Interpreting Rent Control Legislation: Role of Judiciary - A Critique
11 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2010 Last revised: 7 Nov 2010
Date Written: March 31, 2010
In India rent control legislation has caused inefficient use of built space, arbitrary allocation of space and retardation of new construction initiatives. The executive is hardly concerned to revive the rent as per market price and the judiciary is inclined to give extra benefit to the renters by interpreting the rent control legislation in the garb of beneficial legislation. In this article it is argued that Supreme Court interpretation of rent legislation is contrary to the intention of legislature. This article is a case comment on Kollipara Balakrishna Gupta v. Addagarlachnadra Sekhar Rao & Ors. which is pending before the Supreme Court.
Kollipara Balakrishna Gupta v. Addagarlachnadra Sekhar Rao & Ors. case has been filed under Appellant Jurisdiction of Supreme Court. The rent control legislation is a state act and differs from state to state but there are certain common provisions which exist in every rent control act. One such common provision is that eviction petition can be filed against the renter on the ground of non payment of rent. But if he pays the rent even at the time when matter comes before the High Court for hearing than it will not be consider as default. The five bench of A.P High Court held that if the habitual defaulter pays rent every time a landlord decides to file a case than it cannot be said that the cause of action against the renter on the ground of non payment of rent is extinguished. This decision is based on the premises that the cause of action arose when there was actual default and it continues when the matter was taken cognizance by the Rent Control Administrator and based on his satisfaction he issued a certificate to the landlord to file a case before the Court. Now, if at this point of time the renter pays the rent, the cause of action cannot be said to extinguished. After passing of this Judgment Supreme Court has discussed the same matter in a different case and a three Judge bench has given a majority opinion that no matter when but if the renter pays the rent, the cause of action seize to exist. But there was one dissenting opinion which stated that if such an interpretation will be given to rent control law than it will be misused by the renter and he will keep of defaulting in payment of rent and will pay the rent only when he feared that a case of going to be instituted against him.
The Supreme Court only in Kollipara Balakrishna Gupta v. Addagarlachnadra Sekhar Rao & Ors. case has not only to decide on the point of fact but also this conflict of decision between the constitutional bench for A.P high Court and three Judge bench decision of Supreme Court where one Judge dissented. Once the matter is decided it will be an authority for the all the cases concerning eviction petition on the ground of non payment of rent.
My aim is to examine the case laws relating to the rent laws. It is a case comment on S. Sundaram Pillai and Ors. Vs. R. Pattabiraman and Ors and Dakaya v. Anjan. I have also referred to cases of certain High Courts on this vary point.
Keywords: rent control, separation of power, interpretation of statute
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