SUPREME COURT OF INDIA – DOCTRINE OF TENANT’S ESTOPPEL-ONCE THE TENANT HAS ADMITTED THE TITLE OF THE LAND LORD OVER SUIT PROPERTY HE WILL BE ESTOPPED FROM QUESTIONING THE TITLE IN THE EVICTION PROCEEDINGS
Supreme Court of India
Date of Judgement: 09.08.2016
“DOCTRINE OF TENANT’S ESTOPPEL” which governs the relationship of landlord and tenant is founded on a contract of tenancy entered into by them, is well settled. Jessel, M.R., who adverted to that doctrine in Stringer’s Estate, Shaw v. Jones-Ford explains it thus:
“Where a man having no title obtains possession of land under a demise by a man in possession who assumes to give him a title as tenant, he cannot deny his landlord’s title, as, for instance, if he takes for twenty-one years and he finds that the landlord has only five years’ title, he cannot after five years set up against the landlord the jus tertii, though, of course, the real owner can always recover against him. That is a perfectly intelligible doctrine. He took possession under a contract to pay rent so long as he held possession under the landlord, and to give it up at the end of the term to the landlord, and having taken it in that way he is not allowed to say that the man whose title he admits and under whose title he took possession has not a title. That is a well-established doctrine. That is estoppel by contract.”
Indeed, the said doctrine of tenant’s estoppel, finds statutory recognition in Section 116 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, for short ‘the Evidence Act’, in that, it states that “no tenant of immovable property, or person claiming through such tenant, shall during the continuance of the tenancy, be permitted to deny that the landlord of such tenant had, at the beginning of the tenancy, a title to such immovable property”.
This Court in Sri Ram Pasricha v. Jagannath (1976) 4 SCC 184 , has also ruled that in a suit for eviction by landlord, the tenant is estopped from questioning the title of the landlord because of Section 116 of the Act.
(Para 10 of the Judgement)