Once Lease or Tenancy Stands Determined – Tenant’s Right to Possess the Leased Property Ends

In Atma Ram Properties (P) Ltd. v. Federal Motors (P) Ltd., (2005) 1 SCC 705, the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that “the litigation goes on for an unreasonable length of time and the tenants in possession of the premises do not miss any opportunity of filing appeals or revisions so long as they can thereby afford to perpetuate the life of litigation and continue in occupation of the premises.” It has, then, observed that once the lease or tenancy stands determined, say, through a decree from a competent court, the tenant’s right to continue to possess the leased property ends. And for his continued use and occupation of the property for any period thereafter, he must pay damages at the rate the landlord could have let out the premises if there had been no tenant or the tenant had vacated with the lease termination. Thus, Atma Ram Properties (P) Ltd. v. Federal Motors (P) Ltd., (2005) 1 SCC 705 has summed up the principles of interim compensation:

(1) while passing an order of stay under Rule 5 of Order 41 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the appellate Court does have jurisdiction to put the applicant on such reasonable terms as would in its opinion reasonably compensate the decree-holder for loss occasioned by delay in execution of decree by the grant of stay order, in the event of the appeal being dismissed and in so far as those proceedings are concerned. Such terms, needless to say, shall be reasonable;

(2) in case of premises governed by the provisions of the Delhi Rent Control Act, 1958, in view of the definition of tenant contained in clause (l) of Section 2 of the Act, the tenancy does not stand terminated merely by its termination under the general law; it terminates with the passing of the decree for eviction. With effect from that date, the tenant is liable to pay mesne profits or compensation for use and occupation of the premises at the same rate at which the landlord would have been able to let out the premises and earn rent if the tenant would have vacated the premises. The landlord is not bound by the contractual rate of rent effective for the period preceding the date of the decree; (3) the doctrine of merger does not have the effect of postponing the date of termination of tenancy merely because the decree of eviction stands merged in the decree passed by the superior forum at a later date. Ishwarlal Vrajlal Mistry v. Manohar U. Shetty, Writ Petition No. 13100 of 2018 decided on 18.12.2019.

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