Trespassing Tenant

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The adjudication in the present case must proceed on the foundation that Shiv Dev Kaur had a life interest in the property. Creation of a tenancy was an incident of the life interest which she had. It was means of her generating rental income to sustain herself. This was authorized by the will. The submission which has been urged is that the life interest being personal to Shiv Dev Kaur, the tenancy which she created would stand terminated with her death. This submission cannot be accepted both as a matter of first principle and having regard to the precedent on the subject. There is a fallacy in the submission. What the submission overlooks is that the creation of the tenancy was an act of the person enjoying a life interest in the present case and was an incident of the authority of that individual to generate income from the property for her own sustenance. The creation of a tenancy is an incident of the exercise of such an authority. The protection which is conferred upon the tenant against eviction, except on specified grounds, arises as a consequence of statutory prescription under rent control legislation. The reason why the tenant is entitled to occupy the premises beyond the life time of the landlord who created the tenancy is simply as a result of a statutory enactment, in this case, The East Punjab Rent Restriction Act 1949. It is the intervention of a legislative mandate which enures to the benefit of the tenant. Once this has taken place, it was not open to the Civil Court to entertain a suit for possession founded on the hypothesis that the tenant is a trespasser.”

Hon’ble Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, Dr. R.S. Grewal v. Chander Parkash Soni, [Civil Appeal No. 11086 of 2018].