[Case Brief] Flora Elias Nahoum & Others v/s Idrish Ali Laskar, 2018

Case NameFlora Elias Nahoum & Others v/s Idrish Ali Laskar
Case NumberCivil Appeal Number 4189 of 2007
CourtSupreme Court of India
BenchJustice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Rk Agrawal
Author of the judgmentJustice Abhay Manohar Sapre
Decided On January 25, 2018
Relevant Act/SectionsWest Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1956- Section 13(1)(a)
Author of the briefLavanya Gupta

Brief Facts and Procedural History:

Flora Eias Nahoum and others were the successive owners of a one-shop room in Calcutta which had been let out to Alfajuddin Laskar on a monthly rent of Rs, 40/-. The shop was then successively rented by Alfajuddin’s son, Idrish Ali Laskar, on the same terms and conditions. Idrish closed his father’s business of eggs and started his tailoring business. 2 years later, Flora and others filed an eviction suit against Idrish under the provisions of West Bengal Premises Tenancy Act, 1956.The former, claimed eviction on four grounds of default in the payment of monthly rent, bona fide need, sub-letting and making of unauthorised construction in the shop by Idrish. Flora and others filed a suit in the Trial Court and the Court decreed in part for eviction on the ground of sub-letting and unauthorized construction made by Idrish and decreed in part against the other half of suit. Idrish then appealed against the Trial Court’s decision in the Calcutta High Court, which dismissed the Trial Court’s judgement and decision. As Idrish appealed against the decree made in favour of Flora and others and Flora did not appeal against the decree made in favour of Idrish, the Trial Court’s judgement to the latter extent became final. Flora and others felt aggrieved of the High Court’s judgement and so filed appeal in Supreme Court by way of special leave

Issues before the Court of Law:

Whether Flora and others (the landlords) were justified in claiming eviction by Idrish (the tenants) on the grounds of sub-letting and making of unauthorised construction in the suit shop.

Ratio of the Court:

Yes, Flora and others were justified in claiming eviction on the grounds of sub-letting and making unauthorized construction in the suit shop by Idrish. It has been accepted in law that even if the landlord is able to make out only one ground out of several grounds of eviction, he is entitled to seek eviction of his tenant on the basis of sole ground which he has made out under the concerned Rent Act. As far as making out the ground of sub-letting, Flora and others were successful. It was so because, since the beginning, Idrish had an inconsistent stand on the topic of sub-letting. Idrish in the beginning denied sub-letting, then said that Joynal Mullick was his employee and so implied that he did not sub-let. Later Idrish said Joynal was a partner, whereas Joynal said he had been an employee of Idrish for a long time. Thus, it was inferred that Idrish could not discharge the burden of proof on him to prove Joynal’s capacity. It is widely known that the sin qua non for proving the case of the sub-letting is that the tenant has either whole or in part transferred or/and parted with the possession of the tenanted premises in favour of any third person without landlord’s consent. Thus, in this case, the landlords were well able to make out their ground of sub-letting for eviction which was enough for evicting Idrish.

Decision Held:

The accepted proposition in law is that the landlord(s) should be able to make out any one ground of evicting his tenant successfully. In the case at hand, the landlords had in the beginning, had 4 grounds of eviction out of which, the ground of sub-letting was made out as the tenant was not able to prove that he had not sub-let the premises. Thus, the appeal succeeded, Trial Court’s judgement was restored and the High Court’s judgement was set aside by the Supreme Court.

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