Tenancy cannot be terminated on the ground of unregistered agreement for sale

Jharkhand High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Rajesh Kumar, J., dismissed a second appeal filed against the order of the trial court whereby a decree of eviction was passed against the appellants.

The respondents (landlords) had filed a suit for eviction against the appellants (tenants) because of personal reasons and also on account of non-payment of rent since November, 2012. The appellants contended that the landlord-tenant relationship between the parties came to an end after an agreement for sale was entered between the appellants and the father of the landlords.

The main question that arose before the Court was whether the trial court was justified in passing a decree of eviction against the appellants.

The Court observed that as per a conjoint reading of Section 53-A of the Transfer of Property Act and Section 17(1-A) of the Registration Act, it becomes clear that in order to protect possession over the land in dispute, the first compulsory requirement is that the agreement of sale must be registered. In this case, the agreement was not registered. Further, it was observed that as per Section 116 of the Indian Evidence Act, if the tenancy has been accepted then the tenant has no right to challenge the status of the landlord on any ground whatsoever.

The Court held that the appellant’s contention about the non-existence of landlord-tenant relationship between the parties is untenable. The Court upheld the order of the trial court as well as the first appellate court. [Devanand v. Sudhir Kumar Sharma,2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 1257, Order dated 12-09-2018]

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