 19 gunthas and 9 acres 19 gunthas respectively situated at village Haregaon Tq. Ausa Dist. Latur may be declared as Inam lands of Niyamatullah Shah Dargah Haregaon and the plaintiffs as Inamdars of the above lands.

(ii) That, the plaintiffs be put in possession of the lands referred to above from defendant Nos. 1 to 11.”

The present appellants and others contested the suit. According to the plaintiffs, the possession o the land in question was illegally given to Namdeo Deosthan Trust (for short ‘the Trust’) on 19.8.1978 by the Government and it was prayed that the possession of this land be restored to the plaintiffs. The defendants contested the suit on various grounds. One of the main grounds raised was that the suit was not filled within the period of limitation. It was also contended that the suit was bad for non-joinder of necessary parties and it was contended that the suit land belonged to the Trust since time immemorial and suit be dismissed. The Trial Court vide judgment dated 14.10.1992 dismissed the suit of the plaintiffs and held that the suit was not filed within the period of limitation. It was held that the suit is bad for non-joinder of parties. Lastly, the Trial Court held that the plaintiffs had failed to prove that the suit land was Inam land or the plaintiffs are Inamdars.

Hon’ble N.V. Ramana, Deepak Gupta and Ms. Indira Banerjee, JJ., have held that it was also urged that the Civil Court had no jurisdiction to decide the suit. No such obligation was raised before the Trial Court. This objection was raised before the High Court but has been rightly rejected. The issue in this case was whether the properties were properties of the Dargah or not and the issue was not whether the properties were are wakf properties or not. The High Court rightly held that the plaintiffs were not claiming any personal right in the land but only claiming rights of management over the property of the Dargah. We agree with the finding of the High Court that the Civil Court had the jurisdiction to decide the suit.

At this stage, it would be pertinent to point out that the appellants/defendants, during the course of this appeal, have filed a number of applications to place on record certain documents which were not on the record of the Trial Court. No explanation has been given in any of these applications as to why these documents were not filed in the Trial Court. These documents cannot be looked into and entertained at this stage. The defendants did not file these documents before the Trial Court. No application was filed under Order XLI, Rule 27 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 for leading additional evidence before the First Appellate Court or even before the High Court. Even the applications filed before us do not set out any reasons for not filing these documents earlier and do not meet the requirements of Order XLI, Rule 27 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Hence, the applications are rejected and the documents cannot be taken into consideration.
Sopanrao v. Syed Mahmood, 2019 (200) AIC 7 SC


FIVE GOLDEN PRINCIPLES OF STANDARD OF PROOF REQUIRED TO BE PROVED IN CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE


The Sessions Judge, Nagpur vide judgment and order dated 26th February, 2003 convicted the appellants under section 302 read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (for brevity, “the I.P.C.”) and sentenced to undergo life imprisonment besides a fine of Rs. 1,500/- each and in default thereof they were directed to undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for six months. They were further convicted under section 392 read with section 34, I.P.C. and sentenced to undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for three years and to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000/- each and in default thereof they were directed to undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for three months.

The appellants’ conviction and sentence was upheld by a Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Nagpur Bench in Criminal Appeal No. 272/2003, decided on 11.4.2008. Both these judgments are under challenge in this 2nd Appeal.
Hon’ble Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant, JJ., have held that there are five golden principles of standard of proof to be required to prove in circumstantial evidence.

The expression ‘circumstantial evidence’ has been the subject –matter of consideration in a catena of decisions wherein it has been precisely defined as a combination of such facts that there is no escape for the accused because the facts taken as a whole do not admit to any inference but of his guilt. It has also been coined as a Complete Chain Link Theory, putting onus on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt, the chain of events which lead to only one conclusion, namely, the culpability of the accused.

This Court in Sharad Birdhi Chand Sharda v. State of Maharashtra, elaborately considered the standard of proof necessitated for recording a conviction on the basis of circumstantial evidence and laid down the five golden principles of standard proof required to be established in such a case, which are paraphrased as follows :

(i)The circumstance from which the conclusion of guilt is to be drawn should be fully established;
(ii)The facts so established should be consistent only with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused, that is to say, these should not be explainable on any other hypothesis except that the accused is guilty;
(iii) The circumstances should be conclusive in nature and tendency;
(iv) They should exclude every possible hypothesis except the one to be proved; and
(v) There must be chain of evidence so complete as not to leave any reasonable ground for the conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused and must show that in all human probability the acts must have been committed by the accused.
Ramesh Dasu Chauhan v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 (200) AIC 16 SC.

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