New Delhi, July 12: The Supreme Court has ruled that if a landlord refuses to accept the rent, the tenant has to mandatorily deposit it with the Rent Controller (court) as
otherwise the latter would be liable for eviction.
Interpreting Section 27 of the Delhi Rent Control Act, the apex court said it was mandatory for a tenant to deposit the rent or rental arrears whenever the landlord, who is not in good terms, refuses to accept the rent.
In other words, the tenant cannot merely avoid paying the rent by saying the landlord had refused to accept the same.
"Section 27 deals with deposit of rent by the tenant. It clearly says that where the landlord does not accept any rent tendered by the tenant within the time referred to in Section
26 or refuses or neglects to deliver a receipt referred to therein or where there is a bona fide doubt as to the person
or persons to whom the rent is payable, the tenant may deposit such rent with the Controller in the prescribed manner," the apex court observed.
A Bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and H L Dattu passed the ruling while upholding the appeal filed by the landlord Sarla Goel in a dispute involving her tenant Kishan Chand at Yusuf Sarai in south Delhi.
Chand had taken the plea that he had sent the rental arrears to the landlord by a money order but the latter refused to accept the payment.
The landlord, however, invoked Section 27 of the Act and
insisted that the tenant was liable for eviction as he failed
to deposit the rent with the Rent Controller.
Goel had contended that the tenant defaulted for the second time, the first being in 2001 and thereafter in 2003.
She pointed out that under the Rent Control Act the tenant was liable to be evicted if he/she failed to deposit the rent with the Controller, particularly if the default is for the second time.
The Delhi High Court rejected the landlord`s plea following which she appealed in the apex court.
Upholding the landlord`s plea, the apex court said the "respondent (tenant) ought to have taken the recourse of
Section 27 of the Act by depositing the aforesaid arrears of rent with the Rent Controller and he not having admittedly
done so, was liable to be evicted from the suit premises on
the ground of second default under Section 14(1)(a) read with proviso to Section 14(2) of the Act."
The apex court directed eviction of the tenant but granted him six months` time to vacate the premises and hand over the possession to the owner.