Civil Court will not cease to have jurisdiction to try the suit of eviction if the suit property comes under notified area during pendency of the suit

Supreme Court: Dealing with the question as to whether the Civil Court would cease to have jurisdiction to try the suit of eviction if the suit property came under notified area during pendency of the suit, the Court held that as on the date of the institution of the suit legal right in favour of the landlord had already accrued and it stood crystallised under the law applicable to the building at that time, if during the pendency of the suit, Rent Act becomes applicable to the premises in question, that would be of no consequence and it would not take away the jurisdiction of civil court to dispose of a suit validly instituted.

Referring to various rulings of this Court, the Bench of Dr. A.K. Sikri and N.V. Ramana, JJ said that in order to oust the jurisdiction of civil court, there must be a specific provision in the Act taking away the jurisdiction of the civil court in respect of those cases also which were validly instituted before the date when protection of Rent Act became available in respect of the said area/premises/tenancy. Further In case aforesaid position is not accepted and the protection of the Rent Act is extended even in respect of suit validly instituted prior in point of time when there was no such protection under the Act, it will have the consequence of making the decree, that is obtained prior to the Rent Act becoming applicable to the said area/premises, inexecutable after the application of these Rent Act in respect of such premises. This would not be in consonance with the legislative intent.

In the present case the premises in-question was initially outside the ambit of rent legislation, however, during the pendency of the suit and before it could be finally decided, the area in question was brought within the sweep of rent legislations by requisite notifications. The effect of such coverage was to give protective umbrella to the tenants. As a fortiorari, the landlord can now evict the tenant only by taking recourse to the rent legislation that too, by filing the petition for eviction under the Rent Act before the Rent Controller/Tribunal constituted under the said Acts. [Rajender Bansal v. Bhuru, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1151, decided on 18.10.2016]

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