SUPREME COURT OF INDIA – WHETHER THE EVICTION PETITION CAN BE DISMISSED ON THE GROUND OF NON-JOINDER OF ALL THE CO-OWNERS?
Supreme Court of India
Date of Judgement: 28.01.2016
So far as issue pertaining to joinder of all co-owners in eviction petition filed against the tenant under the Rent Laws is concerned, the same also remains no more res Integra and stands settled by several decisions of this Court. In Dhannalal vs. Kalawathibai Ors. this Court took note of all case laws on the subject and explained the legal position governing the issue. Justice R.C.Lahoti (as His Lordship then was) speaking for the Bench held in paragraph 16 as under :-
“16. It is well settled by at least three decisions of this Court, namely, Sri Ram Pasricha v. Jagannath,(1976) 4 SCC 184 Kanta Goel v. B.P. Pathak, (1977) 2 SCC 814 and Pal Singh v. Sunder Singh, (1989) 1 SCC 444 that one of the co-owners can alone and in his own right file a suit for ejectment of the tenant and it is no defence open to the tenant to question the maintainability of the suit on the ground that the other co-owners were not joined as parties to the suit. When the property forming the subject-matter of eviction proceedings is owned by several owners, every co-owner owns every part and every bit of the joint property along with others and it cannot be said that he is only a part-owner or a fractional owner of the property so long as the property has not been partitioned. He can alone maintain a suit for eviction of the tenant without joining the other co-owners if such other co-owners do not object. In Sri Ram Pasricha case reliance was placed by the tenant on the English rule that if two or more landlords institute a suit for possession on the ground that a dwelling house is required for occupation of one of them as a residence the suit would fail; the requirement must be of all the landlords. The Court noted that the English rule was not followed by the High Courts of Calcutta and Gujarat which High Courts have respectfully dissented from the rule of English law. This Court held that a decree could be passed in favour of the plaintiff though he was not the absolute and full owner of the premises because he required the premises for his own use and also satisfied the requirement of being “if he is the owner”, the expression as employed by Section 13(1)(f) of the W.B. Premises Tenancy Act, 1956.”