High Court HP HC disposes of plea regarding clearing of rent...

HP HC disposes of plea regarding clearing of rent arrears

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Shimla, Mar 16 (ILNS) The Himachal Pradesh High Court, while disposing of a petition, has held that once the application, seeking permission to deposit the rent in the court is rejected, amount, if any, sought to be deposited or tendered in the court by way of demand draft, cannot be said to be valid tender of arrears of rent.

Petitioner Chaman Thakur had filed a Civil Revision Petition under S.24(5) of the Himachal Pradesh Urban Rent Control Act, 1987, challenging the order dated December 17, 2019 passed by Additional District Judge-I-cum-appellate authority, Shimla, affirming the order dated November 13, 2018, passed by Rent Controller, Shimla, whereby an application under S.21 of the Act read with Rule 8 of the Himachal Pradesh Urban Rent Control Rules, 1990 having been filed by the petitioner-tenant, seeking permission to deposit the rent in the court, came to be dismissed.

According to the petitioner, the landlord refused to accept the rent from the tenant and also withheld water supply. The tenant allegedly made an attempt to give cheque amounting to Rs 32,000 to the landlord on account of arrears, which he refused to accept. Since the landlord refused to accept the cheque, the tenant, by way of petition under Section 21 of the Act, sought permission of the Rent Controller, Shimla to deposit an amount of Rs 32,000 in the court by way of demand draft. Since the application having been filed by the tenant came to be rejected, the petitioner has approached the High Court.

Hitender Thakur, Advocate for the petitioner, laid emphasis that once the application seeking permission to deposit rent in the court was dismissed by Rent Controller, Shimla, a demand draft annexed with the application ought to have been returned to the petitioner.

Justice Sandeep Sharma, while considering the petition, noted that the tenant in his application neither specifically pleaded about the mode and manner in which he made an attempt to pay Rs 32,000, nor proved the same by leading cogent and convincing evidence, this Court finds no illegality or infirmity in the impugned order passed by the Rent Controller, Shimla, in as much as rejection of prayer made on behalf of the petitioner qua deposit of arrears of rent in the court is concerned.

The Court, while careful perusal of order dated November 13, 2018, passed by Rent Controller Shimla, held that though the Rent Controller dismissed the application, but directed the Nazir to keep the amount in the fixed deposit.

Once no eviction proceedings, if any, were pending in the Rent Controller court, that too, on account of arrears of rent, there was no occasion for the Rent Controller Court to retain the amount, especially when prayer having been made on behalf of tenant for deposit of rent in the Rent Controller court was rejected. In normal circumstances, the court, after rejection of application, ought to have ordered refund of amount to the tenant.

“Revision petition is disposed of with the observation that the amount ordered to be deposited by the Court vide November 13, 2019 order, shall be considered to be deposited towards arrears of rent, if so, held by learned Rent Controller in the eviction proceedings, if any, initiated at the behest of landlord on the ground of arrears of rent”, the order read. ILNS/SNG/JR

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