A Supreme Court Bench of Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah has upheld an eviction order against some cultivating tenants by holding that as per Section 3 of the Tamil Nadu Cultivating Tenants Protection Act, 1955, "late payment of the rent as per the direction of the Revenue Court is clearly a valid ground for effecting eviction".

Counsel S Gowthaman appeared for the Petitioner.

In this case, the respondent had filed a petition before the Revenue Court against the appellants, seeking their eviction on account of not having paid the lease rent for Fasli 1419 to Fasli 1424 (corresponding to the years 2009 to 2014) @ 10½ bags of paddy each weighing 65kgs.

The Revenue Court ordered the appellants to pay lease rent of 31½ bags of paddy or the amount equivalent to it within two months from the receipt of the Order, failing which eviction proceedings would be initiated against the appellants. Subsequently, the respondent appeared before the Revenue Court seeking eviction of the appellants as they had failed to adhere to the order of the Revenue Court and the application was allowed by the Court.

The appellants challenged this order of the Revenue Court before the High Court, which was dismissed. The appellants then appeared before Supreme Court.

The Apex Court noted that the direction passed to the appellants to pay was never assailed, and attained finality, and that the appellants had not made compliance.

Perusing Section 3 and Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Cultivating Tenants Protection Act, 1955, the Court observed that "as per Section 3 of the Act, late payment of the rent as per the direction of the Revenue Court is clearly a valid ground for effecting eviction. Likewise, Section 4 of the Act provides for restoration of possession only in limited cases and that too when the default is of only one year of lease amount to be paid; whereas in the present case, the default was for three Fasli years".

Considering the privilege that the Act confers on the cultivating tenant vis-a-vis the landlord, by which the cultivating tenant is protected from eviction by the landlord, the Court observed that "In order to grant such privilege, the scope of eviction of the cultivating tenant at the behest of the landlord is circumscribed, by the Act. Hence, the court is required to ensure that even the said limited ground(s) for eviction by the landlord of the cultivating tenant, are not frustrated by granting some extra benefit or indulgence to the cultivating tenant. In the present factual set-up, the default is of at least three years, and the time given of two months was not per se inadequate. It is a matter of record that whatever payment was made/deposited, without going into whether it satisfied the Order dated 04.02.2019 or not, was made after over four months had elapsed, from the date of knowledge of the Order dated 04.02.2019, as admitted by the appellants."

In light of the same, it was held that "On an overall circumspection of the facts and circumstances, this Court does not find any infirmity in Impugned Judgment, and the Orders dated 04.02.2019 and 03.12.2021 passed by the Revenue Court. Interim order dated 31.10.2022 is vacated".

The appeal was dismissed, and costs were made easy.

Cause Title: K Chinnammal (Dead) Thr. Lrs. vs LR Eknath & Anr.

Click here to read/download the Judgment